Forever in Blue Jeans

Dress ’em up or dress ’em down—jeans are the undisputed No. 1 sartorial staple. Here, Sheryl Blit, owner of Havana Jeans—founded in Scarsdale 14 years ago, its three shops now stock a total of 8,000 pairs—shares her thoughts on these true blue must-haves.

Are quality of material and workmanship really better with a high-priced designer jean or are you simply paying for the label?
You’re paying for both: the quality of goods and the status of the name.

What types of jeans should every woman own?
A classic dark-wash boot cut, a straight leg, and a skinny leg. Also black jeans, and, for spring and summer, white jeans, either Capri or full-length.

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How should jeans by cleaned?
You can dry-clean them, but I recommend washing them in cold water—turned inside out—after every four or five wearings; try Blue Wash, a detergent that helps denim retain its color. Then air-dry them, or put them in the dryer on low heat for no more than twenty minutes.

People are wearing jeans just about everywhere. Are there any places or occasions they shouldn’t be worn?
People have to use their own discretion, but I would not wear jeans to a black-tie affair, temple, or church.

Dos or don’ts for proper-fitting jeans?
Pay attention to fit, not size; women can get hung up on the size issue and not on what looks good on them. And because the back view is the last one others see, you should pay attention to how they look from behind.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

What are some of the hottest denim brands today?
Citizens of Humanity, 7, J Brand, Joe’s Jeans, and AG have always been my top sellers; they always get all the trends, fits, and washes right.

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What denim designers are up-and-coming ones to watch for?
DL1961— a stretch in their fabric makes them retain their shape—and Les Halles, a trendy relaxed jean with a very good price point.

How have denim fashions changed over the past five years?
The silhouettes have changed drastically from wide legged to a more tapered leg, from bellbottom to skinny—it’s all about looking sexy and skinny.

What type of jeans should you donate if you still have them in your closet?
Anything with an acid wash or very wide legs, like bellbottoms or flares.

What’s trending up in women’s denim styles?
Jeans are going a little lighter in wash color and you’re going to see a lot more abrasions like rips and holes, plus boyfriend jeans—looser women’s styles that look like you woke up and put on your boyfriend’s pair of jeans. And short shorts worn rolled up or cuffed are very popular this year.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?
Eighteen. I rotate between three or four pairs during the week.

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Describe your favorite pair of jeans.
J Brand’s Avedon style. It’s an ankle length, low-rise skinny cut in a dark wash that retails for one-hundred-fifty-eight dollars.

What jeans are you wearing right now?
A Citizens of Humanity low-rise straight leg in a medium wash. I bought it early last fall and it retails for one-hundred-seventy-two dollars.

What’s the average price for a pair of jeans you sell?
One-hundred-sixty-eight dollars.

Why are designer jeans so pricey?
You’re paying for the quality of the goods—including the softness of the jeans—and the labor intensity of the wash. But as a whole, designer jean prices are coming down. There are plenty of three or four-hundred-dollar jeans but a void in the one-hundred-twenty to one-hundred-forty range. All the brands have started to increase their options at this price point, in response to the economy.

What’s the most expensive pair of jeans you sell—and why do they cost so much?
The AG boyfriend jean sells for two-hundred-forty-eight dollars. It has more detail on the wash and thus is more labor intensive to produce so you’re paying for that increased labor.

How many individual pairs of jeans do you carry in your shops?
We have around 3,000 each in the Scarsdale and Stamford store and in Rye, about 2,000.

How has the current economy affected your business?
Jeans are a staple of everyone’s wardrobe so they are still buying them, just not as many pairs. Because everyone’s watching their dollars, instead of buying six pairs they’ll maybe buy four.

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