By Dave Barton
By LP Hastings
By Sarah Bennett
By LP Hastings
By Jena Ardell
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
By Joel Beers
Let's talk about this designer-jeans thing.
It's not that I have a problem with them. It's just much easier making a single trip to Barney's or Saks for a $200 pair of Ksubis, Sevens or True Religions (pictured here) with an always-consistent cut, rather than foraging through department stores like Kohl's for that pair of Levi's 514s or some other wallet-friendly alternative that doesn't always fit right. I get it—perfect jeans on a budget. Difficult.
But I've been hearing a lot lately—particularly from the boyfriend—that pricey jeans just lastlonger.
And while I can really appreciate a good pair of curve-hugging jeans, I call some serious bullshit on you people who try to justify your extravagant denim purchases with the durability card. They suffer through the same wear and tear as any other jeans: The wash is going to start to fade as soon as it suffers its first run through the laundry; the bottoms will start to fray a few months in. Sorry, but your $218 J Brands just aren't going to know the difference.
I've had faithful $39.99 Levi's skinny jeans that have hung in there longer than $175 Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Just admit it: You like designer-name digs. You like that there's some highly recognizable stitching on your butt that allows people to know exactly how much you spent. It's okay!
But there arealternatives. If you've got $60 to spare, Stockholm brand Cheap Monday is a fantastic option if you dig the ultra-trendy skinny-jean-in-every-freaking-shade-possible thing (and who doesn't?). The 3-year-old label is incredibly easy to find and sold everywhere from Urban Outfitters to Barney's Co-Op. The somewhat fairly priced mall chain Club Monaco even offers jeans in a range of flattering cuts and washes for less than $100—I once scored a pair of stovepipe jeans with zippered ankles (à la Vivienne Westwood, sans the price tag) there a few seasons ago on sale for $70. (Plus, their sizes run large—feels good to know I'm a 24 in Club Monaco world, aye?)
Howeeeever, the only time you'll ever get me to admit that brand-name jeans are actually worththeir price tag is when it comes to raw denim.
Essentially, raw denim's just denim that has never been treated or washed. It appears and feels extremely stiff to the touch and will sculpt itself to your shape and body with frequent wear. In fact, you're supposed to purchase raw denim one or two sizes smaller than your usual to achieve this effect impeccably. You're also supposed to wash raw denim as little as possible—my boyfriend's pair kind of smells like the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese. But if you really feel compelled to wash them, French brand A.P.C. actually suggests running into the ocean with the jeans on . . . something about the salt water. But A.P.C.'s raw denim is among the best looking and also has the best quality for your buck, coming in at around $140 per pair.
Lucky for you and me, A.P.C. (with its only other U.S. location in Soho) recently decided to grace our greater region with a store on Melrose and Croft in Los Angeles—which isn't too far a drive up the 405. Right?
Venturing 40 minutes north for eventual custom jeans doesn't seem nearly as bad as wandering through South Coast whilst dodging cougars and rich tourists on the weekends.