A good pair of jeans is an essential item for every man’s wardrobe, and, being a hard-wearing staple that can last up to five years or more, selecting the right pair requires quite a bit of thought.
If the time to buy new jeans has come around once again, you don't need to aimlessly sift through piles of denim in various cuts and colours.
To simplify the process and help speed up your purchasing decisions, we've created the ultimate buying guide on how to sort through all of the best jeans for men and nail the right fit for your body type and personal style.
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So, whatever you’re shopping for, comfort, value for money or a killer outfit, read on for our picks of the best men’s jeans and for expert buying advice.
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Best jeans for men: Choosing the right jeans for your body type
There is a wide variety of styles to choose from when buying a new pair of jeans. For anyone who isn’t already familiar with them, it can seem like a lot to sort through to score the right pair. Fortunately it’s also pretty easy to narrow down – and you’ll definitely know what you aren’t looking for – so that you can get it down to a shortlist.
The most common styles of jeans are straight, slim, skinny and bootcut. These are designed to fit different body types, so you should select a style that fit your shape along with how loose-fitting you want them to be.
The golden rule for choosing jeans is to match them to your body. Doing this will help keep the proportions right and also make you feel more comfortable, which for many people is one of the key reasons to buy jeans in the first place. Anyone who’s worn skinny jeans that were too skinny will vouch for how quickly this can ruin your day.
As the name goes, skinny offers a tighter fit thanks to a taper all the way down to the hem. So if you’re a slim guy, it makes sense to opt for slim or skinny jeans with a low rise. These will show off your figure, and keep your legs in proportion to your body.
Straight is the same width from top to bottom and is a good all-round shape. If you’ve got a larger build or wider hips then you should go for high rise and a looser fit. Wide hips also work well with a straight cut and an even leg width from waistband to hem. Loose jeans offer plenty of comfort and a more relaxed look.
Slim is straight down the hip and narrower at the thighs and hem than straight cut. Guys with an athletic, muscular build should go for slim fit or straight as they complement the shape of the body whilst also providing room to move.
Bootcut jeans taper at the knee and then widen out toward the hem. While bootcut jeans have fallen out of style recently, the tightness around the upper thigh and flaring below the knee help to balance a silhouette. This makes the ideal for people with a wider hip.
In addition to the style, there’s also rise to decide on. The rise – high, mid and low rise, along with low crotch – is the length from the crotch to the waistband.
The higher the rise, the higher the waistband will sit on your abdomen. High rise is designed for a larger body type and usually worn above the belly button. Mid rise is ideal for tucking your shirt in (if that’s your thing), while low rise is worn below the belly button for a relaxed style.
When in doubt you can try a few different shapes and styles to cut the choices down. Leaning more towards a loose fit will ensure you don’t feel the fabric hugging your frame too tightly.
Ultimately you should feel comfortable in your new jeans whatever you decide to go for.
Best jeans for men: inspiration gallery
Best jeans for men: What to look out for (selvedge denim, raw denim, colour and cut)
The major decision you’ll make when buying jeans is deciding how good the fit is. This doesn’t just mean how much they suit your body shape (you've got that covered already) but also how well they integrate into your wardrobe and style.
Jeans are highly versatile, so slotting them into several outfits shouldn’t be difficult to do. However, with a multitude of styles and cuts to choose from, it helps to narrow down the selection by getting the match right.
Although jeans are a basic wardrobe item, that doesn’t mean they’re easy to pick. With denim’s workwear roots strongly influencing how jeans are worn today, for shopping and styling options you could first begin with work or casual attire and then expand from there.
Colours, cuts and prices are mostly defined by how you’ll wear your jeans.
Stock-standard jeans are generally 100% cotton and come in various shades of blue made using indigo dye. That often makes choice of cut – be it straight, slim, tapered, etc – the major decision you’ll have to make.
However, black jeans in slim or skinny cuts are also a staple for many men and, while the pre-distressed look can look tacky or overdone, it’s a popular option as well.
You might want to spend a little more on raw denim, which is unwashed during production and takes a little wearing in, or on selvedge denim, of which you can show off attractively-woven edges should you wish to fold up the legs using pinrolls.
Lightweight denim is good for warmer months, middleweight will get you through most of the year and heavy denim is ideal for keeping warm in winter. Bear in mind that the heavier the denim, the longer it’ll take to break in – and the greater the discomfort – until they soften and begin to fade.
Whatever you’re looking for when deciding how to buy jeans, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. If you need a pair of beaters then go for brands with a reputation for value, such as Levi’s.
If you’re looking for a statement piece or know your designer brands, then be prepared to spend extra to achieve the style you want.
Although the type of cut you go for will be personal, it’s a good idea to also keep an eye on what’s 'in'.
While you could keep it simple and go for tried and true styles, a pair skinny jeans are still stylish even as more relaxed fits have become to go-to for many designers. All of this means that you’ve got plenty to choose from, but cutting the choices down along the way will make it easier to find what you want.
Best jeans for men: the best brands
If you haven’t already worn a pair of jeans from Levi’s, then you’ve at least heard of the brand. This is arguably the most famous denim brand in the world and has been around for long enough that it was manufacturing jeans long before they became a mainstream fashion staple. The big benefit of Levi’s is that it strikes a seemingly perfect balance between quality and affordability.
If you’re looking for the perfect jean for work or outdoor activity, then Wrangler is hard to pass up. Known for being hardy and durable, Wrangler’s jeans are practical and easy to throw on. They’re just as ideal a style statement for your next bush hike as they are a Sunday brunch.
