For those who aren’t familiar, selvedge denim describes a type of jeans made with a finished edge along the outseam. Originally derived from the words ‘self-edge,’ it’s since come to be synonymous with fabrics of higher quality and more meticulous craftsmanship. That’s because, even though selvedge denim used to be the standard around the turn of the 20th century, over time, modernized machinery has rendered the looms that make the material all but obsolete. Even still, the extra time that’s required to make jeans with a finished edge means that they’re typically produced in much lower volumes, and thus, command significantly higher price tags (relative to comparable offerings, at least).
And that’s not all; selvedge jeans are also made with a tougher, grittier-feeling fabric. As such, the dyes used don’t tend to take as well, meaning the denim will gradually wear down to develop its own rich patina. Less a manufacturing defect than it is a unique personal stamp, fading makes for an important part of every jean wearer’s ownership. It means that your pants will come to bear the mark of every coin, key, and wallet you keep in your pockets, acting as a record of the many experiences you enjoy in your denim. Being subscribers to this kind of clothing relationship ourselves, we’ve put together a list of the 16 best selvedge denim jeans you can buy. Take our word for it — these are some truly top-notch offerings.
Unbranded Brand Tapered Fit
When it comes to clothing, we often get so hung up on what the label reads that we fail to appreciate the rest of the package. Unbranded’s jeans, however, are one option that goes against the grain, as they come with a plain leather patch, simple brass buttons, and narry a tag or logo in sight. Instead, they let the quality do the talking, pairing a Sanforized raw indigo denim construction with a signature blue ear selvedge and some classy Union Special chain-stitched hems. In fact, they don’t say anything, and that’s precisely why they make such a statement.
Everlane The Selvedge Slim Fit Jean
Just because you’re looking to get your hands on some selvedge denim doesn’t mean that you should have to spend $200-300 sums. Take this pair of slim-fit jeans from Everlane, for example. Made from an organic stretch selvedge denim that’s woven and dyed at Italy’s Candiani Mill, they’re comfortable, long-lasting, and super classic. The best part about these jeans, though, is that they’ll feel perfectly broken-in right from the first wear.
Taylor Stitch The Slim Jean
Taylor Stitch may be best known for its shirt-making expertise, but the brand makes a host of high-quality clothing, and their denim is certainly no exception. Responsibly constructed using 100% organic cotton, this is one pair of jeans that’ll have you looking the part whilst taking care of the planet. Oh, and even though they’re classified as slim jeans, they’re far from what we’d consider skinny. Rather, they offer a slightly narrower fit than Taylor Stitch’s Democratic cut, with a gentle taper through the thigh and down the calf.
Todd Snyder Slim Fit Organic Selvedge Jeans
Earlier this year, Todd Snyder introduced a suite of different denim options at various price points and flavors. These slim-fit jeans are a part of the selvedge collection, meaning they feature a pure cotton construction that comes complemented by a set of oxidized rivets, some chain-stitched embroidery, as well as a selvedge locker loop. In the case of the mid-blue wash featured here, you’re getting a hue that was inspired by some vintage denim from the 1970s. So, while it looks plenty worn and well-loved, it’s not too faded for more formal occasions.
Leftfield NYC Greaser Vidalia Mills 14 oz USA Denim Jean
If you’re after some good ole, classic USA-made denim, you can’t go wrong with Leftfield NYC — especially when it comes to these jeans. For starters, the materials are top-notch, made at the Vidalia Mills plant (the first new selvedge mill since Cone White Oak) and manufactured using environmentally responsible production processes. But that’s not all; in this particular greaser cut, you’re getting a 50’s-inspired fit with a straight leg, a slight taper, and a medium-high rise. Top it off with some custom rivets and a set of bandana pocket bags, and you’ve got some jeans that are just oozing with Americana.
Railcar Spikes X001 13.5oz American
Railcar Spikes is a brand that’s about as American as American gets, born out of a genuine need for some hard-hitting workwear and sewn using deadstock white line selvedge Cone Mills denim. As the OG in the Railcar catalog, the X001 offers a perfect representation of what to expect, including such features as a double waistband to reduce unwanted stretch, some tucked belt loops for a cleaner look, and a hand-embossed, vegetable-tanned leather logo patch that was made completely in-house. When you consider that Railcar offers a complimentary chain stitch hem with every purchase, they make for a value proposition that seems too good to be true.
APC Petit New Standard
It’s best to think of these APC Petit New Standard jeans as something of an international effort, as they combine Japanese denim with French style for a modern take on an age-old American favorite. In practice, this means that they’re stiff in construction (14.50oz, to be exact), fitted in design, and trimmed with some vibrant orange topstitching. Though you can have them in several different washes, we’d have to go with the Raw Indigo on account of its pure, unadulterated old-school cool. As an added bonus, the interior of the fabric is finished with selvedge over the entire length.
