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Jeans quality

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I was quite shocked to see the prices some jeans are going for these days. Is there really any difference in construction quality between a $300 pair and a pair of 501's? Or are you paying for a name, a cut and perhaps fabric finish? And if there is a real difference in quality who offers the best value for your dollar?
post #2 of 3
In the $300+ range, you're mostly paying for a cut/finish/name (i.e. designer jeans from the likes of Dior, Margiela, YSL, etc.)  High prices often limits availability (as with most designer stuff) which lends an air of exclusiveness. There's lots of value in the $100-200 range.  With specially distressed/treated denim, there is often lots of hand treatment/sandblasting/staining/etc. which can be time consuming, even if you're paying sweatshop rates (of course, depends on where the jeans were made.)  If you go to the paperdenim&cloth site (www.paperdenim.com) they go into a bit of detail on their process.  PDC jeans are in the middle range of the price scale, expensive but not excessively so (most of their pieces are $120-150.) Fabric makes a big difference as well.  LA Guy is probably the expert on this, but here's some info as a primer: the actual yarn used to make the denim cloth can be spun in two ways: like a cotton candy machine (I forget what the process is called), where the cotton is rolled around and forced through a tube (the twist of the yarn is achieved through the rotation of the machine), or in a ring (what's called "ringspun" denim) where the cotton is pulled through and twisted on itself (as how wool is typically spun and twisted, think of an old lady at a big wheel )  The ringspun method yields softer yarn, but is also more expensive and more delicate.  How the yarn is woven into cloth also makes a difference - if you look at a pair of jeans, the surface will either run in a right hand direction ///// from bottom left to top right, or in a left hand direction \\\\\\ from top left to bottom right.  The latter (left hand) produces a softer weave than the right hand weave, which is more widely used.    Higher quality jeans will usually utilize ringspun yarn woven in a left hand weave - however depending on the finishing effect desired, this can always change.  The benefit of the ringspun/left hand weave is that the garment is soft feeling right away - you don't have to wash it a million times or distress it like crazy to make it soft.  Naturally, it's also less durable. The denim market is so specialized these days, and jeans so individualized, if you can find a pair you like the look of, that fits great, and won't break your wallet, go for it. Nothing wrong with 501s - in Europe, they go for double what they do in North America
post #3 of 3
Here's another link to an interesting article: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/01/magazine/01JEANS.html It's the NY Times, so free registration is required.
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