Denim vs chambray

Every now and again, people will ask me what the difference is between denim and chambray, since both seem to look pretty similar. Well my friends, today I shall reveal the difference, and fingers crossed that you don’t leave here more confused than when you entered.

chambraydenim 1024x682 Denim vs chambray

Alright, so the picture above shows you a denim jacket and a chambray shirt (though I’m using a bad example of a chambray shirt here since it has a herringbone design). Generally, this is how you’ll see denim and chambray used: denim for jackets and pants, chambray for shirts. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t always the case. Denim can occasionally come in shirt form and chambray can be used for jackets.

Anyhow, the main difference between the two is in the way that they are woven. Denim is woven diagonally, while chambray is plainly woven, meaning that there’s more of a traditional criss-cross weaving happening. The best way to tell is actually by looking on the inside of your jeans. Since they’re probably made of denim, you’ll notice the fabric is woven diagonally. This weave will look very different on chambray.

So in all, clearly not that big of a difference between the two. And perhaps a rather boring difference if anything. Either way, I wanted to at least clear up any confusion.  Alright, getting’ out of here, happy day before the 4th!

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Gap Denim Jacket :: Gitman Vintage Chambray Shirt

Wish List #4

Christmas has come and gone, and massive end-of-the-season sales have begun. Time for another wish list from yours truly.

Saint James Meridien II shirt

 Wish List #4spacer Wish List #4

Oddly, this shirt has been on my mind for the last three weeks. Really, it’s nothing special since all it is, is basically a long sleeve striped T shirt (albeit a high quality one) with a slightly unique neck opening.  To add, I’m not a huge fan of horizontal lines on shirts since I’m a bit shorter, and such patterns don’t do any favors for my stature. Still, this shirt keeps popping up in my head. I suppose it might be the shirt’s history? Or incredible layering ability?

You can grab one from J.Crew or Unionmade (who is actually having a semi-annual sale right now).

Wolverine 1000 Mile boots

boot2 Wish List #4

Why do I keep posting boots in my wish lists?

One boot that has particularly caught my attention is the 1000 mile boot by Wolverine. These bad boys are quite acclaimed in the menswear world, and for good reason. I had a chance to try them out recently, and not only do they look great, but you can immediately tell they’re built like an ox. Proper Goodyear welting on a leather sole, high quality upper leather & stitching, made in the USA… what’s not to like? Plus, I think they are incredibly versatile. They’re equally appropriate on a mountain hike as they are at an office event.

I would go out and get them immediately, but I think I’m past my boot quota for 2012-2013. Oh, and if these boots are too expensive for you, I found a great deal on an amazing, less expensive alternative made by Chippewa. You can find them on Amazon for only $86 with coupon “workboot.” Yea, seriously.

Drake’s navy pin dot tie

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I recently saw a Gitman Vintage navy shirt with a subtle pin dot pattern on it at a clothing boutique here in SF. I immediately wanted one in my closet, so I started searching the web to find one in my size. Unfortunately, I failed to find one at a decent price, but the shirt got me to thinking. Hey, wouldn’t this pattern look great on a tie or pocket square?

Since having that thought, I’ve been looking all over the web for a decent tie and pocket square combo in the navy + pin dot pattern. Well it turns out that one of my favorite tie makers, Drake’s of London, carries a nice one as shown above. They’re also having an end of the year sale right now, so the prices are cut about 25%.

If the price is still too high for you, good news is that you can get both a tie and pocket square in this pattern at thetiebar for a lot cheaper than the Drake’s tie above.

J.Crew denim shirt

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Grant it, I don’t think it needs to be specifically from J.Crew, but I’ve been looking for a nice dark indigo denim shirt for a while now. I think a denim shirt is a piece that can effortlessly dress a formal outfit down, and still look appropriate in most situations. Definitely a refreshing change from your normal white, blue, or pink dress shirt that you may wear on a daily basis.

The only reservation I have with getting a denim shirt is its versatility. I generally wear jeans everyday and the color of this shirt in particular would be too similar to the color of my jeans, making the outfit look less than ideal. Either way, I’m on the fence, but I must say… J.Crew makes this shirt look damn good.

So there you go, my January wish list. You know, sometimes I wonder if it ever ends…


Initial Impressions: Gustin Selvedge Raw Denim Jeans

By now, you probably know that I love denim. Denim shirts, denim pants, denim jackets, love ‘em all.

Add characteristics like raw, selvedge, and made in the U.S.A (or more specifically San Francisco) to that denim, and now you’ve got my undivided attention. Well, two guys I met in SF recently, Josh Gustin and Stephen Powell, did just that by showing me their line of raw selvedge, made in the U.S.A. jeans, proudly branded Gustin.

 Initial Impressions: Gustin Selvedge Raw Denim Jeans

At first, the guys and I talked about the history and vision of the company. Some really interesting stuff these guys are doing, which I’ll go into in a sec. More importantly though, we talked about their main product, their jeans. They whipped out some of their denim, and I got a chance to look at and feel them out, and boy was I impressed.

I’ve owned over 5 pairs of selvedge jeans since discovering selvedge several years ago, and it was clear that these Gustin jeans were on par, if not better in construction and quality than most of my other pairs. Thus, I asked if I could try a pair at home, just to give them a true test. They kindly said yes, and I jumped on the opportunity.

So I’ve been wearing these Gustin jeans for the last three days now, and I have to say, I’m still pretty impressed. Here are some of my initial thoughts:


1. The weight of the denim is hefty and strong. Feels rock solid and looks very durable.

2. The attention to detail is surprisingly high. Belt loops are nicely tucked, the stitching, buttons, and pockets are all flawless, and the accent selvedge signature is tastefully placed.

