Jeans are an iconic piece of clothing that should not be amiss from any wardrobe. That having been said, long gone are the days when James Dean made the simple, straight-leg pair of blue denims (paired with a plain, white tee) a fashion staple. Things used to be easier back then, from one point of view: namely, there were fewer options for jeans designs for men, Levi’s was the king of denim brands, and jeans cost around a week of pay. The sartorial report on men’s denim trouser couture seems to have gotten ever more complex and we thought men everywhere could use a guide to the latest and coolest in term of denim-wear styles and designs. Here are the top ten styles of jeans every man should try out, in search of that one prodigal pair that was seemingly made just for him.
10. The Slim Fit Straight Leg
Slim fits are definitely not for everyone, but a slim fit straight-leg jean will definitely work wonders for men of a longer and leaner build who, however, don’t want to fall into the trap of dressing below their age and social level. We recommend a dark rinse color with no rips or tears to speak of, for a classy, timeless look that doesn’t seem to belong in a frat house, next to a kegger. Au contraire – these jeans will work perfectly with a trench coat and dark dress shoes, even.
9. The ‘Unwashed’ Straight Leg
We know how it sounds, but don’t get thoughts of disgusting grime on your mind. These denims simply have a certain sheen and patina, which is somewhat reminiscent of unwashed jeans. This added characteristic of the fabric makes it look structured and almost even tailored when worn properly. What does properly mean? Just about everything, with this versatile piece of clothing. It even means you can wear these raw-looking trousers with a tailored suit coat or a great quality button-down shirt.
8. The Loose Straight Leg
Loose jeans became insanely popular in the early 90s, with the rise of underground hip-hop and the implicit ascent of ‘gangsta’ styles, which became mainstream almost overnight. As it so often happens with extreme fashions, this one, too, appeared to come with a boom, then fade away quickly, once the street kids outgrew their parachute pants. The loose leg jean cut survived the fickle trends, however, and made a comeback in the late noughties, when men realized that an indie blue loose cut jean will give them precisely that laid-back, cool and collected look they had been vying for since their teens.
7. The Spandex Straight Leg
‘What?! A straight leg jean with spandex? No way!’, some men will rush to cry out. However, before getting judgmental consider that such a jean, especially in a light, weathered hue, will help you achieve a look that is both hip and laid back, without looking messy or too youthful. In fact, these jeans (to which the spandex lends a touch of fit for extra street cred and swagger) are perhaps the trendiest ones on the list. They will work just great with a graphic tee and even stand a chance at making hoodies look hip – although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend you all try that at home.
6. The Relaxed Cut
Relaxed cuts in jeans are not old man’s pants. This, simply because a well-tailored pair of denim trousers, be they in a relaxed cut, too, will look stunning on just about any body type, especially when paired with other timeless classic, such as a plain tee, a good running shoe or boot, and a nice leather belt. Try them in a dark stonewash color, such as the one ran by Levi’s, then take a good look at yourself in the mirror and wonder whether or not your old man would’ve been proud of you.
5. The Gray Slim Fit
Grey denim might not be for everyone at first glance, since they exude a type of rock’n’roll attitude and spunk that some might rush to catalog as juvenile. However, remember last season, when biker leather jackets were just about everywhere, on every store and in every display? Prepare to see more of them, come spring. And when you do, throw on a pair of steel-colored jeans with a straight and narrow leg and a simple, white V-neck t-shirt.
4. The Boot Cut Slim Fit
Slim fits may make some men cringe, but only because the label instantly pops thoughts of ‘second skin’ obnoxious hipster jeans in their mind. Meanwhile, a slim fit is not necessarily that – but simply a jean that fits slimly and helps bring out the structure of a long, lean leg. Boot cut jeans, on the other hand, are an all-American classic, with a type of vintage flair that will work wonderfully with just about any casual shoe, from a Converse tennis shoe to a work boot.
3. The Regular Fit Straight Leg
Why are we recommending such a classic piece of men’s wear? Precisely because it’s a classic, which will never go out of style, simply because its simple cut is flattering for just about body shape. It’s easy to figure out why, too. Dudes who don’t boast a ballet dancer figure can rest their mind at ease with these duds: the cut creates an optical illusion, which makes it seem like the leg of the trouser is running in a straight line from the hip, right down to the hem. Try them out in regular blue, or even in black, for a totally business appropriate style.
2. The Vintage Slim Fit
What do you do if rips and tears are your thing, though? What if you think they make a man look edgy and cool – yet still feel you’re a bit past that age at which you could get away with it plain and simple? Well, there is a solution to this conundrum. Try a pair of hand-ripped, nitted and picked jeans in a dark color, with a bit of a fade on the front part of the thigh. You can mix and match them with just about any element of casual attire, but they look particularly great in the low-rise version, paired with some layering for the top part.
1. The Skinny Slim Fit
Love them or abhor them, skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere, by all accounts. They are perpetually young and fresh and lend themselves to just about any color wash, from classic dark stonewash and black, to daring reds and yellows, and even to metallic shimmers. The problem with skinny jeans is not necessarily that you need a certain type of body to wear them. It’s that the potential wearer needs to invest into finding just the right cut for them. Otherwise, a fashion staple such as skinny jeans for men can just as easily turn into a fashion faux pas.