Yes, Virginia, jeans do wear out.

We've been comparing wear-out statistics in our end of year roundups and reflections and on a couple of threads some of us mentioned that our jeans wear out while others say theirs never do. 

Several of us who wear our denim out also wear it a lot more, I suspect—either because we have fewer pairs in our collection (NOT me, ha!) or because we wear jeans more often and for longer periods and possibly in rougher situations. 

Last night I sat down to supper and felt an unmistakable riiiiiiiip. Oh no, there they go. My fave high waisted CoH jeans. 

I bought these about a year ago on style exchange from forum member Sarah. (Thanks, Sarah!)

Sarah hadn't worn them much so they were in good condition. I would say I wore them an average of 2 days a week -- much less in summer, and more in winter, spring, fall. It would average at about 100 wears. 

For reference, they were skinnies but not overly tight. I have large thighs for my size, but my legs don't rub when I walk (or at least I'm never aware of any friction there and don't need slip shorts or similar in summers). Still, I often strain the fabric in the inner thigh area because I tend to sit cross-legged or with knees curled up. Also, when I wear them, I wear them all day as a rule -- not just for a few hours after work. 

It's possible that if these jeans were stretchier and softer, I wouldn't strain them as much. I tend to prefer my denim structured with only a bit of stretch and a real denim feel. That means there is less "give." On the other hand, if they were stretchier they might have bagged out or faded too much in the same amount of time. 

I could, of course, patch them, but experience tells me this is not a comfortable location for a patch. Luckily, I have a near replacement.

Anyway. Joining Cindy in offering thanks. Thanks dear CoH Rockets, you served me well! 

And congratulating those of you who manage to keep your clothes in working order for longer than I do! 

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56 Comments

  • Christina F. replied 2 months ago

    My jeans wear out. In my case, I also wear them a lot, but I ALSO have the thigh rub issue. I definitely opt for stretchy jeans, so that doesn’t help.

    Also, for my darker wash and black jeans eventually fade too much for my liking no matter how I baby them. I currently have a Wit & Wisdom pair that’s in this state. Useable but it’s probably time to cast around for new black skinnies.

    It sounds like you got enough use out of these. Farewell, jeans!

  • Sara L. replied 2 months ago

    Mine don't wear out but I only wear them on the weekends and maybe for a few hours in the evening.  I have a good variety of jeans too so no one pair is getting lots of wear.  When I was younger and wore jeans exclusively, I always wore out the seat of my jeans.  Another place that doesn't repair well.

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Christina, yes -- mine also eventually fade out too much for my taste. Again, I think this comes with frequent wear. I never put my jeans in the dryer, wash them in cold water, don't wash after every wear, have a gentle washer, etc. So it is not a laundering issue. 

    My teen wears through the Old Navy ones in 6 months or less! 

  • bella replied 2 months ago

    Oh, sorry to hear about your jeans but there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing my clothes being well-loved and well-worn and as a result end their life by being torn at some place. I had a pair of jeans meet the same fate recently and it fills me with joy! Bye bye jeans, you served me extremely for the last 6 years. I think the same holds for you in this case. 

  • Cee replied 2 months ago

    **Lights candle for deceased denims**

  • Runcarla replied 2 months ago

    RIP favourite jeans! :-)

    While reading the thread on loungewear, I realized that I don't really wear loungewear, but would switch out of work clothes and into jeans. Jeans are core to my current style, so get all day wear now.

    I feel pressure on my sitz bones when seated, so I'm not surprised by my wear pattern! I'm going to be so upset when my Levis wear out, but the writing is on the wall.

  • taylor replied 2 months ago

    My denim never seem to wear out. I’m not sure why .
    When I had small children the right knee would wear thin and in some cases wear right through. I think that was due to quick shoe tying or diaper changing .
    Cee...that’s funny :)

  • lisa p replied 2 months ago

    Suz, I think you hit on it with how you sit at home while wearing your jeans. Sitting crossed-legged or with your knees tucked under you (how do you DO this?  lol!) would most definitely stress the fabric in the inner thigh area .  

  • Cee replied 2 months ago

    I usually get about ten years wear out of mine and yes, I go into a period of mourning when a pair are either consigned to wearing around the house only or are retired permanently to the bin.

  • Runcarla replied 2 months ago

    DH and DS#1 are tall, with long legs and get wear and tear across the upper thigh which comes into contact with too small tables or work desks. (And, my mother doesn't understand why I don't want her (tiny) antique furniture pieces!)

