February 13, 2012

Favorite Finds: White Denim

Denim is something that can either be very simple or very difficult to shop for. There are more styles in more colors by more brands than I care to think about, let alone list. Finding quality denim in a flattering fit for a reasonable price is not easy, but that is where this Favorite Finds takes us.

Uniqlo has rapidly become known as a destination for well-made, affordable basics and that carries through to their denim. Looking forward to spring, it looks like white denim is going to be big again and Uniqlo has just the pair. They paired with one of the top denim mills in the world to manufacture a fabric that is extremely high quality, but assembled elsewhere in Asia to be able to keep the costs down.

The fit is described as a skinny tapered, but I would not describe them as tight by any means. There was more than enough room in the thigh to keep them comfortable and the tapered leg maintained a nice clean look.

The waist measurement suffers from the same vanity sizing that afflicts nearly every company, though not as badly as some (particularly American labels) with only a 2” difference from the advertised size and the actual size. A brief explanation of vanity sizing - I wear my pants at the top of my hip, so that is where I take my ‘waist’ measurement, which is 36”. When buying pants, I wear anything from a 31-36 waist (usually a 32-34) depending on how accurately the manufacturer sizes their clothes. There is much more to this, and I will cover it in more detail in a future post, but that is the gist of it.

Most of Uniqlo’s pant offerings come only in a 34” inseam. They have introduced a very limited selection of 32”, but for the most part you will only see 34s. I would imagine that the reason behind this is so that they can further keep costs down and normally this would pose a problem for many people, however, Uniqlo offers a tailoring service so that you can get the best fit without much trouble. This is also a great option for those whose inseams are right in the middle of the standard lengths, giving the perfect leg line without the cost of taking it to an outside tailor (an especially important thing with jeans since they require a special machine to make that machine hem)

They offer a straight stitch hem for free ($5 for pants priced under $20) and a blind stitch hem for $5. A blind stitch would only be needed on a dressier trouser where a visible machine stitch would be out of place. Usually, this alteration can be done in a matter of hours so you can be on your way in no time (on average 2-3 hours for peak times and an hour or less when they’re not busy). You should probably be taking every pair of pants you buy to your tailor, but it is hard to beat free (or $5 for that matter).

The only thing that you have to be careful about, and this is something to look at on any garment you are considering purchasing, is care instructions. The jeans, like every Uniqlo product I own, are machine wash and line dry. My guess would be that they do not pre-shrink the cotton as yet another way to keep the cost down, so be careful to check the tag before throwing anything in the dryer.

Normally all these concessions that you have to make as a result of a company cutting costs would be pretty annoying. However, unlike most companies, Uniqlo passes the savings onto their customers. At $49.50, these jeans are probably some of the best you could buy for twice that price. I know several people who only wear Uniqlo jeans and swear by their quality and durability. The next time I am in the market for denim, this will be my first stop.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

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