From cowboys to hippies, indie rockers to preppy jocks, jeans are that one fashion item that has transcended time, gender and many a fashion wardrobe. Which is why finding the best jeans brands for men is still oh-so important nowadays.
But the denim jeans’ openness to the masses doesn’t mean buying a pair comes naturally. Taking the time to understand the fit and fabric is imperative. After this, comes the brand – finding one that marries perfectly the fit and fabric aspects. Or, you could just get your jeans customised and made-to-measure.
Luckily, there’s a guide to the best jeans brands for men thoroughly researched and written for you. Let’s begin.
Tips To Get The Best Fit
Denim is designed to mould to the body – stretching itself out while forming crease and irregularities as the days of wear unfold. Jeans should comfortable without compromising on style and remain somewhat streamline, which is enhanced by knowing your true-fit or waist size (measure just below the naval level or at the top of your hip bone and placing one finger between your body and the tape measure to allow for movement).
Keeping that in mind, here are the main fits to look out for and how they can be worked into your wardrobe.
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Skinny Fit Jeans
Skinny jeans are those that fit very snug – from the hip, to the thigh, to the base of the ankle. Best for guys with more slender, up-and-down frames. While the silhouette has lost its fashion fan-base with slim and relaxed cuts increasing in popular, skinnies should be worn skinny, so go for the size you can just do-up.
Tip: Wear your new skinny jeans around the house (lazing on the couch) to speed up the natural stretching process. They will be ready for their virgin public wear in no time.
Straight/Slim Fit Jeans
Straight/slim fit jeans ride well with most body types but sits particularly well with guys sporting the fit and athletic body type. The jeans should slightly hug the thighs, knees, and calves, while loosening up around the ankles. Skinnier guys can wear this style too as a way of adopting a more casual comfort-look. Pair with plain white tee and Chukka boots or tailored blazer and clean-cut derby shoes for the night.
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Tip: Slim fit sizing should be bought closer to ‘true-fit’. There will be less post-stretch compared to skinny jeans, due to a looser fit in general, so the jeans should already feel fit-ready around the waist before purchasing.
Relaxed/Loose Fit Jeans
This fit is suited to guys with more bulk up top and equally fuller legs. The relaxed/loose fit falls practically straight down from the waist, hanging naturally and in line with the wearer’s leg shape. A more more casual look than other fits, darker colours dress-up relaxed fit jeans. Roll the cuffs to give the wider leg more shape and the ankle.
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Tip: Buy this fit as you would when shopping for normal trousers. You should be able to fasten your belt without the waistline bunching. Roll the ankles imperfectly to create an instant tapering, adding more shape to the fit.
Types of Denim
Most denim starts off life raw, looking dark and inky until washed and treated. As well as black, grey and multicoloured denim (which we don’t really endorse), here are the main blue wash types to look out for:
Classic Wash Jeans
The classic wash, a.k.a your average mid-blue jean colour, is the safest and most acceptable denim hue. To get this look, raw denim is rinsed and then bleach added to soften the inkiness. A classic wash is best for more casual jeans (relaxed fit and classic) worn for more off-duty occasions.
Designed for those who want old-school things – now, vintage wash takes the time out of breaking in a new pair of jeans (something that can take years). Dubbed ‘distressed denim’, raw denim is put through vigorous rinsing (depending on how light the final colour will be) as well as sanding at the seams, knees, and thighs.
This style looks cool with fading, holes and even tasteful rips.
Dark Rinse Jeans
Dark rinse jeans are close to the original raw start of the untreated denim but have been washed once or twice to retain the colour but loose the stiffness that comes with raw denim. Often with variation shading around the seams, knees and pockets, the dark blue of this denim works like black trousers would do. A perfect colour for skinny jeans with light denim jacket or with a blazer in classic fit for more smart casual times.
The other dark variety is your standard black jeans. The hue is achieved through dyeing the jeans and creates an immediate-dressy look, especially when worn as part of an all-black outfit.
This is denim is unwashed (raw), dense and rigid. Selvage denim is when the two ends of a roll of cotton are used to make jeans, from which only a handful of pairs can be made, signalled by a pair of white parallel lines on the cuff. It’s a version of raw and is a unique approach to denim.
Raw jeans are like antiques in that they can last for years, taking months to show signs of wear and tear. Being dark, they are great alternatives to wool trousers or smart chinos. Creases form easily when worn as a skinny or slim fit and avoid over-washing the jeans in the first six months.
Jeans are a statement of self-expression, provide comfort and give out a casual cool vibe to any day time outfit. With a darker colour and tapered fit, they can dress up for night too. So do your denim research. Denim is about keeping things simple, minimising embellishments, logos and random patches or stitching. When it comes to the best jeans brands for men, take the time to know what fabric and fit works best with your lifestyle and body type.
Check out the slideshow above for 20 best jeans brands we’re loving right now.