3Sixteen CT-120x Classic Tapered
New York-based 3Sixteen is an absolute authority in the men’s fashion space, and it’s easy to see why when you consider what their CT-120x jeans have to offer. Made exclusively for the retailer by Okayama-based Kuroki Mill, they feature a 14.5-ounce raw shadow selvedge — a denim that’ll fade from a dark black to a high-contrast blue over time. What’s more, they come with a set of custom gunmetal shanks and rivets, as well as a hardy leather patch by Tanner Goods. It’s worth noting that because of their potential for stretch, 3Sixteen recommends that buyers opt for one size down than their usual pants.
Tellason John Graham Mellor Slim Straight Selvedge
Tellason introduced its John Graham Mellor silhouette over 12 years ago, so it’s safe to say that these jeans are about as timeless as they come. And it’s not without good reason; between their Kaihara orange line raw selvage denim, their San Francisco-based construction, and their durable, doubled-lined pockets, they make for an option that’ll have last for years and have you looking good all the while. Oh, and should you need your jeans adjusted, Tellason will even hem them free.
Imogene + Willie Barton Slim Natural Selvage
Imogene and Willie was founded by husband and wife duo Matt and Carrie Eddmenson back in 2008. At the time, the pair was broke and desperate, but they soon found that their hard work proved a resounding success. And it’s not without good reason. These natural selvage Barton jeans, for instance, are a highly-desirable limited-edition run of just 100 pairs. Crafted from ultra-premium Japanese selvage, they come with just a bit of stretch for some added comfort and extra range of motion.
Levi’s 1967 505 Regular Fit
Okay, let’s face it. You can’t have a list of jeans without a pair of Levi’s, and these 505’s are a case in point. Designed to look like a pair from 1967, they come with a slim fit, a Talon zipper fly, and a lower rise. And here’s the thing — the details are second to none, with beautiful Japanese selvedge, a classic leather patch, as well as a faithfully-recreated doubled-sided big ‘E’ Red Tab. Denim devotees, this is one pair that’s sure to stoke your nostalgia.
orSlow 105 Standard Jean
From the archives of Japanese designer and orSlow front man Ichiro Nakatsu comes these 105 standard selvedge jeans. Cut using a Japanese white selvedge denim, they feature a brushed neppy finish that’s made only better by the vintage-inspired waist patch. Though they’re on the slimmer side, they’re not too fitted, so you can rock them with a wide variety of shirts, tees, and even a blazer if you’re feeling daring. Make sure to pick up a pair while you can, though; they have a tendency to sell out pretty quickly.
Freenote Cloth Wilkes Western Raw 14.25oz
And, by the same token, we’d advise that you snag some jeans from Freenote Cloth if they’re in stock; otherwise, there’s no telling how long you’ll have to wait until another batch arrives. That’s because, in each and every product, the brand combines only the best materials and the highest-quality construction methods. With the Wilkes Western fit jeans we have featured here, you’re getting some grey Yoshiwa Mills denim and a traditional cowboy cut that’s been modernized for a cleaner, updated interpretation.
Naked & Famous MIJ7
These MIJ7 jeans from Naked & Famous are perfect for denimheads who take pride in developing their own patina. For even though they start out a dark midnight black in color, over time, they’ll wear away to reveal dark, medium, and even light blues before showing the core of the yarn. And because the fabric itself is rich with slubby, irregular imperfections, you’ll get a uniquely uneven grain that’s rich with individual character. Oh, and if you really relish the worn-in look, you’ll be glad to know that the black iron buttons and copper rivets will rust over time.
Iron Heart 21oz Selvedge Denim Straight Cut Jeans
For those who want a pair of jeans that embody the Iron Heart name through and through, these selvedge denim straight cuts are easily your best bet. After all, they were Shinichi Haraki’s first design for the brand, made with a thick 21oz Japanese selvedge and continuous line from hem to hem. Oh, and because they’ve been specially-treated for a more traditional, slower fade, they won’t offer the same tacky high contrast look that’s currently flooding the market.
Raleigh Denim Workshop Jones Selvage Raw
Last up on our list is an option from Raleigh Denim Workshop, a small-time outfit in NC that’s made it big because of its unsurpassed jean quality. This pair in particular is quite the special little number, as it’s one of just a few others made at the now-closed Cone Mills White Oak plant. Moreover, the attention to detail is a true cut above the rest, with hand-stamped, numbered leather patches, a hand-signed mark on the inside, and, of course, the brand’s signature red chainstich hem.
The 12 Best USA-Made Denim Jeans For Men
Though there’s no denying the outstanding craftsmanship required of selvedge denim, sometimes, only some good ole American manufacturing will do. If you find this to be the case, be sure to head on over to our guide to the best USA-made denim jeans for men.
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