Posts Tagged ‘jeans


About | Buck Mason

About | Buck Mason.

About Buck Mason

“Where we’re from, the best dressed man is the one whose character is apparent in the way he wears his jeans. We’re from a place where a demand for endurance, fit and quality is the only definition of style. We’re not excited by fashion. Buck Mason was born out of an obsession with standing out by being subtle, buying smart and affirming the true, classic heartland cool that we grew up on. Cool is effortless, stable and poised. It’s the never-loud, always honest, unfailing preamble to timelessness. Cool is what happens when a picture of you today resurfaces in thirty years and people say, “He’s still got it.” With this in mind, we’re committed to crafting clothing that outlives trends, weathers use and wears true-to-character. The garments we design aren’t meant to be different, they’re simply meant to be perfect.” Founders: Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn.

Buck Mason Light Grey Oxford

Buck Mason Light Grey Oxford

Buck Mason

Buck Mason is a company that is proud to be making clothing that carries the label “Made in America”. The cotton is grown in North Carolina and sewn in Los Angeles (according to 2 paragraphs). Now that is 100% American. The company started with high quality T-shirts and now has expanded to include Henleys, denim pants/shirts, chinos, oxford shirts and even hats (through Stetson). Eric Schnakenberg was previously the retail director for Civilianaire – a high end, Made in America clothing maker. Buck Mason is definitely worth looking into at their website: Great quality clothing at a very reasonable price.

White short sleeve Henley

White short sleeve Henley

Is There a Real Buck Mason?

No, there is no actual person named Buck Mason. Buck Mason is a fictional name made up in honor of their fathers of the founders. Mr. Schnakenberg’s father was a mason and Mr. Koehn’s father was a sculptor. The first name was picked because they wanted a tough sounding manly name, thus it became “Buck.”

Black Chino pants

Black Chino pants

Articles From Other Magazines

GQ (on 6/8/15)

Wall Street Journal


Men’s Journal

LA Weekly

RAWR Denim

Well Spent


Buck Mason does have a Facebook page see:

Buck Mason Rambler Hat

Buck Mason Rambler Hat


Favorite U.S. Stores #5 – Levi’s in San Francisco

Mainpoint – Levi Strauss, legendary clothing maker is making clothing made in U.S.A. again, finding it is more difficult. You need to go to the Corporate store in San Francisco.

I can not think of anything more American than blue jeans, when it comes to clothing. And when you think of blue jeans, there is no bigger name than Levi Strauss. They had been the leading maker of jeans for over a century, and are based in San Francisco. But then a some years back, Levi’s like everybody else started making their jeans elsewhere. It was up until very recently, that I had given up completely on Levi’s as a maker of U.S. made jeans. But, on March 2011, Levi’s put out a news blurb that they were going to start making jeans again “Made in the U.S.A.” (in a limited quantity). So, I searched and searched to find them.  All the Levi’s outlets didn’t have them and most salespeople had never even heard about them. On one trip, I went to the Levi’s store in the Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, CA  and the manager said they had one pair that was returned to them, but they did not sell them in the store. But, then she gave me some wonderful information: the corporate store in San Francisco sells the American made jeans!

The Corporate Store

So, I went to the corporate store at 1155 Battery Street, in San Francisco. It is right off the Embarcadero (a famous street in S.F.) and only a half mile from Fisherman’s Wharf, a famous tourist attraction. But before I could go shopping, I had to go to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch, because it was Dungeness Crab season, which had just started two weeks ago. Within Fisherman’s Wharf, there is a slew of good restaurants anxiously ready to serve you fresh Dungeness Crab. I enjoyed a great lunch and then made my way to the corporate headquarters. The corporate headquarters is part of Levi’s Plaza. The plaza (or park/plaza) is a couple of blocks consisting of large buildings connected by brick walkways and a small park (a downtown oasis) across the street (looking towards the ocean), and on the other side, one can see stairs traversing a very steep and impressive hill that leads to Coit Tower (a SF landmark and a name that the French people just love). The Levi building is an impressive looking building about seven stories high, constructed with brick and glass with aggressive newer architecture seen in the 1990’s. As I entered the building, there were streams of people going into this glass building and going up the elevators to their respective offices, it was only because they all had to go through a security checkpoint that I decided that this was not the way to the store. I asked at the receptionist desk where the store was and they pointed me to a large glass cubicle inside a larger glass cubicle. This was the store.

