Worth It: Jeans That Actually Are Good

Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn't get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that's how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our recommendation of random things that we've actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we'd actually tell our friends about. And now we're telling you.

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about a difficult time I was having finding a pair of jeans worth buying. If you will permit me the indulgence of a quote:

In a marketplace that provides more styles, more cuts and washes and rises, of denim pants for women than at any time before, why are there so few jeans worth wearing? Why does this consumer paradise give us, instead, "boyfriend" jeans and pre-perforated bleached monstrosities? Why are jeans always too tight or too loose or tight and loose in the incorrect proportions? Why camel toe? Why bedazzling? Why poorly thought-out pocket placement? Why Stupid Decorative Pocket Stitching? It is hard to design something invisible — both difficult in the technical sense, and also hard, I imagine, on the ego. Fashion designers, in my experience, no more want to think of themselves as tailors than architects self-identify as engineers. But the perfect jeans demand exactly that willingness to suppress one's aesthetic personality. Designing jeans requires perhaps more self-erasure than the average designer can deliver. They are just five pockets and a fly.

I also wrote that I'd finally settled, somewhat hesitantly, on a pair of Rag & Bone jeans, which I found for $90 in a bin at a department store sale, but that I anticipated those would be a temporary fix. That purchase was made in February of 2010, and two years later, I could not be happier to be more wrong. The Rag & Bones are still going strong, and they are on a per-use basis certainly the most cost-effective thing I own.

What I like about them is simple: they're good design. There are all kinds of nice touches that make these comfortable and useful. The waistband is faced with soft shirt cloth. The pockets are sensibly positioned and deep. There is no unnecessary top-stitching or weird branding. They make my ass look good. I have a personal pet peeve about jeans that expose a little glimpse of zipper tape, or even teeth, at the top of the fly, right under the button: that's what happens when the button isn't correctly placed in line with the fly, or when the waistband hasn't been interfaced to prevent it stretching out with wear, and it's a mark of poorly made pants. These don't do that; the zipper stays hidden, like it should be. The only thing I don't like about them is the price — some of Rag & Bone's styles approach the $200 mark at retail — but that's what sales are for.

And in two years of consistent wear — I'd put it at about three days a week, with according washing/tumble-drying — I've had no holes and no real worn patches, either. The denim is clearly pretty good quality. And that can only be a good thing, because I want to delay my next jeans-shopping trip for as long as possible.

Rag & Bone jeans, $176-$198 at the label's official site