Truth be told, I might be a jean hoarder.
I guess it stems from my once-blooming retail career at Buckle. About 75 percent of what Buckle stocks is denim, so I started with horrible brands that I can barely stand to even mention nowadays—MEK, Rock Revival and so on. Then I bought my fair share of would-be-high-end, heavy, logo-embellished jeans (True Religion, Rock & Republic, etc.) only to quickly abandon them when that trend died down.
I needed less flash and more style variance, plus a higher caliber of fit and quality. The jeans that made this list accomplish that vision for me. I may be a bit obsessed, but I swear by these brands as they continue to wear well and carry me past the finish line.
If it weren’t for Levi's then there would be no list to go off of. Levi Strauss singlehandedly gave birth to the culture of denim. Quality and affordability are two reasons you can never go wrong with picking up a pair. These jeans can get pricey, with premium lines such as Made & Crafted and Capitol E, but Levi's have proven that they have what it takes to be a great denim brand that continues to remain relevant as well as iconic. What other jeans company regularly does collaborations with brands like Billy Reid, J.Crew, and Club Monaco?
J Brand Jeans
Although it started off as a women’s-only denim line, pull on a pair of J Brands and you will swear it was meant to be! Born in California, J Brand has only been making men's jeans since 2008, but the brand has earned a fanatical following by sticking to the mission statement, a pledge “to create a classic and sophisticated jean with an emphasis on fit.” They have it under control!
Once you’re in waist-deep with the heavy, stiff, rough stuff you will find a sinful itch that only Nudie Jeans can scratch. This Swedish brand knows the meaning of rigid denim because they are defining it jean by jean. Each pair is like a mustang—a smooth ride once you break them in and wear them down a little. Nudie is also an environmentally conscious company that prides itself on ethical production and human rights awareness, which commands a standing ovation. Although that is certainly commendable, the fact remains that I'm buying them based 100 percent on the quality of the product. Their Selvage denim in particular is to die for—they feel like the kind of jeans that you can wear for a lifetime.