Is selvedge denim worth it?
Introduced by Levi’s in 1853, denim has long been a significant part of history in menswear. A blue-collar staple that continues to grow, it’s estimated that every year around 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in the US. With so much of today’s denim being mass produced, the focus has shifted from the belief of quality and longevity to one of excess quantity and trend driven, fast-fashion.
The majority of denim today has a completely different look and feel than it once did. More brands than ever (yes, even Levi’s) are introducing synthetic materials for more stretch and laser-etched distressing to look like they are more well-worn pair.
Fortunately for us, the few vestiges of what denim’s greatness used to be still exists in the marketplace. When it comes to the trio of quality, longevity and price, the answer has always pointed to selvedge denim.
What is selvedge denim? Mentioned previously, selvedge denim is often referred to as being a superior quality denim fabric with a distinct “self edge” stripe down each side of the textile’s roll. Due to the limited availability of the looms needed to produce the denim fabric, as well as a smaller amount of material being manufactured, it is increasingly getting harder to find brands that still make denim in a selvedge style.
The few who do charge more for the time and effort that goes into the final product. Undoubtedly the question that everyone always asks: Is selvedge denim worth the extra money?
Yes, and here’s why
100% Cotton – Let’s face it, todays denim is just different. IMHO the stretch aspect in the current denim doesn’t feel the same. Selvedge denim feels like denim used to feel. Tough, bullet proof, and long-lasting.
You Invest in Quality – Typically a higher quality product means it will last longer. If you can buy one pair of denim instead of multiple pairs, why wouldn’t you spend a little more?
Jeans are Personal – Denim is inherently something that is personal. The fit, the feel, the way we use/wear them in. Each pair wears intrinsically different. With selvedge denim, you get to see the evolution of your pair as you wear them. New denim just doesn’t wear the same as a raw pair of selvedge denim.
Flaunt Your Sartorial Knowledge – For those of us who are denim enthusiasts, showing off that “self edge” regularly is a little badge of honor. It’s the kind of inconsequential thing that no one else will notice or care about, but you’re proud it’s there.
Great Denim is Versatile – While not everyone believes in wearing a pair with a sportcoat, denim is unequivocally versatile. A dark pair will work with almost anything in your wardrobe and can even take you through all four-seasons (yup, even summer).
Whether you need convincing or not, buying selvedge denim is an investment. For those who want the best, selvedge denim offers all the hallmarks of quality similar to that of a well-made suit. Personal preferences aside, I’ve owned several pairs of them over the years. I’ve found that spending a little more has always proved to be the wise decision.
Agree? Let me know if you think selvedge denim is worth it.
Steven D. Elliott
He Spoke Style