Losing a good pair of jeans is a wrench for even the manliest man. You’ve worn them everywhere, they’ve stood by you through the trials and tribulations of manhood - and just as importantly, they’ve made you look pretty sharp (if you may say so yourself). And just because you’ve lost one legendary pair of blues to the war of the washing machine, never fear your hunt for the next. Our guide to the do’s and don’ts of jeans shopping will set you on the path to sartorial success – and all without the stress of sweaty changing rooms.
Match purchase to purpose
Sounds obvious, but think about the purpose of your jeans. You’ll want a smart pair of jeans for work, to look completely different to a pair for Friday night frolicking! Likewise, for summer, opt for cool lightweight cotton vs heavier denim, which is more suitable for keeping out the winter chill.
Get handy with the tape measure…
Or at the very least, make sure you know your size. If you’ve a whole wardrobe full of jeans, you’ll have a better idea of size than those who rarely buy and wear forever. It’s also worth remembering that jeans stretch with wear, so don’t be surprised if a neat 32’’ waist feels a lot smaller than your last pair.
All leg lengths given with jeans are based on the inside leg. Measure this from your crotch to the floor.
Measure around the narrowest part of your waist, above the hips and below the ribcage – no breathing in!
It’s fair to say that the backbone of a great pair of jeans – is a great fit. And, by that we mean a fit that works with the shape you’ve got. It’s no good channelling ‘rock god’ if you’re built like ‘rugby player’. Check out the shapes on offer…
Cut discreetly to be neither loose, not skinny, they’re a popular style with a simple, classic cut that suits just about anyone.
A good option for most body shapes, they balance the body well, with a close fit from waist to lower calf (not tight) and a gentle flare at the hem.
Skinny jeans are flattering, on-trend and ooze rock-star appeal. They fit closely from the hip to the ankle, so you need to be slim to carry them off. How tight should you go? Only you can answer.
Tapered jeans are baggier around the thighs but taper inwards to create a slim lower leg and skinny ankle. Best for regular/slim builds, they’re more forgiving around the thighs than skinnies and are a great casual shape.
Cut loosely from the waist down, these flatter most of us as they don’t accentuate unsightly bumps or curves. Avoid these jeans if you’re a lucky, skinny-legged chap who can squeeze himself into skinny jeans instead.
The wash can determine the character and style of your jeans, so be sure to check out the 3 main washes…
These are specially washed to create that ‘lived in’ look – the kind of look you get from your favourite pair after several years of hard wear.
Traditional stonewashing is achieved by adding stones and denim to a spinning washer drum. The stones pound the denim fibres, making it softer and worn. A more modern way of creating the same affect is by using chemicals, without the use of the drum.
For jeans that look like they’ve been used hard, a dirty wash could be in order. The tell-tale signs of are the tinges of yellow or brown.
Washed jeans look great on casual occasions, but every man should have at least one pair of dark washed indigo jeans in his wardrobe for smarter look
Almost as important as shape, is the ‘rise’ of your jeans, which means the distance between the crotch and the waist of the jeans.
These will generally sit snugly, a few inches below your naval.
A good in-between fit, that’s on-trend and won’t sit too high.
A good option for concealing extra weight, but beware of Simon Cowell-like high waists.
‘Go with your gut feeling when buying a pair of jeans, you’ll know deep down if a look doesn’t really suit you.’ Kevin Rogers, Denim Buyer
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