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Mott & Bow Review: Great Prices, But Are Their Jeans & Basics Truly Premium?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post containing affiliate links. We received courtesy product from Mott & Bow in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own. What's this?

Despite some minor fit inconsistencies that are, fortunately, addressed with the brand's innovative Home Try-on program, Mott & Bow offers excellent value for money with its growing range of high-quality jeans and basics that easily stack up against the big denim brands.

The rundown:
  • Design
  • Comfort
  • Quality of Materials
  • Value for Money
  • Customer Service
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If you’re anything like me, you tend to avoid buying denim online for two simple reasons:

  1. The fit is always inconsistent between each brand.
  2. It’s super annoying when you get the fit wrong and you have to send your order back for a refund or replacement.

So I’d always buy in-store. And pay in-store prices. But then I heard about Mott & Bow and their free Home Try-on Program. It had me intrigued.

And when I’m intrigued, I usually do something about it. And no, that doesn’t mean I always finish that something—just ask a third of my books on my Kindle.

But I did finish this review (wow, giving myself a pat on the back, much?). Keep reading to learn more about this premium basics brand and its unique selling points, as well as my thoughts on four different styles of Mott & Bow jeans, a sweater, and some tees.

What Is Mott & Bow?

“We stick to simplicity as our core design philosophy.”

Mott & Bow is a basics apparel brand for men and women. They specialize in creating handcrafted, premium jeans, tees, sweaters, and shirts at affordable prices.

And how does Mott & Bow compete with the already massive American denim market? According to the brand’s founder, Alejandro Chahin, it’s all about their personal touch. They pride themselves on handcrafting each individual pair of jeans.

The Story

Mott & Bow’s founder, Alejandro Chahin, is a classic example of a hard-working immigrant who turned his background into a successful American business. As a boy, Alejandro got his start while hanging around his family’s denim manufacturing facility in Honduras.

After spending long hours watching his family work, he picked up the art of making handcrafted jeans.

As an adult, Alejandro moved to America to study in New York City. After seeing the trends in the denim market, he questioned why consumers were paying premium dollars for premium jeans. With over 30 years of previous experience in the denim industry, he felt there had to be a better way.

In 2013, with the help of Kickstarter, Alejandro founded Mott & Bow to address this very problem. Currently, the company is operating out of the greater New York area. They offer jeans and tops for consumers that want “superior quality at a bold price”.

Denim Science

Mott & Bow boldly declares that its jeans are on par with premium companies, despite costing half the price. They also claim to use “the finest denim fabrics from the best mills in the world”.

The brand attributes the quality of their jeans to their method of using a “manually intensive artistic processes” for each pair of jeans. A process they’ve named “denim science”.

Sounds futuristic? Well, gentlemen, the future is now.

Home Try-On Program

Mott And Bow Home Try-On Program Screenshot

As I’m sure most of you guys have frustratingly figured out, no two brands of jeans fit exactly the same.

Mott & Bow have come up with a unique Home Try-on Program in an attempt to tackle the issue.

It’s as simple as this—for most jeans (it’s stock and demand dependent), you can pick two different sized pairs when ordering. When the jeans arrive, you keep the pair that fits and return the second pair that doesn’t. And it’s all as free as the air we breathe.

It’s a pretty unique feature, and as I mentioned in my intro, it’s what drew my attention to the brand in the first place.

What’d I Get From Mott & Bow?

Picture of Model Wearing Mott & Bow Jeans While Standing Next to a Dog

Mott & Bow claim their jeans are just as good as their more expensive competitors, so that’s what I’ve focused on in this review.

I picked up three pairs of jeans:

They’ve also expanded to offer quite a large range of basics, so I picked up a few of those as well, including:

A sweater:

And a few shirts:

Keep reading for my detailed thoughts on the whole shebang.

Mott And Bow Jeans Review

Slim – Laight Jeans in Light-Medium Blue

Model Wearing Mott & Bow Slim Laight Jeans with Liam Sweater Standing Up and Standing Next to Tree With Hand in Pocket and with White Sneakers - Torso Shot

First, I jumped right into Mott & Bow’s specialty denim. I started with a pair of the Slim – Laight Jeans in Light/Medium Blue.

The Laight is a mid-rise pair of jeans with a silver button and copper zipper. They’re available in light blue, light/medium blue, and medium blue.

Mott & Bow describes the Laight as made of “pure indigo comfort denim with just the right amount of stretch for an ideal fit and feel”.

The denim goes through an extensive 15-month process to achieve its texture and feel. This process includes washing, hand sanding, spraying, stone washing, bleaching, neutralizing, and drying.

