Why the white stripes on blue jeans?
October 4, 2005 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Tell me about the blue jeans young people wear these days - the kind with the big white blotches.

Are these what's known as acid- or stone-washed jeans? If not, what's the correct term?

I realize the desireablity of broken-in jeans, and the dorkiness associated with a brand new pair.... but in my experience, they usually go white only at the knees, and the seams. This current fashion - what's with the fading on the back side? And sometimes, not the legs, but the seat - I'm especially baffled about the fashion sense of someone who'd choose to look like she's been sitting in a puddle of bleach.
posted by Rash to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total)
I believe it's supposed to provide visual contouring- the change in color will make the butt look more round, maybe? I have a flat butt, so a little shading is nice, but a lot of jeans take it to far.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:23 AM on October 4, 2005 [1 favorite]

I don't know what they're called, but they're not acid- or stone-washed. Acid- or stone-washed jeans are worn evenly all over. These new ones seem to wear with, uh, wear.
posted by jjg at 9:25 AM on October 4, 2005

They're sometimes called distressed, or light wash. ThePinkSuperhero is right - the lights and darks provide contouring. Darker on the outsides and lighter towards the middle....very slimming.

As for those three white lines on the top of the leg in front - those are just plain ugly, and superfluous.
posted by iconomy at 9:43 AM on October 4, 2005

American Eagle is selling pre-ripped jeans now, all ripped in the same boring way around the thighs and a couple other places. Thus assimilating and destroying another youth culture element, a bit later than usual albeit (this one deserved to be destroyed though).
posted by abcde at 10:00 AM on October 4, 2005

Abcde, I hate to break it to you, but they were selling pre-ripped jeans circa 1985. In fact, I think there was even a Family Ties episode where Jennifer ripped her own jeans and Alex suggested they come that way from the factory. Ripped jeans (from the store or homemade) were really popular in the mid-80s, at least in my little piece of Canada.
posted by acoutu at 10:43 AM on October 4, 2005

You can think of it as how one might pay a premium for brand-new 'antiqued' furniture. People buy it because it fits into the aesthetic of their home. Similarly, those kinds of jeans fit into a persons 'look'. Just like anything else, it can be done tastefully or it can be done poorly and cheaply. Most of what I see (and I'm sure you're seeing) is the latter.
posted by chimmyc at 10:51 AM on October 4, 2005

Pre-distressed denim are jeans worn by machines (using sandpaper and repetition). But when you earn the the rips and fades yourself it makes them your own. To obtain such a look, simply purchase a pair of pre-shrunk denim jeans, (ideally selvedged, stiff as a board and indigo blue), soak in a tub of lukewarm water, dry and wear them to death. Most of mine have a wallet shaped fade on the back right pocket, fades on the ass from sitting sround too much, holes in the knees and hem turn ups, nice key fades on the left pocket and so on. I love them like my children. Seriously!
posted by brautigan at 11:08 AM on October 4, 2005

Pre-ripped and worn jeans are for dorks like Paris Hilton
posted by phredhead at 11:14 AM on October 4, 2005

OK, but what was up with the jeans that looked like they'd had mud smeared on the front of the thighs? These were big a couple of years ago, but seem to have mostly disappeared. The disappearance I can understand, but what was the appeal in the first place?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:16 AM on October 4, 2005

Has anyone worn Nudie Jeans? You're not supposed to wash them for at least the first year, if ever. The dirtier and rattier they get, the better. They start out like boards and quickly devolve into cushy jeans that feel like jammies, from what I hear.
posted by iconomy at 11:19 AM on October 4, 2005

You're not supposed to wash them for at least the first year, if ever.

That's the general rule I follow for all jeans. I just washed a pair of Gap jeans I hadn't washed in years- they were standing up on their own. Other than that, I let my denim be.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:29 AM on October 4, 2005 [1 favorite]

I assume you're a girl. My clothes take on a stench if not washed fairly regularly. I think washing clothes for my wife is probably optional although she does it regularly.
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:43 AM on October 4, 2005

The best thing to do is to buy really dark jeans and not wash the fuckers for a year.

