Denim: Instructions for Use

 Dressy or casual, jeans are always versatile and a wardrobe staple. The good news is that more and more brands, including several local ones, are offering styles that are just as comfortable (or almost!) as leggings. Here are some pro tips for finding the perfect pair.

Say hello to trends! Gone are the days when you could only find the current flagship cut in stores. "It's not like 20 years ago! Today, you can find almost everything," confirms stylist Marie-Claude Pelletier, founder of the agency Les Effrontés. "In general, a skinny cut will create the illusion of longer legs, unlike wide-legged styles."

Waist height is also crucial, adds stylist Louise Labrecque. "For concealing belly curves, a high-waisted model is ideal. People of shorter stature will benefit from jeans with a normal or slightly lower waist. The color of the denim is also a factor to consider. The darker it is, the more lengthening effect it will have.

That being said, Marie-Claude Pelletier suggests considering the overall look first and foremost. "Even if you're petite, there are ways to style baggy jeans to make them look better, such as wearing them with a fitted shirt."

The strategic positioning of the back pockets is important, according to Marie-Claude Pelletier. "Everything goes in the pockets! You really need to pay attention to their size, the distance between them, and their placement. Higher pockets will give the impression of a shapely butt, while lower-placed pockets will have a flattening effect."

The patina of the denim is also significant, adds Louise Labrecque. "Quality denim will have strategically placed distressed areas to slim the thigh or emphasize the waist." Therefore, the stylist advises conducting a test in the store. "Shopping online works well when you've found your style and know the right size for a certain brand, but if you want to experiment with a new fit or brand, it's best to go to a store."

The fabric revolution

Previously, jeans were made from a "not very comfortable" blend of cotton and polyester, as Marie-Claude Pelletier agrees. Contemporary jeans now incorporate a small percentage (around 2%) of elastic fibers, such as lycra, making them even more comfortable. Montreal's Yoga Jeans brand has made this their trademark with their 360-degree stretch technology.

However, according to the stylist, the material of the hour is Tencel. "It is a soft and comfortable fiber that offers a good drape. The cost may be higher, but it's a great option to ensure you have well-fitting pants." Moreover, Tencel is more sustainably produced than some other fabrics.

Another local brand, Frank and Oak, has gotten creative with their Circular collection. Cut from denim made from recycled fibers, these jeans are also produced to minimize water use and are rivet-free for easy end-of-life recycling.

Interview 101

Here are the golden rules to follow to keep our jeans impeccable for years.

The vast majority of jeans are machine washable in cold water, preferably inside out to preserve the color. However, using the dryer is not recommended, especially for stretch denim. "The heat damages the lycra fibers, which will break down over time," warns Marie-Claude Pelletier.

The same goes for 100% cotton jeans, which can shrink (up to 3% shrinkage). "So it's best to hang them, but never over a heat source."

Air drying tends to make clothes stiff, it's true. Marie-Claude Pelletier's solution? To soften them once dry and avoid the hassle of ironing,

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