Hands On: Billy Reid’s MSL Denim

With much fanfare, Alabama homeboy Billy Reid released his MSL-ALA denim at the end of last month.  These jeans are machine sewn in the US, and are made of Japanese selvedge denim.  The bright brass details are a really nice touch.  What’s cool about this release is that they are available in a regular cut and a slim cut, both in three different washes: dry (raw), 6-month wash, and 12-month wash.  Billy Reid rarely misses, and these jeans line up with his collection of wearable Southern couture.

I’m pretty set in my ways in terms of jeans, opting for Levi’s 501s, and splurging for A.P.C. New Standards and Imogene + Willie Bartons.  Any deviation from this makes me anxious.  Especially when talking about denim at this level of both style and price.  Given that I had a gift card and a small store credit, I decided to take advantage and give these jeans a whirl.  I don’t have anything like their 6-month wash, so I was immediately drawn to these.  They are dark enough to look ‘dressy’, but worn enough so that they don’t look new and shiny.

I went with the slim fit, and I am extremely impressed.  They are made with a 12-oz denim, so they aren’t too heavy, but substantial enough to hold their shape.  The sizing is a lot like J.Crew (for reference).  They have a good slimmer cut, but it’s not skinny.  The inseam is right at 34 inches, so I’ll have to get them hemmed, but that’s fine.  The leg opening on their slim fit is 7.5 inches, so they will work with boots and shoes.

From a styling perspective, these fill a decidedly open spot in my closet.  Since I don’t wear jeans every day, it would take me MUCH longer than six months to develop any sort of honeycomb like what is offered here.  These are more of a rugged look, so I’ll pair them with a solid oxford and a solid sweater, as these jeans add plenty flare.  For a more casual look, I’ll pair them with some suede chukka boots and the Kenner Henley that came home with me as well.  The point is to let these jeans be the focal piece of the outfit.

Overall I think these are the best jeans that Billy Reid has produced to date.  From a quality perspective, they line up with jeans in the same price point, but the fit is what really brings me to give them a thumbs up.  More to come on these once I give them a few laps.

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