I like noticing how people adorn themselves, because I think it’s a really interesting form of expression. Fashion doesn’t rely on language, is used by everyone and can often tell more about a person than they realize. There’s an interesting play between what people need from their clothing, and what people want to show by their clothing.
Jeans are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing, in my opinion. I wear jeans changing the oil in my car (when I do), to the opera and everywhere in between. Denim is not necessarily a soft fabric, but almost everyone feels comfortable in jeans. But that’s good, because if it were soft like cashmere, jeans wouldn’t serve the purpose they do.
A lot of people think jeans originated with Levi’s. This is not totally true, however Levi’s was one of the first jean producers and was one of the first to bring denim to the US. The fabric denim was first manufactured in Nimes, France. It was meant to replicate an Italian twill called serge. The resulting product was called Serge de Nimes. It’s been shortened today to denim.
Jeans gained such popularity because they are so durable. Levi’s set up shop in 1853 in San Francisco, the prime location to outfit miners with sturdy pants. The rest is history! Now jeans come in all different colors, cuts and intentions. Farmers wear jeans, polo players wear jeans, I wear jeans, so that just about covers it. Everyone wears jeans.
These jean pictured are 6 years old. Ralph Lauren RRL slim fit straight leg. They were my first experience buying quality jeans. I love them! Top Left: Manufactured in the US of Japanese Fabric. Top Right: I like to add my own flare, so I embroidered my initials. Upside down. Oops, had to correct it on the other leg. Bottom Left: People often cuff selvedge denim to show the uniqueness of the fabric. Often times there is a stripe of red thread. Bottom Right: Wear and tear is great. These jeans started out solid navy, stiff as a board. That's what they look like now.
There are several things to look for when buying the perfect pair of jeans. It’s important to keep in mind that jeans are like diets, everyone needs something different. We all have different needs, wants and bodies. A polo players slim fitting white jeans will not work for a miner crawling down a narrow coal mineshaft. I’m going to share what I look for in jeans.
Ideally indigo dyed (or another unadulterated pigment) organic cotton, but I have yet to find the perfect cut in my size made from organic cotton. I like to go for selvedge raw Japanese denim American made jeans. Japan is known for their high quality denim, partly because Toyota (then Toyoda) produced high quality, versatile automatic shuttle looms. What I mean is jeans manufactured in the United States of denim produced in Japan. I like to keep it local, but sometimes you have to outsource for the best. The word "selvedge" comes from self-edge, indicating that the edge is clean, and will not fray. It's the outseam of the fabric. I usually assume if a brand is going to go through the extra trouble of using selvedge denim, they're also going to use quality materials and methods, however that is not always the case. Selvedge denim is often distinguishable by a string of red yarn.
I prefer tighter, darker, high waisted jeans. Loose jeans are automatically casual. I think skinny jeans have more versatility. The darker the denim, the dressier they can be worn. I like buying dark jeans because they don't show spots. Just because they're dark doesn't mean they can't be worn casually as well. The high waist is just a comfort thing for me. It usually means the pockets will be deeper too, which I like.
A balanced outfit is a comfortable outfit. A great outfit isn't about the clothes, it's about the confidence. And you'll only be confident in something you feel comfortable wearing. Just like how it's not about what you eat, but how you feel about what you eat, it's about how you feel about what your'e wearing. By balance I mean that if I'm wearing tight jeans, I'll wear a loose shirt. I think it would be really restrictive and uncomfortable to wear all tight clothes. I think most people would agree, however I'm sure there are people who feel good wearing a spandex suit.
I think I should mention, not everyone can pull off skinny jeans. They almost require a twig-figure. Other than skinny, I think classic straight leg is the way to go. Now go! Find yourself a favorite pair of jeans! Wear them out, embrace every spot and tear. That's how your jeans will tell their story.