Get a Deep Know About 5 Common Denim Fabric Types

blue denim fabric

Hello denim lovers!

Interested in discussing denim? Great decision! This timeless fabric is more than just a fashion statement; it’s a lifestyle. And it comes in a variety of styles to suit everyone, whether you’re a dedicated denim fan or just starting to explore the world of indigo.

Let’s start with the classic raw denim, the purest form that ages beautifully over time. Then there’s selvedge denim, crafted with traditional techniques for quality and attention to detail. If you’re into comfort, there’s stretch denim, perfect for those extra slices of pizza. And for a retro vibe, there’s acid wash denim that captures the spirit of the 80s.

We’ll explore all these styles and more. So, grab your favorite pair of jeans, get comfortable, and let’s delve into the world of denim, one thread at a time.

blue denim fabric

Types of Denim Fabric

Raw Denim

Raw denim, my friend, is like the wild, unruly cousin of your standard blue jeans. It’s denim in its purest form, no washing, no distressing, no nothing – just straight off the loom and dyed with indigo. It’s like an untouched canvas waiting for you to leave your mark.

Characteristics of Raw Denim:

  • Stiffness: When you first get your hands on a pair of raw denim jeans, they might feel like a suit of armor. That’s because the fabric hasn’t been softened through washing.
  • Color: Raw denim typically has a deep, uniform indigo color that hasn’t been faded or worn in. It’s as blue as the deep ocean before a storm.
  • Fading: The beauty of raw denim is its ability to fade over time exactly according to your lifestyle. It’s like a diary in pant form.
  • Weight: It can come in a range of weights, but raw denim is often hefty and thick, which adds to its durability.
  • Character: It molds to your body over time, meaning your raw denim jeans will fit you like a glove, tailored by your own daily grind.

Typical Uses for Raw Denim:

  • Jeans: The most common use for raw denim is to create those iconic, hard-wearing jeans that are uniquely yours after breaking them in.
  • Jackets: A raw denim jacket is for those looking to layer up their style with some personalized fading over time.
  • Skirts and Shorts: For the fashion-forward, raw denim is also used to create lower-body attire that stands out.
  • Accessories: Think rugged, durable bags and backpacks that can take a beating and look all the better for it.

Raw denim is for the patient and the bold, for those who aren’t afraid to work for their fades, and for those who appreciate a garment that truly becomes one’s own with time. You in?

Selvedge Denim

Selvedge denim is the James Bond of the denim world – classic, refined, and never goes out of style. It’s crafted using old-fashioned denim-weaving techniques, typically on shuttle looms that are a throwback to the golden age of denim.

Characteristics of Selvedge Denim:

  • Self-Edging: The term ‘selvedge’ comes from ‘self-edge’, the clean, finished edge on the fabric that prevents it from unravelling. You can spot this detail when you cuff the jeans – it’s like a secret handshake for denim connoisseurs.
  • Durability: This denim is a tough cookie, less prone to fraying and wearing out compared to other types. It’s like a trusty sidekick that sticks with you through thick and thin.
  • Narrow Fabric Width: Selvedge looms weave fabric that’s narrower, which often means your jeans come with a personal touch, sporting some variance that adds character.
  • Higher Price: Like a good bottle of Scotch, the cost is higher due to the time-honored production methods and the craftsmanship that goes into it. But hey, you’re investing in a pair of pants that could outlive you.
  • Clean Finish: It has a distinctive finished look – a clean edge inside, which makes it as handsome on the inside as it is on the out.

Typical Uses for Selvedge Denim:

  • Jeans: The go-to for anyone looking to step up their denim game. Selvedge jeans are for those who appreciate the finer things in life.
  • Jackets: Want to make a statement with layers? A selvedge denim jacket brings a touch of classic cool to any outfit.
  • Totes and Bags: For the durable, go-anywhere accessory, selvedge works wonders in carrying your essentials with unmatched style.
  • High-End Apparel: Think limited edition items and premium collections from designers who appreciate the quality of selvedge.

Rocking a pair of selvedge denim is all about pride – it’s not just any fabric; it’s a nod to heritage, to quality, and to a style that lasts. It’s the fabric of choice for denim purists, and slipping into it feels like joining an exclusive club. How about it, ready to wear these blues?

Stretch Denim

Alright, let’s talk about stretch denim – the yoga instructor of the denim family. It’s all about comfort and flexibility, my friend, letting you live your life without feeling boxed in by your jeans.

Characteristics of Stretch Denim:

  • Flexibility: Whether you’re lunging to grab that last slice of pizza or sprinting for the bus, stretch denim flexes with you, thanks to a small amount of elastane or spandex woven into the cotton.
  • Fit: Kiss goodbye to the days of jeans cutting off your circulation. Stretch denim hugs your curves and edges, giving you a silhouette that’s as smooth as a Barry White ballad.
  • Memory: This denim has a great memory, not the kind that’ll bring up awkward stories at family gatherings, but the kind that snaps back to its original shape after you wear it.
  • Lightweight: Unlike its rigid, heavyweight cousins, stretch denim tends to be lighter, making it perfect for those who don’t want to feel weighed down.
  • Comfort: This fabric is the couch potato’s dream – it’s so comfy you could nap in it, do a workout, or just go about your day feeling like you’re in your jammies.

