I have received my first pair of Gustin selvedged jeans in the post. I ordered them two and a half months ago and have been anxiously awaiting their arrival to see if they would meet my OCD standards, especially at the price, which is less than half price from my usual Baldwin Denim and Levis Vintage Clothing selections.
For those of you that are not familiar with the Gustin concept, it breaks down like this: Gustin is a company based in California that uses a crowd-funding model for their distribution. They introduce a run of jeans, belts, bags, shirts, wallets or jackets and then wait for the introduction to be 100% funded before going into production. Once it is funded they close the run and proceed with production. Jeans take from 1 to 15 days to fund, depending on fabric and then another month or so to proceed through production. From start to finish on the pair I ordered took around 2.5 months to receive in the mail. They use only premium materials and heavy duty proprietary hardware and all is manufactured here in the USA. Some of the denim is Japanese but mainly it is American selvedged denim, much coming from the Cone Mills.
For my first pair I was intrigued by a super heavy 16 oz denim from Cone Mills. I waited for a run to be introduced for funding and jumped on it quickly, as the previous introduction of the same fabric sold out in 2 days. The style was called the American Sixteener.
(When I received my pair the slevedged trim had a red stripe instead of the pictured orange, which didn’t bother me a bit, but I felt should be mentioned.)
I am 6’1″ tall and weigh between 185 – 190 lbs. I have a “regular” build, without being an athlete, but fortunate to have balanced proportions. My true waist is between a 34 and a 35, depending on the Scotch consumption. I prefer a slim cut jean, but cannot pull off a “hipster” slim. This should set the stage for fitting.
I ordered a 34 waist in the Slim cut for the American Sixteener. After it funded and went to production my OCD kicked in and I started to worry that I should have ordered the standard cut, as with Baldwin Denim I cannot wear their slim cut Henleys without feeling like I am trying too hard to be 20 years younger than I am. With postage I was spending just over $100 and Gustin jeans are not returnable because of their production model. So, I waited with shallow breath for them to arrive and confirm my worst OCD fears.
When the mail arrived and I slipped the jeans from their Priority Mail pouch I was immediately impressed by the hand of the jeans. They were indeed heavy, and they felt very quality. Upon examination I was also impressed at the details. They have a nice red stitching on the hem, which is a nice contrast when cuffed. They have a selvedged belt loop, which is the perfect accent and alerts fellow fashionistas that you play in the selvedged pool, if you don’t like your jeans cuffed. The leather patch is thick. The proprietary hardware is heavy duty and quality. There is a nice blue stitch across the back pocket, setting these apart from other generic looking premium denim brands. All said, I was excited to try them on.
(Not a photo of me. I took it from the Gustin website to show the slim cut fit.)
Waist: They run small! It might be because the 16 oz denim is completely unforgiving, but I really had to squirm around to get into the 34 inch waist. I sucked in the gut and forced them closed, half expecting to main button to fly off and kill the cat. Once closed I felt like a sausage and my ass became twice as non-existent as it already is. I started to wonder if I was going to get a wallet in the back pocket.
Length: The length was great. It is a full 36 inches and I could double cuff with a 2″ cuff if I chose, which with my Levis Vintage I often have a challenge cuffing them at all with brogues or dress shoes. I chose to do a single fold cuff, leaving me a nice 4 inch exposure of nice selvedged goodness.
Cut: The Slim cut turned out to be perfect! Not too thin! I am very happy I didn’t order the regular cut, although looking at the measurement guide on the Gustin site there is not a huge difference in the regular and the slim. I will stick with Slim cut moving forward.
After getting over my anxiety of the tightness I squatted a few times and walked around a bit with my wallet stuffed in my back pocket and am encouraged that I can breathe. I was trying to think back on my initial purchase of my Baldwins with a 34 inch waist to remember if they gave me the same feeling, but I have to remember that I was 5 lbs lighter and the weight of these Sixteeners changes that comparison.
The only other side note I have is that because of the weight of the fabric one of the pocket rivets did not set correctly and popped off when I was squeezing in to the jeans for the first time. Disappointing, but not devastating, even with my OCD.
I am wearing them today and will report back as to how soon they start to feel like my own jeans. My overall impression of them is a 9+ and I can see myself ordering many products from them in the future. I will wait to see if I need to step up to a 35 waist, or if instead I need to lay off the Scotch and grub…
*Update: After reading my blog post a customer rep at Gustin contacted me and expressed both their appreciation of the review and their desire to rectify the rivet that popped off. I am now awaiting a rivet replacement in the post and will replace the rivet with a fresh one when they arrive. Another big plus on my opinion of Gustin. I wasn’t complaining, yet they chose to make it right, which is rare in this modern internet customer service world. Cheers to Gustin! Also, after wearing the American Sixteens for a couple of days now I am starting to feel them give a bit and begin to take on my form. I am loving the thickness of the 16oz denim.