I thought expensive jeans were a waste of money until I tried this $170 pair of Selvedge denim — here’s why good jeans are worth the investment

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Todd Snyder Japanese Stretch Selvedge

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Todd Snyder
  • I’ve never been the type to spend a lot of money on jeans. My budget was always around $50 a pair because I didn’t think there was much of a difference in quality for pricier denim.
  • I recently tried Todd Snyder Japanese Stretch Selvedge denim, which changed how I approach buying and thinking about jeans.
  • At $198 a pair (or $168 for non-stretch Selvedge), they’re expensive, but the level of quality is high enough to outlast cheap jeans that need replacing every couple of years.
  • After wearing a test pair for a few weeks, I’ll definitely be buying more with my own money and thinking twice about the cheap pairs I’m used to buying.

Despite my sometimes excessive spending habits on clothes, I’ve never been the type to spend a lot of money on jeans – and for the longest time, I thought my reason behind it was solid: With the exception of small details like buttons, stitch patterns, and the brand’s logo, all jeans look about the same. Since literally no one can see those super fine details while I wear them, I always felt I should just buy the cheapest ones – and as long as they fit me, that was money well saved.

But I recently tested out a nearly-$200 pair of Japanese stretch Selvedge denim that completely debunked the myth I had bought into for so long. I wish it weren’t the case, but the experience has made me a lot more critical of the faults of my cheaper pairs, to the point where I don’t think I’ll keep buying those $50 jeans anymore.

Todd Snyder, the company behind the jeans I tried, is a premium menswear startup that walks the line between high-fashion and streetwear. As part of its spring lineup, the brand curated a wonderful selection of pants called The Pant Shop to help guys like myself put some much-needed focus and attention on the bottom half of their outfits.

Todd Snyder

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Todd Snyder/Amir Ismael/Business Insider

The Pant Shop also includes chinos, garment-dyed twill, corduroys, dress trousers, slim dress pants, joggers, and several styles of shorts, but I was most interested in the jeans since they’re such a huge part of my wardrobe.

Todd Snyder jeans are handmade in the Los Angeles, California, using Japanese Selvedge denim. Selvedge denim is more tightly woven than typical denim, with clean-cut, red-thread-lined edges that won’t unravel (the word “Selvedge” comes from the term “self-edge”). Unlike jeans made with modern production techniques, Selvedge denim is produced using older, yet better-in-quality looming processes that create unique variants in the denim’s finish, making the jeans look richer in texture.

With the Todd Snyder jeans, everything from the stitching on the pockets to the rivets to the distressing of the materials is done by hand. It gives the jeans real character that would take years to achieve otherwise.

My first impression of the jeans was the great attention to detail – a TS logo stitched on the fifth pocket, a riveted fly as opposed to a zippered fly, exposed Selvedge edges with the signature red stitching, and a suede belt loop are some details you’ll find. Others may not be able to see them from afar, but you’ll definitely appreciate them as the owner.

Todd Snyder detail

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Todd Synder

When putting them on, I immediately noticed the heavy weight. At 13.5 ounces, they’re heavier than most jeans I’ve worn, including other selvedge pairs. A heavy weight might be a con for sportswear or outdoor apparel, but for jeans it’s generally a symbol of quality and durability. What further separates them from most other selvedge jeans is a very minimal amount of stretch, so they manage to be comfortable and easy to move in, yet still look and feel structured. I’ll choose thick and heavy denim over something thin and stretchy any day.

Todd Snyder jeans feature a regular mid-rise cut that’s slim, but not quite skinny – and in my opinion, the fit is timeless. You’ve seen baggy jeans, skinny jeans, and even bell bottom jeans go out of style at one point or another, but you’ve never seen a well-made pair of slim jeans look bad or out of place. If you’re set on buying jeans with a skinnier fit, I definitely suggest looking to another brand.

I’ve only had my test pair for a few weeks, but it’s evident that they’ll only get better with time. I’ll be ordering another pair soon on my own time.

Todd Snyder jeans

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Todd Snyder/Amir Ismael/Business Insider

I’m completely aware that $198 (or even $168 for the non-stretch selvedge) is a lot of money for a pair of jeans, but Todd Snyder jeans are worth the investment for a few reasons.

The first is that as someone who wears jeans pretty much every day, the more affordable pairs I like don’t last that long. I’ve had to replace them every couple of years, which amounts to more money spent, and more waste produced.

I’m also not growing teenager who’s going to need new jeans in a year or so anyway, nor am I a college student on a super tight budget, so spending the extra money on jeans that will definitely last and get better with age feels like a smart move.

If you’re looking for timeless denim, with premium quality and attention to detail Todd Synder Japanese Stretch Selvedge denim is definitely worth checking out.

Shop all Japanese Selvedge denim at Todd Snyder now, starting at $168