3. The jeans are incredibly simple. No unnecessary stitching, design, or whatever. Very clean lines, stitching, and color.

4. The price? Whoa… I’ll get into that below.


1. The jeans don’t fit me all that well in the thigh area. I have weird leg proportions, so that might be why, but they flare out slightly when I wear them.

2. The rise is a more standard rise, which to me is a bit higher than I prefer. Since I’m shorter, I prefer more of a low rise jean.

Here are some extremely poor quality cell phone pictures of the fit on me:

gustin2 Initial Impressions: Gustin Selvedge Raw Denim Jeans

 gustin1 Initial Impressions: Gustin Selvedge Raw Denim Jeans

Now, here’s the juicy part. The two guys over at Gustin are tired of selling their jeans to boutiques just so that these boutiques can turn around and sell them for a hefty 100% profit to their customers. Sure the jeans might be worth $205, but the team at Gustin thinks that they can do the consumer a solid by changing up their business model a bit.

Instead of selling to boutiques, they’ve decided to start selling their jeans at wholesale prices directly to the consumer. So instead of $205 for a pair of these jeans, they’re going to be selling them for $81.  Now I don’t know about you, but to me, $81 is an absolute steal for Cone Mills raw selvedge denim, constructed in San Francisco. Frankly, this makes all my other selvedge denim purchases seem like a waste of money. That’s only $25 more than a pair of Levi’s you might buy at Macy’s. Crazy!

Now, I don’t endorse products that I don’t believe in, but this company Gustin… I do endorse. Not only is their product high in quality, but the entire experience is wonderful. They take in user feedback for their future designs, offer amazing shipping and return policies, and provide excellent customer service along the way. Not too shabby in my book.

They’re starting it all off on Kickstarter, and there, you can read all about them, and get the full scoop. You can also purchase their jeans on there if you help raise them money. I suggest you get over there right now and pledge $81, and get yourself a pair of nice raw selvedge denim. Probably the best deal you’ll get on a pair of jeans like this for a while.


sammark3 Denim

Outfit: Oliver Peoples sunglasses :: Black Fleece sweater :: Michael Kors shirt :: Tellason jeans ::  Gordon Rush shoes

Photo credit: Dana Patricia

One of my close friends, Sam, is a denim expert working in the apparel industry here in San Francisco. I had an opportunity to chat with her about denim, where we discussed how it’s made, why it’s one of our favorite materials, and what we should look for when shopping for denim.

While enjoying the nice San Francisco summer (yes, summer arrives in SF for a week during fall, and that’s about it), we came up to several mutually agreed upon points:

1. Denim belongs in your closet. Period.

2. It’s smart to put in the extra money for a nice pair of jeans. There are too many crappy jeans out there, and oftentimes they’re not worth the trouble.

3. Denim on denim is always case by case.

4. For men, it’s all about the solid dark wash straight leg jean.

I’d like to elaborate on each point, because the topic of denim certainly deserves some attention.

sammark1 Denim

1. Denim belongs in your closet.

I think blue jeans are one of the most essential pieces to have in your wardrobe. They are durable, stylish, versatile, comfortable, cool… need I go on? A pair of blue jeans can work in the most casual of situations and can also be dressed up significantly (think blazer, dress shirt, dress shoes, dark wash denim). I don’t think I need to do any more convincing, just please get a pair if you don’t already.

2. It’s smart to put in the extra money for a nice pair of jeans.

So there is a substantial difference between a $15 pair of jeans at Old Navy or Walmart, and a pair of $180 APC New Standards. Here’s a great video that I think explains some of these differences. Now, I’m not saying you need to spend over $100 on a pair of jeans, as many of you would find that ridiculous with so many other inexpensive alternatives out there. However, I do think you need to examine and try on a bunch of denim before you make a decision.

Between $60-$100 can probably get you a pretty nice pair of jeans, Levis 501s being a solid choice in that range if it fits your body. My biggest recommendation would be to shop for sales at Nordstrom Rack for denim. I will say though, that there is another tier of denim when you cross the $100 mark. Going into selvedge raw denim has been a treat for me, and can be for you as well. Basically this type of denim has not been washed or treated in anyway. They are like cardboard when you first get them, but you can start to soften them up, build creases/marks in them, and really make them your own just by the way you wear them. Just putting it out there, as my experience has been great.

sammark2 Denim

3. Denim-on-denim is always case-by-case.

As a general rule, we don’t want to pair denim jackets with denim pants. The whole Canadian tuxedo thing is a no-no. However, I wouldn’t say this is always the case. What we want to do is make sure our tops and bottoms don’t match too much. If you have a black denim jacket and a pair of medium wash denim pants on, I think it can work. Also, denim shirts are super relevant today as well, and the same rule applies. Make sure your shirt isn’t the same shade or color as your pants.

4. It’s all about solid dark wash straight jeans.

Sam deals with washing, dying, distressing, etc. on every different type of jean out there. It was fascinating hearing all the things denim goes through before it ends up on a shelf at the mall. However, as cool as this detailing can be, I think it’s important to have a solid, dark wash, non-distressed, straight leg jean. In terms of fit, forget bootcut, relaxed cut, and skinny jeans. Stick with a straight or slim straight look. Also, keep it dark. Indigo’s, greys, and blacks all can work with a lot of outfits, and can be dressed up easily, while slimming you as well. Find a great pair and wear ‘em in!

sammark5 Denim

So there you go! Denim in four quick (eh, maybe not quick) points! Also a huge thanks to Sam for discussing denim with me, even outside of her work hours.