Popularised during the American Gold Rush for its superb durability and hard-wearing properties, denim is a wardrobe staple that can last for years. If you look after your denim correctly and find the most comfortable jeans for your style and build, you'll find it spends more time on you than hanging in the wardrobe. In this guide, we'll run through the best tips for how to buy jeans, how to clean jeans and most importantly, how to measure for jeans.

Men’s jeans size conversion chart

When it comes to denim there are two main measurements you need to know. The first measurement is your waist size. Wrap a tape measure around your waist above your hips, below the navel, and read off the size. If you're not sure exactly where this point is, just measure the area where your jeans would normally sit. If you like a little extra breathing space, pop your finger in between your waist and the tape.

Next, measure your inside leg. This area runs from where the two legs join down to the ankle in a straight line. If you like to show off a bit of ankle, opt for a shorter measurement but bear in mind that for a classic look your jeans should reach the top of your shoes. It can be easier to take this measurement with your footwear on. Once you've got these two simple measurements, check out this chart to establish what size you need to go for.


If you're wondering what jeans suit you best, take a peek at an old pair that you loved. It should say what kind of fit they are on the label, so use this as a benchmark. There are three main jean styles, so it's up to you to choose what's comfortable.

Male model in straight leg jeans

Straight leg: also known as regular fit or loose fit, this is the most traditional cut of jean and suit men with an athletic build best. They are cut straight from the hips through the legs. So, if you're lucky enough to have a V-shaped torso, this type of jean fit will complete your timeless look. This style is perfect for more relaxed outfits, and looks great when paired with a baggy jumper or loose fitting shirt.

male model in slim fit jeans

Slim fit: also known as tailored fit, this is a more contemporary take on the traditional jean shape. The leg opening is smaller than a regular fit and the material tapers in so it is less baggy around the ankle. If your shoulders are a similar width to your waist, this fit will help accentuate your build and keep you looking trim. Generally, these jeans will have a lower rise and will sit slightly lower on the waist, perfect for making your torso look longer than it is.

Male model in skinny fit jeans

Skinny fit: also known as spray-on or super-slim fit, this is the tightest jean style you can find. They hug the legs around the thighs and taper in close to the ankles for a super stylish and modern feel. This jean fit is often made with a stretch material to keep them comfortable as you move around – just make sure you have enough space to pull them over your shoes or boots.


The final decision to make is the wash of your new denim. The wash refers to the colour of the dye. There are plenty of options to choose from but the three main wash options are dark, mid and light.

Mid wash jeans

Mid wash jeans are the most traditional style that pair well with most outfit combinations. The indigo dye will fade in the areas of most stress, such as the back of the knee, hips and seat of the trouser.

Dark wash jeans

Dark wash jeans have a deeper colour of indigo, or can even be completely black. This colour is great for more formal outfits, especially when worn with a smart shirt or a suit blazer if you really want to impress.

Light wash jeans

Light washes are much brighter. Perfect for spring and summer months, you can wear these jeans with a clean white T-shirt for a cool, yet sophisticated look.

Hand washing jeans

One of the hardest things about buying new denim is caring for it correctly, and washing jeans before they have been properly broken in can lead to shrinkage of up to a full size. Wear your jeans for at least six months before putting them in the washing machine, but if you really can't wait that long, you should soak them in the bathtub – inside out – before washing. Follow these other tips and your jeans will look their best:

  1. Wash inside out.
  2. Wash alone or with jeans of similar colours to avoid dyes transferring.
  3. Don't tumble dry, as this will shrink them even more.
  4. Do not bleach, this will damage the dye.
  5. Brush away dirt and use a softly soaped sponge on small areas you need to clean.
  6. Always hang your denim to give it a chance to air out in between wears.

As long as you look after them properly, your jeans will be one of the most frequently worn items in your wardrobe. Stock up on multiple styles so you've got a comfortable outfit ready for any occasion, and don't forget to remeasure yourself regularly!