Those who know me know that my love of tailoring does not extend to my personal wardrobe.
As a tailor I also know many men are in the same boat, preferring practicality over dandyism. To combat my personal prejudices I’ve opted to begin with plain, well fitting jeans.
Jeans are a great wardrobe staple! They’re hard wearing, and increase in comfort over time. They also manage to straddle that formal / casual line, being appropriate wear for 90% of life.
So let’s take a look at just what makes jeans so awesome in the first place; Let’s begin at the beginning, with the fiber itself.
Denim is traditionally woven from cotton, though there are innumerable inclusions in this day and age. Higher quality denim has a higher cotton content. Although soft to the touch, cotton is extremely durable, which brings both comfort and longevity to your jeans.
Cotton fibers have very little stretch, and are not prone to shrink in water. Hence you’re free to wash your jeans regularly (I’m not of the “don’t wash your demins” camp, that’s f*cking disgusting!!) and they’ll still retain their original shape.
Although cotton generally absorbs dye well, denim fibers are dyed to leave the center of the thread white. This allows for denim’s signature fade style: as the fiber wears away the white center becomes exposed.
Once dyed, the cotton fibers are woven into a twill, with the weft passing over two or more warp threads. The sequence is repeated one warp thread across, which gives the fabric it’s signature diagonal ridges. Warp threads are generally not dyed, which is why denim is a darker on one side than the other.
Weft threads are generally thicker than warps, which is why the threads across the holes in your jeans run horizontally: they’re the thicker warp threads worn away to their white core.
Along with the hardy fabric of denim, their construction also contributes to their longevity. Felled seams are are sturdier than regular joins, and give a unique distress at as the bulky fabric is forced into too small a fold.
Panels are joined with a thick thread in chain stitch, which provides a bit of movement at the seams to avoid undue tension.
Finally, pocket edges are (in good jeans) riveted in place, or at least (in cheaper jeans) given a decent bar tack to strengthen these sections of the garment that get A LOT of action.
I think the popularity of jeans is really in their ability to endure wear and tear, and still look reasonably decent, even if it’s in a grunge fashion sense.
I’m going to skip ranting about how much I loath pre-distressed denim, and simply say it’s ridiculous to pay more, to increase the production process to include a step that purposefully damages your clothes, which will ultimately reduce their longevity…you should always pay more for HIGHER quality and GREATER durability, not less!!
Here’s what I thought of a pair I bought from Mr Price…for R200 it was a fair purchase ;)