  • Gaylene replied 2 months ago

    Sorry your favourite jeans gave out on you, Suz. It’s hard to say goodbye to a favourite which has served you well!

    After being startled at your comment about wearing out a pair of jeans in a year, I did a bit of thinking about why some jeans stay around for years while others need to be tossed after a year or two. While frequent wear and laundering methods obviously play a role, I’m wondering if there aren’t other factors which are equally, or even more important.

    I’ve always been fascinated by fabric and clothing construction—and get positively giddy when I see some of the amazing things couturiers can do with a fiber. That’s why I love the articles on the Fashion Incubator—a site which delves into the construction and manufacturing end of fashion. Kathleen Fasanella’s information and thoughts on premium denim made me realize that fabric content (cotton, Lycra, viscose, polyester ratios)—and even fabric weight (10 oz denim vs 14 oz denim)—is only a part of the picture when it comes to the longevity of a pair of jeans.

    It strikes me that we care we take in laundering our new premium denim is needed because the finishing effects we look for in premium denim aren’t exactly gentle. Sandpaper, resins, stone washing, bleaching chemicals, lasers, and a host of other techniques that designers use to give their denim line the softness and the worn-in appearance take a severe toll on the original fabric and probably have more to do with longevity than how we sit or how many hours a day we wear our jeans.
    https://fashion-incubator.com/.....ctor-pt-2/

    I also think this article on her website
    https://fashion-incubator.com/abc_retailing_pt_2/
    makes an important point about the market for “premium” denim versus the market for “plain” denim. Premium casual clothing appeals to a different group than does basic clothing, so to compare the wearability of a pair of $300 CoH jeans to a pair of 14oz, untreated, stiff cotton Wranglers worn by ranchers makes no sense. Both jeans serve a distinct market, and quality/wearability issues probably ought to be discussed with those differences in mind.

    And, just as a side note, I found the stitchless, heat-welding method of seaming fascinating. I wonder how long it will be until we are all longing for a pair of glued jeans on YLF...

  • taylor replied 2 months ago

    Well Gaylene May have touched on something that makes sense to me.

    I don’t actually launder my denim a lot because I rotate them so often.
    Washing and drying really take its toll on denim with stretch. I admit I collected many different styles lengths and brands of denim back when I was working .

  • Runcarla replied 2 months ago

    Thanks for the interesting read X 2, Gaylene.

  • La Pedestrienne replied 2 months ago

    Oh yes, my jeans and casual pants definitely wear out -- much faster than tops, in fact! Usually it's the knees that give out first. As you've noted, Suz, this has a lot to do with the amount of time one spends around young children. I'm on the floor or the ground quite a bit; kneeling, squatting and sitting cross-legged put a lot of strain on my pants' knees and seat. 

    Last month, I said goodbye to a pair of two-year-old Boden jeans because the fabric split at a bunch of key seams around the back pockets, and I could tell the knees would be the next to go. That's an unusually short lifespan, even for me, despite the fact that these were a seemingly sturdy 98/2 blend and not super fitted. I'd guess they had 60 or 70 wears on them. 

    I buy a lot of my jeans secondhand, and can usually expect to get about 4-5 years from a pair of 100% cotton Levi's or similar, even if they have a fair amount of wear and feel broken-in. 

    I don't love the look of jeans with holes in the knees, but the real clincher for me is the way ripped and patched jeans feel. From a sensory standpoint, I find them really annoying! Sometimes I turn ripped jeans into cut-offs, but it usually only takes a season or two for the seat to start wearing out as well.

  • Style Fan replied 2 months ago

    I am so sorry Suz.  Jeans are such an important part of your wardrobe.  Interesting comments from Gaylene.  

  • nemosmom replied 2 months ago

    OH NO! I hate when a fave pair dies! Glad you have a near-backup, though!

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Taylor, LaPed, when I was parenting a young child the knees on my jeans wore out first, too. Always down on the ground to get eye level or do some task, and sometimes playing. 

    LaPed, I remember that you had to bid farewell to those Bodens. Too bad! 

    Taylor, I don't over-launder (I don't think!) but my teen does. The trouble is, they also get genuinely dirty, so they actually have to do the wash. ;) 

    Gaylene, thank you for those links! I am about to go read. In the meantime, you are so right that the treatment the denim receives is also key. This particular wash was a bit more faded than some -- maybe that played a role. Premium denim is indeed different than "regular" denim so it's no wonder it doesn't wear as hard. 

