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.
Whether you are looking to get your first pair of selvedge, to add another pair to your rotation, or simply to get a decent pair of works jeans, there is no reason to overspend. While high end selvedge jeans have many details that are not present on their lower tier counterparts, such as unique fabrics, custom hardware, and better construction, sometimes those things are just overkill. Remember, even the most seasoned denimheads look back on their first, entry-levels jeans fondly.
1) Unbranded: UB601 Relaxed Tapered Fit Selvedge
Unbranded is by far the most recommended brand for entry level selvedge (see why we named it our best pick), and once you handle their wears it is easy to see why. The construction is solid, the branding is non-existent, the indigo fades readily, and they have a range of styles that will satisfy almost anyone. Their newest fit, the Relaxed Tapered, offers a more aggressive taper below the knee than their classic tapered fit while leaving ample room in the thighs.
Available for $88 from Nordstrom.
2) Japan Blue: JB0601 Vintage High Tapered Selvedge
Japan Blue is one of the best deals in the raw denim world, offering interesting Japanese denims and solid construction at a very affordable price. Their JB0601 Vintage High Tapered is great fit, featuring a heavy taper but with a mid/high rise. It is common for tightly fitting denim to have a low rise, making these jeans an excellent option for those who want a tight fit without a low rise.
Available for $127 from Denimio.
3) Uniqlo: Slim Fit Stretch Selvedge
Uniqlo is a great go-to brand for essentials, such as henleys, tees, and so forth, but their Slim Fit Selvedge is nothing to scoff at either. They are just about the cheapest selvedge on the market, and with their great fit and construction they are hard to ignore. The denim has a bit of stretch to it, which might not be up everyone’s alley but it does make the sizing a bit more forgiving. It comes in several washes, so even if you aren’t looking for a new pair of raws you can still get a great pair of fun-colored selvedge.
Available for $50 from Uniqlo.
4) GAP: Skinny Fit Stretch Selvedge
Gap was one of the first mainstream, shopping-mall brands to start selling selvedge in the USA, and in all honesty they did a pretty great job. Their pricing is competitive with most entry level brands, and they offer selvedge in several cuts ranging from non-stretch regular fit to stretch skinny fit. And they offer one thing that most selvedge brands do not: multiple inseams. While these aren’t going to come hemmed on a Union Special 43200G you can get them in the correct inseam length right off the bat, which is a major plus.
Available for $108 from Gap.
5) Naked & Famous Denim: Skinny Guy Left Hand Twill Selvedge
Naked & Famous is one of the best brands for anyone getting into the world of selvedge denim. They have a ton of cuts and fabrics, and are large enough that they are stocked at many large stores such as Nordstrom or Barney’s. Many people struggle at sizing correctly on their first pair of raw denim, and having selvedge that can be tried on in person is a great way to feel more comfortable about sizing. One of their classic styles, the Skinny Guy in Left Hand Twill, is a perfect first pair. The fabric is a LHT making it softer than many other fabrics, the fit is well documented so sizing is easy, and the price is about as affordable as they come.
Available for $145 from REVOLVE.
Plus One – United Dry Stock Goods: Slight Fit Navy Selvedge
United Dry Stock Goods is another go-to entry level brand, as they offer a variety of fits and a range of Japanese fabrics (see our review). Their raw Navy Selvedge is a fairly unique option at a really good price, and it even comes with some of the details that denimheads love such as a chainstitched hem, buttoned fly, and minimal branding. And while some people prefer a white weft, those of us who like having a pair of jeans with the same colored warp and weft threads can rejoice at USDG offering it at such a low price point.
Available for $79CAD from United Dry Stock Goods.