The corporate store is a much smaller store than most outlets. It can be very busy on the weekends and it is kind of slow during mid-week. As I walked in, I was met almost immediately by a salesperson who asked if he could help me. I said that I was looking for American clothes. And not only did he know what I was talking about, he was able to show me a couple of styles of American made jeans for men and for women. Surprisingly, Levi’s sells denim jackets, made in U.S.A. The salesperson, also, showed me belts made by Tanner. One further surprise was some Outdoor wear – a joint effort between Filson and Levi’s. Furthermore, they carried a couple of boots, American made by Al’s Attires (fairly pricey – about the price of Wolverine 1000 mile boots). Another bit of information I learned is ‘Dockers’ is owned by Levi’s. There were some Dockers in the store and almost all of the Dockers are imported, except for a limited edition of a special T-shirt – made in the U.S. The salespeople were excellent. They were professional, yet friendly and quite knowledgeable (more knowledgeable than myself, I didn’t even know that ‘knowledgeable’ had an ‘e’ before ‘able’, thanks spellczech).

Shopping Spree

I put a sizable dent in my credit on this trip to Levi’s. The final tally: my wife found a two pair of jeans; I bought a pair of  “505” jeans, classic, straight leg jeans, I passed on the skinny jeans: and I purchased a denim jacket. I had not owned a denim jacket since high school in the late 1970’s, it seems like almost everything comes back in style if you wait long enough. These American jeans are manufactured in the very traditional denim. There are stiff, never been washed or broken in. The salesperson’s advice to break them in: wear the jeans for 6 months before washing them. When you wash them,  cold water, inside out, and hang them to dry, or dry clean them. The full retail price of the made in USA 505 jeans is $178, which is about $20 more than their good imported Levi’s jeans. However, on this day, there were giving $25 off any purchase over $150. So, I felt better, because it was a sale.

The Future of Levi’s

I asked about the success of the U.S. made Levi’s and the salesperson said that the items have been flying off the shelves. Noting their success, Levi’s has plans of making even more U.S. made products for 2012. That does seem to be the new trend, retro type clothing made in America, made by famous makers such as Levi’s, Ralph Lauren and Eddie Bauer.

“I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and non chalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” – Yves Saint Laurent


Jeans – American Born but American Made? Part II

Mainpoint – The progression of jeans from the 1960’s to the present. And where to find jeans made in the USA.

Blue Jeans Hit The Fashion Parade

Starting in the mid to late 1960’s was the first real change in the actual style of jeans since its inception. There had been minor changes, but there were still the old classic jeans. These new designers were going to make jeans a fashion statement. And there was no bigger statement than the inception of bell-bottom blue jeans. The bell bottoms, named because of their exaggerated flare at the end of the jean’s legs, resembled a bell (sort of). The circumference was 27 inches almost twice the circumference of the traditional or straight leg jeans. They were a major hit with the counter culture, hippies. Patches were placed on jeans and very often accompanied with tie-dye T-shirts, and granny glasses. Almost around the same time came the “hip huggers”.  They were worn much lower on the hips, similar to the low cut or ultra low cut jeans of today. This was the jump start of jeans into fashion, never again could you just say, “I would like a pair of jeans”, without having a salesperson say, “What kind of jeans?”

Other Fashion Bubbles and Improvements

The early 1980’s were the time of “Designer” jeans. Jeans that were created by “Name Designers” like Gloria Vanderbilt and Calvin Klein. These were expensive compared to the older, classic jeans, and very form fitting (“tight butt hugging”). Jokes were frequent – like how long it took to get into the jeans, and how you would get stretch marks just bending over to pick up a coin. This fashion faded, (and its made a comeback), but there has always been a new jeans fashion to replace it. And the designers are always inventing new names to make it sound cool. I will go over some “improvements” and I hope to demonstrate that these new names may not be as difficult to understand at first glance.  First, let us go back to the ‘classic jeans’. They were brand new denim, never been washed (this is called the ‘wash’), the waist or ‘Rise’ was just over the hips and a couple of inches below the navel. That is now called ‘medium rise’.  The ‘Fit’ (the tightness or looseness around the legs and rear) was slightly relaxed. The ‘Cut’ at the end of the trouser was ‘straight leg’, no flare, no taper, 14 inches in circumference.


This will help you when you respond to the salesperson’s question, “What kind of jeans do you like?” Instead of saying , “What kind of jeans do you have?” You can say,” I would like Mid-rise, classic fit, straight leg, raw denim.” But if you are not sure, when the salesperson starts rolling off their entire menu, at least, you will be prepared to know what some of the terms mean. So, let us look at all of these names or variations:

The Rise

This is easiest to comprehend. It is where the waistband goes around the body. Starting with the normal fitting trousers, pants or jeans – the ‘classic’ is considered ‘mid – rise’. As I described before – it goes over the hips and a couple inches below the naval. For centuries this has been the most natural of designs as the hips tend to keep the pants from falling down. ‘Low cut’ or ‘low rise’ (or ‘ultra low cut’) have the waistband at the hips  or just above (the hips are where the bony prominences of the proximal femurs can be felt). If the back is not covered, the crack of the butt can be sometimes be seen with standing and certainly with squatting. These are meant for young people only. The ‘high rise’ or ‘high waist’ has the waistband coming across the navel. It has been in and out of fashion throughout the years.

