Welcome to part three in our denim series. This is the third in a three part mini-series, each divided into thirds, where we will explore some trivia, common fit issues, and things to watch out for when working with denim.
We’ve all heard the term Canadian Tuxedo. Double Denim. Generally thought to be a fashion faux-pas. But do you know where it originated?
Once upon a time, in the salad days of the early 1950s, Bing Crosby was denied entrance to a hotel in Vancouver, Canada, because he was wearing denim on denim. It was a huge kerfuffle, which lead to the American denim brand Levi’s creating a custom-made denim tuxedo just for him. (He was eventually allowed to enter the hotel- I can only imagine after how many times of asking, “Do you even know who I am?!”)
It was made of the sturdy denim used for 501® Jeans, and decorated with a lovely corsage of Red Tabs, held onto the lapel with a cluster of shiny copper rivets. Inside the jacket was a huge leather patch printed with a “Notice to All Hotel Men” stating that denim is a perfectly appropriate fabric and anyone wearing it should be allowed entrance into the finest hotels.
Read more about it here.
So, are you loving this look or what? Cowboy chic is back, you know! Here and here and here are great articles for styling inspiration, if double denim is what you’re going for. Remember, fashion is for rule breaking – no such thing as faux-pas!
Common fit problem:
Here’s a quick visual of what I mean. I picked an extreme example with a vertical railroad stripe that is very close fitting, but it allows you to easily see how far forward the outseam is pulling. Also, you can see easily just how much I need to add to the entire front thigh/leg panel to straighten and balance it out, by drawing a straight line down.
I usually do this with a tailor’s chalk, by eye, but if you are finding you need a little guidance, drop a plumb line using a retractable measuring tape held at your waist to create your vertical guide line to mark your garment.
Something to watch out for:
Stretch Blow Outs! We’ve all seen it. Wearing a pair of high-stretch denim, and you notice rippling at your upper thighs, across the butt, and at the knees. The rippling is noticeable when you wear it, and when you take it off? Woof – it’s bad.
This happens when your jeans depend too much on the stretch of the fabric for the fit, in combination with heavy wash treatments. The wash process will wear away at the denim fibers to create the ombré effect on the indigo, but it will also severely damage any of the elastane (or polyester if the fabric is a blend). So as you wear the jeans, the stretch fibers will stretch and stretch until they break. Drying your jeans on high in the dryer will also contribute to the degradation. This means the usage and life-cycle of the jean is limited – once the stretch blows out, the jeans are pretty much done, unless you cover it with patches/applied repairs.
I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this brief foray into denim and jeans! My next post will be a preview of an entirely new direction – stay tuned and see what we’re whipping up for you!
Have questions? @ me in the comments!
Gabby is a technical fashion designer, fit specialist, and prolific googler. She lives in Denver, raises tiny littles, reads, embroiders, makes, experiments, fails, learns, tries again. See her on instagram @ladygrift.
AHH that is an amazing origin story! Thanks so much for sharing! I want a pair of railroad pants now, too (both because they’re stylish and because they look like a great way to ‘read’ the fit).
I do love a good railroad stripe! Thanks for reading 🙂