Denim, all of us are forever in search of the perfect pair or better yet the perfect pair on sale. While I'm not a jean snob or denim head here's my take on high, medium and low denim. I'll start low, aka cheap and work my way up.Another fantastic review! "Thanks!" again to J.Crew Guy In Canada for his great reviews on jeans, and finding that perfect pair.
Levis 514, decent straight cut, slightly narrow opening and available is an amazing range of washed and denim. You can find them at department stores or better yet stores like T.J. Max or the Canadian version Winners. You can regularly find them for as low as $29. They've even been spotted at Costco for a little over $8 which is insane. How is that possible? The jeans are good, very serviceable and can't be beat for $29 let alone $8. More of a medium rise, these size honestly, meaning the real size of your waist and inseam. Thankfully the label showing your waist sizes quickly fades after several washing so people won't be able to read what your 'real' size is.
An average priced denim is J.Crew's slim straight cut. Ever so slightly slimmer than the Levis 514s and also available in a variety of washes. My personal favorite is the slim-straight jean in dark worn wash #29243 for about $100. Great fit, ever so slightly distressed, but without the heavy handed over the top finishing some denim has. I prefer my jeans to look natural and not overly processed, much like how I like food. These jeans are such a great fit, slim not skinny and so easy to put with a blazer or sweater and look dressed up. I usually wear a 30" inseam, but I ordered these in 32" and that length was perfect, long enough to fit the floor, but not that they'll drag on the floor. A lower rise than the Levis, but not as low rise as the J.Brand; I classify these as a true mid rise. Dress pants need to be slim without a break, showing a little ankle while denim should be slightly longer with ankles fully covered. Haven't done the rolled cuff look yet, maybe if I was living in Williams-burg or ten (fifteen?) years younger. Whatever size you wear in other J.Crew pants will be the same in their denim.
Ah premium denim, the thing you buy on payday, but never when you're flat broke. Tough to rationalize laying out $250 or more for jeans. I am not a fan of the over bedazzled back pockets, heavy handed distressed/processed denim and the idea of paying to have holes in jeans escapes me. My favorite high end denim company is J.Brand. Well made in the US, beautiful denim with minimal distressing. Johnny or Kane are both great fits in a wide range of washes. These are true low rise and have an incredible fit with the softest denim. Like J.Crew vanity sizing happens with J.Brand and you'll move down at least an inch from what you wear in Levis.
All three of these are avaliable in corduroy, which is also a great option. Now what will I buy next time? After wearing both J.Brand and J.Crew I will say good-bye to Levis 514s. The other two have better cuts and far nicer denim, even if it's several times the price. With J.Brand being over twice the price of the slim-straight cut from Jenna and company it'll be J.Crew for me next time, they really nailed it with fit and fabric. When you try them on be sure to look in the mirror at your but, because everyone else will be. And if you need to get your denim shortened promise me you'll get them with the original hem, slightly more expensive than the standard hem, but they will look so much better. And none of these are the dreaded mom or dad jeans.
Are you a fan of J.Crew's denim? Are there any pieces that you would highly recommend to buy or avoid? If so, please share with us your review. :)