What do you call super-soft denim?
October 23, 2011 9:48 AM   Subscribe

What is this fabric? Why is it so soft?

Wörn jeans have come up before. Like that poster, I'm male & I bought a pair and want more. Wörn disappeared for a while and now they're back, but with women's only.

In my case, I don't care as much about fit (I wear jeans kind of loose-- I'm a 44 year old dad), but that soft, soft "denim." These jeans are 89% cotton, 11% "elasterell" which seems to just be some kind of stretchy polyester.

Close-up Photos of front & back of the material.

This material doesn't feel just like well-worn & washed old jeans, but like a fabric different than denim (flannel?).

I read up on different weaves, but the weft is almost as dark as the warp, so it's hard to see if the weave is "3x1 warp-faced" like traditional denim.

I'm not as worried about cost as the other Wörn-like seeker. I've looked around at Nordstrom rack and haven't found anything at all close to these.
posted by morganw to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Their site shows jeans for men as well, including this pair in "Softwist Denim" which I think is the same as the pair you have (89% cotton, 11% spandex).

I don't know that there is a name for that kind of jeans material. The surface of the fabric looks like most women's jeans I've seen in recent years, especially those with a higher spandex content. I think you'll have to look for other manufacturers that use high-spandex denim for men.
posted by cabingirl at 10:05 AM on October 23, 2011

Best answer: I've said this before, but I suspect -- particularly given the name "Softwist" -- that the structural integrity of the fabric is provided by the elasterell, and that the cotton used is a much shorter fiber spun with much less twist than is normal. Under those conditions, the ends of the cotton fiber stick out more, giving it the sort of flannel-y feeling, and the looseness of the twist provides a softer hand.

The downside is that the cotton is essentially just fill, and it will pill and wear much faster than traditional denim. Don't put your beloved jeans in the dryer, and they'll last a lot longer. But yeah, that's more of a technique than a type of fabric, and you're probably just going to have to put your hands on a zillion pairs of jeans to find a replacement.
posted by KathrynT at 10:25 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, thank you thank you both!

I came to the conclusion that Worn doesn't make mens anymore because it didn't come up on some searches but I didn't think to simply look for their website because it had been down. It did get a new domain name, though the old one forwards just fine.

The artificial fiber matrix w/ natural fiber fill idea makes a lot of sense. I thought these were wearing fine, but I do wear them less than my Levis and I don't do work in the garage on my knees in them. It's fine that they don't wear as well as I'm looking for a more casual alternative to chinos for (office) work while staying as comfortable. I work at that company where the until-recently CEO famously wore jeans and I'm on the main campus more these days, feeling kind of self-conscious.

While looking up what makes flannel soft, I came across brushing fabric and looking for brushed denim, I found Orvis's brushed denim, moleskin and melton pants. A pretty penny, but probably longer-wearing.
posted by morganw at 10:39 AM on October 23, 2011

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