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A-Z of Denim Definitions


When it comes to denim there’s a whole heap of technical terms that the fash-pack like to use. So here’s our handy glossary of the most commonly used jeans-related jargon… just in case you were wondering.

Abrasions: Surface damaged and distressed sections that sit on the denim and don’t go entirely through the fabric. The abrasions give the jeans a worn-in, authentic look.

Acid Wash: A washing technique made famous in the ’80s that strips the top colour off the denim.


Ankle Grazers: This refers to the length of the jean; the hem sits on the ankle, making Ankle Grazers a slightly cropped style – and great for showing of your favourite high heels.

Bootcut: The bootcut, or bootleg jean, has a wider than average hem, originally intended so the jeans fit over boots more easily.

Boyfriend Jeans: The boyfriend design, also referred to as the boy fit, is a looser fitting jean. It’s supposed to look like you casually borrowed your guy’s clothes… this also works for shirts, coats and anything with that relaxed, roomier fit.


Button Fly: Jeans which have a front button fastening only, and no zip. A pain when you need the loo, but hey, they look nice.

Cat Scratches: Slight scratches on the surface of the denim that add a little extra interest. No cats actually required, or harmed, in the process.

Coated: The jeans are coated to give a leather-look effect. We love this style for a glam, going-out look.

Coin Pocket: The small pocket that is found at the front of jeans,inside one of the main functional front pockets.

Colour Fast: This refers to the level of dye attached to the garment. Indigo is commonly used to dye denim because of its low colour fastness, meaning it fades at a slower pace than other colours.


Faded Denim: An effect that is achieved after repeated wear and wash of indigo dyed denim. This can be done by stone washing or bleaching… or wearing them for years and years and years. The first options are obviously quicker.

Fit: Describes the cut, shape, length and design of jeans, i.e. skinny fit, bootcut and straight leg. Trends come and go, but the classic cuts stand the test of time… which is why the skinny will never be dead for us.

High Waist: Jeans designed with a high-waisted cut mean they sit on the true waistline of the wearer. They help create the illusion of having longer legs… and we’re all for that, thank you very much.

Jegging: The term ‘jegging’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015, and is going nowhere. Similar in style to a jean, but extra-comfy, slightly stretchy and pulls on like leggings.

Mid Rise: Mid rise refers to where the jeans sit on the waistline. Not too low, not too high, it’s a happy medium on most figures.

Overdye: The application of additional colour to the fabric in order to achieve a different shade.


Patch: An additional piece of fabric added to give more fashion detail. You can also do this yourself if you’ve got the sewing skills.

Pull On: A garment that has an elasticated waist that is pulled on, rather than zipped and fastened up. Jeggings are usually pull on.

Raw Hem: The hem has been undone and manually frayed.

Recovery: A term used when talking about the stretch and fit of a jean staying true to its shape, having a good recovery means the jeans will hold its shape for longer.

Rinse Wash: Light washing process that softens the denim to make it more wearable without washing out the colour.

Rips: Forms of abrasions which go right through the surface of the jeans. Easiest to wear are knee rips; if you’re feeling brave try rips on the thighs or under the bum.

Rivet: Metal trims used on the corners of pockets to reinforce weaker areas or support areas of ‘stress’, so the seams don’t rip or come away. Rivets help the jeans stay durable and hardwearing.

Stretch Denim: A denim fabric that includes elastane or Lycra to give a stretch and a more comfortable fit.

Top Stitching: A decorative non-functional stitch detail that’s added for design purposes. The term “authentic stitching” is used to describe a contrast-coloured stitching, which makes all the design details of the jeans stand out.

Weight: Denim is graded in terms of weight per square yard of fabric. The denim weights are either; light, medium or heavy. The weight indicates the thickness and durability of the denim.

Yoke: The yoke is the V-shaped section at the back of jeans that gives jeans their curve and determines its fit. The deeper the V, the greater the curve and more shape this gives the wearer in their jeans. Curved yokes have a clever way of creating the appearance of a lifted bum.

5 Pocket Jean: The most common type of jean which refers to the classic, original jean style, featuring five pockets – two at the front, plus one small coin pocket, and two back pockets.

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