On first touch the fabric felt soft compared to other premium jeans I’ve tried but also sturdy enough to withstand daily wear and tear. I also noticed that they have a decent amount of stretch.

In terms of fit, for me, the Laight fit halfway between typical skinny and slim cut jeans based on my prior experience with other premium brands. This has also been noted by other customer reviewers. It suits me fine because I actually prefer this kind of skinner/slim cut of denim for my build anyway.

Despite the skinnier cut, they’re still super comfortable. The softness and stretch of the denim made them fit exceptionally well on first wear. I didn’t feel like I needed to break them in at all.

Picture of Model Wearing Mott & Bow Laight Jeans and a Flannel Shirt and White Sneakers While Standing in a Backyard

If you have a tall, slim build like me, you probably find it difficult to buy jeans slender enough for your waist and long enough for your legs. I wear a 30” waist with 34” leg for most brands, but unfortunately, Mott & Bow Slim cut jeans weren’t available in my size. I opted for a 31” x 34” pair instead.

Despite going up a size, I was surprised by how well the 31” x 34” Slim – Laight fit, both in the waist and inseam.

With that said, if they carried my size, they probably would’ve been too small. Granted, fit is always subjective and this might not be the case for you. There’s always the possibility that these jeans will stretch over time. But based on my experience, I recommend selecting one size up on the waist here when choosing your extra try-on pair to test.

Because of my build, it’s also difficult to find jeans that actually complement my body. Not only do the Slim – Laight Jeans look really sharp, but they’re also flattering, especially around the waist.

If you’re in the market for a comfortable pair of jeans and don’t mind delving into the skinnier side of slim, then the Slim – Laight is well worth a look.

If you like the style but you’re not convinced on the size, the Laight is also available in a skinny or straight fit.

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Slim – Norfolk Raw Jeans

Model Wearing Mott & Bow Slim Nofolk Raw Jean with White Shirt Standing on Bridge Hand in Pocket

The next pair I tried were Mott & Bow’s Slim – Norfolk Raw Jeans.

These crisp looking bad boys feature a mid-rise with a copper button and zipper. They also have visible copper brown stitching and come in dark indigo (i.e. raw denim).

Model Wearing Mott & Bow Slim Nofolk Raw Jean from Behind Showing Tag

The jeans are made from “100% cotton 12.5 oz Turkish denim from Orfa Anadolu”. The Norfolk fabric goes through sanforization before use, which is the process of treating cotton to reduce the amount of shrinkage that occurs during the first wash.

Since the Slim Norfolks are made with raw denim, I knew they’d feel stiff. While the material was rigid and with much less elastic stretch compared to the Laight, it still felt very high in quality.

They’ll need some time to break in but they aren’t at all uncomfortable. Although I know I risk contradicting myself here—obviously their comfort level doesn’t come close to treated jeans, but they’re much better than other raw denim I’ve owned. I could tell that after a few weeks the Norfolk jeans should contour nicely to my body.

The length of these were perfect for my height but unfortunately, the waist did run a little small. This was in spite of being one inch larger than my normal size. And remember—the Laight jeans reviewed above fit me perfectly in the same waist size. This is the first sizing inconsistency I came across with Mott & Bow.

Model Wearing Mott & Bow Slim Nofolk Raw Jean with White Shirt Standing on Bridge

In truth, the tightness around my waist was probably due to the raw denim having less give than the treated jeans. I’m hoping that after a few wears the waist will stretch to my size.

While size discrepancies for any brand is discouraging, to be fair, Mott & Bow’s Home Try-on Program should resolve any sizing issues for most guys (note, because the brand sent us out a selection of jeans, we didn’t get to try the program). The only cost is a little more of your time in sending the second pair back. But getting fit right for jeans is so important that it’s worth taking the time.

So far the length has been spot on for every pair of their jeans I’ve tried from Mott & Bow but I’d recommend selecting one size up in the waist.

As far as appearance goes, the Slim – Norfolk is my favorite looking pair from the brand. The dark indigo color with the copper stitching looks really sharp, and can easily be dressed up for a more formal look. Besides the tightness around my waist, these jeans are pretty flattering on my body and should look even better as the denim relaxes.

The Norfolk jeans will suit any guy searching for an attractive and well made pair of raw denim jeans that transition well from casual to dressy. But consider choosing up a size in the waist.

Oh, and note that the Norfolks are also available in a straight fit.

