Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans Review (Part 3 of 3)

Welcome to my 100th post on The Geek Lounge! Along with this milestone is roughly 4.5 years of (ehem, sporadic) blogging and 44,475 views.¬†Hooray! This blog is nothing more than sharing my thoughts and experiences, as well as exercising my writing skills (or lack thereof). If you’re reading this right now, you are part of this blog and part of my motivation, so thank you!

On to the subject matter at hand…

In part one and part two of the review of this commemorative pair of jeans, I mentioned how amazing it was from a details perspective. I’m not referring to the contrived distressing and fading which is absent in these jeans, but rather in the subtle (and not-so-subtle) embellishments. For this final part, I will cover the rest of the elements that make this Lee jeans distinct, sophisticated and definitely a collector’s piece of clothing.

Let's have a look at the inner part of the jeans. Typically, there is nothing in there but boring wash and care tags. But this jeans is far from typical. There are silk screened sketches that do not mean anything. They go all the way down to the hem; they will definitely show when the jeans are cuffed!

Let’s have a look at the inner part of the jeans. Typically, there is nothing in there but boring care instruction tags. But this jeans is far from typical. There are silk screened graphics all over the inside that look like blueprints of jeans construction. The prints go all the way down to the hem so they will definitely show when the jeans are cuffed!

This is the back of the waist button. They could've just made this blank. Instead, they designed it to be shiny black and labeled Lee 101+. Again...details!

This is the back of the waist button. They could’ve just made this blank. Instead, they designed it to be shiny black and labeled Lee 101+. Again…details!

The same attention to detail goes to the back of the other rivets, being consistently branded.

The same crazy intricacies were applied to the back of the other rivets; they are consistently branded. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, “Lee” is embossed while “101+” is engraved. Side note: the pocket pouch is yellow and of thick, quality herringbone fabric that is less likely to puncture with years of use.

Here you can see the size as W30-L31.  I would say it is vanity sized yet consisted with most other brands, as I am also 30 with Uniqlo, A.P.C., Naked and Famous, and Levi's Made & Crafted. The 31 length is odd (pun intended), as the usual length is 34 and 32. I would guess this is a nod to the Asian market who are not as tall. 31 is still a tad long for my 5'7 height, but it should be perfect with a cuff or two. I would be stupid not to cuff this baby, as you will discover a few photos down. ;)

It says 100% cotton and rightfully so. No stretch fabric mixed here. I wish I could find out the source of the selvedge fabric; the Internet didn’t give that away. If anybody does know, please say so in the comments section! The size is indicated as W30-L31. I would say it is vanity sized yet consisted with most other brands, as I am also 30 with Uniqlo, A.P.C., Naked and Famous, and Levi’s Made & Crafted. The 31 inseam is odd (pun intended), as the usual length is 34 and 32. I would guess this is a nod to the Asian market where the people are not as tall. 31 is still a tad long for my 5’7 height, but it should be perfect with a single cuff. I would be stupid not to cuff this baby, as you will discover a few photos down. ūüėČ

To be honest, I was hoping it to be made elsewhere more prestigious, like Kansas USA, the birthplace of the Lee brand! But hey, this is supposedly an Asia-Pacific release. Made in Japan is also a nice cachet! I cannot complain tho, as the finishing and build quality of this jeans is spot on!

To be honest, I was hoping it to be made somewhere more prestigious like Kansas USA, the birthplace of the Lee brand! But hey, this is supposedly an Asia-Pacific release. Still, they could’ve produced them in Japan for a nice cachet. I cannot complain tho, as the finishing and build quality of this jeans is spot on!

Notice anything unusual? Well, it says Do not soak and remove promptly. This goes against the denim head commandment of soaking as a washing/softening method, albeit as seldom as possible.

Notice anything unusual? Well, it says “Do not soak” and “Remove promptly”. This goes against the denim head commandment of soaking as a washing/softening method, albeit as seldom as possible.

