The beauty of stretch: exceptional comfort & great raw denim fades

Posted by Maurice Malone, Justin Braxton on 28th Jan 2018

The beauty of stretch: exceptional comfort & great raw denim fades

On the men’s side of the market, many hardcore denim purists still scoff at the thought of wearing jeans with stretch. I was the same way until I put on my first pair of skinny jeans with stretch almost 10 years ago. Today, I’m in stretch denim most days of the week.

I meet guys like the former me every day at the shop. Denimheads love to endure the uncomfortable break in process of really heavy denim, believing it is the best or only route to great fades. At Williamsburg, we know you can get exceptional comfort as well as impressive raw denim fades, complete with beautiful honeycombs, whiskers and all the associated aged dry denim attributes in many weights, including denim with stretch.


It’s generally true, the heavier and darker you go, the more contrast you can achieve with fading. However, one should never discard stretch, or believe denim with elastic won’t provide a good fade. The make-up of premium quality denim with stretch has improved over recent years and you can find jeans like our stretch selvedge produced in U.S. made Cone White Oak denim more than capable of developing exceptional fading while unmatched in comfort compared to rigid denim. Below, we photographed a few of our stretch selvedge jeans submitted from customers, worn over time achieving various vintage fades. The American made stretch selvedge Grand Street is our overall best and fastest selling style. It offers the great look and feel of raw denim at a high level of comfort. With a weight of 11.25 ounces, it leans just left of center of our Comfort vs Durability scale. You can also checkout more faded denim submits under the menu of our Raw Fades section.

Un-washed stretch selvedge aged raw denim jeansSize 48 selvedge jeans showing raw denim fadesAwesome raw jeans fading of stretch selvedge denim

Comfort vs Durability

When it comes to comparing denim weights, comfort and durability lay on opposite sides of the scale. In general, comfort is gained in lower ounce weights of denim, while durability is gained in heavier weights. The loss of what is gained is on the opposite side of the scale. Stretch denim is mainly found in light to mid-weight denims because the main purpose of adding stretch is increasing the comfort, allowing expansion and greater movement. Stretch enhances comfort. Denimheads frequently avoid stretch denim no matter what. I’ve learned there is a time and place for stretch, rigid, heavy and light weight denim. For me, the time for stretch are days when working, because I do a lot of bending and crouching. Also, any days I plan to ride my bike – being able to kick my leg over my seat is a must. I love the warmth of heavy weight denim on cold weather days and feel weighted down in hot weather.

Raw denim weight scale rates comfort vs durability

What is Stretch Denim

The stretch in stretch denim comes from elastane. Elastane was invented in 1958 by chemist Joseph Shivers of DuPont. It wasn't until 1962 that it was introduced to the world. It took until 1974 for Peter Golding to first offer a pair of commercial stretch jeans. Stretch denim is created by using yarn made with cotton fibers wrapped around a core filament, in this case elastane -- this is called core spun yarn.

Drawing shows construction of stretch denim yarns

The benefits associated with our raw denim selvedge stretch jean is a less difficult break in process without sacrificing quality or fades. If you don’t own a pair of these amazing jeans, check out our recently restocked best-seller today. In the future, the denim of this style may be different from the current production of White Oak, American made Cone Denim.