The Fit

The fit is the tightness or looseness of the jeans around the legs and butt. Starting from tight to loose: ‘Skinny jeans’ (also known as cigarette jeans) are form fitting, like the 1980’s Designer jeans. ‘Skinny jeans also incorporate a smaller leg opening at the bottom. ‘Slim fit’ are the next step down. There are not as form fitting (they don’t ‘hug’ the body) like the ‘skinny jeans’, but usually with a straight leg. The next step is the ‘classic fit’, for some women they are called the ‘classic boyfriend fit’. The overall form is still seen but there is enough space around the legs and butt to be comfortable. Next, ‘relaxed fit’ – one additional inch in the butt and thighs. Then there is the ‘loose fit’. In the ‘loose fit’, there are an additional 1 – 4 inches of additional room in the seat and thighs. Last and certainly least – the ‘baggy jeans’. Certainly a fashion statement with all that additional and unnecessary material. ‘Women’s jeans’ are made to enhance the look of the woman’s anatomy, more curves for hip room versus the men’s traditional straight up and down anatomy.

The Cut or Leg

The cut refers to the trouser leg, sometimes starting below the knee or above the knee. starting from largest to smallest. ‘Bell Bottoms’ – starting at the knee the opening at the opening got larger around 27 inches in some cases. Similiar, but not as pronounced, are the ‘Flare cut’. This starts at or just below the knee with gradually widening until 21-27 inches. The next cut would be the ‘Trouser jeans’ or sometimes called the ‘wide leg’ or even the ‘baggy jean’. In this cut, the leg is widened the entire way and may get bigger at the bottom. The ‘Boot Cut’ are straight or even a little tighter in the thighs, but below the knee flares out to accommodate a boot, opening anywhere from 15-22 inches. The ‘straight leg’, the traditional cut has no taper, opening 14 inches. ‘Skinny jeans’ – thin all the way down with a slight taper at the ankle to 13 inches. ‘Micro skinny’ – opening 12 inches.


Blue jeans are impregnanted with an indigo colored dye and are very dark when first manufactured. The wash refers to the number of times they have been washed or in some circumstances treated in a different fashion to give them a distressed appearance. It is kind of funny that we desire our brand new clothes to look like we got them at a second hand store filled with rips, and frays, holes, stains and fading, but that is the fashion. If jeans have never been washed they are called ‘Dry wash’ or ‘raw wash’ (Never washed seems more appropriate to me). I have heard that a single hand wash of the jeans can still be considered a ‘raw wash’. The manufacturer can throw the jeans into a washing machine full of large stones and then call them ‘stone-washed’, or add chlorine and call it ‘acid wash’, or some other chemical and call it ‘dirty wash’. There are actually too many numerous variations, and I tire of the entire lame wash subject. So, enough about washes.

Additional Note

So, I have covered most of the types of jeans and I hope I have made some sense of all this mish-mash, but just realize many stores like to use their own particular name for the types of jeans they sell. So, then you have to ask the salesperson – “What is a modern cut?” or whatever it is called this week, the salesperson should be able to say, “Well, that is equivalent to a low rise jean.”

Jeans made in the USA

It is rather a sad subject that the piece of clothing originating in America, a true American original, and which made clothing history is very infrequently manufactured in the U.S. Most jeans come from Mexico, China or Honduras. But there are a few manufacturers still here. There are several jeans manufacturers that have their own retail stores, plus distribute them to department stores. The best known are 7 For All Mankind and True Religion. I had just found out that Levi Strauss after a few year hiatus, makes a limited number of American made jeans since March of 2011. Other jeans made in the USA, found in retail outlets are: Hudson, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, Ernest Sewn, Paige, Doheny, Postage, Rock And Republic, Raleigh Denim, Citizens of Humanity, and Blues Jean Bar. Most of these manufacturers are premium jeans so the are expensive $150 – $220 for full retail. If you can find them at Nordstrom’s Rack, maybe you can buy them for $75.

“Fashion is the science of appearance, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be.” -Henry Fielding


Jeans – American born, but American Made? Part I

Mainpoint – The examination of jeans, their history and where to find jeans made in America.

Jeans have been the American fashion icon for over 60 years with its myriad of styles and cuts. It is a wonder that work clothes made for farmers, mechanics and cowboys could ever become the height of fashion. On Part I, we will go into what are jeans, the history of jeans, and how it first became fashionable. Part II will be about the modern progression of jeans and the subsequent various cuts, styles, and names that now make it so confusing in trying to purchase jeans and where American made jeans can still be found.

