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Comparison - a $40 Denim vs $130 Denim Jackets

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by AeroFan_07, Mar 15, 2019 at 2:52 AM.

  1. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,672
    Location:
    Iowa
    *Let's have some fun with this one, I tend to be too serious too much of the time*

    So the word is out on the FL street, Denim jackets are back and just in time for spring (for much of the world.) I confess I was a slower one to get into this type of jacket, partially as they seem just too popular, and due to the rather shoddy quality of some of the ones I have handled. I have no interest in a jacket with holes worn in it, tears, bleached, etc. I like inky dark blue and that's what the subjects in this little comparison will represent.

    First, what is denim is Not: (Please feel free to add to this list)
    • Not great in wind
    • Not great in rain
    • Not great below about 45F
    • Not great with a zipper
    • Not great on a motorcycle if its' moving... :)
    • Not great with formal/corporate casual settings
    Next, what denim is: (Also let's hear your thoughts on this too)
    • Great on a motorcycle for style
    • Great in a High school for style
    • Great in a college for style
    • Great on a mild spring/summer/fall day
    • Great for off-work time
    • Great for on-work time in right environment
    Now to the jackets I compare here:
    First up, Wrangler brand, RJK30BL $39.99 at a local farm store. $45 on Wrangler's site. Technically advertised as "black" but will show as quite dark blue. Size L as shown. Widely available online and in stores. https://www.wrangler.com/shop/wrangler-rugged-wear-denim-jacket?variationId=RJK30BL#hero=0

    IMG_6632.JPG
    Not included in this comparison: Turns out there's a Selvedge model that I think looks quite attractive: https://www.wrangler.com/shop/mens-...enim-jacket-20wjcs?variationId=20WJHSL#hero=0

    Next Up: Un-Branded "Jacket" https://theunbrandedbrand.com/collections/jacket
    Size XL, Selvage denim; $128 for this one
    IMG_6633.JPG
    As can quickly been seen, there's very little size difference. The Large Wrangler is nearly the same as the Extra Large Unbranded. The pockets on the Wrangler are much more angled, and have a rounded design, whereas the Unbranded is much straighter of design in the pocket area, with very tight "V" bottoms and rather narrow openings under V shaped cover flaps.

    The buttons used are certainly different as well. Compare them here: IMG_6631.JPG

    Here's a back shot of the two of them as well, close up to show stitching and denim details:
    IMG_6640.JPG

    The real difference shows inside. Since they are both un-lined, there's no hiding how they are constructed:
    Wrangler:
    IMG_6646.JPG

    Here's the Unbranded (Selvedge):
    IMG_6647.JPG

    It's hard not to notice the quality of the stitching, the tight, carefully constructed seams in the Unbranded. The Wrangler is fine as a daily driver, mass-produced jacket. Both are construed in Asia. And it's easy to come by anytime.

    So after taking all these shots, and forgetting entirely to take fit photos, I took the Wrangler back to the farm store and returned it. So much for practical, indeed.

    What are you all picking up for Spring?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 3:34 PM
    Feraud, Boyo, ksozay and 5 others like this.
  2. dudewuttheheck

    dudewuttheheck One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,450
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Nice comparison. I already have my denim jacket for spring :)
    Conners Sewing Factory WWII Type I
    [​IMG]
     
    El Marro, bn1966, seres and 5 others like this.
  3. Guppy

    Guppy Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,226
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I paid $10 apiece for my two denim truckers. One, an unlined Old Navy clone of the classic Levis Type III, with handwarmers and inside pockets. Close fitting, lovely color and fading, classic, not high end, not supposed to be.

    And $10 for my Levis sherpa-lined. I wish it had an inside pocket, but it's OK without it. It's faded even nicer than the Old Navy, from a dark blue to starting to show its white hairs like an old man.

    I've had both a good 10+ years now, how time flies. No pics just this minute tho, sorry.
     
    sweetfights and dudewuttheheck like this.
  4. navetsea

    navetsea Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,169
    Location:
    East Java
    So moral of the story wear your denim jacket inside out to showcase their excellent workmanship like on the other thread, now all make sense....
     