Enough of the boring tags, here's the killer: the one that says it is limited to

Enough of the boring tags, here’s the killer: the one that says it is limited to 1250 pieces worldwide! Mine has a serial number of 0095. ¬†It seems that this limited product were all produced in a single day: January 25, 2014. And who the hell is M. Watanabe? Google wasn’t helpful with that. Whoever he is, tip of the hat to him as this 125th Anniversary Jeans is excellently designed!

Going back outside, at the knee area, I found a stitch, that made the legs slightly arch. Not sure if purely aesthetic or if it improves fit. I'm guessing it is a nod to Lee's cowboy heritage, as the jean's arched legs seem perfectly suited for a man mounted on a saddle.

Going back outside, at the knee area, I found a stitch, that made the legs slightly arch. I’m not sure if this is purely aesthetic or if it improves fit. I’m guessing it is a nod to Lee’s cowboy heritage, as the jean’s arched legs seem perfectly suited for a man mounted on a saddle. You can also see here the two tone stitching on the leg using gold and gray colored thread.

Finally, the most important feature:

Finally, the most important feature: the selvedge stripe!!! [Insert glorious angelic music–or wailing guitar riff–here] They didn’t settle for the run of the mill (pun alert!) red line, instead they went all rainbow mode on this one. Consider this: Lee had a bespoke run of 16 0z. selvedge fabric with blue, green and red edge, just for this limited edition jeans! And we meet those silk screened sketches again, definitely an exclusive feature. There is no other way to wear this jeans but single cuffed to stunt not only the selvedge and the sketch design, but the chain-stitched hem too!

Here ends¬†my review of this Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary denim jeans. This pair really changed my perspective of Lee as a brand. Lee is being true to their tagline “Stay Curious” ¬†as recently they seem to be very edgy, daring and innovative. Especially when compared to Levi’s that seem to have gone the conservative, classic and heritage route.

This Limited Edition jeans is most definitely a living work of art. Living, because it will only look better in time as my body’s shape along with the fading, settle into it. I promised to give my first impressions on how they fit and wear but at the time of writing, I haven’t worn them outside of the fitting room! How I wish I had a job that allowed jeans to be worn everyday, instead of drab office clothes. For now I impatiently wait for weekends (casual Friday included) as opportunities to slip into this indigo. I hope to update this post soon on fit and wear notes.

Until then, here’s an extreme close up of the selvedge as a fitting end to this review. It just deserves a second photo! I hope you enjoyed reading this three part series as much as I had fun writing it! Eager to hear your thoughts on the comments section! Cheers!

selvedge stripes

 

 

 

 

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Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans Review (Part 1of 3)

Recently I have been snorting indigo. I had discovered a world where denim aficionados thrive, with disciples that treat their blue fabric as connoisseurs do to their watches or wine. With this new found interest, I’ve started collecting a few pairs of jeans, specifically the raw and selvedge kind. These two terms refer to jeans with fabric made from old shuttle looms, and left unwashed. To the uninitiated, this type of jeans may look plain. But it’s more of a tabula rasa where one’s body creates the fades–wear and tear marks accumulated in a year or two–that makes the denim truly personal and unique. It is a journey to create an artwork of character. I leave it to you and Google to discover the raw and selvedge melodrama and fanaticism. On to my review of an exciting pair of jeans that I discovered…

Lee is a well known department store staple. Not really a brand you go to when searching cutting edge, fashion forward products. But Lee is seems to be in a resurgence as of late and in the Philippines it recently opened a few boutiques. You could say that I am a Lee snob, but then I gave their Glorietta 2 branch a chance, went inside, and made an awesome discovery:

Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans

Introducing: the Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans

At first glance, this pair might look vanilla. But upon closer inspection, the jeans was a basket full of Easter eggs: features hidden to the untrained eye that make it very special. I dare say, it is by far the most exciting pair of raw selvedge jeans I have ever seen (and owned)! This is part one of a 3-part series. The pair of jeans has so much detail, I would need three blog entries to give you a complete tour from waist to hem!

