The Woman Who Owns 400 Pairs of Jeans Wears Only 60 of Them

Photo: the Jeans Blog

As part of Yahoo Style’s Denim Week, we’ve covered the latest trends in denim, what fashion insiders say are their favorite brands, and a retrospective on the most memorable denim campaigns of all time.

Even if you think yourself a jeans junkie, though, there are some real obsessives of whom even the most devoted denim wearers are in awe. For example: Do you own a pair of $400 Japanese denim that’s requisite for a real jean snob’s closet? And quality aside for a moment, what about quantity? Fifty pairs of jeans seems excessive for the average shopper. But about owning that tenfold?

Lorna Burford, a 29-year-old blogger in England, has between 400 and 450 pairs of jeans, though she lost exact count somewhere after the 300-pair mark. Burford’s been blogging about denim since 2008, then calling her site the DenimBlog. Today, she runs Raindrops of Sapphire and the Jeans Blog, and says she just can’t get enough of denim. 

We asked Burford what it is about denim that makes her heart soar, her tips for proper care, and what she really thinks about those wild Y/Project cut outs.

This interview is edited for length and clarity. 

Lorna Burford runs the Jeans Blog and has been “collecting” jeans for roughly 12 years. (Photo: Lorna Burford)

Yahoo Style: How did you come to own so many jeans?

Lorna Burford: I’ve been collecting them since I was about 16, so that’s a 12- to 13-year-long collection. I’ve sold quite a lot of them over the time though, and I dread to think how many I would have if I kept every pair!

What is it about denim that attracts you?

I’ve never really been able to explain it, but it’s a love of the fabric itself. I’ve always loved jeans since I was young, and there’s something about the washes on blue denim that really attracts me as well as the flattering fit that they have.

Which are your favorite pairs? Why?

I have quite a few favorite pairs, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few that hold a special place in my heart. Rock & Republic Fuchsia Crowns were my very first pair of designer jeans, so they hold a lot of fond memories for me. They were the opening door to my passion for denim and friends on a forum who were like-minded.

The Paige Tristan Jeans in Lorna are a huge love of mine because they were a collaboration between myself and Paige Denim a few years ago. They sold out, and even Cindy Crawford wore the Lorna wash in the Lou Lou flare! Such a special jean to me.

A look inside a few of the 400-plus jeans that Burford owns. (Photo: Lorna Burford)

Why have so many jeans? Do you actually wear most of them?

I never intended to own so many pairs of jeans. When I got to about 20 pairs I thought that was way too many to own, but much like people collect stamps or figurines, etc., I collect jeans. I see the beauty in them.

I have older vintage pairs, limited-edition pairs, rare pairs, extremely popular pairs, and just some that have fond memories for me. I love my collection. As it’s over a decade old, I don’t wear all of them. I of course have pairs that don’t fit anymore but I still love, so a lot of them are stored away in tubs, and I have about 30 percent of my collection still out on display. It varies from season to season and what the trends are, but I probably wear about 20 percent of them now.

Have you ever worn denim for a formal occasion?

I have! I attended the U.K. Blog Awards, as my jeans blog was shortlisted to the final 10, and I wore black denim overalls over a shirt with some heels. It was a dress-to-impress night, so many were in dresses and suits, but I thought black denim overalls — the skinny kind — were good enough. I’ve also worn black jeans as a substitute for black trousers.

What do you think of all these wild denim trends, like the denim with the plastic cutouts or Nordstrom’s dirty denim jeans or the cut-off pair from Y/Project?

I’ve seen many denim trends come and go during my years in the denim industry, and some of them stick with me and I like them, but most of them I don’t buy into. I’m very much a classic-denim kind of girl, so I’m not into the crazy jeans myself. The furthest I go is raw hems, the cropped boot-cut, or possibly some prints.

They’re fun for some people but not very “me” I’m afraid. Denim is always reinventing itself though, and brands have to come up with new designs all the time, that’s why so many outlandish pairs crop up.

Do you have any secrets for caring for your denim?

I actually rarely wash my jeans. When you wash your jeans, you start to lose the wash or color they originally had, and the denim starts to break down with overwashing, so only wash them when you absolutely have to.

Then, wash them inside out, on a cold rinse with non-bio powder, and don’t tumble dry. Heat usually damages the elasticity. I recommend storing black jeans inside out inside a bag as well. That stops all the hairs and lint getting stuck to them.

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Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style + Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.