Bryceland’s black unsanforised jeans: Review

Wednesday, March 15th 2023
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These are the first jeans I've had from Bryceland's, and I've been absolutely loving them - for the fit, the colour and the denim. 

But I was a little nervous about buying them, as I'd never had unsanforised denim before. Given I know this will be a concern of readers, and it's where my journey started, let's deal with that issue first. 

Unsanforised denim will usually shrink more than sanforised, but also mould and shape to your body more. Most raw denim is sanforised to some extent, and doesn’t shrink as much.

The fear, of course, is that you buy the wrong size, it shrinks a bit more or less than you expect, and you end up with jeans you don't like. 

Brycelands try to help in two ways - by listing the jean measurements before and after a first wash, and by selling jeans that have already been washed. So you can buy them with the shrink taken out, or indeed try a washed pair and then buy the unsanforised, knowing how they'll shrink.  

This is what I did, and found the process pretty straightforward. 

I noted the measurements on the website, and thought I'd be a 32 or a 33. I then tried on washed pairs in the store and found the 32 a little big snug, the 33 a little bit loose. 

Going off the team's advice, that the denim would stretch to fit, I took the 32 and they have proved to be perfect.

They were a little tight when first washed, but within half a hour of wearing had grown out to the size they needed to be. And of course this is the point of unsanforised denim: 'shrink to fit' means not just that it will shrink down, but that it will also then stretch again if required. 

After three washes, my jeans now measure 83cm on the waist, which is closer to a washed 33 than a 32 on the Brycelands measurements. They have effectively grown a half inch where they needed it.  

Unsanforised denim, like raw denim, has this advantage of fitting to you, fades more, and usually has a more characterful, hand-woven feel (the sanforising process can flatten out some of that character).

But there's no point having any of those things if they aren't ones you'll appreciate. If they're not, just get a washed pair. (When I say appreciate, by the way, I don't mean enjoying telling other people about them - that doesn't count.)

Elsewhere, the jeans are also a great fit. The rise is fairly high without being up around the natural waist - we could call it a high mid-rise - and bigger in the back than the front. 

It’s generous through the hips, noticeably curving around them before tapering through the legs - unlike most old 501s, which are very straight through there (my only fit issue I have with vintage ones). 

The leg line is then slim, but not as much as I thought it would be. The chart says a 20.1cm hem, I measure mine at 20.8 (there will always be small differences) and most of my dress trousers have a 20cm hem. That taper through from the knee also makes them look more generous elsewhere. 

It’s the same fit in the top half, by the way, as the first Bryceland’s jeans, the indigo 133; it just tapers more. They are working on an indigo jean in this cut, but it won’t be ready until the Autumn. 

The other significant thing about the Bryceland’s black denim is that it has black yarn in the warp and the weft, where most mainstream jeans use white and black.

The effect is that the jeans are very black - blacker than the jeans you’re used to seeing from mainstream brands, which are virtually mid-grey after they’ve been washed. 

They will fade, and mine have already done so after three washes, as you can see from the close-up images. They will also eventually turn a mid-grey, as shown on the Bryceland’s site. But it will take a lot longer, so for a good while they will be more like the colour of mine. 

I like this colour, and in fact I’ve found them the easiest thing to wear of all the black pieces I’ve added to my wardrobe. But they are not the grey jeans many people want when they say black, and won’t work in the same way. I particularly like how friends wear navy with their black jeans, for example - almost like a denim version of grey flannel - and these jeans won’t give that look. 

On the subject of colour, Ethan would not wash these jeans as quickly and as frequently as I have (or indeed as Kenji has). 

Doing so gives up a fair bit of the personal fading that comes with wearing denim from raw - the whiskering, the honeycombing. But while I’m happy to give that time with an indigo jean, I just found the raw black too dark to enjoy wearing, so wasn’t going to get them to that state. 

From that point of view, there was less point me buying the unwashed version, but I have also enjoyed how the denim has adapted. (Plus it’s a useful thing to try out for all those unsure PS readers.)

The jeans can be hemmed in store, by the way, as Ben now has the chainstitch machine fully up and running. 

Clothes shown:

Read more about advice on wearing and washing raw denim here

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Hi Simon, how did you wash this at home?


Did you wash it inside out?

From the pictures I see those ‘dreaded’ vertical lines on your jeans? From what I’ve read, denimheads will turn in their grave but is it noticeable in person?

