10.31.2013

review: A.P.C. raw denim for women

via 

at the top of my fall wardrobe planning post this year was a pair of true-blue, fade-it-yourself, straight-leg raw jeans. last month, i finally found them.

it took the better part of a weekend afternoon of trying on about three sizes each of several denim styles before i found the right ones:

because raw denim isn't just for guys // wearing COS tee, A.P.C. petit new standards, and toms 

i tried on the new cures (odd waist-hip fit), new standards (too wide in the leg), petit standards (too tight), and finally found that the petit new standards fit my frame the best. A.P.C. stocks the most sizes in all the styles, but you can also find them here with better return/exchange policies. 

some of my thoughts and tips on buying raw denim–

getting the right fit: 
  • yes, they will feel like cardboard and you will have to struggle a bit to get them on when they're brand new. that goes away after a few days of wearing them around the house, and they will keep softening up the more you wear them.
  • there are many threads on raw denim websites that strongly recommend going 1-2 sizes down to account for the waist stretching out during break-in, but in my experience this rule applies predominantly for guys. also keep in mind that the vast majority of women's (and many men's) denim brands use spandex or elastane, which skews fit a bit. because A.P.C. raw jeans are 100% cotton and run narrow in the hips, get the size that fits you snugly but comfortably at the hip. a looser waist after the full (6+ month) break-in period can be remedied easily with a belt. 
  • all the A.P.C. raw jeans are button-fly. some online forums / shop assistants may advise getting the smaller size even if you can't button the top 2-3 buttons. again, this rule of thumb tends to work better for guys. this really depends on your frame and waist-to-hip ratio. case in point:
    • three years ago i bought a pair of size 25 new cure femmes on the general advice of sizing 1-2 down, and could not button the top 2 buttons at all in the dressing room. after a few weeks i could button them, but the whole hip/waist area was still too uncomfortably tight. moral of the story was they were too small, and i ended up selling them to a reader. there's a fine line between properly snug and so-small-that-you'll-never-wear-them. 
    • my current pair of size 27 petit new standards took some struggling to button in the dressing room, and the first week i had to lie down to button them all the way. but they fit in the hip and waist area without being uncomfortably tight, and i think they'll age well and loosen up a bit in the right places as time goes on.
  • don't expect raw denim to break in and fit you like stretch denim / jeggings. this is not a bad thing – in addition to the custom fade after the first wash, i love the more natural slim / slouchy fit that you get from lived-in, broken-in 100% cotton.
quality: thumbs up on the midweight old school denim-y feel of the Japanese cotton. the selvedge hem detail is cool too, perfect for wearing these cuffed.

style: i was looking for a slim straight-leg jean with a clean line through the leg, and these petit new standards are just right. i also really like the midrise compared to the lower rises of the new cures and petit standards.

sizing: i'm wearing a size 27 (my size in women's designer denim is 25-27 depending on the brand and style). currently with 1 week+ of breaking in, they've softened up a good deal. very encouraging!

i'll be posting periodic updates during the breaking-in process, so stay tuned!

i hope this is helpful for those of you looking to get a pair. what do you think of raw denim? do you have a pair of A.P.C.s?

32 comments:

  1. I am so tempted by these! My boyfriend wears New Standards and I love the fading after several months of wear. My only misgiving is that I like my pants TIGHT...but getting away from that look might not be a bad thing.

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    1. i like having a pair of tight skinnies but a slim straight-leg jean is something i've been needing for a few years now. variety is good!

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  2. I'm still breaking in my new standards. I had them for about a year, but really two months of wear. It's ironic that you posted this because I'm finally noticing whiskering throughout my pair. It's nice to own raw denim because it becomes a personal art project.

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    1. totally agree! how do you like your new standards? how do they fit you now?

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    2. They fit great especially after I had them hemmed to ankle length. Even though they qualify as unisex they work well with my body type. These jeans receive the most compliments. I definitely interested in getting a second pair--either from A.P.C or perhaps 3sixteen. Look forward to seeing your progress!

