Did you know the way you care for your jeans should determine the size you need? Let us explain: A pair of raw-denim jeans typically shrinks 7% to 10% after the first wash and continues to conform to the wearer’s body after every wash and wear. That’s why it’s crucial to keep shrinkage in mind when buying a pair of raw-denim jeans.
According to the Levi’s 501 shrink-to-fit calculator, there are three main care methods (including how to shrink your jeans at home) that determine the size you should purchase. Thankfully, the brand’s denim experts created a handy guide to reference when searching for your perfect fit. Scroll through to learn more tips on how to determine your true denim size and how to shrink your jeans.
The method: Just wear the jeans as you normally would—no washing necessary. If you want them to smell fresh without putting them in the wash, opt for airing them out or freezing them.
What to calculate: Buy one size smaller in the waist and a true length.
The result: Your jeans will stretch to the right size after a few wears, leaving you with a perfectly worn-in look.
The method: Soak your jeans in a warm tub for at least 30 minutes, and then move around in them as the jeans dry to your body for a snug fit.
What to calculate: Buy your true waist size and two sizes bigger in length.
The result: A super-snug fit.
The method: Machine-wash your jeans inside out at 86°F, and hang to dry.
What to calculate: Buy two sizes bigger in the waist and length.
The result: The ability to wear and wash at your convenience without the risk of over-shrinking.
Shop our favorite raw and selvedge denim picks below.