denim and beyond


…there are only a few things in his wardrobe, because it’s not like he’s got a closet—he keeps everything in his duffel bag. He’s got a white t-shirt, a Metallica t-shirt, a red leather jacket, a pair of white pants, a pair of motorcycle pants, and a pair of skull pants. So I guess if you have that few pieces of clothing in your life and you travel around a lot, you probably just care that they all have meaning to them.

From The Place Beyond the Pines’s costume designer Erin Benach interview by

The Gateway Garment

I know that this blog has somewhat of a leaning toward denim. “Sorrynotsorry” I believe is the term.

When I introduce my friends to the world of better-made clothing, I often reference raw denim first. Beside shoes, denim is probably the best and most accessible example of the benefits of better-made clothing. Indeed, it seems that most dudes who dip their toes into menswear start off with denim before moving on to shirts, outerwear, accessories, etc. To many, the idea of raw denim is romantic and, in ways, inspiring. They see the value of wearing a garment that gains beauty with time and they literally buy into it. It’s a little more difficult to see this concept with, say, a pair of shoes, at least to the untrained eye.

Brands like A.P.C., Nudie, and Naked and Famous tend to be the most popular for a man’s introduction into raw denim. With many companies today offering raw denim at more affordable prices, more and more men are willing to test the waters. If you’re unsure about dishing out the cash on these first three brands, Gap and Levi’s 501 shrink-to-fits are common choices for those of us who are on a tighter budget. And I’ve definitely seen some mad fades from these.

On the more advanced end, brands like Rising Sun, 3Sixteen, Momotaro and a whole slew of others, offer much more detail and craftsmanship for guys who are looking for something beyond a basic blue jean. Typically men will wear their first pair devotedly, blow them out, and move on to the next level of the denim experience, paying closer attention to denim weight, sourcing, and other finer details. 

At one point or another, one eventually “masters” denim and looks to other garments. Beyond denim, the growing menswear aficionado will expand his horizons and research reputable names for shoes, suits, and more. This process spreads to every part of the body that needs to be clothed, and before he knows it, he’s at the end of his life sprezzaturally alone lying in a pile of fine, artisanal clothing. He will struggle to get his precious last words out of his lungs, but he’ll find that the Drake’s seven-fold tie is tied too tightly on his bespoke shirt, both of which lay beneath a cashmere roll-neck sweater for some reason. His final breath will yield no words, but his last thoughts will undoubtedly go back to the first time he tried on a pair of A.P.C.’s.

It starts with denim.