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Nov 19, 2014 >> #5MinutesWith Andrew Chen of 3sixteen

For our men’s issue, we explored the far reaches of the city, talking shop with Jay Michael of Flats Chicago and shooting our men’s fashion editorial in the design-friendly building of the cutting edge housing firm. And now, the booming cultural and retail hub of Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood just got a little more manly thanks to the opening of Notre on Clark Street’s popular shopping strip.

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Founded by four dudes who have a knack for the good stuff when it comes to men’s wares. Notre’s goal is a high-end experience with a casual and cool approach (read: they want you to come hang out in their store, gents). And when it comes to cool, they’re stocking the shelves with some serious contenders in the fashion scene. One brand in particular is 3sixteen denim. The NY-based brand’s focus on creating purposeful garments with an eye for construction and an acute attention to detail has put them on the map as the go-to pant for rough-and-tumble dapper dan. Andrew Chen, founder and owner of 3sixteen, popped by the opening party of Notre earlier this month and we stole some time with the jean guy to talk buying new denim, Chicago eats and the highly debated jean short. 

The elusive perfect pair. What should a guy look for?
Fit, fabric and construction. If the jeans don’t fit your body correctly, all else goes out the window. But beyond that, guys should be looking for a fabric that meets his needs—whether it’s something hefty with some crunch that will wear in beautifully, or a softer pair that doesn’t require as much break in work. I personally like denim that’s got some soul to it, and what I mean by that is fabric that hasn’t been overly processed and super uniform. Subtle imperfections in the weave will become more beautiful with wear. In my opinion, the best selvedge denim comes out of Japan and is woven on their vintage shuttle looms. And as for construction, look closely at the jeans. Is the stitch work clean? Are they finished well? Just because something is made in the USA doesn’t automatically mean it has superior construction. Ask questions.

Favorite pair of 3sixteen jeans?
I’d have to go with our tried and true classic, the SL-100x. This is the first jean we designed and is the jean we’ve sold the most of over the years. Everyone needs a good blue jean in a slim straight fit and this one fits the bill.

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Let’s talk care for your pair: any hard and fast rules to keep them looking—and smelling—fresh.
This one is easy: wash them. Jeans don’t need to be washed every week like socks or underwear, but I strongly recommend washing them often to keep them clean and lasting longer. Once every 1-2 months should suffice, and if they get dirty before then, by all means give them a good cleaning. Consistent washes not only make them (and you) smell better, but also prolong the life of the fabric by getting out dirt and bacteria that can cause jeans to wear out faster. I personally hand wash my jeans in cold water in the bathtub and hang them up to dry, but a cold machine wash works just as well. Skip the dryer, as it can cause your jeans to shrink too much. Plus dryers are rough on clothing.

Notre has opened up shop in Andersonville. What’s your Chicago experience been so far?
I actually went to college in Chicago and spent a few years out here for my first day job in IT consulting before I started 3sixteen. A lot about the city has changed—all for the better—but my favorite Chicago meals have all remained: a NY strip from Chicago Chop House, a 4 wing dinner with hot and bbq sauce at Harold’s Chicken Shack on 53rd in Hyde Park, and a Chicago dog from Redhot Ranch on Western.

And we have to ask. Jean Shorts: Yay? Or Nay?
You’re talking to someone who only wears jeans to the gym and the beach, so nay.

Grab your next pair of 3sixteen at Notre, 5202 N. Clark Street. Visit for more information.