What do Pacquiáo, Calista Flockhart in the 90s and the selvedge in this article all have in common? They are all lightweights. Get it (pause for collective groans and facepalms)?
Spring is in the air. Well, no, not actually. In North East Ohio, Spring is that smoke show you tried so hard to date in college that kept stringing you along. You know the one; she had you buy her drinks and watch endless DVDs at your place in “group hangs,” until you graduated and were left with nothing more than a kiss on the check and a you’re such a good friend. Then BOOM, it’s June, she’s dating your ex-roommate and it’s 95 degrees outside and miserable. Confusing analogy? Guys, Cleveland has a near non-existent spring anymore and we tend to jump from freezing our balls off to a sweaty pile of what remains.
With that, there is an opportunity to discuss some lightweight selvedge purchases I made this year! In actual fact, I prefer the heavy weights; the majority of my denim collection consists of 16oz – 21oz selvedge. However, in December (what a time to buy lightweight selvedge), SoSo Clothing ran an incredible sale and I thought, “why the fuck not?”
I was being proactive you see; Summer in North East Ohio can be surprisingly unforgiving. The temperatures and humidity levels exceed what they should for “temperate” climate zone and yet, somehow, can plummet at a moment’s notice. SoSo had a handful of interesting lightweight selvedge options at the time and the price was very inviting, especially when coupled with the chance to design my first pair of custom selvedge jeans.
What defines Lightweight Selvedge?
So, whether you want it or not, here’s a free lesson in textile manufacturing. The weight of denim, selvedge or otherwise, is measured in oz/square yard. When denim is woven, the thicker the yarn fiber used, the denser and heavier the denim will become, increasing the oz/sq. yard. Dense, heavy fabrics tend to insulate while less dense, lighter fabrics allow for better breathability. Generally speaking, lightweight selvedge is considered to be 12oz/sq. yard and under.
If you ask me, anything under 14oz is light as fuck, especially if you have been dragging your ass around town in 18-21oz denim all winter long. So, let’s agree, at least for the sake of this particular post, lightweight selvedge is anything under 14oz! Now that we have that cleared up, let’s dive into my purchases!
For those of you that read my earlier post on my “Custom Way” buying experience, a couple of things have changed leading to an overall more enjoyable buying experience for someone with terrible decision induced anxiety issues. First, I am way more aware of what I like in a pair of selvedge now versus four months ago. In addition, SoSo has made fewer customization options “mandatory,” and as a result a paired down option list has made the “Custom Way,” a way less stressful experience for someone like me! What follows is (albeit a slight deviation from our review format) my impression and overview on my lightweight selvedge purchases from SoSo!
12.9oz Lightweight Midnight Twisted Twill
In corner number one, weighing in at 12.9oz, all the way from China, the crazy Midnight Twisted Twill will redefine your concept of normal weaving processes. SoSo’s Twisted Weft Selvedge is a midnight shade indigo selvedge denim from China (shocked gasps) Essentially, it’s made by twisting the midnight blue and white yarns together for a unique mélange weft. With time, this denim will fade to a beautiful vintage blue color featuring highlights of the midnight blue and white thread colors throughout the jeans.
The texture of this denim is interesting. Normally, you can feel the ridges of the wrap yarns on just about most jeans, but this denim has a very satin-like finish. It’s actually pretty unique if you ask me, and if you didn’t, tough shit. Regardless of your curiosity, it’s a characteristic worth noting because, at least for me, it was completely unexpected.
My custom base for this pair of lightweight selvedge was the Slim Darryl cut. I assumed (correctly) that the lighter weight would allow for a more comfortable fit on what is easily a slim to skinny taper. I recognize this cut is not for everyone, but I came from a world of Levi’s 511 fit prior to my conversion to the world of selvedge and thought this would be fun to have for a summer fit.
SoSo’s quality and finished product are nothing to be sniffed at. I tend to pour over each new pair of selvedge jeans I get, looking for the slightest imperfection to be miffed about. Said imperfection didn’t exist here. The only things I could complain about were my own choices and that wouldn’t seem fair to bitch about as my choices/my fault. What I would have done differently is get the Slim Darryl High cut, as these are a mid to almost low rise, at least for me, and I would have gone for tucked belt loops. At the time of ordering I didn’t know what in the actual fuck that meant and opted to skip that feature. Lesson learned.
With no quality issues to speak of and the only design flaws being my own doing, I decided to begin the break-in process. Break-in process complete. Did you miss it, because I nearly the fuck did. One thing, if you haven’t experienced it firsthand, is that with lightweight selvedge there is little to no break in period. “Right off the shelf” these jeans and lightweight selvedge in general is very wearable and very comfortable.
In all honesty, I barely noticed I was wearing selvedge jeans at all. My go to move with any new pair of selvedge is to do a DEEP, like pornographic deep, squat to give myself a little breathing room in the thighs and establish some even more pornographic deep honeycomb creases at the back of the knees. Don’t get me wrong, I did that, but in the end, I didn’t really need to, this selvedge moves and conforms with and to the body quickly. The comfort was about as near instant as you could hope for.
11.1oz Triple Edge Selvedge
And in corner number two, weighing in at an almost non-existent 11.1oz, all the way from the exotic isles of Japan, the selvedge with an identity crisis, SoSo’s Japanese Triple Edge iD selvedge. Now, some standout characteristics right off the shelf; again, there is a very smooth texture to this denim, not quite as extreme as the Twisted Twill, but certainly lighter than the rest of my collection. The color is notably darker, too, a purplish-blue indigo hue to make these really work for both business casual as well as dressed down.
In terms of design, quality and details, well, what good is a comparative study if you don’t have some form of “control” amongst the variables. Again, I went with the Slim Darryl cut, with nearly all the same options, just with a change in the colors and pocket bag patterns.
If there was little to no break-in period with the Twisted Twill, a hummingbird couldn’t time the fucking break-in on this denim. On they went, porno-squat for the thighs and knees and they simply disappeared. I actually had to go back and look at my order on the SoSo website because I was certain I shit the bed and bought, ugh my stomach quivers at the thought, stretch-selvedge. As an aside, I recognize that there is a demographic of folks out there that want this quality in jeans, that is to say, the stretch feature, but in my experience it just leaves your jeans permanently warped after a few years and there’s no coming back from that.
These jeans are incredibly comfortable, and I was almost disturbed by the comfort. Selvedge isn’t this comfy, right? While this particular denim is not currently being offered with the same iD, SoSo does have a similar denim in the comparable weight on offer as well as some other cool 11oz range denim.
Is Lightweight Selvedge For You?
I won’t speak for the masses. I won’t lie. I like heavy weight selvedge a lot. I have muttered the phrase, “If it isn’t heavy then what’s the point,” to my Sr. Writer, Tristan, on multiple occasions. That said, I think I have found an appropriate place in my indigo armor for lightweight selvedge. When the heat gets oppressive in North East Ohio, I’m still going to run for shorts, unless societal rules dictate otherwise, however at night over patio cocktails, warmer spring days and cooler summer nights, I am glad I have these two options in my closet.
The fades may come slower, the rotation might be less frequent, but the boys will be cooler, if you get my drift.
Stay connected and follow our story!