Finding a decent pair of denims can become a quest for the holy grail, a foredoomed pursuit of glories past.
On their website you can buy Levi’s 501 button-fly “rigid rinse,” the ur-jeans, for a mere $36 – forgiving to the wallet but not to the body. They are guaranteed to chafe your inner thighs.
Or you may elect to buy the same cut 501’s (“XX” made in Amsterdam) from a slightly higher quality dark-wash denim for $268 at J. Crew. They are a little more comfortable than the originals, but at that price you don’t want to wear them when weeding a thorny garden.
Choices in between are limited to streaky, over-washed, greasy-feeling, thin-weight, distressed jeans that look as if a homeless person had traded them for a cup of coffee.
First off, stop looking for the cup of everlasting life. Jeans don’t have to be perfect (which is a relief to know because you will probably fail to find perfect ones anyway). Jeans need not be the repository of your essential being or the sacred vessel of your singularity. Grand hopes and dreams will overstuff a pair of humble denims. Anyway, aren’t denims the most conformist of clothing choices?
Blue jeans were born in the 19th-century as cheap work pants. Above all they are supposed to be sturdy. After a requisite breaking-in period, they may become comfortable, too. However, in the good old days comfort was second to their ability to withstand a season of gold-panning without ripping.