    Colin G, AeroFan_07 and sweetfights like this.
  5. barnabus

    barnabus Practically Family

    Messages:
    523
    Location:
    london
    I would love to spring for an Unbranded jacket for, er, Spring. I'm a big fan of Unbranded, and their 21oz jeans are my favourite daily wear. But I can't justify the cost at the moment.
     
    AeroFan_07 and sweetfights like this.
  6. ton312

    ton312 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,960
    Location:
    Chicago
    If you’d have asked me, even one month ago, if I’d be interested in denim jackets of any kind I would’ve said no. I’ve long been a fan of Iron Heart and Unbranded brand 21oz denim but never really gave a thought to the jackets. Not my thing.

    On a whim I bought a 21oz serge denim work style zip front jacket from IH and loved it. Super substantial yet easy to wear and fairly inconspicuous. It lit a flame. Purchased a trucker style 21oz type III from psant25 and that was it. The fit on these is super flattering, the fades and creases are amazing over time and they wear like cotton armor. They cannot be compared to run of the mill trucker jackets. Not the same animal. Immediately ordered another 21oz super black Lee 101j. Once you tried a jacket in 21oz denim it’s very hard to ignore (at least for me).

    Personally, these styles are actually infinitely easier to wear. No questions about motorcycles, etc. (not that I ever cared about that). Ultimately it’s not a this or that thing, leather jackets still have there place in my wardrobe but exploring this material is proving to be every bit as exciting.
     
  7. ksozay

    ksozay Practically Family

    Messages:
    666
    Location:
    Seattle
    Ton probably captured it well.

    I’ve got a few IG denim jackets I love. Fit and finish, quality are top notch. Recently purchased a type 2 from iron heart and have really that jacket. About to grab a 101j from iron heart to beat on over the summer and into the fall.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    ton312 likes this.
  8. Monitor

    Monitor I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,879
    There's really no comparison. Like, the difference between a cheap leather jacket and an expensive leather jacket can actually be negligible - or worse, a cheap one can look better than a really pricey jacket. With denim, there's just no comparison. Makes it extremely hard for me to leave the house in a leather jacket when I've got this as an option.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Feraud, navetsea, Fonzie and 7 others like this.
  9. Colin G

    Colin G A-List Customer

    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Canada
    I live in denim jackets. I have since the 80's in my high school days.

    My problem is finding one that fits me right. My favourite one that is long gone now, was a GWG I found at value village.

    I have not tried any of the newer, Japanese super-denim brands like you guys but nothing beats that vintage 70's or early 80's denim for thickness, feel and wear.

    These days I blow through a pair of levis jeans in the crotch area in under a year. When I used to be able to find nice vintage jeans, the quality was such that they would just keep on going.

    Same with the jackets but I think I need to try something like an Iron Heart but the sleeves are always so damn long. I figured the Japanese brands would have shorter sleeves than Levis ect but no. Some are longer
     
    VestCoast and Monitor like this.
  10. Monitor

    Monitor I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,879
    You seriously should give IH a try. Or some other high end Japanese brand. Naked & Famous is very approachable and they make some fantastic stuff. Their logo alone is worth it. :D

    I've been thru quite a few vintage to 80's, made in USA denim jackets since I got my first IH and while I can't say I've got nearly as much experience as true denimheads, so far nothing that I have handled even compares to IH. I still have a few old Levi jackets in the wardrobe but most that I bought I couldn't get rid of fast enough. For starters, none of it creases! The sleeves fade and all but they don't crease while IH denim creases exactly like leather.

    Seriously, give it a try. I'm not just talking hype here 'cause If it sucked, I would've said it sucks but it doesn't. It is seriously worth the up-charge, which isn't even that drastic.

    And don't worry about the sleeves. The shoulders on most IH models are somewhat narrow which takes a big chunk out of a sleeve length.
     
