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That perfect pair of jeans makes any outfit special. Jeans may seem indestructible, but don't just toss your jeans in the laundry every week with the rest of your clothes -- denim is made of cotton, which can shrink and break down in the wash. Giving your jeans the care they deserve protects your investment and helps your denim look fab and flattering for years.
Washing and Drying
Wash your jeans in cold or warm water, not hot water. Remember that brand new jeans may bleed onto other clothes, especially dark-rinse jeans. Air-drying or dry-cleaning your jeans is the best way to avoid shrinkage -- yeah, it takes way longer, but your jeans will last longer, too. Hang wet jeans with clothespins or lay them on a towel. Dry jeans at the lowest setting in your dryer, if you can't air-dry your jeans -- hotter temperatures will shrink your jeans.
Buying jeans labeled "pre-shrunk" may help you avoid denim disasters, but pre-washed jeans may still shrink further. In addition, be wary of super-stretchy jeans if you're worried about length -- jeans that have a lot of spandex may require more frequent washings, which can lead to shrinkage.
If you get your jeans hemmed, take them home and wash and dry them first. Even jeans that are advertised as pre-washed may shrink a little in their first wash, so don't take chances. In addition, play it safe by getting a little less than you need hemmed -- for example, if you need two inches hemmed, hem an inch and a half. And don't forget to take the shoes you plan to wear with your jeans to the tailor -- your ideal pant length depends on whether you're wearing heels or flats.
Length isn't the only thing to worry about when tossing your jeans in the wash. If you want to maintain the color of your jeans, wash them inside out and add a cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle. If your jeans are embellished, wash them by hand or take them to your dry cleaner. It can be a lot of work to keep your jeans in good shape, but remember, you don't have to wash them every time you wear them. Just hang them up to air out in between wearings and spot-clean stains and spills with a mild soap.