The Origin of the Word

So let us exam where the word “jeans” came from. There is an old wives tale that the word “‘Jeans” came from the Italian city of Genoa 500 years ago, but more and more tend to doubt this origin. In fact, jeans was a type of fabric separate from denim. How about “denim”?  Also, the name is of doubtful origin, supposedly from the place Serges de Nimes in France. Serges means twill. But, in France, the fabric itself was made out of silk and wool, not cotton, which is of American origin.

Technical stuff  (you are free to skip this part if you would like)

So, let us temporarily flee the discussion of jeans and denim, get a little more technical and focus on twill and what jeans are made up of.  Twill is a fabric woven in a pattern that produces an effect of parallel diagonal lines. If you want to break it down even further (kind of like under the microscope), let us say you have an old fashioned loom. There are length wise threads (called the warp). And you have the horizontal threads (called the woof). In the loom, the horizontal thread inter-weaves in the following manner: One over the warp and then under two threads under the warp, etc. Then the next horizontal thread down does the same pattern but starts one thread over. This gives the effect of diagonal parallel “ribs”.  In classic denim, the material is made of durable cotton fabric. The length wise fibers, the warp, are dyed an indigo color, while the woof (the horizontal fibers) are white. The question then still remains, if denim was first made in France, it could not be made of cotton, but made of a different fabric in a twill pattern. So is that really denim?

More technical stuff

Jeans in the 19th and early 20th century, was actually a  separate fabric from denim altogether. It tended to be used for uniforms, both threads (warp and woof) were colored, and it was not as durable as denim. If you wanted fabric that wouldn’t tear easily, that would be denim, which was more expensive and extensively used in overalls and work clothes. So, jeans are separate from denim. Confusing isn’t it? Later in this blog entry, we will put these loose ends together.

The origin of jeans

Jeans had evolved from overalls. In fact, jeans for many years were called waist trousers until 1960, when Levi Strauss officially called them jeans. Overalls were introduced in about 1750. They were used as a protection to prevent work related wear and tear to breeches and stockings. They were primarily made of linen. For warmth, sometimes overalls were made of wool.

In the early 1800s, cotton became cheap, and overalls were then made of cotton canvas, duck, which is like a canvas and denim. The next big step in jeans (waist trousers) happened in 1873.  A tailor, Jacob Davis came up with the idea of adding rivets to add to the durability of the fabric overalls. However, he did not have the money to secure the patent. He, thus enlisted a business associate, and partnered with him to obtain the patent. His partner was Loeb (Levi) Strauss, a clothing manufacturer. The Levi Strauss historian described the 1873 Original pants (waist overalls) as having one back pocket with the Arcurate stitching design, a watch pocket, a cinch, suspender buttons, and a rivet in the crotch. Clearly, overalls and waist overalls (jeans) were work clothes, not in fashion at all. In the 1920’s, the duck and canvas in overalls were gradually phased out, most probably due to canvas is very hot, it doesn’t “breathe” and because over time, these fabrics do not become more comfortable, unlike denim which does. And for those of you who don’t remember, there wasn’t any thing called pre-washed jeans, so you had to purchase brand new, unbroken in jeans, which would be very stiff at first. Then, the jeans, after wearing them many times, finally became comfortable.

Jeans as Fashion

It does seem a stretch to think that jeans would ever be fashionable. Why would anyone want to dress like a farmer.? For fashion, you would have to thank Hollywood for turning people’s thinking around. First, in the 1930’s, Hollywood movies showed Hollywood cowboys wearing jeans. Because of this, some people in the East, bought jeans and found they were comfortable. But the biggest push for jeans came as the result of a movie called “Rebel Without A Cause”. It caused a national sensation. By 1958, a newspaper article reported “about 90% of American youths wear jeans everywhere except ‘in bed and in church’. There was just one style, the “classic style”: jeans went over the hips, crossed a couple of inches under the navel, straight cut (14 inches circumference at the leg end), and blue. There were no jeans made for one sex or the other – it was unisex. There was one great improvement in the 50’s – the zipper, introduced in 1954. Because of the popularity of jeans especially with the teenagers, there was a backlash against jeans, as some people felt that  jeans meant rebellion & anti-establishment and therefore banned them from certain venues like schools which lasted until the late 1960s. Waist trousers during the 1950s were being called “jeans”, for unknown reasons (they were made of denim, not jeans material). This name stuck and Levi Strauss officially named the waist overalls “jeans” in 1960. And, it went without saying, all jeans were made in the USA at that time.


From the history we can now conclude that the official definition of jeans are that it is a pair of trousers, made of denim, a cotton fiber made in a twill pattern, dyed indigo color, and reinforced with rivets. Part II will resume the story starting in the 1960’s.

“Jeans represent democracy in fashion.” – Giorgio Armani

January 2020
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