I haven’t worn jeans in three years. Unfortunately they were always inadequate in terms of fit (and style), so I donated all three pairs.
So I remained largely indifferent to jeans, since they always constricted my legs and made my seat look embarrassingly small. But I read about Simon Crompton’s Lot 1 experience at Levi’s Lot 1 in London, and wanted to give the San Francisco Levi’s Lot 1 on Market Street a shot.
You can choose between Kaihara Japanese denim and Cone Mills denim (from the now defunct Cone Mills plant in North Carolina). The Japanese denim is darker and slightly heavier, whereas Cone Mills is a medium-blue.
I chose Cone Mills’ slightly lighter than 12 oz. “Natural Indigo,” since I wanted the jeans a bit more casual (plus, Cone Mills is now dead stock). The pockets are 6 oz. — better suited for California weather than 8 oz.
I met with Marco Ruiz, one of the Lot 1 tailors, and decided on: stainless steel rivets, golden glo thread for the arcuates (the little arch on the back pocket), a red care label, and indigo-colored topstitching throughout.
You can choose what kind of stitching you want: chain stitching or single-needle top stitch. I asked Marco for his recommendation. Chain stitching is more decorative but if one thread comes undone, it is more fallible than a single-needle top stitch.
I never liked belts, so I opted for a seamless waist without belt loops. The jeans are a high-rise which decline to a mid-rise fit.
And because I wanted to be able to run and flex in my jeans, I requested more room for comfort and mobility.
At the time of order, Levis had two price points, $750 and $950 excluding tax. This includes the consultation, between one to two fittings, and the last delivery. I chose the basic $750 option and had two fittings since there were still corrections.
If you want extra customization such as bound edges, or a cinch-back waist (like side-adjusters), that would bump up your order to $950. Requesting hidden rivets and bar-tacks is also possible.
If there is one drawback I would point to Levi’s mandatory branding (i.e. the leather patch, red tag on the back pockets, the arcuate). I’m fine with the arcuate but am not thrilled about branding in general.
The fitting experience: you try on many existing sample jeans to determine which high-rise or mid-rise pattern best fits/suits you. Marco then alters this pattern while taking into account your own fit.
Marco also downsized the proportions of the back pockets, and raised the yoke height per my request. He made additional adjustments to other areas. It’s a collaboration between you and the tailor.
It’s difficult to tell how the jeans will look aesthetically based on the sample fittings. The sample denim is a flat, olive-colored cotton which doesn’t have the same texture, look, and depth as the indigo jean. But what’s pertinent is the fit.
Let your tailor know how you plan to use the jeans (for the office, outdoors, etc.). Marco provided great service and recommendations about fabric weight and swatches.
I will post more about the final jeans once I receive them.