    Cee -- 10 years! Wow. I don't think I've ever had a pair last that long! 

    Carla, yup, the writing is on the...bum. Alas. 

    LOL, Lisa. I'm a very naughty girl. I don't sit at a desk. I sit on a club type chair with a blanket and a laptop table here in Vancouver, or I stand at the standing laptop shelf. At home I have a desk (which I don't have here) but I only seem to use it for meetings. Mostly I curl up with my knees making a kind of table in front of me. Weirdly, I have fewer back problems since I hit on this lazy way of sitting than I used to get when I sat at a desk! But maybe more worn out inner thighs on my jeans. ;) 

    Bella, you're right -- it's good to know we've worn the heck out of our clothes. 

  • SarahD8 replied 2 months ago

    Mourning your jeans with you, and high-fiving a fellow non-desk-using-yes-I-really-am-more-comfortable-this-way writer!

  • Diana replied 2 months ago

    I also wear through my jeans at the inner thigh, and secondarily at the sitz bones like Carla's.  This is pretty much how I wear through all of my jeans.  It takes anywhere from 2-5 years for me, assuming it's a pair I wear regularly.  My thighs do rub together, and I walk a lot, which is I think the reason that I get wear there.  I've never actually had a pair rip that way, but they get very thin and see-through at those areas.  

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Diana, maybe the walking does play a role. Even if I am not conscious of rubbing there is obviously something going on to create the wear! 

    Sarah, I thought I was the only one. High five!! We should start a club. 

    Gaylene, those are really interesting articles. Holy moly, that is a LOT of work to create a "worn" finish. I can see how it's not really sustainable. I wonder what our alternatives are, or whether they are more sustainable themselves? Yoga wear (petroleum products, right -- present in all polyesters I think?) Maybe cotton chinos (but there again....lots of processing.) Natural linen is not warm enough for our climate. Wool? Wool with a bit of stretch? Hmmm. I'm curious to know. Might need to do some more research to find out! 

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Hmmm. Quickly googling I come up with this article that suggests HEMP is our best bet. 

  • taylor replied 2 months ago

    You are so right Suz, teens seem to genuinely wear and actually *live* in their denim and they do get dirty , I remember .
    I tend to sit and stand in my denim ...nothing to strenuous or dirt inducing :)

  • rachylou replied 2 months ago

    Speaking of the devil, eh?

  • Jenn replied 2 months ago

    I am very familiar with that “riiiiiip” sound. I also sit cross-legged and on the ground in my jeans quite a bit. I figure, as I’m not a model, my clothes need to accommodate my life, not the other way around.

  • replied 2 months ago

    Oh gosh suz, I'm sorry your jeans wear out on you so fast! 
    There's really nothing you can do, other than line drying, which is certainly not for everybody.

  • jussie replied 2 months ago

    Sheesh! A year is not long!! Are you laundering them a lot?

  • Gigi replied 2 months ago

    Ugh, it's a sad day when a fave pair of jeans wears out, especially if you like the ones with less stretch--a newer pair will have to be broken in. I'm glad you already have another one to take its place!

  • La Pedestrienne replied 2 months ago

    I think the point Gaylene makes about how denim is processed is a really good one. I wash my denim pretty minimally (cold water, no dryer, and generally squeeze in 3-4 wears before needing to wash), but even with a very minimalist laundry routine you have to factor in the number of times those jeans were "washed" before you bought them: sandwashing, stonewashing, bleaching, etc. The fact that pre-owned jeans from the thrift store sometimes last much longer than brand-new ones is a pretty good indicator that home laundry habits are only one piece of the puzzle.  

    I wish it was easier to find raw or rinsed denim in a wide range of fits and sizes. I've had a couple pairs of raw denim, but in the end I had to pass them on due to my usual fit issues: rise too low, calf too tight. I feel lucky that 501s fit me quite well and last a long time, but they are not, admittedly, the easiest jeans to dress up. They always look pretty RATE. I think jeans are tough in part because we expect them to play so many different roles in our lives now...

  • FashIntern replied 2 months ago

    Sarah and Suz, as I read this, I'm sitting at the dinner table, one knee up (how uncouth!) and the other leg folded so the calf is lying across the chair. I almost never sit with my feet on the floor--it's uncomfortable--and I can't recall meeting other adults who fold up their legs to sit. I'd like to join your club.

