Jeans an essential, a must-have for men’s wardrobe. Finding the right pair of denim can be tricky. Finding the right pair of jeans is pretty much impossible. There’s so much to consider: the fit & your build, type of wash, which pairs can be worn to which occasions, and if they’ll need to be altered.
In this case, finding jeans doesn’t have to be so exhausting when you have someone else doing it for you. These 10 jeans are all very different, but each can be found online through reliable retailers. No matter your taste or budget, there’s a pair right for you. Looks like the impossible has become possible after all.
Dialing in the fit and color is a crucial first step, and finding the best quality you can is also essential. Brands are meeting those goals in every way imaginable, from sturdy made-in-America selvage denim to Italian denim made with a hint of stretch for travel, work or play. Whether you go with a dark, inky blue pair to break in on your own, or a pre-washed pair for casual spring style, there’s no wrong way to wear with picks from the 10 best men’s denim jeans.
Fit & Your Build
The Slim Build: Slim Straight, Skinny
Chicken legs? Going baggy won’t fool anyone. Instead, accentuate your frame by going with a streamlined straight fit that’s narrow through the leg and skims your waist. Keep the jeans fitted in the seat; that way you create the illusion of bigger glutes. Pocket flaps also add heft. Avoid accents like pocket stitching and flashy hardware. Lighter rinses and distressing only draw attention to your legs, making you look skinnier. “A clean, dark rinse is the most flattering for thin guys,” says Powell. The simpler the wash, the better.
The Fit Build: Regular Straight, Athletic
If you’re the kind of guy who makes the squat stand his second home, then you should opt for traditional straight-cut jeans that are fitted through the waist, seat, and thighs. They’ll provide ample room for well-developed quads while skimming your frame just enough to highlight your physique. Look for jeans with 2 or 3 percent Lycra so they’ll stretch, but no more or they might cling. Just steer clear of anything overly slim, says Kyle Fitzgibbons, men’s design director at J Brand, since the tight fit tends to look more like leggings than jeans.
The Big Build: Relaxed Straight
As a hefty dude, you should aim to strike a balance, which is why a relaxed straight fit is your ideal middle ground, Powell says. You’ll want a slightly extended rise, which means the jeans sit at, not below, the waist. That’ll offer a few extra inches in the thighs and seat; and since the legs are cut straight down, your ankles won’t be swimming in denim. If you can grab more than a handful of fabric at your quads, find a fit that’s a little slimmer or have a tailor tighten up the pants. And choose darker colors—they do a better job of hiding extra pounds.
Find the Perfect Wash
Denim traditionally starts out as a deep, dark, inky-blue fabric, dyed with indigo. The magic happens once the fabric is stitched into jeans, the five-pocket style, and get washed in massive — and increasingly eco-friendly — washing machines. Sometimes stuff is tossed in to achieve sand- or stone-washed effects, all in an effort to make a pair feel softer and broken in. Other effects include using high-tech lasers to burn designs into the fabric, and jeans literally being torn and repaired to mimic the scars and blemishes of a well-lived life. But because it’s not your life, it’s hard for us to recommend them.
Dark Wash: Though even the darkest wash jeans are still decidedly casual, these pairs have what it takes to make it in a serious setting. Pair it with a crisp white shirt, a lightweight sweater and a blazer for work.
Light Wash: Go a little lighter for date night. Keep it clean, but feel free to go for whiskering — those thin, faded lines across the front that looks like you’ve been standing and sitting in this pair forever—or some light faded effects across the seat and thighs.
Distressed: Some abrasion here and there, usually a bit paler, more faded. More emphasis on points of wear like the butt, thighs, and pockets. Great for a tailgate or other similarly casual settings.
Top 10 Jean Brands for Men
1. Mott & Bow Crosby Jeans
If there was a classic pair of denim to buy right now and wear a ton, it’d probably be the Crosby from Mott & Bow. The E-commerce brand gets a lot of things right, starting with its free Home Try-On program and finishing with its range of fits, accessible washes and great prices. For premium quality and tough-yet-classic style, it doesn’t get much better than the Crosby — wear these with everything from an Oxford and a navy blazer to a short-sleeve henley when it warms up.
2. Everlane Straight Leg Indigo Jean
Everlane also uses Japanese denim, but with Everlane “the price is right.” The denim is woven with two-percent elastane to add some stretch.
3. Buck Mason Slim Stretch Jean
For a dash of rock-n-roll style mixed with a tremendous fit and great fabric quality, you can’t top Buck Mason and the brand’s Slim Stretch Jean. You get the functionality of a tough pair of selvage with the stretch of your favorite pair of chinos — that’s comfort that can’t be topped. With a range of washes, the Slim Stretch Jean is practically made to wear with one of Buck Mason’s chambray shirts or even a simple washed crewneck tee for any occasion you can dream up.
4. Frank & Oak Cooper Selvedge Denim
What’s not to love about a slim pair of jet black denim? A style much-loved by rock stars the world over, the Cooper Slim-Straight Selvedge Denim features a more agreeable — but still nicely tailored — fit for all kinds of style situations. You should certainly wear these with a black moto jacket to your next rock concert, and one could argue that you could wear them with a grey blazer and a blue Oxford to the office nearly any day of the week.
5. Bonobos Travel Jean
Beloved for its well-known and great-fitting chinos, Bonobos has been gaining notoriety — in a great way — as of late for its Travel Jeans. And in a crisp color like Portland Navy, it’s not hard to see why. These jeans feature four possible fit options for every body type, and you certainly get great quality for the price. The one percent stretch and use of Cone Mills denim are handy bonuses, too. Wear these with a white henley or a simple blue chambray shirt all the time this season.
6. J.Crew 484 Jeans
J. Crew’s 484 is tailored, but not skinny. They’re cut from indigo-dyed Japanese selvedge denim with a little bit of stretch. The raw denim is unwashed, so exercise caution with any white or light-colored couches.
7. Levis 501 Original Fit Selvedge Jeans
Perhaps the most recognizable denim brand — or jean silhouette — on the planet, the Levi’s 501 is iconic and worthy of being the next addition to your wardrobe. In tough selvedge that’s made in America, they have all the hallmarks of classic Levi’s style, including the use of Cone Mills denim and and that top-notch American-made construction. Wash them, shrink them to fit and wear them as much as you can throughout the year with your favorite menswear garb.
8. Flint & Tinder All American Jeans
Among brands making excellent denim, add Flint and Tinder to the list — and buy the brand as soon as you can. The brand’s All-American line features both Straight Tapered and Slim Tapered fits, but the Slim fit is going to be the way to go for a modern look. The All-American Jean is just what you need if you’re looking for a pair to break in and wear all the time, particularly with a slim khaki mac coat or a leather jacket.
9. DSTLD Dark Worn Jeans
10. M Tailor Jeans