One of the most popular questions I get asked by men is: “What are the best jeans I should buy”, “What are your favorite jeans Brian”, and so on… So I’m finally going to answer this right now.
First of all, you should know how I rate men’s jeans, so you know exactly what you’re buying. When it comes to the picking favorites, I don’t base it on prices, instead here’s my secret rulebook when it comes to shopping the best jeans for men:
Are they made right in your backyard by a top brand you trust? I’m looking for that authentic craftsmanship and construction. (Chances are you are too) And you’ll usually find this is true the higher price tag goes up, but it’s not always the case.
A good rule of thumb is to examine the jean’s zipper, if it looks cheaply made, chances are the rest of the denim design is too. A small piece yes, but it sets the tone for everything else.
You don’t see Ferrari selling cars with inferior components just to move more models out the door. When you’re spending a hundred dollar bill or even three on one pair, it’s worth taking the time to make sure you’re getting some value out of what you buy.
This statement holds true in everything in the fashion world: If you’re not comfortable in it, it’s simply not your style. The same goes for what jeans you wear.
You should be looking for clean seams that feel smooth against the skin. A snug, modern fit that hugs your waist without being too tight. Of course, you can always elect to go lean and mean if skinny jeans are your style.
Remember, men’s jeans stretch over time; adjust your sizing accordingly.
Exceptional stitching holds it all together and is perhaps one of the most important things to keep an eye on. But also consider the denim darkness: What is the process to break them in and how fast does the color fade? A good pair of men’s jeans will look great and last you for years to come. The best pair of men’s jeans will shape their way around your bodies’ form and fade uniquely to you.
Consider it a small investment in your style.
There’s no doubt about it – Raw denim jeans are sexy on style. Not to mention, expensive on your pocketbook but justly so. Their alluring luxury appearance is achieved in the distinctive manufacturing process. Without giving you a full history lesson, just know the simplest explanation is the excess indigo isn’t removed. That plus the attention to detail is incredibly high; small touches truly make a big difference.
Pre-soaking, getting a good fade, and finding your fit with raw denim jeans are things I’ll go over in the future with you. Perhaps all in another guide, but for now here’s an introduction to the best men’s jeans.
Best Jeans For Men
1. 7 For All Mankind Straight Leg
Worn by the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Reynolds and Penn Badgley, “Sevens” came to life in Los Angeles, California. Their premium men’s jeans have notably more hip room and a little extra stretch when compare to the rest. Which makes sense when you consider the fact that their standard straight leg jeans are constructed with 98% cotton and a subtle 2% spandex.
7 For All Men Kind jeans feature soft, comfortable fabric that begins with a rich indigo dye. It might be difficult to see from the photo above, but the standard-straight legs have a really nice light fade around the knees.
2. Lucky Brand 221 Original Straight Leg
221’s are low-rise with a comfortable fit and super soft feel to the touch. Their made by Lucky Brand which has been making vintage-inspired jeans 1990. Lucky Brand takes pride in their process by fraying, sanding, washing, and ripping their jeans for that true character and soul.
They also have subtle punch of humor with zippers reading “luck you” on the inside.
3. Diesel Larkee Regular Jeans
If you like contrasting stitching and a classic fit you’ll love these. The Larkee by Diesel has a traditional design with ample room for your legs and thighs to relax. To put this in perspective, these jeans are extremely comfortable and perfect for easy going, casual nights spend out on the town. Do note though, they can be a bit stiff for the first time, but a quick wash softens them up.
100% cotton, five-pockets and a 3D eagle embroidery on the back make for one solid pair.
4. J Brand Raw Kane Slim Jeans
J Brands has been around for a little over 10 years now (2004), but didn’t officially start selling menswear until 2008. Based in California, their men’s clothing is made here in America. Their Kane Slim Straight Leg raw denim jeans feature 100% cotton and a beautiful dark finish. It’s a slimmer style (not skinny), but of course, the fit is true to size. Simply wash them occasionally for that perfect shape and unique fade that’s all your own.
They pair great with a dress shirt and blazer, and have somewhere between a low to medium rise.
5. True Religion Ricky Straight Surfer Dark Leg Jean Mean’s Jeans
Everyone has heard of True Religion jeans, celebrities have praised them for what seems like forever now. A higher price tag and a flashier style, but overall extremely comfortable and trendy when the timing is right. Where the Ricky Straights really shine is the fine attention to detail.
The first thing you’ll notice is the thick stitching, but a closer look reveals excellent finishing touches with double stitched stress areas, quality crafted buttons, and a heavy duty front zipper that’s built to last.
6. J Crew 484 Jeans For Men
A fashionable fit from J Crew. 484’s come in your choice of crinkle wash or dark worn wash. My personal favorite, the dark worn wash. The process includes a light wash, and a leftover bold indigo color. Each is hand-sanded for that authentic feel and broken-in look.
These men’s jeans run quite small, and besides sitting just below the waist, you’ll immediately notice the slimmer hip and thigh room. 484’s are J Crew’s narrowest leg jeans by the way.
7. Jean Shop NYC Dark Abrasion
These Dark Abrasion jeans are worth their higher price tag. Cut and sewn in California by Jean Shop, you’ll find 100% cotton Japanese selvedge denim. Each has that worn in, comfortable look with fine, rugged stitching to match. All are left raw, until you request a wash.
Back in September the brand moved from the Meatpacking District to SoHo. (37 Crosby St. NYC)
8. Levi 501 Orginal Fit Jeans
A true timeless classic. 501’s are a simple, rugged approach to men’s jeans. They feature a normal rise, straight legs, and a dark finish that’s ready to get roughed up. The fit offers more room than most, but still feels snug and just right.
The button fly is both loved and hated, it really depends on what you like. Some claim they aren’t up to par with the past, and that things have changed.. But like all fashion trends, and things in this world, change is bound to happen. Even if it’s small and subtle.
9. Nudie Grim Trim Skinny Fit
These Nudie Jeans are slim from top to bottom with a straight leg and normal rise. You can choose from a wide range of creative colors; everything from steamy gray to stone mason replica.
Grim Tim’s have a looser feel for that relaxed, weekend look.
10. Imogene + Willie Barton Jeans
Barton Rigid’s are made right here in the USA with premium 13.50oz selvage denim. The modern slim-straight look with a lower-rise works well, and is a testament to Imogene + Willie’s fashion sense.
Exceptional quality sewing meets a simplistic approach with ultra-clean lines on the Barton Rigid. Regardless of what shoes are on your feet, or what the occasion may be, these jeans always manage to just look good.
11. Polo Ralph Lauren Morris Jeans
The Straight Fit Morris Jeans by Polo Ralph Lauren are lightly hand-sanded, and sit just below the waist. You’ll find smaller touches that add on the character with: Metal rivets, a signature shank closure, and a contrasting RL logo stitched in bright red.
12. Rock & Republic Bootcut Jeans
A personal favorite of mine. Rock & Republic Bootcut Jeans stand out with their thick, heavy-duty white stitching and the signature back pocket R logo. It’s certainly a bold look for most, but for casual weekends you’ll get a lot of compliments.
They hold together incredibly well and I owe a bit of thanks to their quality construction. During a 40mph slide on asphalt from a motorcycle crash they kept most of the road rash at bay. I can’t say the same about my Alpinestars mesh jacket which got chewed up by the road.