So Riveting: The Elements of Denim

Get ready to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about jeans. We broke them down, detail by detail, to bring you this compact, all-encompassing, A-Z denim dictionary. Read on, and take notes!


Coin Pocket: Also known as the “match pocket” or the “watch pocket.” It is the defining component of “5-pocket jeans,” and can be found peeking out of jeans’ front right pocket.

Denim: A twilled cotton fabric used to make jeans.

Distressing: A manufacturing process that fades or “ages” denim. Results include frayed hems and seams, dramatic whiskers and tears.

Fly: The opening found at the front and center of jeans that is an extension of the waistband when undone. It is fastened with a zipper or buttons, and is typically covered with a flap.

Leg Opening: The width of the cuff, or the very bottom of jeans. Leg openings vary, from 10-inches for skinny jeans to 14-inches for bootcut styles.

Rise: The length between the crotch seam and the waistband. Denim is typically categorized as “low-rise,” “mid-rise” or “high-rise.”

Sanding: A denim finishing process that can occur either before or after the dying process.  Denim is sanded, using sandpaper or sand, to make it soft.

Wash: Jeans’ color or look, which results from the way they are processed. Most jeans are “washed,” which means they are faded or distressed by their manufacturer—as opposed to “raw denim,” which is not washed after the dying process. Examples of wash include “stone wash,” “acid wash” and “garment wash.”

Whiskering: Thin, faded lines found on jeans’ front pockets that are added during the creation process to create a lived-in look.

Weight: How much one yard of denim fabric weighs, in ounces. The heavier the denim, the more rigid and resistant the fabric.