When you find a great pair of jeans, you basically live in them. They make you look good and feel even better, so you want to keep them around as long as possible. If only jeans lasted forever.
Eventually, even the best pair of jeans wear out. But there’s plenty you can do to keep them around for longer. Find out how long jeans typically last and how to keep them looking great longer.
How Long Do Jeans Last?
The average lifespan for a pair of jeans, according to the International Fabric Institute Fair Claims Guide, is 2-3 years. But there are a few factors that can either make jeans fall short of that standard or outlast it by years.
How long a pair of jeans lasts depends on three variables:
The Quality Of Your Jeans
High-quality fabric is a requirement for long-lasting jeans. What makes one pair of jeans better quality than another?
The standard of high-quality denim used to be 100% cotton, but today’s best jeans are an intelligent mix of materials. The most high-performance jeans include small amounts of elastic fibers, like lycra and spandex, to make them more comfortable and in some cases, stronger.
Another clue on denim’s quality is the price. There aren’t many $30 jeans that you can wear everyday for a year and still look sharp in them. For a pair of jeans like that, you’ll have to spend a little more. The good news is, the average cost per wear makes more expensive, high-quality jeans incredibly affordable. Cheap jeans tend to have weaker fibers. They’ll sag sooner and get holes more quickly. Higher quality fabric will keep its shape longer and be more durable.
How You Wear Your Jeans
Two major variables in how long your jeans will last are:
- How often you wear your jeans, and
- What you typically get up to in them.
The more you wear your jeans, the faster they’ll begin to wear out. When you wear the same pair of jeans every day, you put more strain on the fabric than if you only wear them on the weekends. The more friction and stretching the fabric undergoes, the more quickly the denim breaks down. We might consider this denim’s own theory of relativity.
When you’re gentle with your jeans, they’ll last longer. Jeans were originally invented for manual labor and physical activity -- and they're still ideal for that today -- but rough activities like these will do work on the lifespan of your pants. In contrast, if you’re mostly wearing your jeans to a desk job, they’re bound to last for years longer.
With the advent of performance denim, the time-honoured rules of jean wear-and-tear have been somewhat bent. Jeans that include technical fibres in combination with natural fibres give our age-old favourites a new lease on life. You can wear your performance denim day after day and, while they'll eventually wear out, the lifespan is dramatically increased compared to denim without the technical components.
The Way You Care For Your Jeans
Washing your jeans can be hard on them, depending on how you do it. We wrote an article on how often you should wash your jeans, which covers the best ways to get your denim clean without damaging them. Some of the most important notes from the article are:
- Don’t wash your jeans every time you wear them
- There’s a better way to ash them than in the washing machine
- Hang them to dry, preferably outdoors, turned inside-out
- You can clean your jeans without washing them
How Can I Make My Jeans Last Longer?
The quality of your jeans, how you wear them, and the way you wash them can extend or shorten their life significantly.
Follow these guidelines to make your jeans last longer:
- Don’t wash them every time you wear them. Anti-bacterial denim can help!
- Hang them to dry, inside-out.
- Follow the care label (coated and high tech jeans may have special quirks).
- Have a few pairs of jeans that you rotate through, rather than wearing the same pair daily.
- Wear jeans that fit properly (jeans that drag on the ground or are overly tight will wear out fast)
- When they show signs of wear, repair them.
How Often You Should Replace Jeans
It’s time for a new pair of jeans when you have holes that you can’t (or don’t want to) repair.
A quality pair of jeans may be worth trying to salvage. You can sew or patch holes and tears in your jeans to maximize their life. A patch or two can add character to your jeans but overly worn pants are a surefire sign that it’s time for a new pair.
The more you wear your jeans, the faster they’ll break down. You can take measures to extend their life, but eventually, you’ll need to replace even the best jeans.
Jeans That Will Last For Years
If you want a pair of jeans that’ll last, make an investment in a high-quality pair, with the technical properties that ensure durability, and be mindful of their care. That way, you’ll enjoy as much wear out of them as possible.