We all wear them, albeit with varying levels of success. Rarely the most expensive piece you own, they will always get the job done and are truly the most versatile item in your wardrobe.
Knowing what suits you, sticking with it whilst never overdoing it are all very important. With the number of players on the market now, it is harder than ever to filter through their varying cuts, washes and weights. Most brands also give their cuts new names with slight variations on classic styles. Basically, more work for you. So we’ve broken it down.
Levi’s - It goes without saying that Levi’s define denim giving the item its heritage and legend status. Originally only workwear, the riveted pants started off humbly and have become a necessity. Our pick from them is the 501 Original Fit Jeans - Wool Denim Rinse. Perfect for the winter months, this style features a merino wool and cotton blend. Keep it simple and pair the jeans with a chukka boot in dark brown and a dress shirt for a mature look that is easy to pull off.
Nudie Jeans - This Swedish brand has been doing great things in denim for almost 15 years. Their raw selvage denim is something to behold while their range of classic but modern choices are unrivaled. Their jeans are made in Italy from denim spun in Italy, Turkey and Japan. Nudie’s Grim Tim Organic Dry Selvage is perfect for men wanting to break-in a unique pair. These jeans are perfect for the more casual moments in your life and work best with sneakers or a work boot.
3x1 - With their flagship boutique in NYC’s Soho, the guys at 3x1 aim “to make the best jeans in the world, one pair at a time.” The pairs they carry both in-store and online are varied and have a different wash/fit for any preferences. The true magic is their bespoke service. Offering a tailored fitting and discussion on exactly what you want in a pair of jeans, the outcome is a pair that are yours and only yours. The choices include; fit, style, denim wash and weight, your jeans are then personalized with the selected stitching and further enhancements. Keeping your jeans’ specifics on file, 3x1 can make you a new pair to order whenever you’re ready. Off the rack, our pick is the M3 XX46 paired with a dress shirt, blazer and a nice pair of oxfords.
Loro Piana - Old world craftsmanship wins here as the label demonstrates its skill with denim. Made in Italy, this pair of straight fit denim jeans is available in blue-grey. Make it an integral and versatile part of your wardrobe. Wear it with a cashmere sweater and a chelsea boot for a smart, confident look.
Straight: Personally, this is a favorite of mine. A straight-leg fit is incredibly popular and most brands actually base their version on the Levi’s Original 501. A legend in the category. Cut the same almost all the way down, they’re great if you favor a little more room around your thighs. Loosening up in the knees and calves, bigger guys can enjoy a flattering fit without being too tight.
Slim: The key here is ‘slim’. Leave ‘skinny’ to the floppy-haired teenagers. The jeans should hug your thighs, knees and calves then opening up around your ankles. It’s worth getting used to this firmer fit for its versatility. Whether it be with sneakers and a sweatshirt or boots and a blazer, slim fitting jeans will give you a sharp look when dressing it up.
Skinny: Just no. See above.
Tapered: The opposite of boot-cut jeans, a tapered fit become slightly skinnier at the ankle. The are a great compromise for guys looking for something more form fitting than straight-leg but not to the extent of a slim/skinny.
Relaxed: Giving you a fuller seat and leg room these jeans are great for casual afternoons or even yard work for you older pairs. Just because they fit a little larger, don’t fall victim to wearing them below your hips. You’re a man. Dress like one.
It’s quite possible for your jeans to stretch up to a full size during the first few months of wear. So go firm/snug to start off with, knowing that they won’t stay that way. Go for length - you can always roll them up at the cuff, having them fall at the desired spot depending on the shoes you’re wearing.
Stay away from loose fitting ‘dad jeans’, they might be fine for Guy Fieri, but not the man about town taking pride in their appearance.
The amount of different washes and colors is both abundant and daunting. The most common ones are what you need to worry about.
Classic wash: Often similar to a ‘medium stonewash’, a deep and rich blue is the most popular on the market. Great for the daytime and can be easily dressed up.
Raw: Unwashed/untreated denim is a more rigid material. Not to be washed for the first 6 months of wear, these jeans are the ones that truly become your own. Every pair will be unique to their wearer. The hard work of breaking-in a great pair of raw denim jeans will be worth it after that first wash.
Vintage wash: A great choice for men wanting a dark-rinse denim without the effort of going through a pair of stiff raw denim. Perfect for evening wear, they work well with leather dress shoes.
Black: for those that wear jeans to work or as simple everyday wear, there is no better way to break it up than with a straight-leg black jean.
Also gents, NO patchwork or bedazzled pockets are welcome. Leave it to Toddlers in Tiaras. If your jeans simply state what brand they are, that’s more than enough.
Closure: A button fly often sits flatter without that zippered bulge that can be unavoidable. The zip is obviously more convenient but is another thing that may need to be repaired if you wear your jeans for years.
Stitching: The same color as the denim itself is usually a safe option. For something with contrast, check out Nudie's organic denim orange stitching on various styles.
Cuff: Rolling up your jeans at the cuff is is simplest thing to show you give a damn. Some brands have a color or patterned trim underneath. It’s always best to check before your purchase.
The most versatile is a dark rinse or one-wash denim, these have an incredible worn feeling right off the rack and aren’t a burden to break-in like raw or dry selvedge jeans. Without thinking, most of us throw on some sneakers or boots with our jeans regardless of the destination. Roll up your cuffs and wear an oxford dress shoe or wingtip next time, that extra attention equals an effortless look.
Light washes are more casual but can easily be dressed up with a blazer and white tee. An oxford dress shoe or chelsea boot also helps take your light-wash jeans from the couch to the street.
Black is great if you’re going to attempt double-denim. The golden rule: never match denims of the same color. Start it off with straight-leg black jeans with a light denim shirt or dark rinse trucker jacket. Everything is going to work a lot easier if it actually fits. Make sure your trucker doesn’t drop below your belt line, leave the bottom button undone and please don’t pop that collar.