Blue Book

Evisu, $740
Made with fifties sewing machines, the connoisseur’s jean is endlessly torn, stained, and frayed, with a Cubist assemblage of patches on the back. Roomy fit, but you may feel like a hillbilly clown. (At Atrium, 644 Broadway, at Bleecker St.; 212-473-9200.)

Levi’s Vintage Clothing, $350
This painstaking, limited-edition reproduction of 1890s 501s has densely stitched “patches,” rust marks placed just so, and, of course, selvedge. A shame the fit was so stiff and tight back then. (At Selvedge, 250 Mulberry St., nr. Prince St.; 212-219-0994.)

Rogan, $220
A relatively loose cut with a rough-hewn, homemade look, like you could actually do hard labor in them—if you could bear to spoil the luxuriously dark, untreated fabric. (At Steven Alan, 103 Franklin St., nr. Church St.; 212-343-0692.)

Earnest Sewn, $215
For skinny guys only: Scale back on the squats if you don’t want that sausage look around the thighs. Denim is soft, distinctively accented, and aggressively “whiskered.” (At Barneys New York.)

Original Penguin, $139
Stylish but not showy, with subtly sanded dark indigo denim, a tasteful hint of fray here and there, and a soft, comfortable cut and feel. (1077 Sixth Ave., nr. 41st St.; 646-443-3520.)

A.P.C., $120
Pioneer upmarket jeans look so crisp they’ve been knocked off countless times. But it’s like they’re wearing you—factor in two months of use before they unstiffen. (131 Mercer St., nr. Prince St.; 212-966-9685.)

J.Crew, $85
A softer, thinner-cut, more flattering version of Gap’s jeans. There’s plenty of authenticating detail—busted hems and pocket tops—although the sandblasting is slightly too artful. (At J.Crew stores.)

American Eagle Outfitters, $48
You’d have to crawl for a month to get this much fade on the knees—and denim feels appropriately thin, sadly. Baggy cut ruins the stack at the heel. (575 Broadway, nr. Prince St.; 212-941-9785.)

Photo: Davies and Starr

Gap, $39.50
Sandblasted so hard, you could probably use them as sandpaper—though multiple washes should help. An even fade and mellow, washed-out blue don’t compensate for the boxy cut. (At Gap stores.)

Blue Book