I see it wherever I go, guys walking around in jeans with the bottoms broken and frayed. I have absolutely nothing against this; in fact, it’s the sign of a well broken-in pair of jeans. However, sometimes I buy a nicer pair of jeans that I would like to keep nice. In today’s style world, wearing a nice pair of jeans with a shirt and sport coat is acceptable dress for a night out to dinner. The question becomes, how do you keep the bottoms in tact? Is it possible to have a pair of jeans altered so they won’t hit the ground and fray? To answer the question, I’d like to tell two personal stories from my denim buying experiences.
Story 1 - What NOT to Do
About five or six years ago, I bought a pair of AG Jeans. When I was asked by the sales clerk if I wanted him to call their tailor, I thought he was crazy. First of all, didn’t I want the ends to fray? And secondly, you alter dress pants, not jeans, right? Well, when I got home I started thinking about it more. In my rush to get the jeans home from the the store immediately, I had made a poor decision. These were expensive jeans, and maybe I should take a little better care of them. Also, in my ignorance I didn’t realize that the guy selling me the jeans was also trying to help me, not upsell me. Of course, I couldn’t swallow my pride and return to the store admitting my mistake, so I took the jeans to my local dry cleaner. They do alterations, right? Unfortunately, what I got back was a mess. The jeans were ruined. They had no break. I mean zero. In fact, the bottoms of the jeans fell to about an inch and a half above my ankles. With my tail between my legs, I returned to the original store to see if they could offer any help. While the salesperson felt bad for me, all he could offer was, “I guess you could wear them for gardening?” I ended up buying another pair because I loved the jeans so much, and have bought other AG jeans since. This is all completely true.
Story 2 - What to Do
Last year, in the market for another pair of jeans, I visited Nordstrom to try on a few pairs and buy at least one. The incredibly helpful sales associate worked with me for about forty-five minutes. She gently convinced me that even though I liked the slim-fit style, I would look much better in a pair of straight leg jeans. Not everyone is able to hear the truth, but the real style reward comes in listening to an honest salesperson. We agreed that the Citizens of Humanity “Sid” straight leg jeans would look fantastic on me. When she asked me if I wanted the tailor, I was prepared. I did, but I had a few questions. I wanted to know how often he altered jeans. I wanted to know what would happen if I came back and the alterations were not what he said they would be. I listened to his advice on what type of break jeans should have. Two weeks later I came to pick up my jeans and tried them on. They were perfect, and, a year later, they are still my go-to “night out” jeans.
So to answer the question, yes you can have your jeans altered, but with a few conditions. Make sure you talk to the tailor to gauge their experience level with denim and gain a level of trust. If you don’t feel comfortable with that person altering your jeans, take them somewhere else. Make sure you wear the shoes you would most likely wear with those jeans. And most importantly, ask for help and listen. Sure, salespeople are looking for their commission, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to help you too. A good salesperson knows that nothing is better than a repeat customer, and there’s no better way to gain a repeat customer than with honesty and trust.