    I haven't read May's article yet, but it sounds like Jenn and I were onto something with the different features sought by buyers at different price points.

  • Angie replied 2 months ago

    Blast. RIP Rockets. 

    Suz, the only pair of jeans I've worn through -  on the knees and with HOLES - were my infamous jodhpur jeans. Zero stretch, brittle, tight on the knees, and far too much wearing and laundering! 

    You're dead right about stretchier jeans wearing through less frequently. But they bag out.....

    I DO pass on jeans that look too faded. I seem to fade jeans faster than I like. 

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    High five, Fashintern! Maybe we're all secret kids. 

    LaPed, I launder just like you do. Never put them in the dryer. I think Gaylene is definitely onto something.

    Having said that, mots of my jeans last much longer. This is only the 2nd pair that has worn out within a year of purchase. Most last 2-6 years. But then, most are not my favourites. 

  • taylor replied 2 months ago

    Oh DRAT Angie...the infamous jodhpurs are no more ?
    I don’t think those could ever be replaced/duplicated :(

  • Angie replied 2 months ago

    Taylor, I know. *SOBBING*. I retired them 3.5 years ago. They have holes in the knees :(

     I have them in my sentimental pile, of course. NEVER passing them on :)

  • Windchime replied 2 months ago

    Well, that’s a bummer, Suz.

    My jeans generally last pretty long, with the exception of the almost-new pair of light blue ones on which I clumsily dumped an entire glass of red wine! That was not the fault of the jeans, though. Nor was it a “wearing out” issue. :)

    I have been a bit dismayed at the rate which a pair of black jeans, purchased in April 2017, are wearing and fading. I always wash them inside out, in cold water, and hang them to dry. Nonetheless, I could really replace them any time. Grey jeans, purchased from the same retailer at the same time, are holding up well, go figure.

  • Gretchen replied 2 months ago

    So sorry Suz - RIP favorite jeans

    I am wearing my primary travel jeans for the last time today. Pulled them out to de-deck the halls, and realized I could see daylight thru the inner thigh. So one last wear before sending them off. First pair I have truly worn out in 5 years, :-(

  • Elizabeth P replied 2 months ago

    Oh no! :(

  • JAileen replied 2 months ago

    It is sad to wear out a favorite. But if I’ve really worn them a lot, I think well, I got my money’s worth! :)

  • Joy replied 2 months ago

    I am sorry about your jeans. Strangely, my COH jeans are the on,y ones bought new that I have worn out. They were in regular rotation with F21, Paige, Joe's and AG jeans. this was pre grandchildren All the other jeans are still going strong. I always wash inside out in cold water and hang to dry after two- four wears. I wonder if it is something with COH.
    I had a grade school teacher who would whack our legs hard with a wooden ruler if our feet were not flat on the floor. To this day I can't cross legs, ankles or sit with feet under me. I also learned to sit still.

  • Jules replied 2 months ago

    Oh it’s no mystery to me why my clothes, including jeans, wear out faster than some others here. I mean, I can take a mental coat inventory in 30 seconds: I currently own 4 coats, including my leather moto jacket, and one fairly useless $20 puffer that I haven’t reached for this season. And I live in Canada. I’m not even unhappy with this selection - I have a short wish list, but nothing pressing, such that anything new will have to be pretty great.

  • shevia replied 2 months ago

    Who knew ripped jeans could develop into such an interesting thread! At least two pairs of my favorite jeans have worn out - they started out second hand and then lasted a few years of very frequent wear. Glad you have a stand by pair ready!

  • Barbara Diane replied 2 months ago

    I’m very impressed with 100 wears.

  • FashIntern replied 2 months ago

    Joy, when I was in high school typing class, sitting on the edge of my chair was the easiest way for me to sit ergonomically (although we didn't know that word). The nun who taught the class didn't like it, often threatened to tip my chair and dump me out. She tried it once. Fail!

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Thanks for commiserating, all! And for the laughs. 

    Angie, I'm so sorry about the jodhpur jeans!! Those are irreplaceable! DRAT. 

    Joy, my other CoH jeans have all held up really well, except for my Racers, which were also much worn favourites. (Those lasted longer than this pair -- 2 years, I think.) 

  • Bijou replied 2 months ago

    Commiserations Suz - it is awful to say goodbye to favourite jeans, you wrote a lovely tribute to them.

