Denim jeans are a staple in any mans wardrobe but the options are endless.
Grey or black? Straight or slim? Selvedge denim or vintage denim?
In this article today I’m hoping to simplify the selection process by showing you what to look for in a pair of jeans alongside the 3 pairs every man needs.
There’s a big misconception around jeans. A lot of men believe jeans are an unstylish choice but when choosing the right style and when worn correctly they become a style staple in any mans wardrobe.
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Now before I show you the 3 pairs of jeans that every man needs I’m going to give you some advice in terms of choosing the right pair.
The first thing that you need to think about is the fit. If you don’t consider the fit of the jeans it’s going to have a huge impact on how good they look.
If you have a pair of jeans that fits into one of the categories I’m going to show you below but they’re oversized, they don’t fit you well and they’re too long they’re not going to look stylish.
There’s a vast selection available to you and although it does come down to personal preference there’s a few things to consider. Personally I always recommend a slim fitting jean over something slightly looser as it looks more elegant and you can easily dress it up or down. A looser more relaxed jean typically can only be worn with casual attire.
Just because they’re typically a casual trouser it doesn’t mean your attention should shift away from how well they fit you. Treat your jeans like a pair of formal trousers with the length, the waist, the seat, how well they fit on the thigh and even how tapered they are.
This really is a key principle to dressing better but more importantly focusing on the fit of your jeans will in turn give you more options to wear them alongside improving how good they look.
Below is a guide to follow which will help you understand how your clothing should fit.
Remember any item of clothing you buy can be altered to fit. A lot of specialist denim stores alongside some high street stores offer free alterations to jeans when you buy them. Make sure they fit as well as possible when you try them on and then alter the minor details to improve the overall fit.
The other thing to consider is the denim itself. If you’re investing in a good pair of jeans thats made from good denim it’s going to last you years (if not decades), but if you’re investing in a pair that’s manufactured from cheap denim not only will they look cheap they’ll also only last for a short period of time before they don’t fit or the denim wears.
Selvedge (raw) denim is a personal favourite of mine but alongside the type of denim you also want to pay attention to how they’re manufactured. Cheap manufacturing can lead to your jeans easily being ruined after numerous wears and washes.
Dependent on the denim you choose washing your jeans isn’t always necessary. A lot of men over wash their jeans and this can lead to shrinking of the denim alongside damaging the denim. For example raw denim (selvedge) should be worn for a good six months before washing. The denim changes with every wash and the jeans will typically shrink with raw denim.
If they do get dirty simply use a damp cloth to remove stains or hang them up outside on a windy and sunny day to reduce smell.
There’s a saying with jeans… “Wear them ever, wash them never.”
When choosing a pair of men’s jeans you also want to make sure they suit your overall style and lifestyle as well.
For example if your day to day attire is quite casual and you’re more street style than tailored you could opt for a distressed pair of jeans. On the other hand if you’re a corporate guy and you wear more classic items of clothing and you decide to go for a distressed pair of jeans it isn’t going to fit into your lifestyle or your overall style. For you choosing something more classic with little detailing would be the better option.
Image by Real Men Real Style
Make sure you consider the overall style of your jeans and make sure they fit in with what you wear day to day. Sure you might like a pair of distressed jeans because you think they’ll make you look ‘cool’ or ‘youthful’ but how often can you wear them with the items already existing in your wardrobe?
Don’t be drawn into trends, focus on choosing a pair of jeans that fits in with your existing wardrobe and daily style.
Brand Loyalty Is Ok
One final point before we dive into the 3 styles of jeans that every man needs, with jeans it’s ok to be loyal to a specific brand. If you find a brand or a designer that fits you well then you can be loyal to it and invest in more jeans from that brand.
For example UNIQLO do some extremely affordable selvedge denim. The slim fit style fits nicely on me and the only alteration I ever have to make is the length (they offer this for free). Therefore I’m quite loyal to UNIQLO for my jeans.
Specialised denim brands such as Levi’s are also good to stay loyal too once you know the cut and size of the jeans.
With any item of clothing make sure you try it on (plus a size up and down) before you buy. Try the jeans on, feel how the feel and then glance in the mirror to see how they look.
So let’s dive in to the 3 pairs of jeans every man needs in his wardrobe.
Dark Denim Jeans
So the first pair of jeans that I recommend is the obvious choice and that’s dark denim. Personally I’d opt for raw (selvedge) denim with little distressing or wash.
Dark denim jeans really is a style staple every man should own and if all of the factors shared above are on point they’ll go with everything in your wardrobe.
They can be dressed up or dressed down and are going to be one of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe. From wearing them for a formal occasion with a sports jacket, a button down shirt and a pair of brogues to dressing it down completely with a black t-shirt and a pair of white sneakers… the opportunities are endless.
These really are your go-to pair of jeans. I’ve just come back from Ukraine in Kiev and I wore these, if I go to London or have business casual meetings I’ll wear them, if I need to get dressed quickly I’ll throw these on with a sweater and some suede boots… these are my go to jeans and they should be yours too.
Black Denim Jeans
Some guys don’t really like black denim jeans as they see them more as a formal trouser but you want to make sure you invest in good denim. Cheap, thin denim will leave you looking like you’re wearing leather trousers so it’s important to focus on the choice of denim.
Just like dark denim they can be dressed up or dressed down but personally I prefer to dress them up. I can go out on an evening wearing them with a button down white shirt and a sports jacket but at the same time I can easily wear it with a t-shirt, a suede jacket and a pair of Chelsea boots.
Again black denim is something you should be investing in and it really is a timeless alternative to the dark denim jeans.
Light Denim Jeans
Last but not least (you probably guessed it) light denim jeans are another staple in any mans wardrobe.
Dark denim, black denim and light denim are really versatile and this is what we’re looking for to simplify our wardrobe.
Now light denim is slightly harder to pull off and you can go wrong with these if you choose the wrong fit or the wrong combination. An oversized fit will really make it look like you’re wearing something from your Dad’s wardrobe and pairing it with light denim will also make you look like Justin Timberlake back in his boy band days.
Light denim has less of a rugged look to them compared to black and dark denim so choosing the right combination is important.
With this being said they’re a great casual alternative and if you want to dress an outfit down go for these instead of the black or dark denim jeans.
Every man should have these 3 pairs of jeans in their wardrobe. They’re versatile, they’re classic and the opportunities to wear them are limitless.
What About Distressed & Ripped Jeans?
So I want to chuck in a bonus here and that’s distressed or ripped jeans. This is something you’re seeing more of right now especially with the street style trend being very prominent through the industry.
Distressed or ripped jeans are something to consider if you’re looking for more of a casual alternative. If I wore these with a formal outfit it isn’t going to look good at all but if I wore these with a white t-shirt and a leather or suede jacket it’s going to add a little bit more of a casual alternative with an edge to the other pairs of jeans.
Personally I’d keep the detailing very minimal. Showing a touch of flesh with a rip on the knee works for some but showing 70% of your leg hair through multiple rips doesn’t work for anyone.
So don’t be afraid to go for something that’s distressed or ripped if your style suits it.
So there we have it 3 pairs of jeans that every man should own. I believe you should have all of these jeans in your wardrobe as it gives you options.
Light denim is great for casual wear where as black denim and dark denim are really your go-to staples which you can dress up and dress down. There really isn’t any limits to what you can do with dark denim and black denim.
So make sure you have these 3 in your wardrobe and don’t be afraid to go for distressed or ripped jeans if that’s your style.
What jeans do you own?
Do you have a go-to pair?
Let me know in the comments below.
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