Do you know what Im talking about? I guess it bother you…

Steve B

With all denim, especially raw, I wash as infrequently as possible to retain colour ( I prefer raw indigo ), plus earn the natural creases from body movement over time, & if necessary refresh with denim, bio spray. I do wash inside out on a cold wash, fold neatly in machine & stretch back in shape along seams, lay flat, then lightly iron inside out. The trouble I once found not doing this & being carefree was finding a fade mark down-the leg which looked odd against the normal crease & wear marks.
I recently bought BLA E5 pre washed black denim( 15 minored pre wash ), sanforised jeans, as I didn’t want the black, wanted the reassurance of fit that comes, but these Brycelands give an alternative route if you want to sit in the cold bath with them on for that fit 🥶


Not a fan of the ashy charcoal, almost greasy moss color these have developed. Can’t imagine how the color could be worn well. Also dislike the loafer and espadrille (?!) pairings. Some workwear or biker boots would make much more sense to me.


I definitely see a green hue in some of these pictures. Just a poor color overall


I have a pair from RL in a very thick dark denim that I don’t wear anymore as the rise is too low, and a bit slim on the thighs; this article made me want to try them again.
On another note, I have a pair of 501s that has given quite a bit on the waist. I like the fit on the thighs and legs, but I would like to shrink the waist back. Are there any tricks, like soaking only the waist in very hot water?

Lee Wrangler

Hmmm …

There is a reason that classic denim is cut full and in traditional weaves.

Without the coloured (indigo) and white warp and weft denim lacks visual delpth and richness

With such a slim line, the denim tends to cling instead of hang – it is a type of cotton after all so iit tends to ride high after creasing, exposing ankles, all of which can be resolved with a fuller cut.

Apologies for being a stick-in-the-mud, not my normal stance, wandeted in off a workwear forum 🙂


I think the fit looks great on you so horses for courses I guess – although who am I to disagree with “Lee Wrangler” when it comes to denim matters!

Ler Wrangler

Hmmmm, not sure I agree Simon.

Black jeans have plenty of depth but not if warp and weft color are the same which is why my preference is to have weft white.

Drape does indeed improve with fullness, as with any clotb.

To my eye these jeans appear a good inch or so too short and would be lmore congruent if they were wider and covered more sock.

Its all about preference though and if it makes you happy you should wear it in good health 🙂

Christopher Lee

I wonder if they appear slimmer because black tricks the eye that way (hence, slimming black) while white sport coats and trousers always look large even if they are the same size as other colour items.


Interesting to hear about the instore alterations. Do you – or anyone else – know if they also do that for other items? I’m thinking shirt sleeve shortening in particular.

Ben Chamberlain

Hi there Rob,
We can certainly alter the sleeve length, though, this is not done in-house by ourselves in London, unlike the jeans hemming; not at the moment anyway.
Feel free to drop me an email and we can discuss anything you might require.


Did you wear a belt with jeans because this denim is much smarter in colour than any other denim you have had or has your opinion with regards to it changed?


Hi, I have been thinking about black jeans for a while but what has stopped me is uncertainty regarding how to pair them with other pieces. I would probably go for a more standard black/grey denim. You mention your friends wear them with navy could you elaborate on what sort of navy (i.e. jumpers, jackets or coats)? Also, is this something that would go with grey herringbone jacketing? Thank you!


Hi Simon – I have slowly noticed over the last month or so that boutique clothing manufacturers are using gerunds to describe products that are properly nouns. Now I see (possibly late in the day) that you’re up to it, too. When did this happen and can you explain this interesting transformation?

I hope you don’t take this as cynical, I’m simply confused, not critical.


It’s not an epidemic but AFAIK it’s been happening around Chiltern Street lately. I hope that don’t make this point pedantically but in the interest of better communication.


…that I* don’t…


I suspect the semantic drift comes from the usage of gerunds to describe the materials from which a product is made (a suit is made from suiting, a jacket from jacketing). Hence the usage to describe the article from the material is a form of metonym (jacketing for jacket), albeit one which circles back to the orginal root (over there is a rack of things made from the material which is used to make jackets).

Christopher Lee

Properly, “shirting” refers to the cloth used to make shirts rather than the garment itself. “Jacketing” is undocumented in dictionaries so a neologism inspired by “shirting.” I don’t think “trousering” would fly as easily though!


