If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
Nothing is better than dressing stylishly and comfortably. Besides a solid pair of sweats, dad jeans are the perfect go-to. Maybe you’re not a chino guy, and that’s perfectly fine. If you love denim, the easy-to-wear dad jeans are a step up from comfortable style that’s casual, but still shows a considerable sartorial effort.
What Are Dad Jeans?
In case you don’t keep up with trend names, dad jeans are a nod to the denim that men — yes, usually dads — wore throughout the Eighties and Nineties. They often paired it with New Balance, or a similar pair of chunky sneakers.
According to an observation by the New York Times, they’re a light wash of blue, loose-fitting, and have a higher waist. These jeans don’t normally pass the ankles. Many are tapered, so they narrow towards the ankles but maintain a loose fit.
Though they were a staple a few decades ago, the best dad jeans also fit into the “normcore” style of today — essentially average attire inspired by middle-aged, practical people. Simple pieces that were once viewed as bland now have a place in fashion.
How Do You Style Dad Jeans?
In 2021, there are numerous ways to style dad jeans. You can wear them with a pair of Converse, chunky athletic sneakers to maintain its vintage appeal, or even opt for sandals like Birkenstocks. Some celebs, like Tyler, the Creator cuff their dad jeans. Other celebs, like Barack Obama, famously just wore them, well, as is. Depending on your preference of style and fit, you can style dad jeans with hoodies, cardigans, tees, or blazers.
What Are the Best Dad Jeans to Wear?
When shopping for the best dad jeans online, we recommend choosing a style you would be most comfortable (and confident) in. A looser fit will allow for more movement. Choosing a higher waist or more snug fit will accentuate your body without sacrificing comfort. The shape of the jeans are always a little unstructured.
Below, we rounded up updated and classic dad jeans to wear now and all year round. Invest in a pair (or a few) because they will always come in handy — and stylish — at some point.
1. 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans
Levi’s classic 501 Original Fit Jeans will never go out of style. Its iconic straight fit can be pulled off by anyone. Plus, Levi’s Shrink-to-Fit selvedge denim will provide a customized fit by you. Because the denim is left untouched after the dyeing process, you can control its shrinkage. The denim is more rigid and durable, so once you wash it, whether that be while wearing them in a warm bath (Levi’s recommends this old-school method), or throwing them in the laundry, you get a custom fit that’s as loose or fitted as you want.
2. Madewell Relaxed Straight Authentic Flex Selvedge Jeans
Leave it to Madewell to deliver the perfect modern dad jean. The relaxed fit has more slouch in the hip and thigh than the typical Nineties dad jean, but its light wash color feels vintage. In addition to the denim from Japan, 2% of its material is elastane so the jeans have a little stretch. Notice that they’re good for cuffing, thanks to the wider hems. There’s nothing that feels outdated about these.
3. Carhartt Men’s Relaxed Fit Tapered Leg Jean
Carharrt’s Relaxed Fit Tapered Leg Jean is another good pair of dad jeans that align with the Nineties aesthetic. These feature a mid-rise waist, reinforced back pockets and belt loops for durability, and a blue Stonewash color. Whether you’re doing construction work, or out and about in the neighborhood, these jeans are suitable for any environment.
4. Wrangler Loose Fit Cargo Jean
A different take on dad jeans is this cargo pair by Wrangler. They have a looser fit, so these can be styled more trendy. Wear with Converse and a graphic tee, and the look defies basic style. Additionally, these jeans are made for durability and long-wear, thanks to 11-ounce denim and large pockets to easily carry all of your essentials.
5. Jeanerica Slim-Fit Organic Stretch-Denim Jeans
Jeanerica’s modern interpretation of the dad jean is the Slim-Fit Organic Stretch-Denim Jeans in black. Stray from the usual blue wash for a faded black that still has a worn-in look and feel. This pair has a slim cut and mid-rise waist. Made out of 98% organic stretch cotton, you get more stretch thanks to the remaining 2% elastane. This is a great buy if you want to indulge in this style with a slightly higher but reasonable budget.
6. Polo Ralph Lauren Hampton Relaxed Straight Jeans
The Polo Ralph Lauren Hampton Relaxed Straight jeans sit just below the waist, so these defy the original dad jeans inspo for a modern dad of now. They have two-stretch technology for extra comfort, and the loose fit makes them perfect for all body types. Cuff them for added style.