Black Jeans – Finding The Right Pair

Finding the right pair of black jeans is definitely a task on its own. There are many different variations of black and depending on what you are looking for, it can be tough trying to find the perfect shade that you want. I usually split black jeans into four categories (well 3 categories and then one sub) which are faded/washed black, blackest of black, coated/waxed black and then black with undertones. In this post I have listed 4 jeans for each category and some more info about the washes.


Faded/washed black

Rag & Bone | Citizens of Humanity | Current/Elliott | Current/Elliott

First up we have one of the more popular blacks for jeans, faded or washed out black. These are more like charcoal or a very dark grey, or a pair of black jeans that have been worn and washed out. I find these types of washes to be the more easy going and casual shades due to the fact that they look used and old, so this makes them easy to dress down and wear with whatever comfortable outfit you plan on wearing.

You can dress them up with heels and blazers if you want to and go for the opposites attract look of smart mixed with casual, which I also think looks pretty cool and Vogue-esq, but I know these work much more for every day wear. You can purchase them by clicking the brand names in order of left to right just under the photo.

Blackest of black

J Brand | Levi’s | Koral Los Angeles | DL1961

Next up we have the blackest of black jeans, which are my personal favourite, but the most difficult to find. I usually come across maybe one super dark black jean in amongst 20 or so, they are that difficult to come across. Usually they have undertones (which I will talk more about below) or they just aren’t dark enough. T

he four I listed above are really black (except number 3), with the second pair of Levi’s being as black as they can get. I own them (read my review here) and they are the darkest jeans I’ve ever seen. I think owning a pair of super black jeans in your collection is really important. They can be dressed up so easily and can be much more versatile for posh events than regular jeans can. They can be worn to dinner parties and many other venues if you dress them up with heels and something smart on your top half. They are definitely a must have.


Coated/waxed black

DL1961 | 7 For All Mankind | James Jeans | Citizens of Humanity

Third we have the coated and waxed black jeans! These are another personal favourite of mine as I have the Citizens of Humanity Rocket (click here to read my review) and they are one of my most worn pairs. I think having a pair of shiny black jeans really adds that little something extra to your look. They often replicate the look of leather pants so can be quite sexy, but at the same time they can still look completely normal.

Usually they are fairly dark black due to the coating illuminating that more, however they can sometimes have brown or grey undertones to them which I will explain about soon. I usually wear mine dressed up or down and they work jut as good! The only negative with them is they make your legs freezing cold during the winter months.


Black with undertones

Now for the undertones, I don’t have a collage for this one because you can find that black washes might have undertones within all of the categories. Like I mentioned for the washed out blacks, those can have grey showing through, while regular black jeans or coated jeans can have other tones peering through like brown or bronze, along with grey.

This is always usually down to the fact of how thick the fabric is and how heavy the dye is. A lot of the time the dye isn’t as fully submerged into the denim fabric as it could be, so it creates a more transparent black, leaving the fabrics original colour to show through a little more than usual, while some dyes can have pigments of other colours in them like the brown or bronze elements.

As for coated jeans, this is usually enhanced because of the wax they layer on top, or down to the fact that the wax is a white colour, so it can slightly grey out the black. There are a number of things to factor into black jeans and this is why it can be so difficult to buy the perfect pair that you want. Each pair is always usually very versatile and classic though as black goes with absolutely everything! You can see the Koral Los Angeles pair above, if you zoom in on it on the website, it’s got a slight undertone hue to it.


Preserving the colour

As we are talking about the different shades you can get, I thought it would be important to offer some tips on how to care for black jeans as well. There is nothing worse than finding the perfect pair and then having them fade to grey after a while, that’s why maintaining their colour is incredibly important.

If you have a washed out pair, I wouldn’t worry too much as the effect is supposed to look like this so washing them and them fading a little more will only add to the overlook they have, but if you have the super black jeans, those will fade the moment you wash them.

How I usually preserve my jeans is simple as I don’t usually wash the black ones. I don’t wear them enough times to warrant washing, however if I do have to, I wash them inside out (they must be inside out) on a very gentle and cool wash. If you put them on hot then the dye will leak and fade out really fast, but the cooler wash helps preserve it for longer. You can also hand wash them in cool water with a product called Woolite Darks. This product helps maintain dark colours and stops them from fading. I’ve not personally used it myself, but I have heard good things about it, so it’s probably worth a try!

Another option is dry cleaning. This means they wont touch water at all so the colour wont fade out, however dry cleaning can make them look a little crispy and stiff, so it might not be your favourite option.


General tips

I have a few general tips for black jeans as well. Since they are absolute hair and lindt magnets, I would recommend not wearing them around pets or sitting on furniture where pets sit or sleep as the hairs will stick to them in an instant. I always have a lindt roller handy because I often get fluff and everything else stuck on my jeans and it helps to remove it. If you don’t have one, sellotape or packing tape is very useful as well! I use that often when I don’t have a lindt roller around.

Some black jeans can cause your legs to be stained after wearing them as well, this is fairly common because it means there is still dye in the jeans which is leaking out. I have had this happen quite a few times and have needed to wash my legs after, so that’s something else to keep in mind. Keeping some baby wipes handy also helps. This doesn’t happen on every pair of black jeans, some of mine don’t leak at all, but the blackest of black washes are mostly the culprits. The same goes for deep indigo as well though, they can do the exact same.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment and let me know! Or, if you have any other tips for black jeans that you would like to share, I would love to hear them! I hope you have found this article useful.

Written by Lorna Burford


  1. I have found the best blackest black jeans are the J Brand 910’s in Shadow. Your website introduced me to them. They are a true black with no undertones (that I have seen). Also, I wash mine after almost every wearing (albeit, in cold) and they have minimal to no fading. I am also a big fan of the Rag & Bone skinny jeans in Rock w/Holes. They are great and fun to wear!

  2. Would love a male version of this blog. I’m in the market for black jeans and cannot find a pair I really like. I am looking for a slim (slim being Nudie Thin Finn, slim) and I just cannot find the perfect pair.

  3. Thank u Lorna! I was thinkin’ of buyin’ a new pair of black jeans! This post totally helped me!! 🙂

  4. Lorna, mainly on Nordstrom. I wouldn’t mind some edgy styles such as a extra zipper or something that adds a little character of edge to the black jeans but I wouldn’t mind a simple black BLACK jean.


  5. Have you tried checking out Revolve and SSENSE? They have great selections of jeans. Maybe Jonathan can put together a guys version of this post, I will check with him!

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