Originally Posted by LA Guy
It seems that I've lost my updated list of top ten jeans, (the original list is here: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=9636
) so here is another. I've tried to keep something for everyone, which means that everyone is going to like something I included and say "but what about ...?" which is good. This is meant to spur discussion and your own lists. I've also decided to keep it to currently available jeans.
1. Rag & Bone RB1 in the 13.75 ounce denim. I still say that their first effort was their best, although I haven't tried on all their models. The RB1 straightcut fits everyone. It is roomy enough in the butt and thighs to accomodate the more, ahem, muscular dudes, but have a flattering silhouette on both slim and larger guys alike. The color is a nice, deep, blue with some grey undertones. The brush cotton wastband, slightly pointed back pockets, and minimal details make this a versatile jean that can be dressed up or down. And there are selvedge versions for those who insist. Shameless plug: They retail usually at ~$235+ but you can get them at Active Endeavors for $170 if you use the coupon "styleforum" for 15% off.
2. Nudie Regular Ralph Dry Selvedge - at $265 in the States, it's a rip off. But if you can get them cheaper (say, at around $200), they are well worth it. They wear well, and to a really rich, true blue color. Disregard the hype, and wear and wash them as you will. They have reasonably relaxed thighs and a slight bootcut, which makes them flattering on most body types. The long, dropped back pockets give a bit of an antifit look regardless of whether you wear them tight, or regular or loose as Nudie recommends, and prevents you from looking like a mincing metrosexual. Ugh, even the word hurts.
3. Saltworks Bedford jean in Ashphalt - If you want an understated jean at a decent price, try Saltworks, imo, an underrated company that's been slowing making it's niche by catering to the middle of the road guy. The fit is democratic (i.e. you don't have to be super skinny to wear them) the denim decent, though not outstanding, and at $150 retail, it's a steal these days (ah, how far we've come.) The color is a nice blue/grey with minimal distressing, and hey, since they are a washed jean, you can buy your regular size and not worry about stretching and shrinking, and all that other fun stuff.
4. 5EP Straight down in resin wash - it was either these or the low down bootcut. I own these, so they win, although in truth, both models have their plusses. Actually, I chose these because I wanted to throw the repro lovers a model take on the traditional 501 1947 cut. They have a higher rise than most modern cut jeans, and are slightly baggier in the seat, as most 47 repros are, but they are pretty slim legged. The construction is terrific - on par, imo, with Rag & Bone as the best constructed North American branded jean (although they are actually made in Japan), albeit completely different in tone - and the denim is great. Hidden rivets and other little details make the wearer feel special. And at about $270-$300 a piece, they had better.
5. Rogan Original cut, Ethanol wash. Rogan Gregory had a dream, and these were it. Although I personally don't own a pair, if you are not me (i.e. are not a dude who wears his jeans like real workwear), and are sick of skinny cuts and dry denim, these are the jeans for you. The distressing on them is some of the most realistic and 3-D, still, after about 5 years on the market, and they are loose and comfortable. A perfect jean for the weekend hipster. Plus, for some reason, anything Rogan touches is gold in Japan (including Loomstate and Edun). I have no idea why, but if these are good enough for Japanese hipsters after 5 years (which is about 100 years in Japanese fashion time), they're probably the real deal.
6. APC New Standards. Yes, you knew I had to put these in. At $140, they have been making impressive jumps in pricing. However, despite the ridiculous price jumps, and their increasing ubiquity (for good reason), they are still the original (well, a slightly lower rise version of the original) raw denim jean. Although they weigh in at only 12 ounces, they wear like steel, and there is no mistaking either their unwashed color nor the slight purple tone they take on after having been washed, both very cool. Of course, if you phone Mauro at Denim Bar, he'll still ship them to you for just $120. Ask him about sizing instead of reading the APC sizing thread. He loves that.
7. Corpus Morphys - Yes, bootcut jeans that are still cool (at least imo). The denim has a really nice color and slubbiness, and though the denim and construction are not on par with the denim of the 6 jeans I've listed above, the quirky but not obtrustive details, like the contrast stitching, dropped pockets, and saucer buttons more than make up for all that. I've been told that they are dropping their distinctive back pocket shape for the upcoming fall season, which should give them more widespread appeal, but I personally think that something will have been lost.
8. R by 45RPM - If you are a denim purist, and want a pair of 501 style jeans, and
you want to go all out, you need yourself a pair of R by 45RPM jeans. If you want a more whiskered jean, and are only moderately crazy about jeans (these are relative terms, of course,) go for the Sorahiko model. They are dyed in synthetic indigo, are slightly wider throughout than the Jomon model, and only cost about $480 (lets say $500 and change with taxes and or shipping)! The Jomon model are about twice the price and are hand dyed in natural indigo. Of course, these are for one rinse models, and if you want a distressed model, prices can easily hit the $1000 mark. If anyone asks whether these are selvedge denim, you owe me $480. I am not kidding.
9. If you are really hard on your jeans, buy Iron Heart jeans, which, at $240 not including shipping from the UK, are still easily the cheapest premium jean for the weight (21 ounces.) These are a classic 501 repro model as well, and at 21 ounces, will not only stand up on their own, but will allow you to sleep while standing up in them. Oh, and the denim is good.
10. Earnest Sewn – Hutch in Maz Dark (06). Terrific, semi slim jeans, The wash and hand distressing are at the level paper denim should
be at, and, not unlike the Nudie Regular Ralphs, with a mid-low rise and a subtle bootcut, they flatter a variety of body types. The denim is a little too light, my only gripe, but a solid buy at under $200 (I think that they are ~$189, but can be had on sale for significantly less on a regular basis).