What is Selvedge Denim and How to Wear It

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Not sure what selvedge denim is? This guide will help you in understanding selvedge denim, how to wear it and where to buy it. 

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Denim jeans are a staple to any mans wardrobe. They come in many different styles and fits. But how much do you know about selvedge denim? We have broken down all things selvedge denim for you so you’ll never be confused again.

What Is Selvedge Denim?

You may be reading this asking yourself, what is raw denim? Well, by definition selvedge means ‘an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unravelling.’  You can usually tell a pair of selvedge denim jeans due to the colour it’s finished with (usually orange or red) as opposed to an overlocking finish.

Raw selvedge denim
Selvedge Denim.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

Selvedge Denim Brands ?

Many high street and high-end brands offer a range of selvedge denim. Levi’s are renowned for their denim so when it comes to them producing selvedge denim we expect nothing but sheer quality. Ranging from £100 Levi’s offer selvedge denim in dark and light blue and in either original or slim fit.

Edwin use a selection of exclusively developed European and Japanese denim in both non-selvedge and selvedge. Slight more expensive and starting at upwards of £100, Edwin jeans use are harder denim which wear to your body.

Another denim brand that we stock here on the Idle Man in Nudie Jeans, they have a range of selevedge denim in different fits, washes and styles. An added bonus is that Nudie are a sustainable brand and use 100% cotton denim, they are known for their selvedge indigo jeans.

edwin denim
Edwin Denim.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How Long Will Selvedge Denim Jeans Last?

On average a normal pair of jeans can last anywhere from a few months to a year at best. With the best selvedge denim, their life expectancy exceeds other types of jeans to lasting over a year.

As outlined above, selvedge denim jeans are of a higher quality than your average pair of jeans. So when it comes to you buying jeans in the future, why not treat yourself to a slice of long lasting quality with a pair of selvedge denim.

Black Selvedge Denim

Though black denim is so popular on that market at the moment, black selvedge denim is not that widely circulated. There isn’t a real reason for this – but it might be something to do with the dying process. Some good brands to keep in mind while you search for black denim are Edwin and Levis selvedge who both have a few pairs in different fits.

black selvedge denim
Black Selvedge Denim.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Selvedge Denim Jacket

So picking up a selvedge denim jacket will cost you a pretty penny, most high street denim brands do not stock them so they tend to be more on the luxury market. That being said, I do believe they are worth the investment, there is something extremeley luxe and cool about a selvedge denim jacket that you can’t get with your average one.  Look at brands like Lee and Nudie, for the a cheaper price point and APC if you want to splash some cash.

How to Pin Roll Selvedge Denim

The easiest fit to pin roll are slim selvedge jeans, or regular fit jeans, this is because anything wider will create a ballooning effect on the hem, and anything skinnier tends to look like male jeggings – a big no no. So when looking at your pin roll make sure you are picking a pair of jeans that fit you well and roll accordingly. For a crisper pin roll it’s better to use a stiffer denim – this is why selvedge denim works so well.

Not only does this give a chic sportswear look, but it is also a simple way to show off your selvedge denim and gain some serious sartorial points.

pin rolled jeans and ultra boost
Pinrolled Selvedge Denim and Ultra Boost.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How to Wear Selvedge Denim

So now we have gone through all things selvedge denim, the only thing left to look at is how to wear it. The simplest way to break down these are to look at smart, smart casual and streetwear as these are key trends that feature selvedge denim. We’ll also be showing you the best denim jeans on the market right now for inspiration.

Smart

Throwing on a blazer with your jeans is a classic look, and it has an extra premium feel when you wear selvedge denim. Paired with some smart boots and sunglasses brings everything together.

blazer and jeans street style
Formal Denim Outfit.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

Smart Casual

One of the best ways to wear your denim is to go for a nice bomber jacket – these are going to be massive for next season, so I would say invest now before the prices rocket up! To make the look ultimately smart casual then throw on your chukka boots and accessorise with a handy bag.

mens vans street style jeans bomber jacket
Men’s Vans street style
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

Streetwear

One word! The pin-roll, we have spoken about this before and I’m just going to reiterate just how important the pin-roll is especially for this look. Streetwear heads around the world have been rocking this trend since the begining of time and I can’t see it going away any time soon. Just remember, if you are wearing raw selvedge denim then you need the pin-roll in your life to stop your trainers from dying blue.

carhartt streetwear jeans look
Carhartt Denim Outfit.
PHOTO CREDIT: The Ilest

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Where Does Denim Come From?

Raw denim originates from the area of Nîmes in France. Using the sturdy material known as Serge de Nîmes, weavers accidentally created jeans when they were attempting to recreate a corduroy trouser that had become famous in Italy. The name, quite obviously, comes from a combination of De and Nîmes to make the name denim.

It was during the 19th Century when jeans first became popular in America, where the jeans we know today begun to take shape. A tailor in Nevada made a pair using rivets to hold the pockets in place as an alternative form of pant for working men.

denim factory
Denim Production Process.
PHOTO CREDIT: Post’age Denim

Selvedge Denim Jeans VS Raw Denim Jeans

Many get raw denim and selvedge denim confused with each other but there is a big difference. Raw denim refers to the wash, where selvedge denim is the edge. Sometimes brands will label it ‘selvage‘ denim, but it is the same thing.

Raw denim is actually just denim that hasn’t been pre-washed, denim enthusiasts will swear by raw denim (also not to wash your denim). Remember though raw denim with dye your fresh white kicks if you don’t pin roll them.

Japanese Selvedge Denim

Japanese selvedge denim the same as all selvedge denim, the only reason people distinguish between them is the fact that Japan held the monopoly in producing them for such a long time. There are so few factories in the world that use shuttle looms (this is the sort of seal for selvedge denim). The Japanese have a love for post-WWII America so acquired these machines way back when, however there are a few factories in Africa and America that produce this type of denim, Japan does still remain the worlds top producer.

japanese selvedge
Japanese Selvedge Denim.
PHOTO CREDIT: Terapeak

Why Is Selvedge Denim Better Than Other Types Of Denim?

To further understand selvedge denim and its distinction between other types of denim, we need to go back in time. Before the 1950’s most fabrics including denim were made on shuttle looms. They produced tightly woven strips of heavy fabric, with the edges finished with tightly woven bands running down each side to prevent fraying, ravelling and curling. Through this method, denim produced on shuttle looms have a self-edge, hence the name selvedge.

With the demand for denim increasing during the 1950’s, manufacturers altered the way denim was created, using projectile looms which was much cheaper to produce. However, the edge that comes out of a projectile loom is not finished which leads to fraying and unravelling of the denim.

Selvedge denim therefore is of a much higher quality than the average pair of denim jeans. Not only are they of a higher quality, their overall look will have you standing out from the crowd. However, with quality comes a higher price tag, but surely spending that little bit extra is worth it?

What is Selvedge Denim and How to Wear It

  • Selvedge denim and raw denim are too different things! Just bare that in mind.
  • Always check the finish of the selvedge denim, if it is red or orange then you know you are on the right path.
  • It will cost you slightly more, but it does last longer so don’t be put off by the price tag.
  • Wear these just like you would any other denim they will fit into your wardrobe like a dream.
  • Remember to perfect your pin roll! It is the best way to show off your selvedge hems.
selvedge denim close up
Selvedge Denim.
PHOTO CREDIT: Arcane Supply

On That Note

So now we have got into the nitty gritty of all things selvedge denim, I hope you are never confused again. We have a selection of selvedge denim here at the The Idle Man so don’t forget to check them out, I promise it will step up your denim game forever.

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