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Finding the best pair of jeans is hard — and it should be. The best jeans are a partner-in-style for life, fitting better with age and looking on-point through trends. They’re a wardrobe staple – like great sneakers or a perfect T-shirt – that you’ll end up wearing all the time. Of course, sifting through all the denim brands, fits and washes can make it seem like you’ll never find that soulmate pair.
Luckily, we’ve found ten of the best men’s jeans with options for every body type and personal style. Read on for our picks, as well as our buying guide for choosing the best pair of jeans.
How to Find the Right Jeans For You
Below are a few things to consider when looking for the best jeans for you, as well as some key terms and features to look out for while shopping.
Material: Not all jeans are 100% denim (I.e. 100% cotton). Many brands integrate polyester, elastane or spandex for a slight stretch and added comfort. But if you want a true, tough pair of jeans that are going to morph to your body over time, go with 100% cotton jeans.
You’ll also see a handful of premium jeans using the term “selvedge” denim. This type of denim is woven on an old-fashioned shuttle loom and boasts a tighter, more durable weave. The shuttle loom seals the edge of the fabric with each pass, creating a “self edge” (hence the name, selvedge). This closed weave prevents fraying and unraveling. While the fabric is a little stiffer at first, these jeans break in easily and will soften and contour to your body over time.
Fit: The three main categories of jean fit are straight (a.k.a regular or original), slim and skinny. Slim is by far the most popular, featuring a trim yet comfortable silhouette that works with almost any personal style or body type. It’s more narrow around the thighs and leg, but not so tight that you feel constricted.
Skinny is the skin-tight rockstar look that’s always good to utilize from time to time, although it isn’t as popular as it once was. The best skinny jeans should have some stretch built into the material, so you can still move around freely.
Straight jeans are currently making a comeback as comfort and versatility continue to be top of mind, so be sure to work a pair of these wider jeans into your wardrobe. As the name suggests, the best straight-fit jeans have a straight, tailored silhouette that gives you plenty of room to slide into, without drowning you in fabric.
Wide-leg jeans and baggy carpenter jeans are also still available, but they’re better left to the Nineties.
These categories give an idea of fit, but there’s still variation between brands. If possible, always order multiple pairs of jeans, try them all on, and then return the pairs that don’t fit properly.
Color: Variation in color is another reason to order a few pairs of jeans, see them in person and return some. There is a seemingly endless spectrum of blues, and even black jeans can be matte, shiny or a bit grey-looking. But, in general, blue is always the classic choice. Go for a dark navy or indigo color if you want a pair of jeans you can dress up or down; a faded or medium-blue color works as as great pair of everyday denim.
What Are the Best Jeans for Men?
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite denim brands for men. These companies make classic looking and classic-fitting jeans, with premium materials, solid construction and versatile washes that will stand the test of time.
Levi’s is one of the only brands that should be in every dude’s closet. After almost 170 years, the brand has made jeans into a must-have piece of clothing and maintained its spot as the number one denim supplier in the world. For Levi’s most classic look (and really the most classic pair of jeans ever), pick up the original fit 501s. The 501s are especially on-trend right now as jeans are getting wider, and look great with streetwear outfits (think, retro sneakers and a logo tee). For a more slim option, also check out the best-selling 511s. Either way, Levi’s has multiple sizes and washes available.
You no longer need to be a cowboy to enjoy the western character of Wrangler jeans. As workwear and western-inspired fashion has gotten bigger, so has Wrangler. These bold Cowboy Cut jeans are the brand’s originals, and, today, you can rock them with sneakers as well as snakeskin boots (just be sure to order a shorter leg for use with sneakers). But Wrangler also offers a range of super-durable jeans for every fit preference and use.
3. Acne Studios North Skinny Jeans
Acne Studios got its start by making premium jeans back in 1996. And even now that they’ve expanded, the Swedish designer is still producing some of the best upscale denim on the market. These skinny-fit North jeans are some of our favorites from Acne, sporting a rockstar-inspired look that’s form-fitting yet low-key and comfortable. The secret is Italian-made quality and a cotton blend fabric that uses 5% polyester and 1% elastane for a slight stretch. Wear these with modern sneakers and a button-up for a killer casual office look.
4. Ralph Lauren RRL Slim Fit Selvedge Jean
If you’re looking for premium, vintage-inspired denim, Ralph Lauren RRL is a great source. These black selvedge jeans are a solid pick from the throwback label, boasting high-quality 14-ounce Japanese selvedge denim. Craftsmanship is top-tier for a pair that should last for years, while a rinse and drying technique gives the jeans a handsome worn-in look. These jeans can be worn as casually as you like, although we think they look best with button-ups and slightly dressy boots.
5. Gap Soft Wear Jeans
Comfortable, knock-around jeans are one of the most versatile things in any wardrobe. These Soft Wear jeans from Gap are one such pair. The fit is slim (not too skinny, not too baggy), so you can wear them casually or a bit dressed up. The fabric is a soft and stretchy denim blend that makes the jeans almost as comfy as a pair of sweats. In short, they’re a pair of jeans that can take you anywhere – be it weekend errands or a long-haul flight.
6. APC Martin Jeans
APC is another big designer that got its start in denim. These Martin jeans exemplify the French brand’s minimal, Parisian style and make an excellent upscale staple. We’d classify the fit as slim due to the tapered leg, although there’s a bit more room in the seat and thigh than most slim pants. The jeans are made of 100% cotton, lending a crisp, old-school look that will slowly morph to your leg and get more comfortable over time.
7. Filson Rail-Splitter Jeans
With durable workmanship and a rugged yet upscale style, Filson is an obvious choice when shopping for jeans. These Rail-Splitters are some of our favorite jeans from the outdoorsy brand, featuring a 100% cotton denim construction. The jeans are preshrunk to avoid shrinkage in the wash, and, because the denim is high-quality, the jeans will fit better the more you wear them. The fit is straight-leg, which provides room to move and lets you wear them over boots.
8. Naked & Famous Super Guy Jeans
Denim enthusiasts (yes, they exist) know Naked & Famous as a go-to for selvedge denim jeans. The brand was a major playing in the comeback of selvedge denim because they sourced their material from Okayama, Japan, an area known for premium selvedge denim. Plus, Naked & Famous does a great job of making slim and skinny jeans that are both flattering and comfortable. We recommend these Super Guy stretch jeans from the brand because they’re comfortable enough to wear all day, yet sophisticated enough to wear at the office or on a date.
9. Jordache Brad Jeans
Jordache jeans were all the rage in the eighties, and now, like many pieces of Eighties culture, the jeans are making a comeback. You’ll see the brand on consignment sites like Poshmark and Etsy, but we found them hiding in plain sight at Walmart. That’s right: you can get these Jordache jeans – complete with an eighties acid wash and iconic back pocket embroidery – from Walmart. We recommend wearing them with other eighties-inspired pieces, such as a denim jacket, for best effect.
10. Madewell Slim Selvedge Jeans
Madewell is a young gun brand that has made a splash in the fashion world with clean-cut staples. Madewell’s jeans are some of their best offerings with modern fits and high-quality materials. We like this light blue pair because the jeans sport a simple, elevated-basics look and premium Japanese selvedge denim. However, Madewell uses a Flex selvedge which includes 2% polyurethane for a subtle stretch. This makes the jeans more comfortable than most selvedge jeans, and makes them less stiff right off the hangar.