A recent Wall Street Journal article questioning how jeans can cost $300 and up caused some Facebook fodder between two colleagues that caught my eye. I didn’t delve into their conversation, but I had previously read the article and thought it was interesting how people lament over the notion of premium denim jeans.
Today’s classification of premium denim doesn’t have much in common with the jeans that were invented to protect workers in the coalmine. Unlike bygone days when jeans were strictly worn for physical labor, now jeans are in nearly everyone’s modern wardrobe and are in the DNA of nearly everyone’s personal style. Wearing jeans is a current lifestyle response to be more relaxed when at work or more sophisticated when socializing.
It was amusing to notice that one colleague scoffed at the prices of premium denim. But I don’t feel the same way about it. Not one bit.
At the workplace, people who have dressed to more traditionally conforming styles have found ways to ease into denim. But wearing just any jean won’t make the right visual impact, especially for those working at levels of higher visibility, creative fields, and any position where appearing polished is just as important as feeling comfortable and looking approachable.
I’m all for being price conscious, but consider this: Finding any garment – especially jeans – that meets your personal standards of polish, comfort, and approachability, as well as one that fits your body properly, is sure to come at a price.
There are those who are blessed with bodies that seem to look great no matter what they wear. But for the rest of us who need more choices, it’s amazing to see the vast selection that exists to help enhance our bodies and make the most of what we have.
As for premium denim, there are varying levels of it. Some premium denim, like Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana is fabulous and fashion forward, supporting the look and feel of the brands they represent. They’re going to be at the top end of the price spectrum, and I tend to recommend denim at this level to those who are equally brand and fit conscious and whose bodies are in opposite disproportion to the cash in their wallets. Just like designer shoes, designer jeans look amazing, but they’re certainly not for everyone, but they have a rightful purpose to exist and to be worn by the right individuals.
There are more moderately priced premium denim jeans that, while not priced like $50 Levis, are a far cry from $300 and up styles. Depending on my clients’ budgets, body style, and what we’re looking for in terms of denim styles, there are a great variety of denim makers I like to show. It seems that the brand 7 For All Mankind is the benchmark denim brand, with their signature rear pocket design prominent on many a man’s and woman’s tush in offices and restaurants all over the area. Whatever the brand, premium denim is all about quality denim in various washes yielding an amazing array of “hands,” which refers to how the denim feels. Then there are the details, like the obvious stitching accenting the design of a pair of jeans. Although the trend had been toward eye grabbing designs, the new direction is to wear sparingly detailed styles.
But what’s also interesting about premium denim resources is the added desire of the wearer to have something that perhaps not everyone else is going to be wearing, especially when you consider investing some serious coin for jeans. I’m a huge fan of Vince. They have two stores in the area, one in San Francisco’s Union Square, and one in Stanford Shopping Center. I’m also a huge fan of William Rast, a denim line funded by none other than Justin Timberlake. You might not think of Silicon Valley as a hotbed of experimentation, but William Rast actually has their only Northern California store based there. Nordstrom has a great selection of denim for men including lines like Joe’s Jeans [no relation!] and the aforementioned “7’s,” among others. Neiman Marcus has a great selection of denim for women.
One of my favorite retailers specializing in premium denim is The Blues Jean Bar. They have a Santana Row and a San Francisco [Cow Hollow] location. Being a specialty retailer allows them to focus on finding special denim products that aren’t widely available, but once you become familiar with them become deeply coveted.
During the fall season, after I return from a very exciting trip to Europe, I plan to host exciting events at both Vince and at The Blue Jeans Bar to introduce you to their offerings and my level of service and expertise, because I believe denim is for everyone.
Joseph Rosenfeld helps high-profile individuals revitalize, manage, and be secure in their personal visual brand. Visit JosephRosenfeld.com for details.