The offerings for no-fuss quality women’s denim are slim, so when Taylor Stitch released their highly-anticipated Adler Jean in late 2016, we decided to give it a go and help our sisters-in-stitches out with a review.
Overall, the Adler gets an high pass on fit and aesthetics. Because women’s pants are generally pretty fitted, finding a brand and style that works for anyone’s particular bodily proportions can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But the Adler happens to be my particular needle. (FWIW, one female friend I recommended these jeans to was happy with the fit, but another, with a higher waist-to-quad ratio, had to return them.) I also found that the fit was true-to-size, and was satisfied by ordering my normal jeans size.
With a 9-inch front rise, the Adler falls squarely in the mid-rise category, which is thankfully much higher than the hiphuggers of my youth in the early aughts, and more forgiving of us mere mortals than the rib-grazing sailor pants that have been en vogue in the summer of 2017.
The narrow leg openings―10 ¼ inch flat―have a strange flare, like an abbreviated bell-bottom, which means I always keep the hems slightly cuffed. And by having to yank them on and off, I’m sure I’m not doing the micro-flares any favors. Luckily, the Adler is hemmed with chainstitching, so there’s some visual appeal to the mini cuff, but, aesthetically and functionally, I think they’d be much better off with an 11-12 inch leg opening to allow for a more continuous lower leg silhouette.
Unfortunately, the jean also has an unusually short inseam of 28 ½ inches, so the necessary cuffing makes these jeans look sane only in three seasons. (In Chicago winter, I hide the hems in boots.) And at 5 feet 5 ½ inches, I am slightly (but barely) above-average in height, so I won’t recommend these to anyone much taller than me, unless you’re looking for ankle jeans or live in a perpetually warm-ish place. Taylor Stitch is based in San Francisco, so that could explain the lack of cold-weather consideration.
The 10.5oz. pre-shrunk non-selvedge Cone Mills denim feels substantial. On the plus side, this means feeling comfortably encased and fortified against normal wear and tear, as opposed to worrying about causing damage to the pants simply by living in them (which is how I normally feel). However, this weight also means they aren’t my first choice on days when I’m riding my bike, or when it’s a bit warm outside.
I was also quite surprised when my jeans arrived to see that they are a brilliant indigo blue. The photos on the Taylor Stitch website show a deep indigo denim that has almost a greenish cast in the product shots, and in the styled photos they look especially dark and dusty (see moto model below). But the pants I received are a more natural/retro indigo. Although the color is quite nice and holds up well, I was expecting a dark wash jean and that’s not what came in the mail. On that note, the Adler is also available in Noir and Natural.
While 99% of the Adler feels firm and steady, the top edge also has some unexpected and undesirable flare: throughout the day on each wear, the waistband ripples and bends out along the top edge (not normally an issue I encounter), which necessitates a belt. The fabric composition of 93% cotton, 6% polyester, and 1% elastane is fairly standard for women’s jeans from similar brands, but the slightly more substantial weight gives the rest of it great shape retention. Many ‘premium’ jeans will sag in the knee and thighs throughout the day, so I decided to dabble in the no-wash-denim zone and found that, aside from the aforementioned waist and hem issues, they held their shape through several dozen wears.
These jeans sport a zipper fly, which is pretty standard for women’s denim, as a tight fit would make the day-to-day fabric manipulation that’s required of doing up button flies even more tricky. The front pockets feature copper rivets at stress points (uncommon for women’s denim) and bar tacks at the back pockets and along the belt loops (common). Overall, they definitely feel like solid jeans, the kind that I would recommend to someone who just wants to own one pair, as long as they’re cool with their one pair being ankle jeans.
The Adler is manufactured―”handmade” in the brand’s parlance―in California using American-milled Cone denim. While Taylor Stitch commits itself to making its products stateside, they do not delve as much into the particulars as some other brands. The company’s site doesn’t offer any additional info about where exactly their items are made, or whether they manage the factory(s?) themselves or outsource production.
In terms of material particulars for the Adler, stitching is a combination of chain stitching (bottom hems and waistband) flat felled seams (yoke and the center seam connecting the left and right sides) and lock stitching (inseams and outseams). Selvedge is generally a tricky thing to retain with the shaping of womens denim, and it’s a casualty in this instance, which also helps keep the jeans affordable. No information is provided on the composition of the threads, nor stitches per inch.
Considering the $98 price point and the overall place that Taylor Stitch holds in the brand landscape, it’s no surprise that the Adler doesn’t come with an exhaustive list of specs; the brand focuses more on its overall relationship with customers and being an accessible aspirational lifestyle brand, as opposed to a champion of a particular type of business model or manufacturing heritage.
At a retail price of $98, the Adler is hard to beat for overall value. It’s made stateside using the same noteworthy American-milled denim used for other American-made jeans that can sell for $200 or more. And so far it’s performed as well or better than the pricer jeans in my wardrobe. Premium finishes—like map-printed pocket bags, a custom YKK zipper, and copper rivets on the front pockets—make the Adler feel like it’s not cutting corners. And as an added bonus, Taylor Stitch is online-only outside of SF, but offers free shipping and returns, which makes the stakes a little lower for trying them on for size.
Though it may sound like I’m giving these jeans a hard time, consider it tough love, because I think they have the potential to succeed in a finicky market that sees all too many decent options come and go. The final verdict? Definitely worth it.
The Adler is available for $98 at Taylor Stitch.