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Our 5 Favorite Denim Shops

Photo via noranbasil on Flickr.com

Searching for the perfect pair of jeans has the power to drain the psyche of any will to go on. Here are some of our favorites havens that might just lead you to that holy grail pair.

Azalea, 411 Hayes St., 415-861-9888

The denim bar in the back is where it's at. They've got the full gamut of jeans (often on sale) for guys and gals: stretchy, low-waisted, high-waisted, boot cut, skinny, and raw, from designers like Cheap Monday, J Brand, DL1961 and Naked & Famous. Employees will measure and advise you, and if you happen to be too short for your chosen pair, use their hemming service.

Self Edge, 714 Valencia St., 415-558-0658

This tiny shop is dedicated to super high-quality raw and selvedge denim that will withstand even the most brutal jeans-wearer, male or female. Scope cult labels from around the world like Nudie Jeans, Inventory and Lightning while employees navigate the selection to help find you the details (sterling silver rivets, anyone?) that matter in a perfect pair of jeans. If some unexpected damage happens, you can also take your jeans back in for repairs.

Villains, 1653 Haight St., 415-864-7727

At this Haight street staple, James Jeans, Acne, Hudson and others populate the racks for ladies, and guys can browse Surface to Air, Obey and Levi's. Styles skew towards the hipster side of things, with higher waisted looks in the girls realm and tapered legs for men to rock.

AB Fits, 1519 Grant Ave., 415-982-5726

Sharp-dressed men will want to hit up this North Beach spot to learn from their denim gurus. Labels like Wrangler, Rising Sun, APC, their own in-house line AB Fits and others will make you open your wallet, but be careful because prices can pile up. They've got ladies covered too, with Rogan, Acne, Jean Shop, Raven and more. Free alterations when you purchase jeans? Heck yes.

The Blues Jean Bar, 1827 Union St., 415-346-4280

If the wide world of denim and all its styles leaves you confused, wander into this Marina outpost and surrender yourself to the experts. Jean-tenders (clever) will guide you through over 40 lines of denim for both men and women, ranging from everyday jeans (Paige, 7 For All Mankind, Kasil) to night-on-the-town jeans (Genetic, Habitual, Joe's) by giving you individual attention and opinions when they count.