Ask Danny Agnew

By The Editors
September 26, 2014 9:00 am

Because every man must dress himself, and sometimes even leave the house wearing pants, we present “Ask Danny Agnew” — a series that answers your questions regarding all matters vestiary, and recurs whenever he gets around to it. Have a query? Email it to

Hey. Good morning. Or whenever it is, wherever you’re reading this.

It’s getting cold here in New York, and friends and coworkers keep haranguing me about jeans to wear this fall. Specifically, they keep asking about raw denim:

What’s the deal with this raw denim thing? Do I really need to care about this?

The short answer: yeah, I mean, kinda. Raw denim can be damn good looking, if you do it right.

There’s an entire corner of the Internet dedicated to raw denim, but here are the basics:

  1. Raw denim means the fabric is unwashed and usually heavily starched and stiff.

  2. Over time, raw denim molds to the unique contours of your body, resulting in a custom fit, with fading and creases in all the right places. Your own denim fingerprint, if you will.

  3. Drawback: breaking ‘em in is a semi-intensive, relatively uncomfortable pain in the ass.

So. Are you the kinda guy who’ll put in a little more effort to create a style that’s unique to you? If yes, keep reading. (If no, Loren’s got several great pairs artfully broken in for you.)

Still interested in raw? Ok. First, do a little homework to find the brand that’s right for you.

My favorites: Noble Denim and A.P.C.

Oh, and Williamsburg Garment Company, because they’re super cheap, yet really good.

Regardless, the first thing you should be concerned about is how the brand you’re looking at stretches — a little googling will help ensure you don’t drop big bucks on something that won’t fit later on.

Second, stick with sanforized denim to start. Less hassle.

Third, regarding that stiffness — cheat a little for comfort. Grab a pair of extra thin, breathable long johns (recommended: Uniqlo’s Heattech tights).

Wear them under your jeans the first 10-15 times you strap them on. They provide a comfy barrier between you and the denim, but aren’t so thick that they’ll affect the final fit.

Once you’re through the initial break-in, you should be good on comfort.

Just don’t wash ‘em — spot clean them when needed, or throw them in the freezer overnight if they smell (scientists debate this, but it works for me).

Come spring, those indigo puppies will be molded to you like armor. Bada bing, bada boom.

Hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep an eye out for sartorial guidance in our big Fall Style Issue, dropping in a few weeks.

Oh, and always wear clean underwear.


Danny Agnew
NY Editor and Style Director

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.