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Jeans

5 Guys. 5 Trades. 5 Break-in Stories.

Our new collaboration with Nudie Jeans—Swedish master-craftsmen of raw denim in its purest form—follows five men of distinction over the course of nine months, as they do their best to beat up a crisp, new pair of jeans. You can follow their progress here on Men’s Shop Daily, as well as on Instagram.

Keep reading to meet the five guys—from a bicycle shaman to a caffeine connoisseur—whose stories, and jeans, we’ll be getting better acquainted with in the months to come.

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From dark and raw to bleached and faded, we can all agree that a great-fitting pair of jeans is a menswear essential that will never go out of style. With more new and unique denim brands entering our Men’s Shop lineup than ever before, we asked our buying team to name a few whose stories (and, of course, jeans) they thought you, our valued reader, would like to know. Keep reading for the low-down on eight cutting-edge denim brands—from zany Canadian start-ups to 125-year-old American icons.

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February 26, 2014

Nordstrom Men Talk Denim

Shopping for jeans online has its ups and downs. On the one hand, you have a huge selection of brands and styles to choose from—on the other, you can’t try them on to make sure the size is right. Enter our new, easy-to-use jeans size finder (you’ll find it on the product details page of every pair here).

Just grab two jeans you already own that fit well, type their sizes into the tool, and we’ll give you a size recommendation on a new pair.

To give it a test run, we asked four of our Nordstrom colleagues to try out new jeans based on our size recommendations. Keep reading to hear their thoughts on personal style, work, and of course, the best denim.

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You’re probably aware that Levi’s makes a great pair of jeans. But did you know Levi Strauss also invented today’s most prolific pant over 100 years ago, in order to outfit hard-working prospectors of the California gold rush?

A century later—after countless iterations of the classic 501 to best suit each generation of working men and women—a special branch of the Levi’s family, dubbed Levi’s Vintage Clothing, faithfully recreates the fabrics, packaging and fit of specific, bygone decades of denim. Because we firmly believe you should know your history to appreciate the present, we mined the LVC archive for incredible, period-specific memorabilia. Keep reading to see our favorites.

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What happens when our Men’s Shop video team goes to Las Vegas during Market Week? They run into Pharrell. They get down to brass tacks with up-and-coming design heroes. And they make some movie magic—amidst three furious days of menswear trade shows.

Watch the interview clips above to learn about the humble beginnings, advanced technology, and DIY ethos behind today’s best denim brands—then shop our Editor’s Picks below to start your quest for a new favorite pair. (Catch part 1 of our Vegas-trip Editor’s Picks here.)


L-R: Natural Selection | Levi’s Made & Crafted | 7 For All Mankind | Baldwin | Nudie


L-R: BLK DNM | AG Jeans | Hudson | Lee 101 USA | Raleigh Denim

 

Watch: More Videos in this Series

Shop All: ‘Denim, Reconstructed’ Featured Brands

From a garage band to a bike builder, and now to a blue-collar seafood aficionado, our tour of quintessential Seattle characters continues. The next Denim Shop episode in our nine-part series captures a day in the life of fishmonger Taho Kakutani, as he shovels ice and chucks sockeye at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market—all in a hard-working pair of AG Jeans.

Check out Taho’s bio on Pike Place Fish Market’s official site—and watch a comical but fantastic local news story about him here (Advil snatched him for a pain reliever spot before we did…at this point he’s never looked OR felt better).




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SHOP: AG JEANS | ALL MEN’S DENIM

…And watch more Denim Videos here.

 
 

[Still photos by Robin Stein.]

Last month, we showed you how the lead singer of Seattle band Pickwick gets down (and annoys the neighbors). For our latest Denim Shop video profile, we got our hands dirty in the garage of motorcycle connoisseur Kia Karimi—and road-tested a sturdy pair of Joe’s Jeans.

A former pro fixed-gear bike rider who now builds custom choppers from scratch, Karimi nonchalantly says “I just love two wheels, I guess.” When he’s not wrenching on his latest creation, he works at Seattle’s small-batch, organic bitters company, Scrappy’s Bitters.

Hear about the symbiotic relationship between man and machine in the video above, and check out some outtakes from our shoot below.





SHOP: JOE’S JEANS | ALL MEN’S DENIM

…And watch more Denim Videos here.

 
 

[Still photos by Kyle Johnson.]

Swedish denim brand Nudie knows its way around a killer fit (see their spring 2013 lookbook image above)—but their philosophy runs way deeper than just looking good. Last year, Nudie achieved the difficult goal of converting to 100% organic cotton.

The eco-friendly journey doesn’t end there: Nudie takes impressive steps to extend the life of your jeans by offering tutorials on how to patch your pair at home and opening a brick-and-mortar repair shop in London. They even offer wrecked jeans a chance at reincarnation with amazing projects like handwoven recycled-denim rugs.

The images below illustrate the ironic beauty of Nudie’s craftsmanship—despite the outwardly gritty appearance, the dyeing and recycling processes being depicted are sustainable and environmentally conscious. (For a video of Nudie’s recycling process, check out our previous post on selvedge denim.)



Besides being a clear leader in sustainable jeans, Nudie also has its finger on the pulse of independent music. Here’s a live performance from Nudie’s store in Gothenburg, Sweden, by a band from the same town called The Shy Lips (who, according to their own Facebook page, have been producing the “Finest Swedish indie rock since 2012″). For many more in-store shows by the likes of Little Dragon, Band of Horses, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and more—check out Nudie’s website.


