Denim Post 2023

Jeans and alligator belt

Are jeans trad? I am only joking, of course they are trad or rather can be trad. Either way I am once again attempting to wear jeans. I have tried a few times in the past, but it’s never stuck. I think the last time that I tried was back in 2020. I actually forget why I got rid of the pairs from that endeavor. Whatever the case may have been they are gone now.

You may be asking yourself, why does he want to wear jeans in the first place? That’s a good question. They haven’t really worked out for me in the past and I find them sort of uncomfortable. They are also jarring to the people I know when I do try to wear them (it will wear off over time). Despite all that I still want a pair. I mean, this is America and everyone should have at least 1 pair of jeans, right? Factor in that I am a dad now and it’s a no brainer. I need jeans. For me they will be something to wear on the weekend. At least that’s how it always starts.

I do know what I want in a pair of jeans. I want a lighter faded blue, a decent rise, and leg that is neither too narrow nor too full. Oh, and I want them to be affordable as well which to me is sub-$100 but I would really like them to come in around $50. I don’t care about selvedge. I do care that they are 100% cotton (read, no stretch).

Using the above as my guide I ended up with a pair of Levi 505s. They had the color that I wanted, the fit is pretty good, and they came in around $50. They aren’t perfect. The waist is a touch big, they are a little long, and they could be a bit more narrow below the knee. I am debating having the length hemmed. I don’t love the double roll, but it can be hard to replicate the original hem too so it’s a toss up at this point. All in all these seem to fit the bill.

This is actually the second time that my search for jeans has ended with Levi 505s. I tried Levi 501s but they were too tight in the thigh and loose past the knee for me. I gave the Wrangler Cowboy cut a go which garner a lot of attention due to being 100% cotton, having a high-rise, and being affordable. Plus they have really cool packaging. They were too baggy on me. I also tried the J.Crew Straight Classic-fit jean (see here) which I was excited about based on the way they looked on site. They ended up being comically large in all dimensions. The 505s must be in my cards.

Now that I had my jeans it was time to wear them. I borrowed a few denim looks that I had recently seen. First up, I stole from my internet friend Peter-Rene. I saw his post on IG (see here) which looked great (see below). I thought, I can duplicate that, and I did. Next, I took from Osamu (see here). His drawing looked so cool and again I already owned similar pieces. I think my version of Renee’s fit worked really well. However, the illustration won in the who wore it better contest.

I am going to keep experimenting with jeans. I know a few combinations that work offhand. I know that they work well with a blue OCBD and a Barbour. They look great with a oatmeal colored shetland as well as the navy LL Bean style Norwegian. I also like them paired with a tucked in shirt and a turned engine buckle belt. I know that some find that combination incongruous, but I’ve always liked it. Look out for more denim content in the future. The big question is, will they find a permanent place in my closet?

Renee’s look which you can see that I stole below.

Osamu’s look which I imitated below.
Jeans, Barbour, and Shetland

Rugged Japanese Ivy Style
oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

17 Comments on "Denim Post 2023"

  1. André says:

    I really appreciate your content. Thank you.

  2. John says:

    Jeans can be hemmed at most any dry cleaners. “Rent boy” hems (single roll up the outside and tacked at the seams and also half way between) are quick, cheap and easy. Rent boy hems stylistically have a nuance of an adventurous spirit, worn by adult men and women age 20 to age 85 or 90.

    New hems are cut legs, then rolled up and stitched. Decent looking. Use any color thread you want.

    “Save The Old Rolled Hems” are more effort and cost more, but any decent dry cleaners can do it, Usually close to twice the price of new hems The hems must be properly secured (commonly not done by amateurs) or else they roll up and look amateur.

    Waistlines on jeans can be taken in — usually — maybe two inches, max. Fine suspenders are a viable alternative to taking in the waist on jeans. Legs can be slimmed at thigh or knee or ankle or all of the above.

    I find lowering the front waist (about 1-1/4″, for me) on my 511’s make then “fit” far better.

    “Stretch” jeans are baggy and flopped out by second hot water wash in the home washing machine, or commercial laundry. If one MUST wear stretch jeans, one wants to get them dry cleaned to save their shape, not to mention their color.

    Jeans are NEVER dried in a hot dryer. Always “air dried” hanging over the shower rod in your bathroom if necessary. If one is running just washed jeans through a HOT dryer to make them “fit” better, buy a size smaller to start with.

