February 26, 2017
Fashion Basics – Denim
If you don’t have to wear a suit to work every day, and more and more of us are now working in professions which do not require such attire, think of the one item you wear more than any other.
Ok, thought about it long enough?
If the answer wasn’t a pair of jeans, then either I haven’t a clue what I’m talking about (hopefully MFM readers you shall judge me kindly) or you happen to be in a minority so small this article is already irrelevant to your sartorial choices and needs.
Jeans, jeans, jeans, they occupy more wardrobe space than any other product we own. Not only do they go with everything but thanks to the hardwearing nature of the cotton fabric, they outlast everything else upon our shelves. Plus, while the vast majority of our sartorial choices are based on the whims of fashion, the good old jean sticks around season after season after season and goes with everything from shirts to t-shirts, brogues to boots, blazers to winter coats and anything else I may have missed off the list.
With jeans being such a pivotal part of our daily clothing choices, it is imperative we make the correct decisions when it comes to wearing, and possibly more importantly, purchasing our jeans. It can be something of a treacherous path ensuring we do not pay too much bang for our buck, that when we leave the shop or click ‘checkout’ on that website, we are getting exactly what it is we need.
I know we have all bought jeans a thousand times and we all have a rough idea of what we like but hopefully this quick four point guide will give you little help along the way. And remember, this is merely a personal guide – the best thing any of you can do is get into a shop (preferably a small boutique where the staff love what they do, have a sound knowledge of denim and can give you some real advice), get kitted out and then once you know where you stand, you can make online purchases in the future.
So without further ado, here is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to entering the world of jeans and denim.
This is without doubt the most important factor when considering your jean of choice, get the cut of the denim right and the rest will fall in to place via a smorgasbord of personal taste, bank balance and loyalty to particular brands.
The cut, or fit of your jeans depend on your own build – large thighs then tapered fitted jeans are great, lampposts for legs then you are one of the fortunate ones who can get away with skinny jeans (dependent on age of course, only the Rolling Stones can still wear skinny jeans and even they shouldn’t).
Comfort is of utmost importance, after all, you’re wearing these jeans day in day out so ensure you get the fit right and everything else will fall in to place.
The three main cuts for jeans this season are skinny, tapered and straight leg. Skinny jeans, as they have been for the best part of the last decade are still the go to jean but tapered fit are become popular with the fashionistas and straight leg (with a cut off hem for the real hipsters) are also gaining in popularity.
From Mr Porter to Topman, ASOS to Urban Outfitters the marketplace is awash with jeans in all manner of shapes and sizes so make sure you choose wisely.
Speak to a true denim aficionado and they will insist the only jeans to have are raw denim. This is denim which has come straight off a loom and been cut and sewn in to a pair of jeans. There is no stone washing, no rubbing down with sandpaper they are hard and coarse but over time will wear in to become a pair of jeans that will, over time, be personal to the way you walk, how you sit or run for the bus. They do however take a bit of getting used to and are not for everyone.
Washes are very personal, some people love raw denim, others love a bit of stretch in the jeans they wear. There is bleached denim (think 80’s punks), light wash denim, black denim and even print denim. Basically, the wash of the denim gives you a chance to tell the world who you are through your jeans.
Like anything in life, the more you pay, the better the quality. Obviously we are not all in a position to spend several hundred pounds on a pair of jeans but trust me, if you can afford to spend that little extra it’s worth it because what you lose out of your wallet you will more than gain in the time those jeans last you.
The higher the price generally means a better quality of denim and thus it will be stronger, more durable and last you longer. It will not tear so easily in the crotch area, the stitching will not fray, the pockets will not succumb to holes which sees your change spread across a busy city street.
Thankfully there is a market for us all out there so if you want to spend £25 or £250 on a pair of jeans then the choice is yours.
When we think of jeans our minds immediately think of Levis and while the Levi brand and their offshoots, LVC and Made & Crafted in particular, all make wonderful jeans, the world is awash with great denim brands 99% of us have never even heard of.
From Japanese brands such as Edwin and Evisu (in their original incarnation) to niche American brands such as Tellason and PRPS who both make incredible jeans, there is a huge market outside of the main line brands.
There really is an untapped world of denim brands out there at the moment so now is as good a time as any to invest not only in a new pair of well made jeans but a brand that with a little research, no one else will have ever heard of.
Conclusion: The first thing to remember is this is merely a very brief introduction to purchasing the right jeans for you. There are an army of denim stores and blogs who know far more than I do and could write an essay on the virtues of choosing the right jeans for you.
What I do know however is that every single man out there owns a pair of jeans and will continue to buy new ones as they go through life. Jeans are our sartorial best friend, without them we would be lost to a world where only chinos and suits existed.
From their origins as workwear and the wild west cowboys to modern day hipsters of London Town, jeans will always be there to tell the story of how fashion and style evolved and continues to do so. Some things come and others go, but jeans, they’ll be here forever.