The Product Review: Mott & Bow Denim

Mott and Bow denim

Getting full details on a newer denim brand — featuring the Skinny Fit Mosco jean in Dark Blue from Mott & Bow. Organic cotton pocket T-shirt by United By Blue. Glasses by Warby Parker. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta. Olive leather slip-ons by GREATS Brand.

If you’re looking to upgrade your style, or even just refresh it a bit, there’s virtually no better place to start than buying a classic pair of dark denim.. especially from Mott & Bow. Take it from a guy who’s tried the brand, folks. The styling potential for a nice, inky dark pair in a slimmer fit is virtually limitless — in a business casual environment, they work just like slim khaki chinos¬†worn with a blazer and chambray shirt. And the rest of the time, they’re a great go-to¬†piece¬†matched with¬†a pocket T-shirt and slip-on sneakers in the summer (as seen above), or with a shawl cardigan in the fall & winter. Finding the right pair, built to last and¬†at a decent price, has definitely gotten easier over the years, what with the popularity of American-made brands like Gustin,but¬†if you’re able (or looking) to spring for something a bit¬†further up the price ladder than that, Mott & Bow would be a nice place to start.

A slim, tapered fit allows this pair of jeans to sit nicely over slip-on sneakers for the summer months. Denim by Mott & Bow. Sneakers by GREATS Brand.

A slim, tapered fit allows this pair of jeans to sit nicely over slip-on sneakers for the summer months. Denim by Mott & Bow. Sneakers by GREATS Brand.

Founded by University of Michigan engineering grad Alejandro Chanin, who grew up around a family of denim producers, the brand has expanded aggressively thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that shot very quickly past its goal last year. Mott & Bow has set out to perfect what it calls “denim science” using fabric sourced from Turkish mills,¬†and the brand does a nice job of walking you through the steps in its process on its website. As an added perk, Mott & Bow offers a home try-on program with free shipping both ways — an ideal way to test out a pair.¬†I had the chance to catch up with Alejandro earlier this spring¬†for a chat about M&B,¬†and he¬†was nice enough to provide me with a sample of the brand’s Skinny Fit Mosco Denim in Dark Blue for review (also covered in a shorter piece on GearHungry).

Wear these jeans with everything from a pocket tee to a blazer. Braided leather belt by Target Merona. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

Wear these jeans with everything from a pocket tee to a blazer. Braided leather belt by Target Merona. Stainless steel dive watch by Invicta.

The brand itself differentiates between its models through a neat touch — the street names of its NYC home. The Mosco is one of 6 models in its Comfort Denim line, which features jeans with 2% elastane stretch built in. Slim and Straight fit options are available, both of which still look nice and tailored, but the Skinny option (with a narrow 13 1/2″ leg opening)¬†was the pick for me. Overall, Mott & Bow jeans fit and feel quite similar to a pair of Stretch Slim Fit Jeans from Uniqlo; if you’re into a pair of heavy selvedge denim, the Mosco and some other options¬†likely won’t be for you given their lighter weight and hint of stretch. However, the Rivington, a raw, never-been-washed offering, comes in Slim and Straight fits for the company’s standard price of $96. And it’s also worth checking out the Norfolk Raw Slim if you want a sturdier jean in a slim fit.

A sturdy leather patch and simple back pocket stitching complete this pair.

A sturdy leather patch and simple back pocket stitching complete this pair.

The color of the Mosco in Dark Blue¬†is rich and deep, although pre-faded options are available replicating¬†everything from 2 months¬†to 18 months of daily wear¬†(the Waverly in Light/Medium Blue would be ideal for spring & summer). Colors like¬†Dark Gray¬†and Black can also be picked up for $12 more. The fit on this¬†Skinny pair¬†is excellent — akin to that of a pair of Bonobos Slim Tailored Jeans¬†or even something from J. Crew’s 484 line. Mott & Bow definitely gets¬† a lot of things right. The tapered leg sits nicely over¬†chukka boots, while it can also be rolled a few times (as seen in the photos above).¬†The hint of stretch keeps these comfortable, too. The rivets and back logo patch have sturdy placement, small details that upgrade it from similarly stretchy, but cheaper,¬†pairs.

No wild stitching or branding from Mott and Bow -- just a clean logo across the interior back waistband.

No wild stitching or branding from Mott and Bow — just a clean logo across the interior back waistband.

Wearability with a new pair of denim is key. These Mott & Bow jeans feel so comfortable thanks to the resin rinse process — designed to replicate raw denim — that there’s no break-in time needed. In a size 34×32, I’ve found I can also cuff them if needed.¬†The simple detailing and nice color make these the ideal¬†pair of dark denim¬†—¬†I’ve worn them with a khaki blazer¬† and a casual shirt, as well as a long-sleeve henley.¬†¬†The delivery presentation of the denim itself is also well-done¬†— custom black¬†tissue paper and a large ‘M’ emblazoned on¬†a black box change things up from the standard brown box presentation some brands go for, as you can see below.

The packaging and presentation on a pair of Mott & Bow denim.

The packaging and presentation accompanying a pair of Mott & Bow denim.

The one drawback might be that price –at just under $100 for a regular pair, it’s a good deal more than¬†other options.¬†¬†Of course, cheaper pairs are out there, but the fact that Mott & Bow focuses exclusively on great-fitting denim means the brand is putting everything it has towards that product; the results reflect that. For now, sticking to a tried-and-true pair of Levi’s¬†is a safe option if you’re on a budget, but¬† if you want to switch things up and add to your dark denim rotation, Mott & Bow could be¬†just what you’re looking for.

Do you own any Mott & Bow denim? Have you ever considered buying from the brand?

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