Jeans are a highly individual choice. Everyone has a different fit. Everyone likes a different kind of wash and most have an affinity with one brand or another, depending on how they fit. Sure, you can get trendy and let yourself be guided by what’s cool, or one can act his (or her) age — as in my case — and find a pair of jeans that is classic, comfortable and understated.
In my jeans I look for no funky embroidery, flashy buttons or weird pockets. I don’t want my denims to be too slim, too snug or too loose. I don’t much care for the funky washes, and I don’t care for the completely raw denim as well. What I want is a pair of jeans whose fit sits between straight and slim fit. I want it to rest comfortably on my generous waist and overall doesn’t weigh a lot – so around 11-13oz. So with these parameters, I have been trying a lot of different brands — from always classic Levi’s to some of the more top of the line brands. I once even tried Zegna — an extremely bad idea if there was any.
I flirted with Diesel but found all the embroidery too complicated and fussy. I tried Adriano Goldschmidt (AG Jeans) for a while but they are trying to be too experimental and their slimmer fit is optimized for a more well portioned and younger man. Earlier this year, when we were hosting our Structure Europe conference in Amsterdam, I ended up at Tenue de Nimes, which as been billed as one of the first denim shops in Europe. They were said to have some obscure brands and jeans from small batch manufacturers.
For once the Internet and fashion bloggers weren’t making it up. The store, was as advertised. Walking to their store from my hotel was about a five mile walk – in the rain. One of the co-founders (I don’t remember his name) ended up in a 30 minute discussion about denim and what I was looking for.
And then he brought out a pair, asked me to try it, even though it was the wrong size for me. And when I slipped them on, they fit me like a glove. It was as if they were made for me. I got them shortened and have been wearing them every second day since. They have gotten better with age and are arguably the most comfortable pair of jeans I have ever owned. So are you curious to know what brand of jeans I am talking about?
Well, they are Edwin Jeans, which is a brand that started in 1947 in Tokyo, Japan. It is what the fashion bloggers call a heritage brand. Edwin uses Japanese denim and there is a certain patina and feel to Japanese cloth, which makes these jeans special. (If you want to know more about these guys and their rich history then check out their website.)
The brand has been at the cutting edge of denim design, fabrics and washes. They are the same people who came up stonewashed jeans concept in the 1980s. They are the ones who came up with the washed/worn in look in the 1990s. And you can see their work on their website. The company makes a ton of different styles of jeans and many different kind of washes.
The one I like is called ED 55 in dark denim and they cost me about $120 for the pair. It is perfect for San Francisco weather. It allows me to tuck in my shirt and they are soft. I ordered another pair and now I am all set for next 12 months.
A word of caution: they are hard to find in the US, but you can keep checking Mr. Porter website to see if they have them in stock. Or you can visit the company store in London on your next visit. However, try and look for them online. Don’t bother ordering from Edwin Europe website — they don’t ship them to US.