When Levi Strauss & Co. applied rivets to denim work pants in 1873, the resulting design—blue jeans—was forever woven into the fabric of the American dream. It’s a classic rags-to-riches tale: Levi’s were first popular with miners seeking their fortune in California’s gold fields, then made famous by the cowboys of 1930’s Hollywood westerns. Jeans went global when U.S. soldiers wore them while off duty during World War II, and later they went glam on the runways of Paris (Yves Saint Laurent, 1970) and the streets of New York (Calvin Klein, 1978). A travel staple for everyone from Jack Kerouac to the jet set, jeans can be dressed up or down, adding comfort, character, and versatility to your on-the-road wardrobe.
The bespoke tailoring of Savile Row informs London-based Radcliffe Denim. This model has ankle “cuff links” to adjust for heels or flats, $185.
Dutch label Kuyichi made jeans eco-chic starting in 2001, using only organic cotton and fair-trade production techniques, $185.
More than 10 years ago, Stockholm’s design collective Acne started a sophisticated skinny-jeans line with stretch denim, $249.
Evisu has made premium denim since 1991 using Levi’s-inspired looms. The hand-painted logo on this pair means “rebirth,” $299.