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    3. that's great! i'm just cuffing them at the hem while i wear them in - interested in seeing how the 'stacking' will show in the fades. i must sound like a denim nerd haha.

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  3. You wear it well! I was obsessed with raw denim as well and I bought a pair of Nudies (Thin Finns) some years ago because they're comfortable, compared to everything else. The hardest thing about buying raw denim that most of the styles are unisex, so it can be such a pain finding the right fit, especially around the crotch area. I like them, but they're aren't my favourites; a lot of my other non-raw/dry jeans break in and fade nicely after years of wear as well so I don't feel like my raw denims are that special. But I give thumbs-up to Nudie at least for quality and production method.

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    1. thanks Lin! i read about nudies when i was researching raw jeans three years ago. agree with you on the unisex factor - they're not for everyone, but if you find the right pair it can be a very cool and special wardrobe piece!

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  4. I actually first learned about raw denim via Fleurette! I was totally intrigued ad spent days scouring the web researching. But I have yet to actually purchase a pair. Partly because I don't think I would ever do so online, sounds like something you really need to try in person. But also partly because honestly, I'm a little fickle with my jeans. My body tends to fluctuate quite a bit (at least, I can tell the difference, maybe from the outside it's not so dramatic) in shape and size depending on how much I'm running around, so I have different pairs for different moments, and a pair I love one year will feel off the next. So I don't actually know if a pair of raw denim jeans would be a good fit for me (pardon the horrible pun). Still so tempted and intrigued though. Please update us often on how they're wearing in and wearing out!

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    1. i certainly will! sizing can be tricky. i bought a pair of APC new cures three years ago but in the wrong size and did an old blog post on them...so this is my reboot raw denim documentary project :)

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  5. My husband is a huge fan of raw denim. I've got a pair from James Jeans which I used to wear to death. I've now moved on to boyfriend jeans (erm....that's pretty obvious in every outfit photo) but I've kept my old pair just in case I fall in love with them again.

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    1. i wish raw denim wasn't such a predominantly guy thing! what brand(s) does your husband like?

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  6. I've been debating getting either a pair of Raleigh Denims or APC. The Raleigh Denim is women specific, and since I have rather large hips, seems like it would fit better. Thanks for doing this review though. Could you put up a butt shot?

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    1. haha, i've never put up a butt shot on the blog before. will have to think about that one.

      i've seen Raleigh in stores recently! i like their aesthetic but it looks like their women's raw denim is a poly/elastane blend? i wonder how the stretch blend affects the fade. for some reason i've always associated 100% cotton denim in as a 'purer' form of the whole slightly masochistic / denim nerd project.

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  7. I would love to try some APC raw denim but I need to get to a store to go through all the different fits - it's just not one of those things to do online. You wear them really well - perfect shape for you and how I would like to look in these kind of denims. I will be following the updates avidly and be cursing that I didn't you for the trip.

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    1. thanks Sue! let me know if you do try on or get a pair of APCs :)

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  8. I just bought a pair of APC petit standard in size 26, a few days ago. And I am definitely worried about that body frame you were talking about. I could not button the top 2 buttons in the dressing room, but it was ok after one day. But they are still too tight to be confortable on the hip and especially on the thighs and calfs. On the other hand, the ones in size 27 were much too loose at the waist. I am a girl and girls have small waist!
    I hope they will get to fit as on the girls in your first photo. But I am worried not to end up like in your story with the New Cures pair you had...

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    1. APC jeans are primarily a men's jean cut, so the waist-hip-rise is going to hit and fit differently on most women (unless you have a really boyish figure). have you tried the petit new standards? perhaps you can do an exchange.

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  9. My favorite pair of jeans is a pair of Japanese selvedge raw denim by RRL which I found at a Ralph Lauren outlet, and I keep going back for more but haven't found them again. I went to the retail store and fondled a bunch of pairs but didn't want to spend $300+! They barely fit when I first got them, I really had to suck in my stomach to get the button to close. But after wearing them (and not washing them, kinda gross but necessary for raw denim I think) on and off for about 2 months they fit perfectly now and keep their shape after washing. Actually all my other jeans feel so flimsy now! Maybe I'll check out the APC ones, the RRL store is a few blocks away on West Broadway so maybe I can devote an entire day to raw denim shopping...

