The premise of this myth is that wearing your jeans in a bathtub and then letting them dry on your body will help set creases in the ‘right’ places and shape the garment to your body, which leads to great fades.
First of all, let’s make it clear that it is indeed recommended to soak unsanforized denim before you wear it to tighten up the weave, Jeremy Smith from Standard & Strange points outs. I couldn’t agree more.
The question is whether it’s a good idea to do it in a bathtub while you’re wearing the jeans?
He adds that the bathtub soak is more about getting the best possible fit from your unsanforized denim than getting great fades.
Some people opt to wear their jeans in the ‘tub to make sure the jeans don’t shrink too much on the initial soak, Andrew Chen of 3sixteen says. “I’ve never done it personally, it seems uncomfortable and too much of a bother to me.”
Menno Van Meurs from Tenue de Nîmes recalls how the bathtub approach was popular when his parents were trying to get their shrink-to-fit jeans to fit some 30 years ago. “I doubt this method will actually create better fades, though,” he says.
From my own experience, I would argue that walking around in wet denim is not a good idea; it might cause premature breakages as the denim is weakened.
Kiya Babzani of Self Edge agrees. “The idea that you should wear your jeans in a bathtub is a terrible one,” he argued on Put This On in 2013. “It’s not only uncomfortable, but it stretches out the jeans in unnatural ways. It creates knee-bagging and pulls at the hips, giving you hip-flare.”
MYTH STATUS: PLAUSIBLE
To sum up this myth, you might get better fades if you soak your jeans in the ‘tub while wearing them. But it comes at the price of a higher risk that the denim breaks prematurely.
But because there’s an element of subjectivity surrounding what ‘great fades’ actually mean, we can’t really bust this myth.