Raw Denim for Muscular Thighs- A Review of Unbranded Brand Jeans
Denim, it is in nearly everyone's closet in some form. From jeans to jackets, denim is tried and true. The unfortunate truth is that denim quality for the majority of jeans has decreased significantly over the years. I am not saying that you cannot buy quality denim, but that when you purchase jeans today, you will likely be left with inferior quality or sticker shock. To top that all off, there are the issues that those of us with muscular thighs face of not being able to find jeans that fit correctly. You would think with the variety of jean options we have currently there would be some decently fitting pairs that do not cost an arm and a leg. Today I hope to address the concerns of the quality, fit, and price of your jeans. Enter The Unbranded Brand.
The Unbranded Brand is a company that is doing things very differently than most, as they like to say "No Branding. No Washes. No Embroidery. No Ad Campaigns. No Celebrities.". The only thing they are concerned with is getting you quality denim at a fantastic price. One way you know that they are doing this is the fact that they are a sister company to the infamous Naked and Famous denim brand. Some of you may have heard of them, but for those of you who have not, they are considered the gold standard in denim by many. The Unbranded Brand jeans look almost identical to the Naked and Famous jeans minus a few small details, with a much lower price tag, meaning you are getting an excellent value for the money. I can hear some of you saying you don't see what the big deal is, you have had inexpensive jeans that have worked well, fit ok and didn't break the bank. Let's go over a few reasons why you should probably be buying better jeans.
Quality = Better Looking and Longer Lasting
I have been wearing jeans for as long as I can remember. There is one pair of jeans from years ago that sticks out in my mind. The fit, quality, and feel of those jeans made me feel like a million bucks every time I wore them. They were an expensive purchase at the time, so I only had one pair, but I wore them into the ground and felt amazing the entire time. The Unbranded Brand jeans remind me of those jeans but are a step up in quality. You are going to be pressed to find more value for your money anywhere else.
'Raw' has become somewhat of a buzz word. Everyone wants raw denim, but not many understand what it is or how to take care of it. The Unbranded Brand uses raw sanforized denim. Essentially that means that the denim is pre-shrunk (unsanforized raw denim shrinks significantly, and you have to learn to size accordingly) and has not been washed. That being said, the indigo in these jeans might be at a much higher level than what you are used to wearing. Sometimes that leads to a significant indigo transfer to things that touch your denim. I did find a minimal amount of that during the first few wears, but that has mostly gone away baring getting the jeans wet. If you are ok not getting as great of a fade, I would recommend washing your raw denim before your first wear to eliminate this. I did have some indigo transfer to some expensive shoes, and I was not very happy about it.
This pair of jeans is my first pair of raw denim. I had heard that raw denim could be stiff and hard to break in. With that in mind, I chose to go with the 11oz (lighter weight denim) stretch selvedge denim. All of my denim has stretch in it, so I thought only changing the quality/type of the denim at first would be a more natural transition. During my initial try on, I knew I made the right choice.
During my first wears, I did notice a bit of stiffness, and they were not as soft as any of my other jeans when I purchased them. The stiffness was reduced significantly after the first wear and the jeans were very comfortable before the end of my first week wearing them. I did notice the stretch in these jeans, but not nearly as much as my next most worn pair (to be fair that pair is only 74% cotton, more on them in another article). There is enough stretch to be comfortable sitting, bending, and squatting, but not enough that you feel like you are wearing something other than denim.
The fit on these is excellent! Unfortunately having a very muscular lower half may mean that you will need more than a 1% stretch to get a perfect fit, but for what you are getting I will take a 9/10 on the fit. To get even 1% more stretch in raw denim jeans, you are looking at least $50 more and getting more than a few options will put you in the $200+ range. For me, the cost to benefit ratio is most at balance with this pair. That said I plan to venture down that road eventually, but for those of you who have sticker shock at the $100 mark, $110 may already be pushing it.