Among its other offerings, this French label does one thing very well – Japanese selvedge denim. If you haven’t heard of A.P.C. then you should add it to your shop list. They do minimal designs in slim cuts made of quality materials, so you can expect to get a lot of wear from any pair you pick up.
Mott & Bow
Another brand that has nailed the price-quality balance is Mott and Bow. Most well-known for selling premium basics, this brand has less of a fashion offering than a selection of everyday jeans for the urbanite. Although slightly higher up the price spectrum than some of the popular mass-market brands, Mott and Bow is a reliable go-to for many guys.
Based in Gothenburg, Nudie Jeans has specialised in premium denim since it was founded in 2001. Collaborating with musicians to produce videos, and with Amnesty International on human rights awareness, the brand has an upbeat, youthful edge, underscored by its stylish designs.
Rag & Bone
Led by Mr Marcus Wainwright, rag & bone is sought after for its top-quality, unerringly cool designs. The label channels both British and American urban style, offering a range of premium denim, knitwear and accessories.
The 7 best jeans for men
A contemporary take on a classic from Diesel, these ultrasoft Buster jeans are a timeless option for any occasion. Crafted from stretch cotton with a regular waist and slimming tapered leg ideal for a variety of different body shapes, their traditional five-pocket silhouette features a “V” shape yoke, tonal stitching, slanted back pockets, and signature coin brave head on back patch. Perfect for both relaxed and smart casual dressing, the tapered leg looks equally at home alongside trainers as leather brogues.
Created with stay-black technology, these Jet jeans from Reiss are designed to maintain their colour for wash after wash. Made from stretch cotton denim for comfort and flexibility, they are cut to a mid rise in a slim fit that falls neatly on the ankle and finished with belt loops at, five pockets and metal hardware for a traditional styling.
French brand A.P.C. delivers another simple, comfortable pair of slim-cut jeans with the 'Petit Standard'. These are one of the more affordable choices and therefore hit a sweet spot on the value-for-money spectrum. Highlighted with saffron stitching, these jeans are stonewashed to create a light-blue shade that is easy to match with, though leans toward the more casual outfit.
The Sullivan Slim Stretch Jean from Polo Ralph Lauren offers a classic slim fit leg. The pair are made from American-grown cotton and hand-sanded for a timeworn look. With traditional five pockets, pair with anything from chunky knits to casual graphic t-shirts.
If you haven’t owned a pair of Levi’s 501s before then this might be the time to buy in. A classic for many decades now, this pair is a regular fit made from non-stretch denim. While the slightly tapered leg opening and basic five-pocket silhouette are of a style your dad could certainly appreciate – if you’re looking for simplicity, affordability and loads of comfort, then make this your next pair of jeans.
The Carter jean from AllSaints features a straight leg cut and is crafted from a soft stretch-denim material. They feature a mid rise, a button fly, 5 pockets, a leather waistband tab and a soft rinse finish.
Best jeans for men: jean buying tips
- Unless you already know exactly the size, style and brand you want then it’s a good idea to budget enough time to try multiple pairs while jeans shopping.
- As you’ll be able to keep a quality pair in use for years, it’s worth the time investment to get the right pair for your budget.
- Try on several styles to test the fit.
- Also consider trying out different sizes as different brands will often have a different fit to one another.
- Generally it’s better to go for heavier denim as this will be better quality but also keep in mind how warm they’ll feel in spring/summer.
- It’s also good to have as least one classic wash (as opposed to acid or stone wash) in your wardrobe as it will serve as a handy wardrobe staple.
- Dark blue is the most versatile colour for matching with other pieces, but this will be a styling decision that should also integrate into your existing wardrobe.
- Lastly, consider buying one size smaller than your size as jeans will stretch out as you wear them.
Where to buy the best jeans for men
Right, now it's time to put your newly-found knowledge into purchasing practice. If you're looking for a new pair of jeans, these are the best places to buy them:
Mr Porter has a huge selection of designer jeans, with everything from Levi's to Tom Ford and Gucci. The site offers express worldwide shipping to 170 countries (with same day service in London and New York) and a free collection service for returns and exchanges.
Example brands: Tom Ford, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Polo Ralph Lauren, Off-White, A.P.C.
The Hut is an online department store offering new, hand-picked products each season. The Hut provides free 2-3 working days UK delivery when you spend £30, or free next day delivery when you spend £50 or more.
Example brands: Nudie Jeans, Diesel, Levis, Tommy Hilfiger, Superdry, Calvin Klein
Bombinate aims to create a community around smaller, quality driven, menswear brands, enabling each to tell their stories to a new audience. Visitors can gain a deeper insight into each product, to understand where every piece was made. If you live in the UK, every item you purchase on Bombinate will be shipped to you for free. Naturally, returns are free as well.
Example brands: Oliver Cabell, Private White VC, King & Tuckfield, The Workers Club, La Paz, Peregrine, Bask in the Sun
Flannels is one of the UK's leading luxury retailers, specialising in contemporary men’s and women’s designer clothing, footwear and accessories. Flannels continuously strives for excellence, sourcing key pieces and collections from the world’s most iconic brands alongside new and exciting designers.
Example brands: Stone Island, Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Emporio Armani, Dsquared2
ASOS is one of the biggest online fashion retailers out there, with a massive 850+ brands stocked in its warehouses. That means you get a huge amount of choice, and an incredibly simple buying process, with free delivery (minimum spend applies) and free returns. You can also try on loads of options and only pay for what you keep with ‘Pay later with Klarna’.
Example brands: Calvin Klein, Abercrombie & Fitch, Tommy Jeans, Levis, Weekday, ASOS Design, Heart & Dagger, Burton