Fernanda Motta for Vogue Arabia, March 2023. Photo: Luc Braquet
You can always rely on Tan France to give the best advice, and when it comes to daily matters of the wardrobe there are few people we would trust more than this certified fashion icon. Which is why, when a recent video began circulating of him being interviewed on the Jennifer Hudson Show discussing how often you should really be washing your jeans, many were shocked.
Let’s rewind, shall we? How often do you wash your jeans? Some people wash them after every wear, the same way they do with every other item of clothing. Others give their favorite pair two or three wears before they’re relegated to the washing basket. But very few of us would go, let’s say, many more than ten wears before washing. Well, if it were up to Tan France, our jeans would be lasting double that time.
@popculturebrain #TanFrance #Jeans #Fashion #QueerEye ♬ original sound – Pop Culture Brain
When asked by Jennifer, “How often do you think you should wash your jeans?”, Tan answered: “Not very often… I’m going to say, like, every twentieth wear.”
“Listen! I know you think that’s gross, but find a way to clean them that’s not necessarily washing them. [If you wash them] you’re going to fade them, you’re going to ruin the fit. If I were you I would put them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer and kill that bacteria.”
Of course, TikTok users had something to say about Tan’s washing tips. Many also pointed out the potential lifestyle factors: “People who can get away with wearing jeans 20x are people who don’t take public transport everywhere”. “My jeans fit best right after I wash them”, pointed out one user, with another referencing the stretch issue, confirming that she’d like to know how to “stop them from getting ‘knees’ in the first five minutes of wearing them”.
But Tan isn’t the only fashion expert to shock fans with his jean-washing habits. In fact, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh once admitted that he’d gone ten years without introducing his favorite pair of jeans to the washing machine in order not to ‘wear down’ the material.
That was a few years ago, but in a more recent interview with CNN the Levi’s boss revealed that the pair in question were still yet to have been washed. “If you talk to real denim aficionados, they will all agree you should never put a pair of jeans in the washing machine,” he added. “I spot clean my jeans when they need to be washed, worst case I’ll hand wash them. I love my jeans and I take good care of them.”
But what about Tan’s tip regarding putting them in the freezer? “That is an old wive’s tale,” Bergh revealed. “I’m sorry to say, it freezes the germs and then when thy come out of the freezer the germs are still there.”
So what’s the answer? Luckily there’s a happy medium to be reached that’ll save both water and time without leaving you feeling as though you’re wearing dirty clothing. “Limiting the number of times you wash jeans is arguably the most critical factor in maintaining their lifespan,” explains Lennie Law, in-house style expert at fashion brand Spoke. “Every ten wears is a good rule of thumb and always stick to a short, cold cycle to preserve the shape, quality, and color. Thirty degrees is best. Washing jeans frequently exposes them to large volumes of water, leading to a faded color, while the washing machine drum can also wear the fabric down over time.”
So, one wash every ten wears… That sounds like a water-saving, money-saving, time-saving challenge we can get on board with.
Originally published in Glamourmagazine.co.uk