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Slim – Mercer in Olive Jeans

Model Wearing Mott and Bow Slim Mercer in Olive Close up of Denim against bridge

Switching things up a little bit, let’s now take a look at the Slim – Mercer, which I picked up in the always versatile Olive. They’re made from a twill denim which is incredibly soft and comfortable, but still suitably dressy for the office.

The Mercers boast a stretchy 20% elasticity, which is always welcomed after a big meal, but more importantly it adds a lot of comfort for daily wear or even commuting. The jeans are made from 98% cotton and 2% elastane and weigh in at 10oz.

In terms of fit, the Mercers are a mid-rise, and designed to be straight through the hip, slim through the thigh, and with a narrow leg opening.

So how well did they fit your boy?

Model Wearing Mott and Bow Slim Mercer in Olive Behind Shot

Well, they fit me pretty much perfectly in the waist and thighs. But the leg opening definitely wasn’t as narrow as I’d usually go for with my denim, although I do have super skinny legs (as you can clearly see). And I don’t even skip leg day—it’s a curse, I tell you.

But the inseam did run as a true 34 and fit nicely with my pair of Sutro Black Chukka boots.

Although the fit isn’t ideal for me in terms of the leg opening, I love how the Mercers feel. They’re super comfortable and I think a lot of it comes down to the stretch. I’ve walked around in them, drove in them, and just plain sat around in them, and they feel great. They’re simply an easy pair of denim to wear.

I like the color too—it’s nice and versatile . The zipper and buttons all feel sturdy and strong, as do the belt loops.

The Mercers have earned a spot in my wardrobe as a versatile and comfortable pair of olive denim that I can pair easily with boots due to their wider leg opening. If you’re looking for the same, I think you’ll be satisfied here.

Just like the Laights, beyond Slim, you can also pick up the Mercers in either a skinny or straight fit.

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Mott & Bow Basics Review

Textured Cotton/Wool Crew – Liam in Sand

Model Wearing Mott & Bow Slim Laight Jeans with Liam Sweater Standing Up and Standing Next to Tree With Hand in Pocket and with White Sneakers

Now, let’s talk sweaters. Particularly Mott & Bow’s midweight textured cotton/wool crew sweater, the Liam, which I picked up in Sand.

The Liam is made from 70% Supima cotton and 30% wool with a reverse jersey knit (the material is literally knitted the other way around for a little extra kick in the comfort department).

It has an all over coverstitch and noticeable V insert at the neck to give it those classic sweatshirt vibes.

Model Wearing Mott & Bow Slim Laight Jeans with Liam Sweater Standing Up and Leaning On Tree with White Sneakers

This cosy piece is designed as a classic fit, and it definitely feels that way to me. I actually really like the fit of it.

As a tall guy,-too often I find sweaters to either hug too tight, or not run at a decent enough length. But this one is just right.

It’s also really comfortable, and feels great against the skin, and the sand color pairs really nicely with denim. I’m sure this will be one of my go-to sweaters this winter.

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Slim Semi Spread Collar – Wythe Shirt in Dark Blue

Model Wearing Mott and Bow Slim Mercer in Olive with Slim Semi Spread Wythe in Dark Blue and holding onto bridge railing

Mott & Bow are best known for their jeans, but I didn’t want to pass up the chance to try a few of their basics. And you don’t get much more basic than shirts.

I wear a lot of dress and casual shirts so I jumped at the chance to review this Semi Spread Collar shirt.

The Wythe is 100% cotton and made from a 60’s two ply yarn dyed indigo fabric from Albiate 1830 in Italy. The dark blue is formed by a three month wash that has been stone washed, rinsed, and dried.

It’s designed to be slim fitting but not constricting, and with a flexible length to easily allow for tucked or untucked.

My first impressions were that the material has a nice thickness without being uncomfortable and also breathed well so there’s no need to worry about overheating.

The buttons were noticeably sturdy and didn’t seem like they’d become loose or fall off, and the stitch density looked decent.

Unfortunately, the arms are a little short for my height (not an unusual problem for me with dress/casual shirts though) but the length of the shirt itself was fine for both tucked or untucked.

No need for me to rattle on any further for this one—I like the Wythe for casual wear. The material feels of good quality, it fits well, and it feels nice and durable.

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Classic V-Neck Driggs and Slim Crew Long Sleeve Driggs Tees

Model Wearing Mott & Bow Slim Laight Jeans with Slim Crew Long Sleeve Driggs Tee in Black, with Legs Crossed on Bench - Right Aligned

Can a fella have too many t-shirts? Well, I think so. I refresh my tee collection every year because they wear out so quickly. Nothing looks fresh about sporting a tattered tee.