    VestCoast and sweetfights like this.
  11. Colin G

    Colin G A-List Customer

    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Canada
    I need around 25" max sleeve length on a regular Levis otherwise it looks like I am wearing my big brothers jacket. I checked out Pike Bros denim jackets and their sleeves are even longer at 26" +
     
  12. GregO

    GregO One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    241
    Location:
    Delaware
    Couldn't agree more. The IH stuff is next level, and even though the listed measurements seem a bit long to me in body and sleeve, it has worked out great for me. My overdye 14 oz from IH spec'd at 25.9" in the sleeve...I never take more than a 24.75 or 25. But its fits absolutely perfectly. Monitor is right, the trim fit and the slightly narrower shoulder eats up what you might think is an overly long sleeve length. Couldn't recommend trying Iron Heart any more heartily. Superb stuff. A bit spendy for denim in my opinion, but you get what you pay for. Besides ... its 1/3 or 1/4 the cost of my favorite leather makers (Eastman and Aero), and I enjoy them just as much. Even more so when the weather turns a little warmer.

    3sixteen is another good brand, as is Studio d'Artisan. I have pieces from both of them, and they are very nice. I got them second-hand though, so didn't pay full boat. No experience with Naked & Famous, but I hear good things. IH is the only denim jacket brand I won't hesitate to pay full price for.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 11:31 PM
    Monitor and ton312 like this.
  13. Gamma68

    Gamma68 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,117
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but I don’t get the fetishism over expensive new denim jackets. Very nice, practically brand new examples are plentiful on the second-hand market. I’d rather direct my funds toward a leather jacket.

    I picked up this Canadian-made Lee at a thrift store for less than $5:

    D691FA18-1059-49B0-93F0-E408BFE4D481.jpeg

    This early 1980s Levi’s jacket, worn maybe once, was $29 on eBay.

    5028FCDB-1A00-445E-95B8-3E6BB1DE30EB.jpeg B0E65365-6862-4A7E-93A9-995C880A0522.jpeg

    If I bought another, it might be a Lee Storm Rider, like this vintage USA-made one I foolishly sold a few years ago (and it was a cheap eBay purchase):

    17356957-6510-45CB-929B-38DCBC19F9D7.jpeg

    These would meet my needs just fine.
     
    Guppy, Monitor and sweetfights like this.
  14. ProteinNerd

    ProteinNerd My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,379
    Location:
    Sydney
    I really like truckers but my issue is trying to avoid the ol' Canadian Tuxedo look.

    Blue denim jeans are always my go-to for casual wear and I always worry if I order a "nice" trucker from overseas when it turns up it will be to matchy- matchy with my jeans.

    My 2 Gustin waxed cotton jackets avoid this but sometimes the wax cotton just traps to much heat when its a little humid...
     
    sweetfights likes this.
  15. El Marro

    El Marro One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,050
    Location:
    California
    Yep.
    My IH 101J has sleeves that are almost 28 inches long! I think I understand what they are trying to do, the longer sleeves leads to more stacking which leads to more awesome creasing and wrinkling, which leads to monster fades! That is all well and good but I agree with you that I would be happier with sleeves that were about an inch to inch and a half shorter.
     
    sweetfights likes this.
  16. Gamma68

    Gamma68 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,117
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Simple solution—wear khakis. See above.
     
    Guppy likes this.
  17. ton312

    ton312 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,960
    Location:
    Chicago
    It’s somewhat akin to comparing a jacket made of cxl, Vic/ Shinki or what have you to a “mall” jacket. You would instantly understand once you held one. It’s a wildly different animal. IH is to Levi’s as Aero is to Wilson’s . I understand why you wouldn’t want to invest that kind of money into denim. I wouldn’t have thought I would either.
     
    VestCoast likes this.
  18. Gamma68

    Gamma68 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,117
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Gotcha. All I need is another rabbit hole to fall in!
     
    ProteinNerd likes this.
  19. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,672
    Location:
    Iowa
    Me too! :)
     
  20. GregO

    GregO One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    241
    Location:
    Delaware
    Until you’ve put a higher end denim jacket on, you haven’t seen what you’re missing.

    Some folks love vintage, inexpensive jackets. I get it. Personally, I love jackets that fit me well, that break in and gain tons of character, and that make me feel good. And, in my mind at least, make me look good.

    I don’t wear mall leather. And I don’t wear $5 denim. But to each their own.
     
    VestCoast, Monitor and MC like this.

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