The Denim Gentleman

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

In the circles of the Gents we spend a lot of time discussing tailoring. We see pictures of gentlemen in suits sipping an espresso or having a cocktail in the sun. We read sartorial articles online and in printed magazines. I’m sure we would all like the world to think we live in tailoring – and I am sure some do – but looking down at myself reveals a different truth: I spend ninety-nine percent of my life in selvedge denim jeans. They are paired with a t-shirt or a button-down Oxford for work or matched to a flannel for the weekend. Some pairs cuffed, some others not. Nights out, work, at the bar, at home: denim works in all these places. Put a jacket on and you dress them up, grab an overshirt to have a more relaxed look. Denim is the gentleman’s friend.

There’s something about wearing a quality pair of selvedge jeans that just makes me feel like myself. I believe the word gentleman is more linked to suits, the ability to mix a cocktail or the art of peacocking at Pitti, than it is to actually being a man – which is a big part of the word. Is it that “man” brings up the hyper-aggressiveness of sexist louts from a bygone generation? A man and a gentleman are one and the same, and a big part of it is being comfortable in who you are and what you wear – along with the ideals you wish to follow. If you believe in something, then that is you, and you need to own it… just like you need to own selvedge denim! I love a quality suit, I love to dress up, but put me in a more casual denim workwear fit and I’ll feel more at ease with my place in the world when I’m off the clock.

Discussions on gentlemen’s clothing bounce around top tailors to the iconic looks of – and the admiration for – Steve McQueen, in his jeans and white t-shirt: of course he had a stylist, and the myth of the King of Cool was in part created by another person, but the simplicity of a good pair of jeans and a high-quality white t-shirt are still the base of many off-duty uniforms. And if you are comfortable in this uniform, then good for you: you are closer to being your true gentleman self. Plus, have you ever tried to split wood in winter in a suit and leather-soled shoes?

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