It’s a brand-new year, and with it comes the opportunity to refresh and reevaluate your wardrobe. Most of the clothes you were wearing a few weeks ago are just fine, but there’s one article of clothing that we’d recommend replacing this January: your jeans. Here’s why.
Your favorite pair of jeans — the ones that you reach for just about every day that you aren’t wearing a suit — has been through a lot with you over the past year. Particularly if you wear raw denim, which we absolutely recommend you do, your jeans have likely changed significantly since you purchased them. They’ve gained fades and wear patterns, they’ve been shaped by the way you wear them and the activities you complete in them, and have probably gained a stain or two, whether that’s pen ink, bicycle grease, or something else.
So here’s our argument: your old pair of jeans has last year all over them. Why not kick off the new year with a new pair of jeans, one that, in turn, will serve as a record of all of the things you do and places you travel in 2016? A year is often the perfect amount of time to wear a pair of jeans, and having one quality pair of jeans can prevent you from having to buy multiple pairs in a year. Convinced? Read on to peruse our favorite pairs of denim for the new year.
1. A.P.C. Petit New Standard
A.P.C. is a classic on the raw denim scene, and the petit new standard is a great choice if you’re looking for a slim-fitting but not skinny style. With this style, A.P.C. recommends sizing down and washing only infrequently — something that most raw denim enthusiasts maintain is key to getting your jeans to acquire unique fades and wear patterns.
2. RRL Slim Fit
Another great choice, whether on your first or your 14th pair of rigid jeans, is a pair from Ralph Lauren’s RRL label. A perennial favorite is the slim-fit rigid jean. The denim is woven on vintage shuttle looms, and the jeans feature heavy twill pocket linings, authentic washer burrs and rivets, and a reinforced button fly that will help the jeans last.
3. Levi’s Made & Crafted Slim Fit
Just like RRL, Levi’s Made & Crafted line draws inspiration from many different decades of classic American workwear. The label’s slim-fit dry selvedge jeans take their cues from the jeans guys wore in the 1960s, with rigid Japanese denim, a slim and mid-rise cut, plus unwashed indigo dye that ensures they’ll acquire unique wear patterns.
4. Nudie Jeans Regular Fit
If you want raw jeans without the Ralph Lauren-level price tag, consider another great brand, Nudie Jeans. The company’s Steady Eddie style is cut from dry organic cotton in a regular fit, with a comfortable waist band, a straight leg, and a tapered cuff — perfect if you want a pair of jeans that looks tailored without feeling too skinny or restrictive.
5. Unbranded Brand Straight Leg
For guys who want a new pair of raw denim but don’t want to spend a ton of money, the new gold standard is Unbranded Brand. The company’s straight-leg raw selvedge jeans come in at under $100, but will soften and fade just like any other pair of rigid denim as you wear them throughout the year.
6. Simon Miller Slim Fit
If a pair of American-made jeans is high on your wish list, consider a pair from Simon Miller. This slim fit style, in particular, takes its cues from vintage workwear. Because raw jeans aren’t been washed or artificially distressed before they get to you, a quality pair will conform to your figure more completely and comfortably than a pre-washed pair.
7. rag & bone Slim Fit
Our final recommendation comes from a brand that many denim enthusiasts love: rag & bone. This slim-fitting pair offers a mid rise that’s fitted but comfortable through the seat and thigh, and the cut tapers below the knee for a narrower leg opening. (Perfect for cuffing to show off the selvedge.)