Typical Uses for Stretch Denim:

  • Skinny Jeans: Stretch denim is the secret sauce that makes skinny jeans possible, giving you that fitted look without cutting off your blood supply.
  • Jeggings: Half jeans, half leggings, jeggings are the ultimate chill-out wear, and stretch denim is what lets them do their thing.
  • Form-Fitting Jackets: For a denim jacket that moves with you rather than against you, stretch denim has got your back… quite literally.
  • Dresses and Skirts: Denim that you can actually twirl in? Yes, please! Stretch denim makes it happen.

In the land of denim, stretch jeans are like that friend who’s always up for anything, bringing comfort without compromising on style. Want to give them a whirl? You won’t regret it!

Acid Wash Denim

Acid wash denim is the rebel of the denim world, with a look that screams ’80s rock bands and carefree attitudes. It’s got that lived-in appeal right from the get-go, no years of wear necessary.

Characteristics of Acid Wash Denim:

  • Unique Patterns: Each piece of acid wash denim is like a snowflake, totally unique. The bleaching process creates those distinctive, streaky patterns of white and blue that make the fabric instantly recognizable.
  • Softness: Because it goes through a pretty extensive washing (or should I say rocking?) process, acid wash denim tends to be softer to the touch than your standard raw denim.
  • Lightweight: Often, it’s a bit lighter than traditional denim because of the washing processes that break down the fibers slightly, making it the chill-out companion you never knew you needed.
  • Versatility: It adds personality to any garment without overpowering – kind of like that one friend who’s the life of the party but still knows when to let others shine.
  • Retro Vibe: Sporting acid wash denim is like having a time machine to the golden days of hair bands and pop icons; it’s a statement that you’re laid-back, but not afraid to stand out.

Typical Uses for Acid Wash Denim:

  • Jeans: Naturally, jeans are the go-to. They’re for those days when you feel like adding a splash of retro flair to your step.
  • Jackets: A denim jacket with that acid wash twist is for those breezy evenings when you want your outerwear to say “I’m effortlessly cool.”
  • Skirts and Shorts: For a fun, flirty, throwback look, an acid wash skirt or pair of shorts bring that ’80s aesthetic back to life.
  • Accessories: Think caps, bags, and even shoes – acid wash accessories are like the cherry on top of a vintage sundae.

Sliding into some acid wash denim is like blasting your favorite retro tunes and cruising down memory lane – it never gets old. Ready to add a splash of nostalgia to your wardrobe?

Distressed Denim

Distressed denim is the ultimate easy rider of fabric—it’s been through the wringer to get that perfectly lived-in look that usually takes years to earn.

Characteristics of Distressed Denim:

  • Pre-worn Look: The whole point of distressed denim is to look like it’s seen some rock concerts, maybe a few epic road trips, or just a lot of living.
  • Fraying and Tears: Those artfully placed rips, shreds, and tears? They’re the denim’s battle scars, and they tell a story of, well, artificial adventures.
  • Soft Texture: Because it’s been treated to replicate wear, distressed denim is usually softer and more flexible than its untouched counterparts.
  • Variability: Like that one friend who never wears the same outfit twice, each piece of distressed denim is unique, with its own pattern of distressing.
  • Edge Factor: It adds instant character to any outfit, a sort of sartorial shortcut to cool without trying too hard.

Typical Uses for Distressed Denim:

  • Casual Jeans: Perfect for days when you want to kick back but still look like you’ve got game.
  • Jackets: A distressed denim jacket is the wardrobe equivalent of a vintage convertible—forever stylish and exuding cool.
  • Shorts and Skirts: For when you want that summer music festival vibe, even if you’re just grabbing coffee down the street.
  • Accessories: Distressed denim totes or caps add that touch of edge to your accessories game.

Distressed denim is all about rocking that rebel spirit, whether you’re actually strumming a guitar by a bonfire or just spinning tunes from your laptop. It’s the denim of choice for anyone who wants to fast-forward through the break-in process and hit the streets with their style already dialed to “chill.” Want to give your look a dose of effortless cool? This is the way to go.


So, what’s the lowdown on these denim styles? Selvedge denim is the esteemed elder statesman of the fabric world—it’s all about quality, tradition, and those charming self-edged seams that give it an air of exclusivity. It’s your go-to for timelessness and endurance, akin to a fine wine that gets better with age.

On the flip side, stretch denim is like your favorite pair of running shoes—always ready to move with you. It’s the modern twist to the denim tale, offering comfort and a snug fit that’ll make you want to live in your jeans.

Lastly, acid wash and distressed denims are the unruly kids on the block, imbuing your wardrobe with that too-cool-for-school vibe. Acid wash throws it back to the ’80s with gusto, while distressed denim gives you that ‘been there, done that’ look without you having to lift a finger (except maybe to play air guitar).

Whether you’re up for the classic appeal of selvedge, the comforting embrace of stretch, the nostalgia of acid wash, or the rebel yell of distressed denim, there’s a style for every chapter of your life. Pick your poison, or better yet—don’t choose at all. Mix it up and let your denim do the talking. How’s that for a stylish wrap-up?