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    1. oh yeah i won't be washing my APCs till at least the 6 month mark. probably will try to wait later, and will soak it in woolite black in the tub. another reason why i started this project now that the weather is chilly enough - can't imagine trying to do this in the heat of summer! :P

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  10. They look great on you and I'm curious to see the evolution of this denim project! I tried on a pair of I can't remember which type at an APC stores years and years ago. All I remember is I broke a nail (or several) trying to pull them on and decided that I didn't have patience to break them in. And that was before I had kids so I certainly could not imagine doing that now! So in lieu of the raw denim look and to avoid the whole masochistic process, I go for a "slouch skinny" cut in 100% cotton. Acne had a version of this that they discontinued but other brands seem to be making a similar cut jean.

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    1. understandable - it is a bit weird if you think about it! luckily it's only a bit masochistic for the first week or so - after that the jeans really soften up and start to crease and conform to your shape. incidentally a few of my favorite older jeans now have attained that slouch skinny fit, which i love!

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  11. so interesting. i'm completely happy with the jeans that i have so i don't think i will be getting any new ones anytime soon. i'm glad that you will be updating on your raw denim journey, so i plan to live vicariously through you!

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  12. You look great! I really think it suits you perfectly. I love the dark denim colourway and just started wearing mine this week. I got my raw denim from Gap back in April and it's the bf version. Dark blue denim had been on my wishlist and I like the fit of Gap 1969 on me (all my bf jeans are from there). I love how it reminds me of the 50's especially worn with check shirts and girly blouses. But I know I can't wear the straight leg atyle like yours so I cheat with another pair that look like straight raw denim but has a bit of stretch - it's incredibly comfortable and I totally love it too.

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    1. that's cool that you found your perfect pair, jeans are so personal and particular. i must say though as much as i like the unrinsed dark indigo right now i am VERY looking forward to seeing the fade and crease marks come in on my APCs after a few months, and really show up after the first wash :)

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  13. I, like silkpathdiary, love my GAP 1969s. I also have a gift certificate at Self Edge in San Francisco, so some day I will go and see what premium raw gets me over GAP selvedge. The man's cut is perfect for me.

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    1. @silkpathdiary and @LPC - so interesting! i haven't been in a Gap since the 2000s when everything started being vanity-sized and fell apart after two washings. the "dry clean only" wash instructions on their website for the selvedge jeans is misleading though - true raw denim would be ruined by drycleaning, as the whole point is to break it in and get the custom fading and whiskering after the first wash...

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  14. What a coincidence to find this thread. Over the weekend I danced home with a pair of Petit New Standards, size 27. I am afraid to wear them! They fit perfectly - like they were made for me. Like a glove. So I am thinking I should have gotten 26s. When they 27s loosen up maybe they won't be so fantastic anymore? This is tricky! I will say that they knock it out of the park and put all my other jeans to shame - jeans that seemed very good until just a few days ago.

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  15. Great jeans, APC... I've bought two pairs, petit new standard and new standard... I've been wearing them from one week, and I want to see how they start to fade :-) APC jeans are for me a form of sculpture in which you sculpt you shape, the way you cross the legs and the way you walk... It'a a form of art!

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  16. This is just the review I was looking for, thanks for the link to Mr.Porter for the better return policy. I'm dying to order a pair!

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  17. I just purchased my first pair of A.P.C Petit New Standards--we are roughly the same size (25-26w) and I opted for the 26's. I kind of have a curvy bottom half so I was apprehensive about the fit--they ARE a bit snug in the hips (as expected) but the mid-rise fits comfortably at the waist. Seeing as you first posted this almost 3 years ago--can you provide an update on the current fit? I am hoping the hips do not become too baggy.

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  18. What brands of jeans do you recommend? I have a skinny ruler shape and am size 25-27 as well! tia

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