This is precisely why I tried both a short and long sleeve tee from the brand. I chose the Classic V-Neck Driggs in Dark Gray and the Slim Crew Long Sleeve Driggs in Black.

Mott & Bow describe their Driggs t-shirts as “not too tight or loose and preshrunk”.

The fabric is made from 100% combed cotton and the yarn is soft and lightweight, and tightly knit for durability. The tees are then speciality dyed for a “relaxed, slightly worn-in look”.

When I opened the packaging I could feel that the material of both shirts were very soft and pleasant against my skin. The fabric is made in a way that won’t wrinkle easily and will conform well to the body. The tees also provided a good amount of stretch.

With that said, the fabric is pretty thin. When I stretch the shirts they became a little see through. These tees would probably be perfect for a hot day but won’t protect you from the elements.

The fit of the t-shirts was perfect. As a tall guy (because you haven’t heard that before in this review), I found both tees to be long enough. The sleeves on the long sleeve crew didn’t fall short, which is a typical problem for me.

Because the fabric is so relaxed and also has a lot of stretch. It fits well to my body without looking tight. The feel of the fabric against my skin was light and breathed well.

I liked the look of these teens but In all honesty, I probably won’t be able to get many repeat wears out of either because of the thin fabric. But if this doesn’t bother you, and you’re looking for a tee that breathes well, conforms to most body shapes, and feels great on your skin then the Driggs tees collection is worth a look.

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My Overall Thoughts on Mott & Bow

What I Like

  • The quality of the denim feels almost identical to more traditional ‘premium’ brands. I genuinely found it difficult to tell the difference when I did a direct comparison between Mott & Bow and a more expensively priced premium brand such as Diesel.
  • The jeans have excellent stitching density that will withstand repeated wear. They’re clearly built to last and the denim is robust but still comfortable.
  • The jeans are very fairly priced for the quality on offer.
  • The tougher raw denim seems like it will break in quickly compared to other raw denim I’ve owned.
  • The jeans have a tough zipper that’s unlikely to break. I’m not worried about the fly coming undone.
  • The denim has a really sharp and classic look, and the color options are well thought out. I’ve got several compliments from wearing different Mott & Bow jeans out with friends.
  • The classic look and cut of these jeans mean they can easily go from casual to dressy.
  • The cut of the jeans is very complimentary, especially through the waist.
  • The Wythe shirt has good quality fabric and excellent stitching, and it’s genuinely flexible enough to either tuck in or keep it untucked.
  • The short and long sleeve Driggs tees have soft fabric that conform well to the body without being tight.
  • The Liam sweater is fantastic—well made with some attractively subtle design touches, and it fits and looks great.
  • The Home Try-On Program is an innovative idea that really adds a lot of confidence when it comes to getting the fit right.

What I Don't Like

  • There’s a limited range of sizes available with a long inseam. That could be a problem for guys with a tall and lean build.
  • The jeans run a little small in the waist. Mott & Bow’s Home Try-on programs should reduce problems stemming from this.
  • The Wythe shirt’s basic sizing means there may be fit issues for some men that normally wear in between sizes.
  • The sleeves on the Wythe Shirt run a little short on a tall frame.
  • The Driggs tees are quite thin and don’t seem like they’ll easily withstand wear and tear.

The Verdict

Mott & Bow boldly claim that their affordable handcrafted denim is just as good as more expensive brands.

I’ve personally owned a variety of jeans, both cheap and pricey, and admit that I really like Mott & Bow’s slim cut jeans at this price point.

Not only do they feel and look great, but they’re clearly well-made. You can see it in the stitching, and you can feel it in the zippers, buttons, pockets, and even the denim itself.
And I like that they have a classic design appearance that will hold up from season to season and trend to trend.

Yes, I ran into a few fit consistency issues. But, I personally think the difference between Mott & Bow jeans and premium brands is negligible at best. Most people wouldn’t be able to make a distinction in quality, especially when compared to premium jeans in the $150-$200 range.

The brand is clearly still honing its broader basics line of tees, shirts, and sweaters, but I was surprised by the quality on offer there, particularly of the Wythe shirt and the Liam sweater—which I particularly love.

Here’s the final wrap:

If you’re in the market for well-made jeans that look great and come in at an affordable price, I recommend giving Mott & Bow a try.

And the best part? With the Home Try-On Program giving you two shots to get the fit right, you have to be pretty unlucky not to nail it.

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Mott And Bow Review: Close Up of Slim - Norfolk in Raw, shot from behind showing logo

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