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Do American Eagle Jeans Shrink?

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American Eagle is known for its quality and stylish jeans among men and women. For women, there are over 11 styles of jeans and over 6 are for men. The numbers clarify that AE is a women’s brand though focusing on quality men’s jeans on the side.

But knowing whether your jeans shrink or stretch is the most practical question for any traveler that chooses jeans as a travel outfit.

Let’s see whether American Eagle jeans shrink or not and how to do it properly.

Do American Eagle jeans shrink?

David says, If you follow the wash instructions on the items themselves, they will not shrink.

But if you don’t, then all AE jeans are made of high cotton content and would see some shrinkage. If you don’t know AE and wrangler jeans both use cotton as the primary jean material. In general, if the care instructions are not followed your jeans can shrink up to 15% and if followed it may only yield shrinkage to 1-3% in AE jeans on the first couple of washes.

However, the polyester, elastane, and Lycra blend in some of the Flare, Mom, and AE Legging will only show negligible shrinkage as it takes a bit more work to do so.

Look out for the underlined feature to get American Eagle jeans that will shrink less

But I love cotton-made jeans because apart from shrinkage this natural fabric has way more benefits than synthetic and chemically produced polyester. So if you’re like me who love naturally made jeans, then always prefer to size up the jeans so that when it shrinks down, it starts to fit you well rather than being tight from unwanted places.

It is not true for all jeans as there are brands that don’t shrink regardless of 100% cotton content.

I don’t think the American Eagle jeans are preshrunk or prewashed because the brand follows the Real Good Sustainability, which according to AE is a step to produce more sustainable jeans using recycled fabric, natural dyes, and pesticide-free textiles while reducing the water and energy usage.

Due to a reduction in chemical, water, and energy usage – either three are needed to preshrunk or prewashed any jeans. That’s the reason enough why American Eagle doesn’t preshrink their jeans vigorously. Then the best practice will be to wash the AE jeans before you first wear them.

Although the preshrunk can also be done on the fabric level by pressing the structure of the fabric to shrink the gap size if in the future American Eagle starts to implement this technology, it will cost energy (which they want to reduce) and even then any American Eagle jeans that are made up of more than 60% natural fiber will see the shrinkage whereas the percentage will reduce.

Wash/Care instruction for non-shrinkage

Every American Eagle jean comes with a hand tag that states all the washing instructions you need to follow to maintain the original dimensions of the jean that may shrink due to not following the instructions.

If you will follow the care instruction as provided in the Caring tag of AE jeans your Jean will not shrink

In general, the label says “Color may transfer when new. Wash once separately in cold water before wearing. Machine wash cold inside out with like colors. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low. Cool iron if needed. [source]”

You see, how cautiously the above statement is written by AE, which in itself says that if you wash American Eagle jeans in hot water, tumble dry in a high setting, and hot iron then any AE jeans you would buy will show good shrinkage (amount of shrinkage depends on the percentage of cotton and other blends used, e.g 95% cotton 5% polyester Mom jean will see more shrinkage then the AE Flare jeans that have 84% cotton, 8% recycled polyester, 6% Recycled Cotton, and 2% Lycra)

Do American eagle jeans shrink in the dryer?

Yes and no. American Eagle jeans would not shrink when you tumble dry the jeans in a low setting however the alternate is true in a high tumble dry setting.

But, why does a jean not shrink in low heat while it shrinks in high heat? What is the affinity between heat and shrinkage of jeans?

Cotton is a natural fiber that comes from plants and has no elasticity in nature, so during the manufacturing, the thread is stretched to its maximum, and when washed it soaks the water and the fabric swells. Due to this the gap between the fibers starts to contract, the fabric becomes thicker and as a result the cotton shrinks [source].

The said process hasten when you use hot water and hot drying as now the heat itself will cause the release in tension in the fabric dimensions that will relax the jeans into their natural position (may shrink down to lose rather than being tight if it is preshrunk and you applied critical measure to shrink it and will shrink up and become tight if the threads are stretched during manufacturing). The point is the release in tension relaxes the fibers to their natural position and the same is true for any American Eagle jeans.

From where are the American Eagle Jeans Shrinks?

Here I will contradict my statement: not all American Eagle clothing loses its shape even if they shrink because many AE jeans come with high stretch and tend to hold their shape.

