By Austin Powell
Jeans are a staple of every man’s wardrobe and they can be incredibly versatile in any given situation. Match a good pair of jeans with a blazer and tie for a night out and you’ll be surprised to see the number of eyes that follow you as you walk into the bar. Or slide on your trusty, ol’ faithful pair with a t-shirt to go see some friends. But what makes a good jean? Is it the label, the fit, or the material? A good jean is all of these components rolled into one. But fear not as we will go into detail below to help you find the perfect jean for you.
Aside from his stirring appearance on screen, James Dean also grabbed girls’ hearts through his mix of style, look, and attitude. We can’t promise you’ll look like him, but by the end of this article you’ll learn what it takes to wear jeans like the original American rebel.
Fit is without a doubt the most important part when considering what jean to buy. “Know thyself” as the ancient Greek aphorism says when deciding what fit is right for you.
Straight leg: The straight leg is a classic cut that any man – no matter his waist size – can wear. The fit is the same from the waist down so the jean can be worn with anything in your wardrobe.
Slim fit: With a cut that tapers from the waist on down the leg, the slim fit (or skinny fit) is an ideal cut for slender men who like to show off their form. The slim fit is also a jean that is ideal for any man who likes to dress fashionably.
Boot cut: The boot cut is the perfect fit if you have a pair of boots or high top shoes. The boot cut can come in both slim boot and straight boot. However, we recommend the slim boot to accentuate your boots or shoes.
The Colors and How to Wear Them With Your Wardrobe
‘Why can’t I just stick with the traditional blue and call it a day?’ you ask. Diversity. Adding color to your jean collection is essential. Different jean colors adds more pop to your wardrobe. New colors will also let you try new color combinations that will give a new dimension to your wardrobe.
Indigo: Indigo-wash jeans go best with light colors. Remember, the key to showing off your wardrobe is to contrast colors that add personality to what you’re wearing. It’s best to turn these jeans inside out when washing them to preserve the jean color. Hang dry after.
Washed: this is a versatile wash that can be worn with any color since it’s pretty basic.
Brown or gray: like indigo, brown and gray should be worn with light colors. A pair of brown jeans with a denim shirt will turn heads wherever you go. This combination is effortless and chic at the same time.
The Brands and Why You Should Care About them
Double RL: Double RL is a label within Ralph Lauren that takes its name from Ralph’s 17,000-acre ranch in Colorado. It’s no coincidence that these jeans have a rugged look. Make no mistake, this denim uses the finest material in the world for jeans: Japanese selvedge. Who would wear this brand of jean? While the Double RL line draws inspiration from Americana, any man looking to add a bit of flair to his denim collection can wear this jean. Double RL has also been a hit among celebrities like Ben Affleck, Kanye West, Tom Cruise. Prices range from $220 to $360.
Levi’s: As the original producer of denim, Levi’s is still an icon in the denim industry. Men looking for a classic look and a medium price point can’t go wrong with Levi’s. The San Francisco-based company offers the traditional cuts that remind us of what jeans used to look like before American manufacturers switched from 30-inch wide cloth to 60-inch wide cloth. Who would wear this brand of jean? The man looking for a solid, durable jean but who does not want to spend a lot of money. Prices range from $48 to $98.
True Religion: True Religion denim is a different beast. Rather than opt for a classic look like Levi’s and RRL, True Religion has selected a louder and more adventurous design. True Religion is a Los Angeles-based company that produces all of its jeans in the US, which partly explains the high cost. Another cost driver is the use of selvedge in its denim. Who would wear this? Men looking for denim that immediately stands out from everyone else’s jeans in the room and are willing to pay for it. Prices range from $172 to $400.
Armani Jeans: Giorgio Armani has been designing clothes since the 1970s so it’s only natural that the Italian designer has a luxury denim line. Armani Jeans sport a much more subdued look than True Religion jeans but don’t let that turn you away from giving Armani a shot. Given that Armani is an Italian line, the jeans’ fit tends to be of the slimmer cut around the waist and seat. Who would wear this? Armani Jeans are recommended for young professionals looking for a jean that can be worn in the office and for nights out on the town. Prices range from $140 to $440.
7 For All Mankind: Another Los Angeles-based denim producer makes our list for jeans you should take a look at. 7 for all Mankind jeans, or 7FAM, are usually tight-fitting with a low rise. The jean is marked by unique pocket stitching that varies depending on the fit. Who would wear this? The same man who would wear Armani Jeans would wear 7FAM. Prices range from $169 to $298.
What to look out for
Be very careful when buying from sites like eBay because often these jeans are reproduced fakes and are not the true product. Always buy from the label directly if your budget can support it.
Don’t assume your jean size is the same for every brand. Each brand is different in fit regardless of how the tag is marked. For example Double RL jeans sometimes have different fits for the same type of denim. Each jean is crafted differently, so a 32 X 32 slim fit may be slightly different from another 32 X 32 slim fit.
The material of the jean will determine how you take care of it. Imagine dating Katy Perry. Would you treat her like any other woman? Of course not! The same principle should be followed when dealing with jeans. For instance, don’t rush to throw Double RL jeans in the washer after one wear. Jeans like Double RL and the ones listed above should be broken in and washed after months of wear to preserve the fit and quality of the denim.
Above: Japanese selvedge denim. This type of denim should be broken in and washed sparingly.