First off, there is a difference between jeans and denims. Jeans are jeans. They used to all be denims but then it went down hill and now jeans tend to be pretty light-weight and tend to come pre-washed, -faded, -busted and generally bland. Then there is denim, the kind of pants that feel like cardboard when you buy them. They’re going to break-in to fit your body and as they fade out, they are fading where you wear them.
Denims are an investment of time and money. You’re going to break them in by wearing them everyday. Biking in them, sleeping in them, and just getting them used to the way you live. It’s recommended that you go at least six months before you wash them, just so you have them perfect before they they get beat-up by the agitator.
Here’s a few examples from my denim collection:
Nudie Regular Ralf Dry Selvage
I bought these bad boys on 6-10-06, since then they’ve become my favorite pants. The 34-34 sizing sits low enough to be acceptable just about anywhere and the fading looks better than any store -ought hackory fades.
When I bought these at Context in Madison. In the care guide they had a warning about dry-crocking, so the the Ghost of Karl Sheerar wouldn’t let me sit on his white leather couches. To my knowledge they never really bled onto anything other than my skin after wearing them through a rainstorm. I wanted the rcommended 6 months before washing them and finally handwashed them in a bucket of ice water. Perhaps that was a bit of overkill.
The original weight of them was 14-oz and after four washings in as many years they still carry more weight than typical department store jeans. I’ve had the crotch repaired on them twice and they will be going for a third, as you can see by the picture, but they are still my favorite pair to roll around the town in. The bottom hems are getting a little haggard by this point. The next pair of denims will probably be a replacement to these. FYI Aspiring denim dorks: Nudie has since changed the Regular Ralf to the Regular Alf. And I’m looking to move into something like Atelier LaDurance Roystons. If only I could find a stateside retailer.
Nudie Regular Ralf
Three years ago I was still going strong in my RRDS. I had no intentions of grabbing new denims, but I came across these on a clearance rack and scooped them up. These aren’t dry selvage, which is immediately apparent by the lack of fading. The crotch, ankles and fabric behind the knee certainly have whiskering happening, but the color is certainly not as alive in these. They are also a tighter pant. The 33×34 cut hasn’t streched as much in the knee and thigh giving them a slimmer silhouette. The rivets on the both front pockets have bent and again made these pants unacceptable for the furniture at The Ghost’s place. He’s afraid I’ll fall asleep and shred his leather with too quick of hip movement. I guess that’s a fair assessment.
The material on these pants has also held up very well over the past three years. That could be due to a variety of reason—they don’t get worn as a often as the the RRDS, they have only been washed once. and fiber is probably tighter (which accounts for the lack of mobility as well). I’m pretty sure these we 12- or 13-oz denim and have held a ton of weight. What I’ve come to like about these pants is how the still look relatively new until closer inspection. The slimmer silhouette also allows you to wear these with any kind of shoe, boot or sneaker. That’s pretty huge as shoes can’t really decide if they are going to be wide or narrow or what and stick to it. Shoes are dumb.
Agave Golden State
I’ve really got mixed emotions on these pants. I’ve been running them for about 3 years as well, but at the 6-month mark there was a horrible accident involving some olive oil on the left leg. I washed them 3-4 times hoping it would lift out but to no avail. So there is a certain amount of discoloration and the shin of the left leg is significantly stiffer.
They are pretty much the loosest fitting pants I own. I can load up all the pockets and still walk around without feeling everything. For that reason they’ve pretty much become my knock around pants. They go to the smokiest of bars, on river clean-ups, events when I’m going to be standing and squatting in snow all day.
They are also the lightest pants I own. I’m not sure of the denim weight on them but they are light. In turn they wore really fast. You can see that on the front knees and thigh especially. This lightweight denim doesn’t allow for a strong whiskering to set in or the crunching at the ankle and behind the knee. It’s also nearly impossible to hold a cuff on these rigs, so the heels are trashed. They came to me as a size 33×34 but have since stretched to what feels like a 40-inch waist. The resulting slouch is doing nothing to prolong the life the of those heel hems. They are comfy pants for doing crap jobs, but they certainly don’t hold the look like my nudies have and instead of getting better with age they have just aged.
APC New Standard
The New Standard is an interesting pant. It’s a raw selvage, but it’s lighter-weight and it’s doesn’t claim a high-brow origin. These bad boys get made in Macau. In turn you’re paying about $125 less for them. The ones I have on the right are approaching 2 years old and have never been washed. I keep thinking I’m going to get around to it but haven’t. My plan is to go with a cold wash and wear them until dry.
You really can’t get much more minimalist than these pants. No patch, no back pocket flourishes, just the brand on the top button and a safety pin that I have long since lost. You’re pretty much relying on the cut of the pant to do the work for you here and it does work. These are kind of the counterpart to my RRDS. If I don’t want any fade, or chewed up hems I’ll wear these.
Another thing APC has going on is their pants are the same for men or women. Just get the ones that fit you. I’m also kicking myself for not grabbing the APC xSupreme Fuck’em collabs that came out last year. There I was standing in Supreme, about to get hooked up on some stickers, just staring at the collabs. They were a 33 waist too. They should have been mine.
Still kind of regretting not copping those.
Well that’s my denim day blog. Get ready to get smoked the fuck out for tomorrow.