In the world of men’s jeans, you’ve got options. None of those options inspires as much devotion or fandom as selvedge denim, though. Selvedge jeans are a cut above, with rugged appeal, long-lasting quality and a wide variety of styles and offerings. Do you need a pair? We’d wager yes, you certainly do. Dive into the deep world of denim now.
Selvedge denim is a type of cotton denim known for using the self-edge (or self-finished) side of the fabric. This process results in the outseam of the jeans showing a contrasting white-and-red fabric edge, visible at the cuff of the jeans.
This is also why selvedge jeans are commonly worn with a cuff – all the better to show off the hand-finished process. Most selvedge denim is a dark, inky blue, allowing the self-finished edge to stand out even more.
When you just want a tried-and-true classic, a pair of jeans to stand the test of time, Levi’s has you covered. The fit is suitable for all body types, the fabric is dependable, the price is affordable for selvedge denim – what more could you ask for?
Selvedge denim is desirable because of the care and craftsmanship that goes into each pair, resulting in a sturdy, stylish pair of jeans. Selvedge is remarkably unique in the denim world, all thanks to the intensive process used to create its hand-finished fabric edge.
Selvedge fabrics hail from denim hotspots like Japan, with different fabric weights lending a sturdier hand feel and long-lasting durability. Each pair also molds uniquely to the wearer: No two pairs of selvedge end up looking the same.
While selvedge denim refers to the self-edge of the fabric used in the jeans, raw denim is simply denim that hasn’t been washed or pre-treated.
Most selvedge jeans are crafted from raw, unwashed denim, but some prominent denim brands take selvedge denim and use a garment-washing process before the wearer can put them to the test individually.
Some selvedge denim is also made from 100 percent cotton, but some brands use small amounts of elastane to give selvedge some crucial stretch.
The world of selvedge (or selvage) denim can feel daunting at times, but if you want to dip your toe into that world without spending an arm and a leg, and without going too far over the top, you know where to go.
Of course, that’d be denim pioneer Levi’s, which has made its flattering, classic straight-leg 501 jean for decades. The price is agreeable, the fabric blend is a touch lighter than other selvedge pairs (thanks to the denim and hemp blend), and the medium wash is another timeless touch.
The best men’s denim on the market offers room for experimentation these days: Gone are the days when every pair of selvedge jeans was a deep, dark blue.
The Dempsey Jeans shake things up with a deep gold-and-blue fade, complemented by brown and gold thread, and they even boast 1 percent elastane for a more comfortable, easygoing wearability.
They’re a nice alternative if you want jeans that allow you to add your own character – while giving the aging and fading process an early start.
As San Francisco menswear staple Taylor Stitch notes, there’s “nothing quite like a well-worn pair of jeans,” and we’re hard-pressed to argue with that.
Just as with its fan favorite chinos, the slim-straight cut of the Democratic Jeans should fit plenty of body types, which is always a winner in our book. Yet, it’s the deep black selvedge – washed to replicate the fading on a throwback pair of Taylor Stitch jeans – that makes these highly distinctive.
The brand even used custom-developed rivets and hardware for a long-lasting finish.
When a designer like Todd Snyder vouches for his own product by wearing it consistently, that’s when you can count on it becoming a staple in your own wardrobe.
Snyder favors blue jeans at times, and often designs only clothing he’d wear personally – it all comes together in these vintage-minded jeans.
From the shank button fly to the classic (but not overly baggy) fit, these jeans have Snyder’s stamp of approval. They feature chain-stitched selvedge coin pocket detailing, plus a pleasingly faded mid-blue wash and 100 percent cotton construction.
The destination is really about the journey when it comes to finding – and then breaking in – your new favorite pair of selvedge denim.
Start with rich indigo jeans (made from unwashed raw selvage), then make them your own the more you wear them. Your daily wear patterns will create fades prized by denim lovers, and it’s all the better that Kato’s take on selvedge actually features easy-to-wear four-way stretch fabric.
This pair fits slim, a flattering cut you can easily wear with a casual henley come spring, then a rugged cardigan in cooler weather.
Selvedge denim has earned a reputation as being ultra-dependable and sturdy, but perhaps a bit uncomfortable at first wear. Kato solves that problem in as premium a manner as possible, using a durable 14oz. Japanese selvedge denim in inky black – denim that also features 4 percent stretch fabric.
The result is a pair of black jeans with an edgy look and feel, the kind you can wear with a white T-shirt for a crisp and classic look. And because you’re still getting selvedge fabric despite the use of four-way stretch material, they’ll break in wonderfully over time.
Ralph Lauren already has a penchant for making true American classics, and his RRL brand takes things a step further.
Think: Insanely high-quality fabric, exquisite designs and investment-level quality throughout the entire line, including this pair of selvedge denim.
The price tag is rather eye-popping (nearly $300), but they’re certainly worth the extra dough. The design is based on classic 1940s jeans (now updated with a modern fit), and they were even made on vintage looms in the United States.
You trust Bonobos to make the perfect pair of chinos, right? Place your trust in them when it comes to a pair of the best selvage denim, too.
All the hallmarks of the famed Bonobos fit are present, from the ergonomic waistband to four fit options (ranging from Slim to Athletic). The real winner here in the pleasingly versatile Dark Wash finish and the use of top-notch Japanese denim fabric.
Copper-colored rivets lend a nice touch of contrast, as does the selvedge-trimmed coin pocket. All that’s missing to round out your next #OOTD? A Bonobos Oxford or chambray shirt.
There’s a reason style legends like Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando favored the blue jean: It was casual yet hard-working, it was slightly edgy (for the time), and it looked great with all-American classics.
Fittingly, Buck Mason has quite the knack for serving up rough-and-tumble staples that harken back decades, be it buttery-soft T-shirts or tough leather jackets. And these Japanese selvedge jeans, made from a hard-working 13oz. cotton denim, are just the sort of pair those style legends would love.
Note the red-ticker selvage and branded back leather logo patch.
The denim industry was once known for excess, from water used in production to leftover fabric, but makers like Outerknown (founded by surfing legend Kelly Slater) are setting out to change that.
Slater’s brand makes its jeans at the world’s “cleanest denim factory,” according to the brand, and they do so using famed Italian denim from one of the world’s top mills.
The deep blue denim is complemented by gold contrast thread, and the color should fade quite nicely the more you wear this pair.
Get our newsletter
Keep up on the latest gear and deals.