Summary of this article
An investigation of the different components of the generic 5-pocket jean.

We look at the coin pocket, belt loops, whiskers, bartacks, slubs, right hand twill, and finally the selvedge.
Jeans Anatomy: The Details On the Front of Jeans

Continuing our tour of the details you find on your jeans we now turn to the front.

Once again, our investigation of the different components of the generic 5-pocket jean was conducted with a little help from oki-ni and other denimheads.

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1: Coin Pocket

Often confused as the fifth pocket of the quintessential jean, the coin pocket, also known as the watch pocket, was actually part of the original Levi’s XX (501) design from 1873. The fifth pocket, the left back pocket, was added almost three decades later in 1901.

2: Belt Loops

A means for holding up the trousers, belt loops were first added to the waistband of the Levi’s 501 jean in the 192os when wearers began preferring belts over suspenders. Jeans most commonly feature five belt loops, however, in the 40s Wrangler pioneered jeans designing by two additional belt loops for extra comfort while horseback riding. To add strength to the construction, some jeans feature double layered belt loops with a smaller loop underneath the larger visible loop.

3: Atari or Whiskers

Atari is a Japanese buzzword term that covers selective fading around seams such as belt loops or pocket seams. The most common areas for atari are along the side seams, on the front and back of the knees, the upper thigh, along the hem, and on belt loops and along the pocket seams.

The thin horizontal fading lines you find in the crotch and thigh area of worn in jeans are also known as whiskers, moustache or hige. Slim fitting jeans tend to have tight, straight whiskers, while looser jeans usually have wide, more angled whiskers. Today, the majority of jeans are sold with pre-fabricated whiskers.

4: Bartack

A sewing procedure that reinforces stress points on jeans usually around zippers, button flies, pocket openings, and crotch joins of inseams. It is a closely spaced stitch that forms a band or a bar.

5: Tate-Ochi or Slubs

Tate-Ochi is a Japanese term that refers to occurrences of vertical lines in vintage denim, which is also referred to as slubs; an industry term referring to a thick or heavy place in the yarn. Old technology spinning frames produced yarn with unevenness. Modern yarn spinning technology produces very few slubs unless special devices are used in spinning to “engineer” them back into the yarn. Engineered slub yarns are quite common in denim today. Regardless of how the slubs are created, the result is that the indigo fades the most where the thread is thickest. This creates a white or severely faded thread of several centimetres along a single vertical indigo thread.

6: Right Hand twill

A denim weave where the twill line rises to the right, the majority of denim is woven as right-hand twill.

It’s also known as “Z” twill.

7: Selvedge

Selvage (US) or selvedge (UK) is the technical term for the narrow and tightly woven self-finished edges that function as the natural endings on each side of fabric woven on an old school shuttle loom and prevent it from fraying or unraveling. In denim the selvage is usually white and it often has a coloured thread in the middle, which wass originally added to help manufacturers recognise the different qualities that they were producing for different clients. Read more about selvage here.

If you want to study the anatomy of the jean in further depth, have a look through our comprehensive Glossary.