Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Before the popularization of belts and belt loops in the 1920s and 1930s, back-cinches were used to ensure jeans fit well at the waist. Like many historical garment details, back-cinches have come back into popular usage with the recent rise of reproduction denim.
However, modern jean cuts are much slimmer than their early twentieth century counterparts. Due to this fact, many denim companies are now producing slim-fitting jeans featuring the back cinch.
Whether you are interest in purchasing one of these new designs or want a tried-and-true pair of repros, this list will make it a cinch to find something that fits your style.
1) Red Cloud R436XX
First up is a pair of reproduction denim from Red Cloud, one of China’s most popular raw denim brands. They didn’t just want to put out another pair of cinched denim, they wanted something truly historically accurate. From the jean’s cut to the crotch-rivet reinforcement to back-cinches placement between the yoke and waistband, the R436XX is as traditional as they come. This pair is finished with a deerskin patch, custom Red Cloud hardware, and a “[h]idden tag in [the] back pocket.” Levi has been justifiably enforcing their Red Tab trademark since January of 2007, but Red Cloud is offering a repro that is as historically accurate as legally possible.
Available for $199 from Tuckshop & Sundry Supplies.
2) Orgueil Tailor Jean
Most brands that produce historically styled denim base their designs off of either American jeans (à la Sugar Cane, Levi’s Vintage Clothing, etc.) or English clothing (Tender Co.). Orguiel, which is French for “pride,” is cut from a different cloth. Understandably, their designs are more heavily influenced by French styles. Their Tailor Jean is based on designs from the early twentieth century, making them unique in several ways. Not only does it feature a back-cinch that is centered on the yoke of the jean (rather than being centered on the seam connecting the waistband and yoke), but it also has suspender buttons for those who are so inclined. It is finished with a deerskin patch, burr/washer rivets, and buttons made from nuts.
Available for $299 from Context Clothing.
3) Nigel Cabourn 5-Pocket Jean
World War II was very taxing on manufacturing industries across the globe, and much of the clothing produced during that period had some interesting quirks. This pair of jeans from Nigel Cabourn included many of these historical details – details that were born out of necessity rather than function. The denim used in this pair was made usual non-standard techniques to mimic fabric that would have been produced during that era. During the war metal was at a premium, so many companies resorted to using bartacks rather than rivets – a detail that was not overlooked by Cabourn’s designers. Finally, this pair is dyed with an Indian indigo dye to produce fades as close to the originals as possible.
Available for £259 from Cabourn.
4) Studio d’Artisan Special 35th Anniversary DO1-35 Natural Indigo
To commemorate Studio D’Artisan’s 35th anniversary they produced several pairs of special denim. The DO1-35 is meant to be a repro of sorts, but rather than reproducing American or English denim they are reproducing some of the first pairs of jeans produced in Japan. They feature a slim-cut design, natural indigo dyed denim, and a narrow back cinch. The back patch features SDA’s traditional pigs, who are interestingly enough pulling apart a pair of jeans; not something we’d expect to see in our post Levi-lawsuit world. The DO1-35 is limited to 500 pairs, so don’t sit on this one for too long.
Available for $301 from Denimio.
5) Rising Sun Spade Jean
Rising Sun’s Spade Jean features a back-cinch, but that’s just about the only thing traditional about this pair–and even that isn’t all that traditional, as the cinch is curved in shape and not placed between the waistband and yoke. The fit is quite slim, as are many of the jean’s other features. All the parallel stitch lines on the jean (on the inseam, pockets, fly, etc.) run just millimeters apart from each other; the belt loops are more narrowly cut than on most jeans, and the buckle on the cinch is wire thin. This motif of narrow-lines works well together and creates a beautifully cohesive jean.
Available for $285 from Rising Sun.
Plus One – Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1878 Pantaloons
If there is any brand dedicated to reproducing vintage denim styles, it’s Levi’s Vintage Clothing. The 1878 Pantaloons are reproductions of some of Levi’s oldest pairs of denim pants, which were designed just five years after Levi’s produced the first pair of blue jeans. These “jeans” were from a time predating the popularization of belts and belts loops, when yokes were not yet a part of jean’s anatomy, and before two back pockets were considered the norm. In fact, if these jeans were based off of patterns that were just a few years older they wouldn’t even have their “coin” pocket, which was originally introduced not for coins but for pocket watches. The rise of these jeans is high, much higher than any other pants you’ve ever owned, but the cut is quite flattering if you size correctly. If you want something different, something really different, then the 1878 Pantaloons may just be your next pair.
Available for $295 from Unionmade Goods.