Last night my favorite (and often repaired) Levi's most likely gave up the ghost. I'm going to try to bribe one of my seamstress friends to do some reconstruction but I don't think it's going to be easy find any takers.
I mention this on the blog because it got me thinking about two facets of these pants that I have to come to fully embrace after initial skepticism.
Levi's 511 Skinny Stretch
The black patches are cordura scraps that I bummed off of Andy from Trash Bags. These patched the first saddle holes to appear and did a spectacular job of not failing. I highly recommend cordura patches, although getting the stitching on the inner (butt crack) side to hold up was an issue. It kept coming undone (once after getting spanked super hard with a paddle by a waitress at the Hofbrau Haus in Vegas, much to the delight of our Japanese dinner guests) and after the second time of having it re-stitched and fail I gave up. It did it's job though and having only three sides sewn up was never an issue.
The first feature is the Stretch. I found that purchasing a pair of stretch jeans to be a weirdly emasculating experience especially when combined with the "skinny" aspect. I know that's super immature but deep down inside there was definitely a little voice that whispered "straight guys shouldn't wear stretchy pants, bro." I am a 31 year old hillbilly for chrissakes and Joshy totally made fun of me for like forever. On the bike though they turned out to be magic. Super comfy and a great range of motion. The only downside is that you show way more ass crack when bending or riding than with non stretch denim.
The other more nebulous factor is the "Skinny" part of the equation. These were/are the slimmest jeans I've ever owned and at first I was super self conscious about them. However as I broke them in and rode them, I really came to appreciate the fact that you never have to wear bands to keep your pants out of the spokes and never have to roll your pants legs up which is super crucial during our cold and crappy winters. Even if you have long pants on but have to use a leg band, the leg band bunches the pants and shortens the coverage. No leg band or roll up equals full coverage.
I know no one wants to hear about how skinny pants are awesome as they pretty much aren't (and seem to be on the way out) but I gotta tell you that these things were super money for the 3 years before I wore the ass out (I also think the stretch material caused them to fail earlier than normal jeans). And are in fact the greatest pair of riding pants I have ever owned.
Totally going to get another pair.