It came with numerous high quality tags. Gold foil was used on some of the printing, giving an impression of quality.

It came with numerous high quality tags. Gold foil was used on some of the printing, giving an impression of quality.

One of the "tags" was actually a customization kit: some sort of pumice and two types of sandpaper, plus instructions on how to distress the jeans using these tools.

One of the “tags” was actually a customization kit: some sort of pumice and two types of sandpaper, plus instructions on how to distress the jeans using these tools.

The fit is of the brand's Zed 724 variety with a "Slim Regular" cut. It fits me well, being roomy in all the right places, but modern at the same time.

The fit is of the brand’s Zed 724 variety with a Slim Regular cut. It fits me well, being roomy in all the right places, but modern at the same time.

The bright yellow hair-on-hide leather patch is prolly the most striking feature.

The bright yellow hair-on-hide leather patch is prolly the most striking feature. Notice that it seems to be overstitched on its 4 corners!

101+ embroidered left of the leather patch.

101+ embroidered left of the leather patch.

Macro shot of the 16 oz. raw denim fabric.

Macro shot of the 16 oz. raw denim fabric, which is bordering on the heavy classification of denim fabric weight. Comfort is thrown out the window.

The back pocket has 3 special features: 1) split fabric at the lazy s, 2) a Lee logo with a stitched over, repaired look, 3) excess stitching at the bottom ob the back pocket and 4) the plus bar tack therefore the "+" sign the 101+ (regular Lee jeans have "x" shaped back pocket bar tacks.

The signature Lee “shovel” back pocket has 4 special features: 1) split fabric at the lazy s stitching, 2) a Lee logo with a stitched over, repaired look, 3) excess stitching at the bottom of the back pocket and 4) the plus shaped bar tack, ergo the “+” in the 101+ (regular Lee jeans have “x” shaped back pocket bar tacks).

The button spells out the jeans model: "101+".

The button spells out the jeans model: 101+.

One of my favorite features: the coin pocket rivet stating that it is a commemorative jean.

One of my favorite features: the coin pocket rivet stating that it is a commemorative jean.

The other rivets are less fancy but still rather special, with custom "Lee 101+" etching.

The other rivets are less fancy but still rather special, with custom “Lee 101+” etching.

Stay tuned for part two and three of this review where I will show the unique selvedge stripe, zipper,  and inner parts with a couple dozen more details and embellishment!

Bespoke

Lee Archive Exhibit

Today I participated at the Lee Denim DIY Workshop. It was the brand‚Äôs 125th Anniversary celebration, a brilliant marketing event designed to be deeply interactive with consumers. It was a unique and special experience to customize a blank “canvas” of raw Lee denim jeans and in the process, appreciate what really goes on in making a pair of jeans.

Lee Denim DIY Workshop

The event was held at Robinson’s Place Manila.

I‚Äôve never owned a Lee jeans, so I guess this was an excellent opportunity to have my first pair. To start, I was given a pair of raw jeans. It was without rivets, buttons, leather patch, nor any washing, fading and distressing of any sort. But the blank denim was already special in itself: it had “125th Anniversary” tags and markings at the inside.

A special, limited (with serial numbers) batch of blank Anniversary Jeans was made just for this event!

A special, limited (with serial numbers) batch of blank Anniversary Jeans was made just for this event!

A menu was provided for me to choose the embellishments. This was the part that was most fun! Aside from the mandatory buttons and rivets, there was an option of adding decorative patches and monogramming of initials on the back leather patch.

Image courtesy of Lee Jeans Philippines.

Image courtesy of Lee Jeans Philippines.

And so I had my personalized jeans created by the jeansmiths onsite at the event. They hemmed it to my length for free and even offered a free Seattle’s Best Coffee drink so I can chill while they do their magic on my denim.