Simon (and others), loosely related: what’s your opinion on Dawson Denim? Specifically, vis Full Count or BHL (Sorry, re-treading an unanswered question I asked on your ‘Quality Jeans’ article). The throes of the next denim purchase, and obviously can’t make my own mind up…


These jeans look really beautiful. Double black jeans are always a nice variation.
Whilst I really like the look of indigo jeans and loafers I’m definitely not as keen on it here – but I do like (even if I wouldn’t wear) Ethan Newton’s raw hem jeans with the slippers with the greater contrast.


It’s funny you are doing your first pair of unsanforized denim and I just got my first pair of unsanforized denim last week, a pair of Sugar Cane 2021 in their slim tapered version. My only concern with unsanforized is the famous “leg twist.” Now I have heard you can get that with sanforized but I have never noticed it. Even in its one wash state I bought it it has a slight leg twist. Nothing crazy yet but we will see after I continue to wash.

It appears from one of your pictures you have a little of the leg twist as well. What are your thoughts on it?


Mine hasn’t yet bothered me either… although some of the more extreme leg twists I have seen on Instagram certainly might. Time will tell! Cheers I like the jeans!



Ever since I started reading PS, I’ve always liked to look at all the photos first then read the article. The first thing that jumped out to me looking through the photos was the lack of cuff on your jeans. I know reason why, but having seen you mostly with cuffed jeans, this seemed almost novel.

I’ve got a pair of Levi’s Lot 1’s in black which, exactly as you state, have white/black in the warp/weft (really a dark grey at the moment after one wash). I think the colour has been fantastic as an alternative to my indigo jeans. I have no hesitation in pairing them with a white (more like off-white) or even black PS t-shirt. I do currently have mine cuffed and therefore the visual ‘look’ is slightly different by the cuff breaking the line between jeans and footwear, but still, I’m really pleased that I did go to ‘black’ denim.

Peter Hall

Looking at the first picture,I thought ‘that’s going to be a challenge ‘ as it’s really dark and I’m not sure such a large colour block suited you.

But, I can see how it acquires depth once it Fades and becomes more user friendly .

Admittedly, I use dark denim quite often. I prefer it to indigo.


Interesting piece considering your usually sceptical stance towards black jeans. I seem to be the opposite. The jeans, I wear most often are a washed-out black. I find they pair well with anything grey (e.g. grey Shetland, rollneck, cardigan), navy (e.g. a navy blouson) or a light blue and even white oxford/flannel/denim shirt on the top. It is somewhat more complicated with shoes, but black Chelsea boots, black rough-suede boots from C&J, white canvas sneakers and even very dark brown suede chukkas work quite well, I think. So I consider the colour black for jeans as rather versatile, especially when it is the washed-out kind.


Interesting that they use black on both the warp and the weft. This makes them more appealing to me as I’m not that fond of greyish ‘black’ jeans (that colour works great for denim shirts though). I wonder if buying pre-washed and washing them often early would help to preserve their ‘blackness’/darkness ?


Simon have brycelands tried to make their jeans for a more western build, compared to Japanese repro workwear type offerings? If so do you know what they tried to change?
With jeans, after wearing bespoke trousers do you find them uncomfortable to wear? I sometimes do wear them for the look but after wearing trousers which are made to fit me I end up tugging and shuffling around in them as they are never quite right. The article on the Italian industrialists made me smile as it mentioned them wearing jeans with sports coats, but the funny thing is that jeans aren’t more comfortable than bespoke trousers) I can only surmise the Italian industrialists didn’t wear them for comfort but perhaps to prove a point, perhaps even to make themselves look for like a regular joe. Perhaps appearing excessively wealthy in the struggling 1970s Italy wasn’t the smartest political move)


Thanks for the recommendations Simon. On the Fullcount Hartford, do you know what no they are? There are no names of models displayed that I can see on the usual sellers websites.


I’m surprised that you linked to the main Brycelands website rather than the London one. The converted price for the 933 black jeans on the former is £313 whilst the latter is £259, a significant difference of £54. Shipping costs will increase the difference too, especially for those who lived in the UK or EU.


Jumping from cm to inches always makes my head spin. For clarity best to stick with one unit of measurement when discussing these things i feel.

