On any given day I’m generally wearing an outfit costing around $2,000. It’s not a bespoke business suit or something made out of solid gold. It’s usually just a pair of jeans, a flannel shirt, a leather jacket and some boots. Because I’m the kind of guy who wears $300 flannel shirts and $400 jeans. If you’re going to do it right, dressing like a 1950s dad meets construction worker costs big bucks.
Look, I didn’t set out trying to fill my closet with overpriced Japanese “workwear.” It started innocently enough with regular old Levi’s selvedge jeans. That finished side seam did look a lot cleaner than the unfinished alternative. I’ve always cuffed my denim, so it seemed like a good way to level up a look I was already rocking. But then I heard selvedge wasn’t enough. You need raw denim (or at least unwashed—there’s a subtle difference) so you can break them in from day one.
Pretty soon I was dry-cleaning jeans to avoid getting them wet, which I later found out was worse for my sick fades than just soaking them in the tub. Now, every night before I go to bed, I carefully drape my jeans on a wrought-iron hanger built especially for denim—just $37 from Self Edge. My $400 thrice-brushed flannel shirts hang on thrice-brushed wooden hangers, right next to $300 loop-wheeled sweatshirts and $200 thermal underwear. My dream is to one day own a walk-in freezer to use as a wardrobe. It kills the bacteria and keeps your jawns smelling fresh.
“So what if no one but other denimheads recognizes? I know I’m wearing fly, high-end threads. And what do I care what a peasant in Levi’s 501s notices anyway? All they need to know is that I look better than they do.”
There’s already a backlash in the denimhead community against treating your jeans like they’re made out of cobwebs and fairy wings. Whatever. I grew up without a lot of money. Three years ago was the first time I cleared more than a cool $20,000 a year. If I’m spending $400 on a pair of jeans I’m going to keep them as fresh as possible. Suits are cool and everything, but they’re a pain in the balls. Compare with just throwing on a pair of jeans and a flannel.
So what if no one but other denimheads recognizes? I know I’m wearing fly, high-end threads. And what do I care what a peasant in Levi’s 501s notices anyway? All they need to know is that I look better than they do. I’ll take my enlightened praise from the good folks on Superfuture and r/rawdenim.
Part of the appeal is being in on something most people don’t get. Remember the business card scene in American Psycho? It’s kind of like that. Maybe you can’t distinguish between a pair of double indigoes and some overdyed jeans. Nor can some people tell the difference between Folger’s freeze-dried coffee and freshly ground Kona. I liken it a bit to that. I even have a journal where I document the fading process, reminiscent of a Scotch connoisseur’s tasting diary.
Put directly: An ’87 Taurus will get you where you’re going just as fast as a Cadillac El Dorado, but don’t pretend like the two are even in the same galaxy.
And before you talk shit, try them on. Those jeans your girlfriend got you at the mall will instantly feel like a pair of paper bags to you once you’ve broken in some serious raw denim, fitted perfectly to your legs. Raws start off a little stiff, but once you break them in it feels like denim gnomes appeared and wove them directly onto you in your sleep.
From the second I donned a pair of Iron Hearts, I knew they were worth every penny. And if you need to sell your wife on the cost, just tell her it’s the only pair of jeans you need for the next two years. Sure, it’s going to start a new and expensive addiction, but she doesn’t need to know that right now. Just get the first pair in and let things progress from there.
Soon you’ll be like me. Constantly checking out other dude’s jeans. Refreshing raw denim websites every ten seconds. Trying to learn the latest and greatest about how to get sick fades. Signing up for alerts for a buffalo check shirt that’s in a slightly different shade of blue than the three you already own. Don’t forget to cop yourself a $200 belt to hold up your new threads. I’ve got a lead on some $75 pens that will make way better fades in your raw denim shirt than that Bic you’re carrying around.
But don’t even get me started on $800 wallets. That shit is just ridiculous.