Thursday, February 02, 2006

Denim Evolution

The New York Times ran a story today that reflects the heightened level of attention consumers are giving their jeans. Shoppers are not just scrutinizing their $150 garments more carefully. Trips to the tailor for new jeans are now common enough that both of my tailors are considering equipment upgrades to accommodate jeans alterations.

Not too long ago Earnest Sewn opened the doors to their NYC concept store where one can custom make a pair of jeans by expert hands. With a salivating selection of fabric, trims, style, fit/cut, your jeans can be as unique as a pair of bespoke suit slacks. But of course, we're a long way from Saville Row.

But gone may be the days when a girl can just "throw on any pair of jeans" when she doesn't want to spend half the day finding the right dress just to have dinner and hit the clubs afterwards. In our age of fancy trims and comfortable, durable fabric, the best jeans will carry professionals from a day of client meetings to the night with a hot date. So the right jeans is important. In many circles the jeans and jacket outfit has become the accepted work suit.

Is this a fad or will it join timeless fashion icons like the pin stripe suit? Many non-believers will probably scoff, but I think denim is going to be further hardwired into our fashion, like it or not.

I can also hear denim-heads from the underground/street fashion community alienating me for advocating a meticulous approach to jeans. In my defense I'll say: an easy and casual approach to wearing jeans works on weekends. I still subscribe to the streetwear attitude. But many lifestyles require us to remove the tee and don a white collar. Denim has saved my ass from the $200 JC Penny suit that doesn't breathe properly.

That's why I always emphasize on the fit. Your jeans are nice but do they fit you? When I put on a slim fitting blazer, it won't do if the hems of my bootcuts don't strike my boots just so. Not quite the same attention we give our tailored Armanis, but are we that far?

We've come a long way from the dusty time of miners in Levis.

New York Times Article (may require free registration; use bugmenot)

Check out what others are saying about the State of the Fashion Union. Via Almost Girl and Fashion Tribes.


Blogger Chenster said...

are you talking about denim at work? that's an insane can you wear jeans to a corporate presentation, or client meeting?

3/15/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Henry Wong said...

Pick the answer you like:

A) You mean you can't wear jeans to work? Dude your job sucks...

B) Do you know who Steve Jobs is?

But seriously, we have many industries that allow denim day to day in the work place. Video game, dot com, media, fashion, etc.

That's not to say the suit and tie (or tux) is disappearing. I don't expect investment bankers in denim anytime soon.

3/15/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Henry,

Can you tell me an alterations place where they know how to hem jeans the right way?

3/31/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Henry Wong said...

Hemming jeans is often thought as being a simple process. But you don't want to put your $300 denim in the wrong hands. You also don't want to blow a chunk of change.

If you're in NYC, try Ramon Diaz on Mott Street (near Houston). He's got experience and is very reasonably priced. Get a eurohem, which put the original hem to the shortened length. At $25 it's a steal.

If you buy Diesel jeans the store will do it for you for about $20.

4/01/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Henry Wong said...

One more point on hemming jeans. If you don't care about the orignal hem then the tailoring job is much cheaper. Think $5.

4/01/2006 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hem re-attachment is only really necessary on jeans that have been subject to some wear and washing (whether before or after purchase). Raw or one wash denim should just be hemmed.

If you're in NYC, get raw or one wash jeans hemmed at the 45rpm store on Mercer and Houston. They use excellent quality cotton thread (which will shrink a little in the wash and cause the proper puckering of the hem) and have the only chain-stitching machine I know of in the city. Free service on their own brand of jeans, $10 on any others you bring in.

4/26/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the original jean hem question. After asking the tailor to re-attach the original hem to my jeans when I took the jeans in for hemming, he failed to do so. And... threw away the original hem. Is there any way to fix the hem and not have my jeans look stupid?

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