The Basic Categories for Raw Denim Weights
The weight of a raw denim is important for how it fades. Denim weight is defined by how much a yard of the fabric weighs in ounces. A general breakdown looks like this:
12 oz. and below is be considered lightweight. Raw denim of this weight class is perfect for the summer months or warmer climates. Be aware that lighter denim tends not to crease and crumple as much as the heavier ones, which results in subtle and less contrasty fades.
13-16 oz. is considered middleweight. Most raw denim out there falls into this category. At this weight, the denim will be stiff enough to crease and crumple, setting in what will eventually be your unique fading pattern.17 oz. and above is considered heavyweight. This is for the seasoned denimhead who
17 oz. and above is considered heavyweight. This is for the seasoned denimhead who is willing to put up with some initial discomfort for truly unique results.
In the DWC, denim weights are divided up a little differently. Denim below 10.9 oz. is considered flyweight; denim between 11-14.9 oz, is considered lightweight; from 15-18.9 they considered it middleweight; while it becomes heavyweight from 19 to 21 oz.; and finally denim above 21 oz. is considered super heavyweight.
Let’s Look at Some Denim Weight Examples
Lightweight 1955 Levi’s sawtooth denim shirt.
The 501 denim is a classic example of a middleweight.
Paulrose Products’ Canadian sewn jeans of slubby 17 oz. shrink-to-fit Japanese denim.
Iron Heart has become famous for their 21-25 oz. jeans.
When it comes to how lightweight denim wears compared to heavier denims, it’s like this:
Think about if you fold a piece of tissue paper you will make a light crease because it is so soft. If you fold a piece of cardboard you will make a thick, defined crease. Denim weights work roughly in the same way. Heavier denims will generally break in with higher contrasts because creases form easily. Lightweight fabrics are so thin that a break in is not really required at all.
That being said, middleweight can indeed break in very nicely, as this 14.5 oz. jacket below is a model 6002W from The Flat Head is evidence of. It has been worn for more than 2 years and washed 9 times.