For such jeans you need to dig down to, the one that I found is ‘AE Ne(x)t Level High Waisted Jegging‘ is the American eagle’s softest, stretchiest, never loses its shape denim. And above all, it won’t bag out ever.


These properties are because of high polyester above 20% and some elastane content in the jean fabric that is somewhat shrinking resistant. And also due to the way it is made.

As we know that all American Eagle jeans tend to shrink on the first couple of washes, but from where?; in most cases, the AE jeans would show shrinkage in width and length from under the waistband. The Waist will not show much shrinkage due to its elastic nature it will help to regain its shape even after a bit of shrinkage.

In Jeans: Can Wrangler Jeans Shrink?

How do you shrink American Eagle jeans (Best way)

It’s pretty simple, to shrink your American Eagle jeans all you need to do is to do the opposite of what is printed on caring instructions inside the jean. If you by mistake bought the wrong size, then first and foremost place the return or exchange to the right size.

However, if there are no options left for e.g your desired size is not available, then do either of these steps:

  • Wash your AE jean in hot water for long cycles and afterward tumble dry them in a high heat setting (not too high) for some minutes.
  • If you want to shrink as much as American Eagle jeans can be then take a big pot and put your jean inside it, now pour the water until the jean is fully submerged into it (water must be a few centimeters above the jean surface). Now start boiling your jean for about 20-30 minutes and then throw them in the dryer at the highest heat setting.
  • The third way is to buy a fabric softener then fill a bottle 20% with fabric softener and 70% with hot water then spray it on the areas of American Eagle jeans where you want it to shrink. Then wash in the hot cycle to let it shrink.

These steps can shrink up to 20% of your jean’s original size but it may result in it an uneven shape (like too tight in unwanted places) and color loss so a better choice is to contact a seamstress or a tailor to see what they can do before taking the risk.

Other Related Questions:

Do American Eagle jeggings shrink?

Yes, every American Eagle jeggings will shrink when you wash or put them in a drier. However, the overall shrinkage will be less than 6% after the first couple of washes and thereafter will resist then shrinkage toward same quality water and same tumble dry setting.

The best options would be the Ne(x)t level stretch AE Jegging and the Regular AE Jegging if you want better shrink-resistant clothing to wear on your legs.

However, even after 2 two months of wearing AE jegging, putting in high heat or very hot water will result in further shrinkage. So follow the care instructions.

Do American Eagle Mom jeans shrink?

Yes, every Mon jean that American Eagle made tends to shrink from 3% to 15% counting on the type of Mon jeans you’re buying.

For example, the AE V-Rise Mon Jean may lead up to 3% shrinkage even if you follow the washing instructions provided on the tag. And up to 15% if you do the opposite of what is advised. You can go for such types of AE Mom jeans that are either 100% cotton or 96% cotton and 4 % recycled cotton if you would like to have the freedom to shrink the jeans without much effort.

Otherwise, every other mom’s jeans that are blended with polyester, nylon, or elastane would not shrink on following the instruction or the shrinkage will be negligible, AE Strech mom jean is one such example that is made up of 79% cotton, 14% polyester, and other stretchable materials.

Do American Eagle stretch jeans shrink?

Yes, American Eagle stretch jeans shrink because every stretch jeans that this brand offers contains the majority of cotton, and the rest are other materials that give them the stretch characteristics but due to high cotton content, they are prone to shrinkage.

Do American Eagle Airflex jeans shrink?

Airflex is a series that American Eagle created especially for Men. Though all Airflex jeans are shrinkable and will shrink a bit when washed the first time, thereafter the shrinkage percentage will reduce, and then the stretchable materials present in them will start to resist the shrinkage.

The one that is highly shrinking resistant and will only yield up to 4-6% shrinkage in its life if washed following the instruction is the AE AirFlex+ Temp Tech Jeans, the percentage of materials may vary but the one that I saw contains high stretchable materials.

Do American Eagle jeans stretch out?

Not every AE jeans can stretch out because they have no stretchable characteristics. But you can check the product description to see the stretch level or can use the Filter + Sort tool to find American jeans that can stretch out. Comfort Stretch WB, Dream, Forever Soft, Lu(x)e, Ne(x)t Level, Stretch, and super stretch are the best American Eagle series that offer varying levels of stretch in jeans.

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