Shown here: #31 “The Original” in straight fit raw denim. Size 31 waist.
Before we go any further: ***MEASURE YOUR FAVORITE JEANS BEFORE ORDERING***
Why? Gustin doesn’t do vanity sizing. But more on that in a second.
Gustin launched back in the early part of 2013 thanks to a massively successful Kickstarter campaign. Their pledge was to bring high quality, American made selvage denim to their customers, at a reasonable price. Under $100 for selvage is affordable relative to that corner of the jeans market. Under $100 AND made in the USA from top notch fabric with solid hardwear and details is unheard of.
After the kickstarter launch, they carried that same sales model over to their own website. They didn’t make jeans and then put them up for sale. Instead, they produced a prototype, asked for backers, and once enough people committed to buying the product if it got enough support, only then would credit cards be charged and Gustin would go into production. Also, once they hit that tipping point of support? They stop taking orders. So you have to be on top of what Gustin is doing if you want a pair of their jeans.
The hallmark of Selvage. Great red chain-stitch too.
That unique ordering process also means you need to be patient. I backed a pair of their jeans in the spring, and it was two months before they shipped. They arrived in a bubble padded envelope, and it had been so long since I had thought about the purchase that I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled the deep, midnight blue denim from the bright white package.
And then I put em’ on. Or, tried to at least.
Dappered is built upon what’s been learned after making tons of mistakes over the years, and I’m fearing there’s a new one to add to the pile: I failed to measure my current, favorite jeans before putting in an order with Gustin. I usually wear a 32×30 in Levi’s 514s. And the waist is a touch too big on those. So when I saw that Gustin sells a size 31… I ordered their straight fit in that size without hesitation.
Annnnnnnnd I just about gave myself a hernia trying to get them on the first time.
Gustin’s straight fit. Somewhere between a 501 and 514 through the seat and leg.
As I struggled to get these things on, I rushed back to the Gustin website and noticed (for the first time) that they have a fit guide. Unlike other clothing companies that over-size their clothing, Gustin doesn’t do that. And they say right on their site that you should measure a pair of your favorite jeans before choosing your size. Wish I would have read that guide before ordering.
It was like my Kindergarten report card all over again: “Plays reasonably well with others. Does not always follow directions the first time given.”
Now, word is, raw denim can stretch up to an inch with wear, especially at the waist. And that’s the only trouble. They fit terrific through the thigh and leg. Somewhere between a 514 and a 501 from Levis. But until it does stretch at the waist, the front pockets on my jeans will be just for show. Fingers are crossed here, because aside from how tight these are at the midsection, they’re pretty darn awesome.
The feel of the fabric is pliable, but tough. I’ve never been much of a denim head, never got the “selvage” or “raw” thing myself, but the fabric and finish (or lack thereof) that Gustin is using feels much more historically accurate than the softened up jeans you’d buy at a department store. The selvage ID on the interior stands out when you cuff em’, and most of us will have to do just that… being that they’re only made in 34 or 36 inseams.
Even the subtle, leather patch at the back is made here in the U.S.
There’s one single line of light blue stitching across the back pockets, and a dark leather patch at the waist. Nice of Gustin to keep their branding minimal. Hardware is fantastic. The buttons on the fly have the beastlybuild quality of a fridge from the 50s*.
Have I now been converted to the Church of Selvage? Nope. It’s nice and all, but I’m not much of a jeans cuffer. And while the rawness of the denim is something I think I’ll like breaking in over time, it’s not something I’d actively set out to have multiple pairs of. I was just excited to back a smaller business dedicated to making great jeans here in the States.
So while I’m still light years from the planet of denim-head, I will probably order another pair of jeans from Gustin again sometime in the future. But next time, they’ll be a size 32. Maybe 33.
Why not just return them? Probably could. But, it’ll be good to see how much this raw denim actually stretches out over time. Gustin does accept returns, but their policy seems sort of cloudy.
*Worst, damn, movie, ever.