How many pairs of jeans do you own? And how many of those do you wear on a regular basis? If you're like me, the first number is waaaay higher than the second. I own lots of jeans and only wear a handful of them on a rotating basis. I either grow out of them, they only work in summer or winter or I find something I like/that fits better. Enter my journey with premium denim.
I'd been buying jeans from department store chains and TJ Maxx for years but had always been curious about premium denim. Finally, one day I bit the bullet and tried on a pair of Hudson's at a boutique. I couldn't BELIEVE how well they fit, how soft they were and how I literally did not want to take them off. After that, I found a pair of JBrand at Nordstrom Rack and loved those too! Then after scoring a pair of AG's at Anthropologie (someone returned a petite size in-store, lucky me!) that fit like a glove WITHOUT being hemmed or cuffed...I was HOOKED!
I was so excited when I found out a denim boutique had opened in Charlotte! All DENIM! All the time! (And a few tees and accessories). Blue Hem, located on Camden Rd just behind the Lynx lightrail line and right beside Blaze Pizza, is your go-to store for premium denim. I recently interviewed local denim gurus, Vanessa Shreve and Suzy McIntosh, who are co-owners (and sisters!) of Blue Hem denim.
After talking with both sisters about their love for denim and why they opened the boutique, I got down to the questions you all want to know: Why premium denim? Why does it cost more than regular denim? How do I take care of it? What's the deal with not washing it?
COST: "Think about how much you spend on your suits and workwear, then think about how much you wear your jeans. It's all about cost per wear," says Suzy. "Also, the fact that premium denim doesn't fall apart with time, it only gets better, makes it a great investment piece."
WASHING: "I never wash mine!" Vanessa tells me. I ask about what to do when they get dirty. "Just spot clean them. But if you feel like you have to wash them, turn them inside out in COLD water and do NOT put them in the dryer!" (Stylist tip: Let them outside in the sunshine for a natural disinfectant.) It's true, premium denim - and especially raw or selvidge denim - doesn't require washing. Some people will use Fabreze or something similar to freshen them up but really, just letting them air out is sufficient. Sound crazy? Check out USA Today and Vogue have to say about premium denim.
Most all of their 13 labels are both sourced AND made in the USA. Matter of fact, most all of American-made denim comes from Cone Denim, which has been in business since 1891 and located in nearby Greensboro, NC!
After having several successful in-store events last year, Blue Hem plans to have more this year. Be sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook for event details. And do yourself a favor this year, #treatyoself to some premium denim. Vanessa & Suzy will help you find just the right pair. I promise you will not be sorry. (I seriously haven't stopped wearing the Fidelity black wash I went home with! Except to air them out, of course.)
My try-on session included a pair of lightly distressed black wash cuffed Fidelity jeans that are so dang rocker chic I can't stand it, a pair of Joe's distressed cuff jeans which are boho and adorable, several great black rinses, a FABULOUS pair of flared dark-wash McGuire's (which are now on my wish list!) and the fringed pair you see below, which I ALMOST went home with and am still thinking about. This was honestly one of the most fun photo shoots I've done. Thanks to Dawn Richardson for all the great photography!
Outfit 1: Kla Suede sweater | faux fur scarf | Stella & Dot sunglasses | Macy's heels | Bracelets from The Cheeky Bean and Luxe Angel | Outfit 2: Anthropologie button-down top | Gigi NY clutch | Sole Society flats | Stella & Dot Aria earrings | Outfit 3: Kate Spade NY crossbody | Faux leather sweater jacket | Kristen Hayes earrings
This post was sponsored by Blue Hem, however all opinions are my own. Photo credit: Dawn Richardson