Jeansmith

The result is a priceless, one off pair that cannot be bought elsewhere. Rightfully, I chose the “125th Anniversary Celebration” leather patch, a couple of other decorative patches and rivets with faux crystals!

Monogrammed leather patch

I chose the button myself. And the rivets:  faux crystal for some bling!

I chose the button myself.  And the rivets: faux crystal for some bling!

One of a kind

You could say that I went all out on this one. I did skip the artificial fading and distressing; that I will put on myself, slowly and naturally as I wear it.

Tadaa! My very own creation!

Tadaa! My very own creation!

So there you have it, my very first creation of clothing. It may not be at par with what ¬†famous fashion designers do, but it’s definitely exclusive. And I should mention that it fits very well too!

* All photos taken with a Sony Xperia Z1, uploaded without editing.

 

7 Tips for Shopping at Uniqlo

Since its 2012 launch in the Philippines, Uniqlo has quickly become the go to shop of the practical Filipino fashionista. And it’s no surprise, as the brand is well known for churning out affordable, yet quality clothing for men, women, teens and even children! This megachain from Japan is no stranger to Pinoy shopaholics and travelers, who used to fly to other countries just to get their Uniqlo fix.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan, and I can sincerely say that if I had to choose only one brand to get all my clothing, it’d be from Uniqlo. I like that this company offers mostly the basics, with some trendy and Asian inspired pieces thrown in the mix to add some spice. I also love it’s value for money and most of all, the way the clothes fit my Asian frame. Of course, Uniqlo is not without its (minor) flaws.

Uniqlo Ginza

The mothership: Uniqlo’s 10 storey main branch in Ginza, Japan.

This article is all about what to indulge in, and what to avoid, when you’re in one of their stores. If you’re a Uniqlo fan too, read on, and I’ll teach you how to shop like a pro! Note though that these tips mostly apply to the male shopper.

1. Never buy at regular price,¬†at least in Philippine branches. Here, they come up with weekly offers, and your favorite items will eventually get discounted. Just be patient. When they do, that’s the time you grab ’em. Sure, you may miss out on some trendy pieces that come and go and never be on sale, but who cares? It’s not the end of the world. Follow Uniqlo Philippines on Facebook or sign up for their newsletter for first dibs on weekly “Limited Offers.”

2. Avoid their denim jeans and especially their (ugh!) jeggings. I know this may come out as shocking. After all, who can resist prices that go as low as Php990 a pair with free hemming? Simply put, a real man needs real jeans. This statement needs its own blog entry. But for now, if you’re looking for a pair, walk away from Uniqlo and head on over to Levi’s.

3. Get only the basics. I’m not saying their trendy pieces are bad. They are in fact very well executed. Staying with the basics has mostly to do with wallet discipline. It’s easy to lose control on trendy clothes that come and go, and you don’t want to be left with a closet full of clothes that will be “useless” after a while, along with an empty wallet and a mind brimming with buyer’s remorse.

4. Avoid the printed tees. They call this their UT line. Generally speaking they are, well, corny.

5. The Supima line is a must buy. This line of basic t-shirts oozes with luxurious quality and yet priced for everyman! “Supima” is a mark of quality for pima, one of the best types of cotton in the world. They fit better than Uniqlo’s regular tees too!

6. Airism and Heattech are two of Uniqlo’s best products. Durable, well-fitting and very, very comfortable, Airism is daily underwear that’s cool and perfect for our tropical weather. Heattech is for stealthy layering for travels to temperate countries. Their prices seem prohibitive, but you don’t need to stock on them at one go. Build your “inventory” by buying one or two pieces at a time as your budget allows.

7. Bottoms should be a snug fit, at least at the time of purchase. This applies to chinos, shorts and the like, as Uniqlo makes them with stretch fabric which loosens with wear. You do not want to have sagging pants after three washes.