On a slightly different points Simon, i know in the past that you have made a point of saying that articles/ reviews cannot be bought/ paid for on PS – and that you consider this to be a major point of difference with other fashion publications. It is implied therefor that this is a mark of integrity or independence that that sets you apart somewhat. I was wondering however where the your friendships and personal relationships come into this. Obviously you are independent and you don’t – as far as i am aware – have investors and therefor what you publish is entirely down to your own discretion. But what reassurance can you provide to the readers that although you don’t take money for your reviews you don’t give personal friends favourable and more prominent coverage? We are assured reviews are reliable as they are not covertly paid for but how can we be sure you aren’t promoting a friends business as a favour or gesture of goodwill and that this personal relationship does not skew your conclusions? You could quite reasonably say that this is my site and i publish what i like but i feel that since a fair amount of column inches have been dedicated to the stating this sites integrity its a valid question.


Thanks for clarifying. I guess i was asking less about a scenario whereby they asked but more a conscious or unconscious urge on your part to be supportive of a friend. It would be a natural instinct to do so of course. I would also question how far down the negative route you would go, even if you felt it, knowing the potential damage it could cause to their livelihood. I think this bias is unavoidable and however hard you may try to counter it , it would still be present to a greater or lesser extent. That being said i guess its unavoidable and so as long as you are conscious of it and rain it in as far as possible thats probably all you can do. I also appreciate that perhaps with many of these people your friendship has resulted from an appreciation of their product or business in the first instance and perhaps the friendship is therefor a result of the positive review rather than the other way around.
In terms of content i feel the site has definitely shifted towards a more retail/ RTW viewpoint. I find this slightly less insightful as it doesn’t tell me much i couldn’t go and find out for myself by going into the shop and obtaining the same information – as i do. I must say i enjoyed the behind the curtain aspect of the coverage from a PS gone by with tailors being far less accessible and certainly not browsable in the way allot of the current covered is.


On the subject of black jeans, I saw that nudie jeans offered “black forever” jeans. How on earth?…


Hi Simon,
Thanks for this article. You’ve certainly de-risked a potential purchase for your readers.
All the best.

Hubert Brown Jr

This ensemble is casual, sophisticated & looks very relaxed! The Alden’s perfectly compliment the look as well!


Denim really is a strong suit for Brycelands and stands out even among their other high level offerings. I am looking forward to breaking out my 933s in white pique this spring. Hard to find a properly proportioned white jean these days especially for wear with tailoring but these fit the bill.


As a slight aside, Have you tried the Brycelands Frogged front shirt?I think it’s a great looking piece but I’m just not sure how it would fit into my wardrobe.


I see Ethan and Kenji often wear theirs tucked in with tailoring. That’s probably the look I’d go for personally.


I like breaking in raw denim, but unless I cover my furniture in sheets, and shower every time I wear them., everything turns blue. Or black in this case!


I think Anglo-Italian’s black jeans are a good example of the washed, faded, grey-black denim you mention:
I really like them and find them quite versatile. But they’re definitely a different approach than the Brycelands denim featured here.


The jeans looks really nice. Perfect color. I am looking for something similar but rather in the straight cut of a vintage 501, maybe even a touch slimmer as my legs are skinny. Any suggestions? I feel like most “quality “ denim brands do not make slimmer fit.


Very interesting color of jeans that i didnt imagine it going well with many other clothes. The sweater is also very nice. What i find a little away from my taste is the combinations with the specific loafers. Id certainly choose chunkier for this type of casual wear but its just a personal taste.


I find it surprising that some readers put those alden loafers in a category that is not chunky and casual. To my eye (even on the Aberdeen last) they are clearly both in comparison to a dress loafer like a Belgravia etc.


I find them really nice shoes but i prefer alden 986 or Larson 90 Weejuns. I dont wear much tailoring and both of them look a lot more casual to me.


tell me more about watch plz?


whoops missed the link


Could you please tell me what socks those are, Simon? I like how neatly they transition the jeans to the loafers. Thank you.


Thank you. Words I never thought I’d write, but I’d love to see a post on socks in the future. The way these ones carry the texture of the jeans into the cordovan just seems to work well.


Just building on from some of the comments here, perhaps you can follow this up with some black jeans outfit ideas. Ones that don’t look too Saint Laurent or too Western. You’ve avoided both associations successfully here. I have a pair of black jeans (jet black at the moment), but struggle to pair them with the right shoes or outerwear.

Jerry Parkhurst

The world has forgot about us 37″ inch waist guys. Always creates a problem when ordering without trying on first. Damn..!!

David Lilienfeld

It will take a lot (and I do mean a lot) to get me to part with my Mott and Bow jeans. They are the most comfortable pairs I’ve ever owned. And that’s going back six decades now.


I notice the Rubato sweater is described as “old size large”. Has the sizing/cut of these changed since they were originally introduced?