Another thing to note, I wore these for three months before my first wash. I noticed that the knees were baggy after a lot of bending and squatting. I started to get concerned about the fit, but that issue resolved itself after my first wash of them. They do shrink some when you wash them but stretch out to fit well after a few hours of wear. After the first wash, dry and re-wear the fit is perfect for me.
These have been my only pair of jeans for the past eight months (I've been putting on muscle and grew out of three other pairs), and so far they are amazing! There is some very minimal fading going on, which I am ok with having. I like the look of clean dark jeans, and even after eight months, they are looking fantastic! If you pay attention to the jeans that you wear and wash frequently, they are undoubtedly several shades lighter than when you purchased them. Go to the store where you got them and compare if you don't believe me. With raw denim, you wash your jeans far less frequently, and when you do, make sure you clean them with a dark color safe detergent like Woolite for darks. This pair of jeans is a lighter weight jean, combine that with some stretch in it and it causes the fade potential to lessen, so if you want 'crazy fades' these likely are not for you. I will welcome some fading over time, but I will wash the jeans more frequently than often recommended to minimize that because I like the clean, refined look.
How Long Should You Wait to Wash Your Jeans
With the intent that this is your first pair of raw denim, I wanted to address a couple of myths or concerns surrounding raw denim. The first is the fact that you are supposed to wait for 3-12 months (depending on whom you ask) between washes of your jeans. That brings up the concern of bacteria levels in the jeans. Being that I am currently getting a bachelors degree in the sciences, naturally, I was curious and turned to some studies. The best one I found was a case study of a student at the University of Alberta who wore his jeans for 15 months without washing them, swabbed for bacteria, then washed them, wore them for two weeks and retested. The tests showed that the bacteria levels were the same and were not at a concentration of health concern. I don't personally recommend waiting that long; however, if you cannot get past the fact that you go at least a few months before washing, you may not want to own a pair of raw denim.
The second thing I want to address is when your jeans start to smell. The general recommendation from denim heads is to freeze them, soak them in some vinegar water or to walk into the ocean with them, and give them a salt and sand bath. I recommend you wash them, more on how to do that later, and get the bacteria off of them. The only one of the three options above that is somewhat viable is the vinegar soak, and at that point, you might as well make sure they are clean. For most of you, I recommend you wash your raw denim every 2-4 months, depending on how heavily you wear them, and you should wash them once they start to smell. If they begin to smell, you have waited too long in my opinion.
How to Wash Your Jeans
There are so many videos and articles on how to do this that I am not going to belabor the point. If you want an excellent, concise video on how to hand wash your jeans go check out Carl Murawski's video on YouTube entitled "How to Wash Raw Denim the Easy Way." I am lazy when it comes to clothing care, so here are the steps I use:
1) Turn the jean inside-out
2) Add to dark clothing (be sure there are no darks with a lighter color, especially on the first wash).
3)Wash on cold using Wool-Lite Darks
4) Hang Dry
That is it. So far, I have washed my jeans four times, and this method has worked well for me. So far I have kept to washing my jeans after every ten wears or so. I am sure I could go longer, but I have no intention of purposefully fading my jeans, so this works for me.
Finally, there is an excellent pair of jeans for us with tree trunk legs. I can honestly recommend this to anyone without hesitation as they get a 9.5/10 in my book. The only thing that could have made them better is 1% more stretch for those moments when I need to squat low. Overall, however, these jeans have been the best value in denim I have ever had. If you purchase a pair of denim of this caliber you only need one pair, and possibly a black pair if you would like, which unbranded also has in this same denim. I say if you have been looking for a decent pair of jeans, look no further than The Unbranded Brand.
About The Author
I started sports at age 4, lifting weights at age 12 and have most recently been a competitive Olympic weightlifter in the 102kg class and have a planned meet in powerlifting as a 110kg lifter. I have had issues with finding clothes that fit well for as long as I can remember. In 2017 I stepped up my style game and realized there are few options for muscular men at the average online or brick and mortar store. I started writing about style with the intent to help you avoid all the wasted time and frustration I have encountered in my journey. I want you to be able to buy quality clothing that fits well without leaving your house and without a trip to the tailor.