But you can also buy really expensive jeans that not only have a superior cut, making your ass look hot, but also look like they haven't been washed in a year, like Habitual or Seven.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:58 AM on October 4, 2005

There was a trend about a decade ago (in LA mostly, I'm guessing) in which chichi designers would buy deeply worn-in jeans from 'cowboys' and resell them to the trendy. Because most size 0 women tend not to fit into used cowpoke clothing, the designers began aging new jeans to give the appearance of long time wear. Those crease-lines at the top of thighs on new jeans? They're called 'whiskers.' For a time aged jeans cost a small fortune, because the faded butt and thigh patches were artfully bleached by hand to look authentic. But looking too authentic confused their perceived value, so the blotch jobs have become more & more artificial looking. Now you can occasionally see kids with perfect ovals of white on each butt cheek and thigh, which is probably a cheap effect to produce. And if it's cheap, it's probably the last, wheezing gasp of the trend.
On the upside, you can buy $200 Earl jeans on eBay for $10 now. But you'll be soooo uncool.
posted by maryh at 12:21 PM on October 4, 2005

acoutu: I should have figured; I don't know where I got the crazy idea it hadn't been done.
posted by abcde at 12:25 PM on October 4, 2005

I wouldn't get too worked up about it; according the the Voice, designer denim is over -- amost. I presume this to mean that designer jeans have penetrated the mainstream to whatever extent causes the fashionistas to move on to the next thing.
posted by o2b at 12:53 PM on October 4, 2005

When I see someone with the backside fade/bleaching, I just assume they have worms and have been scooching across the carpet all day.
posted by Moondoggie at 1:04 PM on October 4, 2005

the whiskers on the front thighs of jeans are called, or were called when everybody wore 'em (nobody does now, duh!!), "dick whiskers." They sucked then and they suck now.

Jeans are best when they're old. So it makes sense to give people what they want, which is old jeans, straight from the store. The pair I just bought has a dark ink-stain blotch on them, below the knee. Fuck. But they fit and it doesn't bother me that much.
posted by zpousman at 1:31 PM on October 4, 2005

It's a lot cheaper for me to buy my broken-in jeans from the thrift store.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:25 PM on October 4, 2005

I have an inside to the jean industry. I was wearing European imported jeans that would have cost $130 if I hadn't obtained them for free that got me so much praise 4 years ago. This was way before anyone else was doing it and I felt so cool. I new this was going downhill once Prada started doing it. If I remember correctly Prada's denim jeans are something around $340. True Religion seems to be the hip new brand (they're a Japanese import I believe) and they retail for around $250.

I have to say I've actually bought a pair of Armani jeans and they were very well made and comfortable. They aren't Levis with an Armani eagle slapped on. The denim is ultra-premium and the stitching is very well done.
posted by geoff. at 5:18 PM on October 4, 2005

I love the way Seven and Citizens of Humanity jeans fit, the quality is just getting worse and worse. Right now I'm wearing Lucky (dream jeans) and Paper jeans. They have a great fit which is flattering on my white girl booty and seem to be a bit more well-made.

I don't know what the cool kids are wearing though
posted by discokitty at 6:16 PM on October 4, 2005

I got asked the other day where I bought my jeans, as they were (apparently) perfectly worn in, with just the right amount of fade, stain, and:

"I cannot believe you found a designer thoughtful enough to wear out the cuffs in two places."

I didn't have the heart to tell them that I'd owned the jeans for years, and started wearing them lower when I'd lost weight and raised the cuffs.

There's going to be a very disappointed pair of people in a Bluenotes store in the near future...

back on topic: as a "young person" (20, regularly confused for 25), I have no idea what the hell is going on with pre-worn jeans and think they're ridiculous - I enjoy telling the stories behind my imperfections (and this is where I got caught on a fence while being chased by campus security!) and so pre-worn jeans remove that.
posted by heeeraldo at 7:21 PM on October 4, 2005

As for those three white lines on the top of the leg in front - those are just plain ugly, and superfluous.

Not to mention it looks way better when they wear that way naturally (see heeeraldo post above).

That said, I have a "distressed" denim jacket that makes me look fucking hot.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:53 PM on October 4, 2005

Damn, it sounds like my pants are way the hell more hip than me. And here I keep buying new ones to replace the ratty ones!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:52 PM on October 4, 2005

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