When ordering custom-made jeans, many of us freeze up in the face of so much choice. We’ll be asked, “Do we want stretch denim or traditional denim?” “Selvedge or not?” “What cut do we want?” And so on, and so on. Somewhere around question three, most of our minds will be paralyzed by all of the decisions- and not knowing if there’s a ‘right’ answer for each.
To avoid looking like we don’t know what we want, or worse- ending up with something that we don’t want at all- here’s a guide to what you should ask for when visiting a custom-made jeans tailor:
One key to getting jeans that are custom-made is that they should fit your body like a glove. The tailor will measure the length of your leg, and circumference in several places, as well as your waist, and inseam. With all that information, the tailor can know how to cut the fabric so that it will follow your body, but only you will know how closely you want this to happen. Are you looking to make jeans that will feel as tight as designer jeans in the 70s? Or do you want a pair that’s loose and baggy, but won’t actually fall off your body? This is up to you. Most people are looking for jeans that are fitted but not uncomfortably tight. This bring us to the next question:
How comfortable do you want your jeans to be? What are you going to be doing in them? Will you be wearing them for work or leisure? Do you need them to be sturdy? Sexy? Formal? Thinking about these things will inform how comfortable you want these jeans to be. One way to ensure comfort is to use stretch fabric. Stretch denim also allows for a closer fit, without being too stiff and uncomfortable. Fabric and cut will have a lot of impact on how comfortable your jeans end up, so do discuss this with your tailor.
Normally, we would talk about ‘cut’ here- which of the different cuts you might want for your jeans- but I thought we should back up and look at it a different way: Ask yourself, what shape do you want to look like in your jeans? Do you want to look curvy? Taller? Thinner? Apple-bottomed, or flatter? How your jeans are cut will influence how you look in them. See the box below to see how the different cuts will make you look.
If reading the word ‘fashion’ made you wince, don’t worry- your jeans don’t have to reflect the latest fashion trends at all. You might just want jeans that look like jeans have always looked, and that’s perfectly fine. If you saw the word ‘fashion’, though, and your heart skipped a beat with excitement, then that’s also fine, because having jeans custom made lets you indulge any fashion thoughts you may be having. Work with your tailor to mix and match contrasting threads and denim colours. Talk to your tailor about variations in styles in all kinds of aspects of your jeans. Want to play with the pockets? Go ahead! Have a fancy button fly? Can do! Add an extra panel of fabric down the side? This is possible too! Maybe you’re thinking of adding embellishments, sewing on flowers, or pearls and rhinestones. You can do any of these things and your jeans will be just that much more unique.
Here’s your chance to make your mark with personal expression. Design your own leather patch, add a monogram, or signature. Choose pocketing fabric that reflects your unique interests, or shows your personality. This is where your jeans can truly become your jeans. Think about your body and whether there’s something you want to show off- maybe cut a hole in the thigh where you have a tattoo, or use wild-coloured fabric to make the back pockets. Embroider a personal symbol or even a coat of arms onto the pocket. Talk to your tailor about your ideas.
By this point, you should have a complete plan for your jeans, from size and shape, to colour and details. Your tailor will take all of this information and create a first version for you to try on, within a few weeks. Enjoy the process!