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Diesel Denim Gallery
Photograph: Courtesy of Diesel Denim Gallery
AG Adriano Goldschmied
Cofounded by selvage guru Adriano Goldschmied (creator of Diesel’s jeans line) and second-generation denim manufacturer Yul Ku in 2000, this upscale label was a pioneer in the now-saturated field of high-quality blues. Though Goldschmied’s no longer helming the company, its designs—crafted from Japanese and Italian fabric—are still coveted for their second-skin-like fit and worn-in feel. Many styles are hand-sanded to achieve their aged appearance and then tumbled with pumice stones for softness. Plunder the label’s snug downtown outpost for its AG-ed Vintage collection ($205--$325), doppelgngers for your fave ripped, faded pair, along with other classic styles, which you can get altered on the spot by an in-house tailor. 111 Greene St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-680-0581); 305 Columbus Ave between 74th and 75th Sts (212-496-5692)
A.P.C. & A.P.C. Surplus
Jeans are as American as Chuck Norris and apple pie, but this French brand has earned a devoted following on our turf for its raw denim. Yes, trying on its pieces will feel much like you’re donning cardboard pants. But these jeans ($165 and up) command your respect and devotion: Breaking them in requires patience, which the slick guy at the counter will probably tell you when giving you instructions not to wash your new acquisitions for at least a year. Bargain hounds should sniff out the A.P.C. Surplus outlet store for discounts of up to 60% and for its funky pod-shaped changing chamber. A.P.C., 131 Mercer St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-966-9685); A.P.C. Surplus, 33 Grand St at Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-381-3193)
Make a beeline to this hip resource for its always dependable lineup of denim labels like Joe’s, Nudie, Prps, AG Jeans and J Brand (from $170). If you’re looking for a serene shopping experience, you might want to bring your earplugs since there’s frequently an in-house DJ spinning hip-hop in the vast marble-floored emporium. 644 Broadway at Bleecker St (212-473-9200)
Style arbiters flock to Bloomie’s downtown location to comb through racks upon racks of high-end blue jeans ($99 and up) from the likes of True Religion, James, Joe’s and Citizens of Humanity. Not only is the emporium—formerly the home of streetwear supplier Canal Jeans—cozier than its uptown flagship, its friendly staff help make the arduous task of finding the right jeans less daunting. 504 Broadway between Broome and Spring Sts (212-729-5900)
The Italian streetwear brand’s sleek shop houses limited-edition selvage, and true denim devotees flock to the minimally adorned spot to snap up hand-distressed pieces. With some styles costing $400, prices can rival investing in a print from a Chelsea art gallery, but fans swear that the jeans’ fit seems bespoke. 68 Greene St between Broome and Spring Sts (212-966-5593)
At its cavernous two-story location, the Dutch jeans-oriented brand favors basics with a Blade Runner--esque bent. Pieces feature dark, clean washes, and the signature raw selvage ($150--$230) is adored by purists. If you’re craving a denim wardrobe, G-Star’s high-end NY Raw line ($55--$550) will outfit you in indigo trench coats, coat dresses and corsets. 270 Lafayette St at Prince St (212-219-2744); 873 Broadway between E 18th and E 19th Sts (212-253-1117); 441 Broadway between Grand and Howard Sts (212-625-3702)
Formerly known as Tsubi, this Aussie label was founded by a pair of surfers and recently had to alter its moniker after some trademark troubles. Despite its name change, Ksubi’s goods for both genders remain steadfastly edgy at its downtown shrine. Its culty skinny jeans flank the walls in traditional washes like indigo (from $250). 219 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-334-4690)
Lucky Brand Jeans
A little bit country and a little bit rock & roll, this 30-year-old Californian company prides itself on its supersoft, vintage-looking dungarees ($80--$149). The four-clover label’s seven outposts offer a multitude of silhouettes including straight leg, bootleg and relaxed for lovers of West Coast casual chic. 535 Broadway between Prince and Spring Sts (212-680-0130); go to luckybrandjeans.com for more locations
Specializing in hard-to-find sizes like 00 and 16, this boutique offers scads of insidery denim brands (starting at $85) including Beija-Flor and C.enne.V along with well-known lines like James. There’s also an on-premises tailor who will hem your jeans for free while you wait. 278 Mott St between E Houston and Prince Sts (212-431-7709)