 

SHOP: NUDIE JEANS | ALL MEN’S DENIM
 
 

[Video and images courtesy of Nudie Jeans; Nudie production images photographed by Ulf Lundin. Individuals featured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

Good to know: Every Nordstrom store is staffed with expert Personal Stylists, who can help you look amazing at an important event, locate the perfect gift, or just keep you up-to-date on the essentials you need to stay current each season. Their services are free of charge, so don’t hesitate to book an appointment today.

For this month’s installment of our Personal Stylist blog series, three female stylists from our flagship store in Downtown Seattle—Christie Coover, Nicole Jackson and Lisa Proko—fill us in on the five key items they’d love to see every man master this season.

1. Bold Color. “It’s fun to see guys wearing brights such as yellow, red, orange, and blue. This trend works in knitwear, linen, denim, even leather. If you’re nervous about executing it properly, relax. Just pair your one bright piece with neutrals—khaki, taupe, navy. Works every time. Ying and yang.” [Above: John W. Nordstrom Cotton Blazer]



Todd Snyder Sweatshirt | Gilded Age Jeans | The North Face Jacket
J. Press York Street Jacket | Grayers Pants | Penfield Jacket

SHOP MORE: BOLD BLAZERSBOLD COLOR IN THE RAIL

 

2. Pumped-Up Kicks. “With our love of brights right now, we love to see color on guys’ feet, too. This looks great beyond sneakers—think boat shoes, oxfords, loafers. Speaking of boat shoes, we’re kind of obsessed. Such an easy alternative to the sneaker. A high-quality shoe with your suit is also a must—try stepping it up with a wingtip or double-monk slip-on. Women take notice when you care about the details.” [Above: John Varvatos Star USA Canvas Buck]


Cole Haan Penny Loafer | Oliver Sweeney Double-Monk | Sperry Top-Sider Boat Shoe

SHOP MORE: LOAFERS | MONK STRAPS | BOAT SHOES

 

3. Jeans That Fit. “Similar to a great-fitting suit [see below], women want to see guys get a spot-on fit with their jeans. Jeans are such a staple because you can wear them so many ways: Dress them up with a blazer and skinny tie, or throw them on with a soft T-shirt and hoodie. Either way, have a salesperson help you find the fit works best for your build. Pick up multiple kinds (colorful, white, skinny, destroyed) so your denim doesn’t start to look like a uniform.” [Above: PRPS 'Rambler' Slim-Fit Selvedge Jeans]



AG Jeans | Levi’s Made & Crafted | Scotch & Soda
Nudie | Diesel | DL1961

SHOP MORE: MEN’S JEANS

 

4. A Well-Tailored Suit. “There’s a quote floating around Pinterest right now that says, ‘A well-tailored suit is to women what lingerie is to men’…And we agree! Nothing says sharp, smart, and confident like a great-fitting suit. It’s timeless. For a proper fit, your suit jacket should hug your shoulders. Try on a size smaller than you think you are, just to see how it fits. We like a slim lapel best. It’s fun to see guys do something custom and unique to show their style, like add a ticket pocket or wear a colorful pocket square.” [Above: Hugo Boss Trim-Fit Suit]


Joseph Abboud | Canali | Hugo Bos

SHOP MORE: SUITS & SPORTCOATS

 

5. Eye-Catching Patterns. “Some men might be hesitant to mix patterns together—but we say go for it! As long as you vary the scale and color, you should be good to go. For beginners, feel free to start slow: Same rules apply as with bright colors, just pair your pattern with neutrals so it’s not overwhelming.” [Above: Zanerobe Shirt]



Zanerobe Shirt | Polo Ralph Lauren Shorts | Burkman Bros Shirt
Insight Shorts | Bonobos Shirt | Theory Shorts

SHOP MORE: CASUAL SHIRTS | SHORTS

 
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Contributing Stylists: 

 
Nicole Jackson  •  Christie Coover  •  Lisa Proko

SHOP MORE PERSONAL STYLIST PICKS FOR MEN
…And call 1.877.543.7463 or click here to connect with a Personal Stylist near you.


 

When we interviewed AG Jeans Creative Director Sam Ku a few months ago, we noticed his favorite style icons were all of a vintage nature. From rough-around-the-edges antiheroes like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman to infamous ladies’ man Serge Gainsbourg, it was clear that Ku’s inspiration draws largely from the past—which provides a logical context for the latest lineup from AG Jeans.

Dubbed ‘AG-ed Vintage,’ the collection utilizes AG’s modern jean-crafting expertise in an ode to time-honored treasures discovered at a rare vintage shop. Each style is labeled with a number of years—the higher the number, the older the inspiration.

Here are a few favorites, from dusted-up greys that would look at home in the driver’s seat of a Mustang, to gently distressed blues for prowling Paris with Jane Birkin on your arm:


AG Jeans ‘Matchbox’ Slim Straight Leg Jeans (6 Years Destroyed)


AG Jeans ‘Dylan’ Slim Skinny Leg Jeans (3 Years Tonal)


AG Jeans ‘Matchbox’ Slim Straight Leg Jeans (7 Year Grey)


AG Jeans ‘Matchbox’ Slim Straight Leg Jeans (24 Year Fade)

 

SHOP: AG JEANS | ALL MEN’S DENIM

 
 

[Video clips © Solar Productions, Fontana Records, and Warner Bros.-Seven Arts. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]