“Quality starts with the raw materials suppliers,” Leverton says. “Just like with Egyptian cotton sheets, premium denim begins with long staple cotton.” Selvedge can be expensive, sure, but it only tells part of the story. Getting a sense of the entire manufacturing process is more important than looking for those telltale white and red taped edges. The more you know about where your denim is sourced from and how it’s made, the more confident you can be that your jeans will last.

The Same Jeans Aren’t Always the Same Jeans

Ever bought a pair of jeans only to find that they fit differently than the exact same model you bought a few years ago? You’re not the only one. The inconsistency isn’t the result of brands intentionally spurning their lifelong customers, Leverton notes—it’s a byproduct of disjointed manufacturing processes and the nature of cotton itself. “At the end of the day, denim is an organic animal that brands are basically trying to tame,” she says. Big-box retailers churn out thousands, if not millions, of jeans, with the help of a complex web of suppliers and manufacturers, and those inconsistencies are only exacerbated along the way.

The best solution for the most finicky among us? Buy your jeans from brands that make less of them. “Smaller labels usually get the consistency right more often than mass market brands,” says Leverton, noting that independent denim labels usually only work with one or two mills and manufacturers. “There are just fewer chances for it to go wrong.”

Step 3: Browse Judiciously

As we mentioned, the internet is filled with places to get your denim fix. But if you’re looking for the best of the best—meaning, trustworthy sites with excellent selection and dependable size guides—here are five retailers that will make buying your next pair of jeans a breeze.


Not only does the first name in denim offer a million different silhouettes to choose from—even the 501 comes in a dozen-ish variations—it provides detailed sizing for every pair, complete with accurate waist, inseam, and thigh measurements. If brand new red tabs feel a little too pristine, Levi’s also sells a selection of vintage jeans worn-in the old-school way: by real, actual human beings.


501 Original Fit Jeans


501 Original Shrink-to-Fit Jeans


505 Regular Fit Jeans

Todd Snyder

For a relatively small brand, Todd Snyder offers a massive selection of denim in different fits, washes, and sizes. Jonesing for some loose-fitting Japanese selvedge? They’ve got you covered. Just need a comfortable pair of slim-fit jeans? They’ve got you covered there, too.

Todd Snyder

Classic Fit Selvedge Jean

Todd Snyder

Relaxed Pleated Selvedge

Todd Snyder

Slim Lightweight Japanese Selvedge

Todd Snyder

Relaxed Selvedge In Distressed Patch and Repair

Mr Porter

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the e-comm juggernaut stocks a deep selection of jeans, culled from a staggering range of small-batch labels and big-name designer brands. What is surprising, though, is just how pleasant Mr Porter makes buying them: there’s loads of helpful information attached to each silhouette, lightning-fast shipping cuts down your wait time to a matter of days, and should you strike out on the first go-around, a generous return policy means it won’t be long before you’re shimmying into the correct pair.

Rick Owens

Geth Wide-Leg Jeans

Our Legacy

Fatigue Wide-Leg Twill-Panelled Jeans


Magpie Slim-Fit Flared Jacquard Jeans

Blue In Green

If you even has a passing interest in Japanese denim, then you probably know Blue In Green. The New York-based shop is a destination for grail-level Japanese menswear, denim included. The store is a pilgrimage site for denim purists, and BiG’s friendly staff is more-than-willing to help you find your next pair of jeans.

Sugar Cane

12oz Denim 1947 Model Type-II

Studio D’Artisan

D1879S Ai Shibu Dyed Jeans Regular Straight


1341-0105SS 11.5oz Wide Straight Dartford


S211VX-NTA Relaxed Tapered Benkei

Self Edge

Ready to really earn your whiskers? Self Edge sells a best-in-class array of rarified denim, including plenty of heavy-hitting brands almost impossible to find outside of Japan. Want to dabble in extreme weights like 18 or 20 oz. denim? Start here. Just trying to broaden your horizons (or flex your denim chops in front of your less-knowledgeable pals)? Now you know exactly where to go.

Iron Heart

Slubby Selvedge Jeans

Studio D’Artisan

G-003 jeans


x Old Blue Limited-Edition Jeans

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