    I like to dye my brand new jeans in the washing machine with quarter-strength dye (RIT Navy Blue works well) to make the jeans look a bit more like slacks. I also dye (RIT Denim and RIT 1/4 strength Navy Blue or Dark Blue, whatever is handy) when the jeans are wearing out and first need repair. Usually, at this point, the jeans are looking a little ratty. Dyeing them I can get another six or twelve decent-looking month’s wear out of them, after which the jeans are usually “road kill” anyway.

  3. Mike says:

    Sorry, these jeans just look ‘frumpy’ to me. You’ve looked much better in your chinos or cords. You’re too young to look ‘old dad at the park’ ! Cheers !

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Mike, thanks for the feedback. It’s interesting because most people say I look younger in jeans. Don’t worry, I am not a jean guy yet!

  4. Stillfindingmyperfectocbd says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with the “frumpy” comment. Actually, and I know you may not like this, but these fit the currently fashionably “dad core” zeitgeist perfectly. I think they fit great and most importantly, look like a natural extension of your style. It’s a winner.

  5. Triple Monk says:

    Ox you might not like the sound of this, but I honestly think that a pair of sand or khaki colored 5 pocket trousers would be more harmonious with your trade-mark style.
    I would urge you to try a warm toned pair of brown 5 pocket trousers, as I think it would flatter your complexion much more then the cool tones of blue denim jeans which might be washing you out… Something to consider perhaps

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      I appreciate the feedback and you might be right. I do like wheat jeans, I had a pair in the past, and need a new pair once I dial in a pair (brand/model). They still aren’t quite jeans. My complexion gets darker in the summer maybe that will help. If nothing else it’s good to experiment.

  6. LukeRider91 says:

    My experience with jeans is relatable to yours.
    Through the years, I’ve tried many brands and makes, from the historically relevant 501s, to more avant-garde italian designers (Diesel comes to mind) but eventually landed on the one and only brand that gives me the whole package: enough room in the thigh area (my critical point), a good straight leg, very little but comfy stretch, nice wash assortments, without comprimising on the overall fit and being too expensive, i.e. LEE, in particular the Brooklyn model (or what is marketed as such here in Europe).
    I’m on my quest of finding some corduroy 5-pocket Brooklyns which are out of production and quite hard to find in my size (1 dark grey/brown scored, so far).
    I find jeans to look good on you and very suitable for your current lifestyle: you can wear them countless times, throw in the washing machine and repeat, without worring too much about them. In the daily grind, this is crucial.
    Thank you for this post, take care!

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Thanks, Luke! Thanks for the recommendation on the LEE’s. This one doesn’t surprise because I have heard that LEE’s are Ralph Lauren’s go to denim!

  7. August West says:

    Great to see the blog back again! I’m not a huge jeans guy either, but have 2 pair of Levi’s 541 and are the best fitting jeans I’ve had in a while. They have a higher rise than most, and tapered below the knee.

    As to your jeans, I’m not a huge fan on of the double roll, and particularly so for non selvedge. When being worn as “dad wear”, in my experience no roll is best. Your going to wind up with Cheerios and who knows what else caught up in them.

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Thanks, August. You are not wrong about the cheerios lol! The 541 sound good. I may have to check them out.

  8. John says:

    Taking in the waist on jeans — up to about two inches — is relatively easy. Hemming jeans — new hem, new “rent boy” hem, or “save-the-old-roped” hem is — easy. Rent boy should cost maybe $15 for one, or $20 for two pair of jeans. New hems should go about $20 each. Old Roped hems — when done properly go about $40 (when done wrong, the hems turn up and look like rags). Taking in jeans legs — thigh level, calf level, whole leg is easy. Changing length on jeans is so easy I consider it a given and don’t bother to check the length in the store. WHAT IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE is to decently alter the seat of jeans. Don’t try, buy a different pair to start. Lowering the waist is difficult (many, many, many store-bought jeans these days have waists almost to the belly button or higher. Also, most ,most, most jeans have inseams half a foot or more lower than should be. Don’t buy them, they can’t be fixed.

  9. Trip says:

    I wear Levi’s 501s 100% (well, except for the pair of Spier & Mackay off-white that I just got for my birthday…). However, I take them all to my tailor to be hemmed and tapered (as will the Spier & Mackay). Doing so has been a revelation in that I no longer have to search for the pair that fit perfectly all over. The 501s fit me well in the top block, which I would say is the most important part/hardest to alter, and I can get the legs adjusted however I want. Instead of getting a full taper on yours, you could just get them taken in a bit below the knee and I think they’d be great. You could always grab a pair of 505s cheap at the thrift store or Poshmark and experiment with them.

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Trip, I have been avoiding alterations, but I think this is the way. In the long run it probably saves a lot of time and energy.

I would like to hear from you