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Photography by Mr John Lindquist
Words by Mr Peter Henderson

The word jeans comes from the French phrase bleu de Gênes, literally, the "blue of Genoa", named after the port where Italian sailors first wore them in the 19th century. From these maritime origins, jeans have gone on to become a fundamental part of every man's wardrobe, and since the 1950s, have been as much about fashion as about comfort and durability.

A straight or slim-fitting pair in a mid-to-dark colour, with minimal details and distressing, will be the most versatile trousers in your wardrobe. Dress them up with a blazer, shirt and repp tie - like Mr Andy Warhol - or down with boots, a T-shirt and a leather jacket, like Mr Marlon Brando.

Unwashed jeans (often described as raw, rigid and dry) are not pre-washed, meaning they will change in appearance over time, acquiring a broken-in look. Sanforization is a process which prevents jeans from shrinking when they are washed. Un-Sanforized and unwashed means jeans will shrink when wet, so it's advisable to buy them two sizes up if you plan to launder them. These jeans are marked "shrink to fit" and can be intentionally shrunk by submerging them in water while wearing them, to achieve a personalised fit. All of the unwashed jeans in this feature, however, are Sanforized which means they will not shrink, but still need to be worn-in.

Washed jeans are less complicated, but offer a less "authentic" experience (according to denim purists, at least). If laundered correctly they will not shrink significantly, and already have a worn-in look thanks to various treatments manufacturers use to wash them.

Selvedge denim is woven on narrow looms, a time-consuming process that ensures the fabric has a woven "self-sealed" edge which is durable and will not unravel. This in-built seam runs down the centre of the denim, meaning the jeans only need to be stitched down one side of each leg in production (the selvedge edge runs down the other side). This makes them stronger and can also improve the fit. Another element to consider is production location (yes, really): denim nerds will tell you that it genuinely matters whether the loom is placed on a concrete or wooden floor since the latter makes the looms move and reverberate when running, adding "character" to the denim as it is woven.

Straight-leg jeans are self-explanatory, offering the most classic look for all body types, provided the jeans are neatly cut and not baggy. Tapered legs decrease in width towards the bottom. If this taper is fairly noticeable, and the jeans are cut narrowly at the top, then they are usually termed "slim" fit.

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