Finding your jean size can be a challenge, especially when you are dealing with a new fit you've never tried and buying online. We get lots of questions about fit, so we thought it would be helpful to publish some more info & practices that will help you make a better choice. You may have seen our how to measure page. This article will go a little deeper, as well as show you visually where exactly to take the measurements.
Selvage Denim Jeans
Selvage denim is almost always 100% cotton. There are other makeups out there, but they are not as common and the top mills in the world are not yet making a lot of variety. All of our denim is 'Sanforized'... meaning, there has been a little more processing and it won't shrink as much as un-Sanforized (which can shrink DRAMATICALLY and is very difficult to size). There will still be some shrinkage if heat is applied, so follow our washing instructions for the best results. Regardless, we find that you don't need to take into account shrinking with our jeans when sizing. If there is noticeable shrinkage, it will normally be in the length. For that reason, we recommend you hem 1/2" to 1" longer than you want. The waist and other areas will be more likely to stretch with time rather than shrink, especially where stressed.
A good long term jean should be VERY difficult to button up. Even if tighter jeans are not your style, trust me, they will loosen up quickly. If you put on a pair of selvage jeans and they are comfortable and easy to button at first, they will quickly become a saggy mess as they slowly stretch in areas that are stressed. You can expect around an inch of stretch in the waist over time. By not washing or soaking your jeans for a few weeks of wear, the stretch will happen quicker.
Stretch Denim Jeans
Stretch denim is a different beast. You can equate it to any garment of mixed fibers, like sweatpants or slacks. Stretch denim rarely has much bleed like Selvage denim because the dyes have already been cured. So you don't need to 'wait' to wash them necessarily. That said, see our article on how to wash stretch denim jeans for our recommendations.
As far as fit, you should aim for a good to slightly tight fit on first wear. They are made to stretch, and although the elastic and polyester will comfortably do this immediately, the cotton will take a little time but won't be too dramatic. Getting a comfortably tight fit at first will ensure your jeans wear like you want them for a good while.
Taking the measurements of jeans are the same for men & women, selvage, stretch, canvas or anything else. Below are photos showing the areas where we take our measurements. We recommend you do this to your favorite pair of jeans or slacks, and compare them to the charts on each product page. Find the size that is close to what measurements you take and you'll probably be pretty close to a great fitting jean. You can find all of our measurements on each product page under the 'sizing + fit' tab.
Measure the Waist *multiply number by 2
Measure the Front Rise
Measure Back Rise
Measure Leg Opening
If you have any specific fit or sizing questions, our team would love to help. Drop an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by our flagship workshop and store location in Cincinnati.
Tolerance is standard in manufacturing, this is what is an acceptable range of measurements for handmade goods. There are different tolerances for different industries, but based on a hand cut and hand sewn product, getting exact numbers is impossible, so an agreeable range is created instead. Anything outside of these measurements is considered unacceptable and should be flagged in QC (that's quality control). Our tolerance and our specs are created from our exact method of measuring, someone measuring in their own way can get different numbers (even some outside of tolerance) for a lot of factors. We can show people how to clearly measure their jeans and double check them at HQ when needed. It is a very specific process in which a slight variation can make a big difference (ex. how many inches down from crotch to measure knee, etc.). If you follow the photos above, you will be close to where our team pulls our measurement data. Below is the industry standard tolerance scale for jeans:
+/- .5" for the waistband (total circumference).
+/- .25" for the front and back rise.
+/- .5" for the thigh (total circumference).
+/- .375" for the knee (total circumference).
+/- .375" for the leg opening (total circumference).