The bespokesman - vintage denim

A man who wants to buy new jeans is faced with a chimera of choice. Ostensibly the walls of denim that confront him offer every style, shape, colour and fabric under the sun, but the reality is that there’s too much choice where it’s unnecessary (who needs endless different washes?) and not enough choice where you do need it; aside from the horrors of distressed boot-cut jeans it’s almost impossible to find anything other than low-rise, straight leg shapes.

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I wanted a neat preppy style, which called for a (comparatively) high rise and an arcing tapered leg. My search was going so badly that I was seriously considering asking Salvatore Ambrosi to make me a pair of bespoke jeans before I popped into London’s Levi’s Vintage shop.

I quickly whittled down the eight different styles in the permanent collection of replicas to three serious contenders, which were near-identical except for the shape beneath the knee. The 1966 501 was happily close to what I had in mind. The appeal is that the subtle tapered shape is just right – something that’s impossible to see in these pictures, because it only shows up in profile – they’re made of raw denim from Cone Mills in North Carolina and they’re made in America.

Alright, I’ll admit it, despite buying the Levi’s I’m still thinking of commissioning a pair of bespoke jeans from Salvatore Ambrosi. The thing holding me back is that it’s not easy to source small quantities of good denim – I don’t think Cone Mills entertains requests for cut lengths. £155, Levi’s Vintage

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