How does it fit? How will it wear?
For many menswear staples, those are the two questions that matter most.
And just like there are a vast variety of body types and walks of life, the answers to those questions define your style.
In Part One of what will be an ongoing series, we look at some of our favorite denim...
LVC 1954 501 NEW RINSE
These aren’t just classic, these are THE classic. Though Levi’s was making jeans prior to 1954, this is the fit that started worldwide denim domination. Many of our favorite jeans pay homage to this cut.
They’re such a huge part of American history that there’s no doubt they’ll keep resurfacing as long as jeans are made, but with Levi’s breaking from their 112 year collaboration with North Carolina’s Cone Mills, this may be your last chance to own a pair that checks every box of true American workwear.
Slim fit with room in the top block, these jeans are for the fella who wants a big cuff, easy movement, and a solid, hard-wearing jean from the originators. Adding to that, Cone Mills indigo has a brilliant deep blue that will whisker into subtle gradations.
Also available in Rigid.
ORSLOW 105 STANDARD ONE WASH
orSlow’s 105 Standards are cut from a pair of 501’s in designer Ichiro Nakatsu’s vintage collection. That said, they’re not a direct reproduction, incorporating a few bonus details and, more than anything, orSlow always puts fit first.
A slightly curved hip with a straight waistband give them an authentic vintage feel right away. High rise with plenty of room in the top block, there’s a slight taper that allows for easy movement from top to bottom.
The other serious draw to orSlow is in the fabrication. A rigid grayscale Japanese 13.5oz denim furthers the easy-wear, daily favorite theme with these and will create only subtle fading and light whiskering for something that balances out to an even, light wash.
ORSLOW 107 IVY DENIM ONE WASH
Same denim as the 105's. Why? Because it’s perfect.
The difference between the 107’s and the 105’s is in the taper. While both sit gently on the top block, the 107’s have a bit more taper for a modern favorite with some clear style lineage. These are very close to Levi’s 505’s of the 1960’s - nothing aggressive on any front, just a detail rich, total package of a jean.
Unlike some jeans that take some uncomfortable wear to get right, the 107’s are great from the get-go and have a wear-with-anything, even fade over time. Staying on the relaxed side of slim, they don’t have that pooling at the knees that skinnier jeans sometimes develop. This is our favorite fitting pair right off the rack.
But if you’re up for a challenge...
TANUKI IDHT DOUBLE INDIGO 15oz
These Tanukis have a truly aggressive taper with a small leg opening prior to hemming (if you’re into that). They have a tighter top block and can be a bit of a squeeze pulling on or off.
Though those things may seem like a hard pass, it just depends on who you are. In some ways, these have a trouser appeal and can easily be dressed up or down.
The denim is where these really shine. A really slubby, stiff texture that promises to develop into every buzz word of the denim fading dictionary. These are double indigo and so blue that they’re almost black with contrasting royal blue stitching off the shelves. These will wear into indigo rainbows that will closely match its stitches.
With painted matte black brass hardware, gingham pocket liners, and a vegetable-tanned leather patch - these jeans are all about personal investment over a long period.
TANUKI NT 16.5oz NATURAL
You’ve got two options with these, either the NHT (natural, high, tapered) or NT (natural, tapered). It’s the same taper to both - a simple, relaxed cut from the knee down that creates a clean, natural line. The only difference is whether you prefer a higher rise in the top block or not (pictured is the NT).
They’re slim without feeling skinny, offering plenty of room in the thigh and top block without sloshing around in there.
Both are straightforward, good jeans. No surprises there. What makes Tanuki denim special is its slubby, irregular character that gets better with wash and wear.
With a green cast to the natural indigo dye, these will fade to a slightly muddier coloring. Tanuki denim has fantastic texture and if you can find your fit with them, you’re in for a treat.
IRON HEART 555 16oz CLASSIC DENIM
A great alternative to their now famous 21oz heavy-weight denim. These are for guys that want to put a little less effort and time into making their favorite jeans while still holding true to the moto look and feel - pairing perfectly with black boots and a white tee. Even while being a bit lighter (weighing in at the classic American 16oz) they still have that Iron Heart strength and heavy feel.
The Super Slim is a standard fit in the Iron Heart arsenal. They have a slim taper from the thigh down, not too aggressive to allow easier on/off at your cuff, while maintaining a straight and clean look. A bit of the modern mixed in with what is otherwise an old school work jean, as evidenced by a higher rise and roomier top block for movement’s sake.
Very stiff to start, but because these have been washed once, the break-in period won’t take too long. Iron Heart denim takes a little work and that’s why everyone loves it, becoming individualized with high contrast fades, honey combing in the legs, and stark whiskering at the waist and knee.