Selvedge Denim: Fit & Tailoring

The fit and feel of your jeans are important, and here at Stuarts London, we understand that perfecting both is vital not only to your look but to get the most out of your purchase. 

Purchasing your first pair of selvedge jeans can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry; we are here to silence all those voices that are screaming, “how should they fit?” and “aren’t your thighs too big for selvedge denim?” and give you the answers to all of your questions. 

We often get asked a range of questions about selvedge denim, including how they should fit, which body shape they are best suited for, amongst a whole host of other queries – so, we’re answering them all for you! Let’s start with one of the most commonly asked questions about selvedge denim.

How should selvedge denim fit?

The beauty of selvedge denim is that it stretches with time. Taking this into consideration, you should aim to find a straight-cut pair of jeans that are slim and snug when you first wear them. It is recommended that you even buy a pair of selvedge jeans that are a size smaller than what you would usually wear to cater to wear and stretch over time. 

Top trick: When purchasing selvedge denim jeans, you should have enough room between your body and the waistband to squeeze a finger. 

You will find that the look and feel of the jeans will become looser over time, and this is something that should be considered when you are purchasing. 

For specific brand fit guidelines, you can consult our comprehensive fit guides below:

Nudie Jeans Fit Guide
Edwin Jeans Fit Guide
Naked and Famous Fit Guide
Levi’s Fit Guide

Is selvedge denim more comfortable?

Selvedge denim is not for the faint of heart. They can be difficult to care for, they can be uncomfortable, but you have to admit they look good. It can take a few months to completely wear selvedge denim to a place that is reliably comfortable. Honestly, stick in there – it’ll be worth it in the end.

Is selvedge denim good for bigger thighs?

When it comes to the shape and fit of selvedge denim, it is important to consider a range of body shapes and sizes, which brings us to our next question. Can selvedge denim be a good fit for those with larger thighs? 

Guys with bigger thighs often experience more wear and tear with their jeans and can often be subject to crotch blowout. Finding the right fit can be difficult for those with bigger thighs, and it is always best to check with the brand size guide to check measurements, specifically on the upper thigh areas. 

Selvedge denim stretches over time; therefore, it is important to give your jeans some time to relax and shape into a fit that is comfortable and feels right for you.

Is selvedge denim good for shorter legs?

Making sure that you find jeans that are the correct length is also important, and even though length depends on the style that you are going for – it is important to find a pair that fit properly. 

Selvedge denim is usually produced on shuttle looms and is more commonly sold at longer hem lengths due to production methods. With selvedge denim jeans, it is important to find a pair that is slim and snug in the waist and thighs, as over time the denim will stretch and become more comfortable. This may, however, leave the length feeling a little too long (especially if you have shorter legs). 

There are ways to cater to selvedge jeans that are too long. Whether you choose to turn up your jeans or have them taken up by a tailor – you can still look good in selvedge jeans if you have shorter legs.

How tight should selvedge denim jeans be?


As you probably guess, selvedge denim jeans need to be tight. But what does that mean? Where should they be tight, and how are you supposed to know if they are tight enough or not? That is where we come in. At Stuarts London, we recommend that you follow the following checklist. 

  • Can you get the jeans on without too much struggle?
  • Are you comfortable? 
  • Which area are the jeans the tightest?


Does selvedge denim shrink?

Selvedge denim is known as unsanforized denim. Sanforization is the process that reduces the amount of shrinkage that occurs after the first wash, and the fabric is stretched, fixed and shrunk in the process to ensure that the denim doesn’t shrink after the first wash. 

Due to selvedge denim being unsanforized, you can expect some level of shrinkage but no more than 10%. Remember that over time, selvedge denim stretches about 3--5%, so any shrinkage will eventually be catered for with stretch.