Denim jeans are a sartorial godsend for men. They are comfortable enough to wear in place of sweatpants — god forbid — so casual is stylish at the same time and not just plain sloppy. Denim jeans can also be smart enough to take you places, whether it’s to the office, a cocktail party or a highly-anticipated first date. Denim has attitude in a way that dress pants or chinos simply do not. And it doesn’t hurt that the right pair can visually elongate your legs, make you look taller and flatter a nice behind.
All that said, denim jeans are without a doubt a wardrobe staple. But this is where the confusion sets in. With so many cuts and fits out there, not to mention washes and colours, exactly how many pairs of jeans must a guy own to feel complete?
To cut to the chase, the straightforward answer is three. Four, if you like a fashion challenge. Read on to find out more!
Smart denim is slim fitting and dark
These are your go-to jeans whenever you need to reach for something that is dressy. Slim fits are the cut of choice for the modern man’s wardrobe, and blue denim in deeper hues look more polished. Slim fit blue jeans are also incredibly versatile and easy to spiff up. All you have to do is throw on a sharp blazer and a pair of loafers or wing-tips and you are ready for work. For the perfect juxtaposition of laidback and smart, instead of wearing a shirt under the blazer, swap it out for a plain white t-shirt and opt for trendy sneakers in place of your typical dressier shoes.
Just be aware that there is a difference between slim fit and skinny. You want a streamlined cut that skims the legs and butt and not a body-hugging pair of jeans that leaves nothing to the imagination — especially if you have chunky calves and thighs. Skinny fit jeans generally come across as more informal and are another fashion ball game altogether.
Worn in, distressed cool
Distressed denim is sometimes worn as a badge of honour. All those stains, rips and faded tracks where your jeans have bunched up repeatedly are hard-earned indications of a life well-lived and well-played. There is a reason, after all, why denim buffs are so enamoured over raw denim, which essentially allow wearers to customise a blank canvas with their their own stories, until they have something completely and utterly unique to them.
That said, while it may be nice to have jeans with so much personal history to them, being able to buy and put on a pair of jeans that are pre-distressed and therefore immediately cool is also not a bad thing at all. Convenience has its advantages, particularly when casual comfort is what you want to achieve. Throw on a plain t-shirt and some sneakers and you’re good to go.
Bad boy black
No matter how you try, it’s hard to diminish the badass, rock and roll vibes of black denim. Plus, they look so effortlessly great with a t-shirt and leather jacket. And if you like your jeans on the side of skinny, there’s no better colour to rock tight denim in than black. Black jeans are also pitch-perfect for those occasions when black formal pants are overly dressy and scream “trying too hard”.
White for sartorial freshness
Unless you are an Italian used to swanning around Milan Fashion Week in white jeans and a sharply tailored blazer, chances are high that you would hesitate to pull on white denim. Worn right though, white jeans are a fresh way to dress up denim and seriously stylish. White jeans should always be slim cut with no excess fabric bunching anywhere and not too tight either — absolutely no unsightly bulges allowed. The safest way to wear them would be with a white or pale-coloured shirt and a navy blazer, complete with classic kicks like driving moccasins or brown brogues. Alternatively, why be safe if you’re already putting on white denim? Go all out instead with this season’s all-white ensemble by throwing on an oversized white-t-shirt and white sneakers.