Buy it now: classic jeans and sweats for spring

Arket straight rinsed ecru jeans

Time for some jeans and sweats news, as I’m about to chuck off the knits and go into slightly lighter layer territory.

I live in jeans and my go-to cut is generally an as-loose-as-I-can-get-away-with boyfriend fit, or a straight cut that’s my smart option to wear with a stack heel boot and a blazer. My current default is a pair of two-year-old dark indigo Arket jeans that have a high waist and a straight, wide-ish leg but alas, they’re sold out on site. So the next best thing is the new Levi’s Vintage Company 701 jeans (below). These have what Mr DRG calls a Marilyn Monroe fit; they’re also high-waisted, 100% cotton and made from dark indigo Cone Mills red selvedge denim, which is the now-shuttered fabled denim plant in Greensboro, North Carolina. The 701 has a long rise, which is tricky if you’re short like me, but this is where the chunky stack heel comes in. (I haven’t tried them yet but they’re on the ‘want’ list.)
Levi's Vintage 701

My standard jean of the last few decades years has been the Levi’s 501, which goes through different iterations. It’s quite hard to find it in a classic wash without raw hems, distressed details, patches or whatnot. It means that when I see the untainted versions I tend to grab them. So my most recent purchase was a Cropped 501 from The Levi’s Store in Regent Street (or buy it at ASOS). These cropped jeans are great for petites (I’m 5’ 3″), as you don’t have to get them altered. While I was queuing to pay for mine, I noticed a gaggle of young German tourists swarming around the 501s on the vast table of dozens of different jeans. They weren’t interested in the newfangled styles though, only the clean, classic cut.

Whenever I wear my 5-year-old white 501s, I always get stopped and asked about them. So I’m letting everyone know that I saw some in the Levi’s Store in Longacre, Covent Garden a couple of weeks ago – clean, bright white denim in the 501 Cropped cut. I’m probably going to go and re-stock. I think this is them here (below) but they have a tiny bit of stretch.
Levi's 501 cropped white jean

Another jeans retailer to note is Blackhorse Lane Ateliers. If you care about this sort of stuff you’ve probably heard about them already. They have a very modern ‘craft’ approach to jeans-making, encouraging customers to visit the East London atelier, offering a free repair service, and their social media is super-interesting and all about brand storytelling and transparency. According to my spy, they have some new women’s styles in the pipeline this year in an ecru denim.

The funny story about Blackhorse Lane Ateliers is that while I was having a haircut at CUTS a while ago, the guy in the next chair was wearing the most amazing pair of ecru jeans. I earwigged him talking about his new shop, so I asked some nosy questions later and found out the shop is Taisce and their jeans (below) are made by Blackhorse Lane. I love the idea of ecru denim as an alternative to white and I think we’ll start to see a lot more of it. Frame’s Le Slender high-rise straight-leg jeans look good, while Arket has these ‘straight rinsed’ jeans in organic cotton denim twill (top) which I shall definitely explore …
Taisce denim

I’m as fussy about my sweatshirts as I am about jeans. There are lots of men’s sweats around but not as many good, soft women’s options. Sunspel sent me their new relaxed-fit loop back sweatshirt (below) to try and I like it because it’s soft but boxy, so you can wear a collared shirt underneath without looking lumpy. Mine’s a size XS and it’s still quite roomy.
Sunspel relaxed fit loopback sweatshirt

YMC has also mastered the art of the soft sweat recently (you can see the softness in its ‘almost grown’ sweat), while Belgian brand Bellerose makes all its sweats out of pre-washed cotton for that perfect vintage-y handle. On the menswear/unisex side, I saw this from Studio Nicholson (below) on the rail at The Shop At Bluebird last week. I love the delicious ‘medina pink’ taramasalata colour. The excessive price is down to the merino wool lining and Italian make; designer Nick Wakeman is a notorious fabric geek.

And here’s another accidental discovery from my bricks-and-mortar forays. Leon Bara had a few pieces on show in Another Country (fab Marylebone homewares shop), which I passed en route to an event at Perfumer H. The panel sweatshirt  immediately caught my eye and I love the hidden pockets.
Studio Nicholson sweatshirt


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES:  Arket; La Garconne/Levi’s; Asos/Levi’s; Taisce; Sunspel; Studio Nicholson
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