Not ready to drop $400 on hand-stitched wares at Diesel’s Denim Gallery? Luckily, more affordable options abound at this purveyor of edgy streetwear. Grab armfuls of blue styles from its myriad cubbies filled with artfully weathered and pared-down bottoms for both genders ($140--$350). Diesel’s edgy T-shirts (from $45) will also help clothe your upper half. 1 Union Sq West at 14th St (646-336-8552); 135 Spring St between Greene and Wooster Sts (212-625-1555); 770 Lexington Ave between 60th and 61st Sts (212-308-0055); 685 Fifth Ave at 54th St (212-755-3555)
The Levi’s Store
Brilliant German immigrant Levi Strauss singlehandedly invented blue jeans in 1873, and his company’s iconic red-tabbed 501s have been donned by such fashion mavens as James Dean, Elvis and Marlon Brando. Today, its rustic shops offer up Strauss’s riveted classics along with freshly minted well-priced goodies like eco-friendly skinny pants ($78) for lasses and slim 597s (from $59) for lanky dudes. 25 W 14th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-242-2128); 536 Broadway between Prince and Spring Sts (646-613-1847); 750 Lexington Ave between 59th and 60th Sts (212-826-5957)
Turkish for “blue,” the Istanbul company shows its true colors at its 3,500-square-foot flagship. Shelves are neatly stocked with piles of denim including organic-cotton pants ($98 and up) for tree huggers. 832 Broadway between 12th and 13th Sts (917-289-0520)
Photograph: Courtesy of Earnest Sewn
Established by former Paper Denim & Cloth designer Scott Morrison, this culty jeans label marries vintage American style with old-school workmanship. Each pair ($158 and up) boasts butt-boosting pockets, flattering seams and signature numbers stamped on the inside of its waistband. Earnest Sewn’s rustic Washington Street outpost also features a back room that acts as a pop-up shop for up-and-coming labels like Trovata, and its LES boutique includes an in-house florist. 821 Washington St between Gansevoort and Little W 12th Sts (212-242-3414); 90 Orchard St at Broome St (212-979-5120)
The Jean Shop
When you desire denim as singular as your fingerprint, this clothier can whip you up a custom wash (starting at $320) on top of top-notch Japanese selvage. Those in a rush can skip the five-day-long wait for made-to-measure bottoms and snap up premade styles that are just as well-crafted (from $240). Its two packed-to-the-rafters depots also serve up urbane leather goods such as belts ($155). 435 W 14th St at Washington St (212-366-5326); 424 West Broadway between Prince and Spring Sts (212-334-5822)
Combined, the hip chain’s two Meatpacking District mega emporiums take up an entire block of real estate. To help you divide and conquer its extensive selection of on-trend denim labels like 7 for All Mankind, Genetic Denim and AG Jeans, the breezy depots offer free personal shoppers (by appointment only). 430 W 14th St between Ninth Ave and Washington St (Men: 212-929-1244; Women: 212-691-1905); 473-475 Broadway between Broome and Grand Sts (212-925-3539); 1273--1277 Third Ave between 73rd and 74th Sts (212-535-5577)
The upscale department store’s more-accessible sibling raises the denim bar by virtue of its lineup of established brands including 7 for All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity and Rag & Bone, as well as under-the-radar labels such as Resin, Ever and MiH Jeans. 236 W 18th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-593-7800); 116 Wooster St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-965-9964); 2151 Broadway between 75th and 76th Sts (646-335-0978)
Upper East Side
National Jean Company
Like the Barnes & Noble of jeans, this retailer houses an impressive 2,000 pairs in its uptown flagship and its wood-walled “denim library” offers more than 15 brands ($158--$275), including J Brand jeans ($158). 1335 Third Ave between 76th and 77th Sts (212-772-2392)
Founded by folks in the jeans industry, this dungarees-only portal allows you to search its arsenal of affordable brands by fit, size, cut, waist and price. What’s more, you’ll receive free shipping on purchases of $125 or more, and returns are accepted sans interrogation.
When you’ve scoured the racks and can’t find the exact style that you’re looking for, point your browser to this site to craft your own personal pair. Though its wares are nowhere near bespoke quality, you can choose from details like stretch or pure cotton, 11 washes, high- or low-rise cuts, cuffed bottoms and back flap pockets for the reasonable price of $145 to $155.
Not only does this Santa Monica outfit stock the latest blue accoutrements ($130 and up) from indie labels like Marlow, Red Engine and People’s Liberation, it keeps you in the know about everything denim with online features like “confessions of a denim fit model” and interviews with dungaree designers. Bonus: Jeans.com offers free shipping.
You won’t have to pay a cent on shipping when you pluck under-the-radar, cutting-edge denim lines (starting at $52) such as Rich & Skinny, Anlo and Current/Elliott from this Cali site.