So that’s it. Do you think my tips make sense or do you have some disagreement? Do you have any other tips to add on? Let me know in the comments section. Happy Uniqlo shopping!

Running Out of Time

I am 36 years old this year, no shame about it. Pretty soon I will be crossing over from “young adult” to “middle aged” and what I wear must evolve accordingly.

I’m saddened, not because of growing old, but because I will inevitably be giving up some of the things I love, such as sneakers. I recently got hooked into collecting, but I am considering to give up the hobby soon. After all, a man in his 40’s wearing retro Nike Air Jordan V’s would not be¬†age appropriate.

For now I have given myself a deadline: buy all the sneakers my wallet can bear until the end of 2013, which is friggin’ less than 90 days from now! Next year onwards, I would disallow myself from purchasing any pair of “kicks.” Alas, I would have to do with rotating the few that have now. A rubber shoe has a life expectancy of five to six years, after which its EVA midsole will naturally crumble with age and wear. My current collection will practically be unwearable by the time I’m in my early 40s, forcing myself out of “the game” (that’s how kids nowadays would call the sneakerhead addiction). Sounds like a plan right? I hope so; rehab is tough.

Below are photos of some key pairs in my humble collection. I grew up in the golden age of sneakers so as you can see I tend to collect only retros and try to stick to original colorways. I buy and wear them for sentimental reasons. Plus, retros are (obviously) more classically designed and more suitable for men who are far beyond their teens.

Top to Bottom:

1. Nike Air Max 1 РOG, the first sneaker with a visible air bladder in the midsole  originally released in 1987 in the same color and design
2. Nike Air Jordan Retro IV – Fire Red, exactly how Jordan wore it back in the days
3. Asics Gel Lyte III – Navy/Orange, a retro of an early 90’s design
 DSC05631

IMG_0967

asics gel lyte iii

P.S. If you think this blog entry sounds like a personal justification to burn a black hole in my pocket copping a crapload of rubber shoes for the next few months, you’re absolutely right! ūüėČ

Another 10 Golden Rules for the Modern Man

10. Be conscious about coffee breath.

9. Smell good, but mildly so.
8. Do at least once a week: go to church, exercise, drive a manual tranny car.
7. Be loyal to quality, not brand.
Be loyal to quality, not brand.

Be loyal to quality, not brand.

6. Shed old clothes like a snake sheds old skin; be a¬†Samaritan¬†and donate what you don’t need.
5. Diversify: own several brands of shirts, jeans, shoes, watches, cars.
4. Unsure of what car to buy? Get anything better than your country’s taxi and you’re all set.
3.¬†Embrace patina: leather wrinkles, watches scratch, tarnishes on your car’s paint job will buff out.
2. Make your boss look good, more so if it is yourself.
1. Do not scrimp on underwear.

It’s a TAG but it’s Not a Watch

One of the fun things about going to Hong Kong is that the watch boutiques there offer more than just watches. Novelties such as watch branded cologne (Omega Aqua Terra), cufflinks and leather goods can be found here which are nowhere to be had in Manila. I thought of sharing my impulse buy from a recent trip to the watch mecca.

TAG Heuer box

The sales person from the Tsim Sha Tsui Tag Heuer boutique said that this item is available in selected boutiques only, hence a rarity in its own right.

Inside the box

It’s finely made, I might add. The size is adjustable and the clasp snaps tightly into place. Yes, just like a leather strapped watch, but worn more loosely. Although I’ve never been a bracelet kind of guy, I thought of trying this out for relaxed weekends as a substitute to wearing a watch. (Gasp! Did I really say that?!)

Beauty is in the details

Bracelet clasp

Bracelet clasp details

Under the bracelet

There’s another version featuring dark brown aged leather with white stitching, and Monaco stripes of baby blue and orange on the steel. The boutique also offers belts and wallets.

If I may add, the photos of the bracelet are actually experimental shots of the Sony E mount 30mm f/3.5 MACRO lens for NEX cameras.