    I have only ever had 2 pairs of jeans that I thought were perfect and of course both of these got worn out - rips in the seat are definitely a sign of retirement. I have two pairs of my current favourite jeans, so hoping that I will get bored before their eventual demise.

  • lyn67 replied 2 months ago

    Didn't read the comments yet, but this is one main reason I hate jeans, my no jeans panst never do that!:-)

  • lyn67 replied 2 months ago

    ETA. Sorry for tha famous jods,  I once have seen you a great pair of jodpuhrs somewhere and  think I put up the link for you?:-)

  • Janet replied 2 months ago

    Dang, what a shame! RIP Rockets.

    I haven’t had jeans wear out in quite that way in a long, long time, but I think I now tend to retire them before they get to that point. I have a pair at the ranch that are 10+ years old that are probably dangerously close.

    Two weeks ago, during the worst of time as our little old dog was ailing, I had such a rotten day it even extended to a trip to the mailbox. Somehow, coming down our driveway (it’s a BIG hill), I managed to lose my footing (i’ll blame a fallen tree branch but I’m not sure whether that’s what turned my ankle or not, and I was wearing flat shoes!) and went down hard on all fours. My right hand and my left knee took most of the impact (I still have a final scab on my palm to show for it), and I was sure it had put a hole in my jeans. I was shocked to see that even though I had enough of a skinned knee to bleed, my jeans were intact — only a little abrasion mark. These were maybe 2 or 3-year-old Paige’s so I was not going to be too gutted to lose them, but I’m always pleasantly surprised when jeans stand up to abuse.

    I hope you find your new favorites soon!

  • Daisy Avalin replied 2 months ago

    I've only ripped two pairs of jeans due to wear, and they were both from Topshop and lasted over 10 years!  Both pairs ripped across the thigh under the back pockets, seam to seam.  I was hoping to be able to patch them somehow, but the extent of the damage meant that idea was a no-go.

    All other jeans I've removed from my wardrobe are due to style or size changes, although I think I'll have to retire my two pairs of light blue bootcuts soon - the lightness means that they stain easily, and I don't think I can pretend they're still clean for much longer!

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Janet, I'm so sorry about your fall! Grief does weird things to us -- I always get clumsy when I'm grieving and in shock. And always manage to injure myself. 

    Thanks, all, for commiseration and inspiration!

  • Cee replied 2 months ago

    **Healing vibes sent to Janet**

  • FashIntern replied 2 months ago

    Janet, take care of yourself! As Suz says, grieving or similar (depression) can lead to those kinds of falls, dropping things, etc, so be aware and extra careful.

  • annagybe replied 2 months ago

    I remember a few years ago I decided to “update” an old pair of True Religion skinny jeans by hacking the hem. Making a cropped raw hem. The next time I wore them they split next to the back pocket, while I was on the bus. Luckily my jacket was long enough to hide my colorful undies.
    Oops.

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Anna, oh wow!! That beats my story. At least I was at home! Glad you had a coat for coverage.....

  • cindysmith replied 2 months ago

    I love that you thanked the Jean's <3

    I am going to be devastated if anything happens to my AG jeans, so I can understand your pain. It's HARD to find good jeans that fit like we want, so I'm glad you have a replacement at the ready. That's just super smart :-)

  • Karie replied 2 months ago

    RIP favorite jeans! My jeans don't wear out and rip, but they do fade out. My favorite pair (my old Gap Resolution Slim Straights) is fading in the butt cheeks of all places - but I always wear them with a tunic length top so all is well. Of course should the day come when those fades turn into holes....well I guess I'll be glad to be wearing a tunic over them!

    Maybe I should start looking for a replacement....

  • Magenta fan replied 2 months ago

    Jeans are the things that wear out the fastest in my wardrobe, After a year or so the knees gets holes. My husband takes his jeans to a tailor to reinforce the thigh and seat area when his gets worn out which makes them last at least twice as long, but I don't see how knees could be fixed in a way that is invisible enough. (When I was young I had a pair that were practically see-through in the end and I had patched and reinforced them everywhere several times and also had my much younger cousin paint cute little people in red and green on them, so they lasted for five years or so, but I must say that style isn't suitable for my current age). 
      Of course it matters to the fast wearing out that I only own two pairs of jeans at the time and have only like one or two other kinds of trousers in addition to that so they get worn a lot. 

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