The Men’s Guide to Buying Jeans

A great pair of jeans is key to any man’s wardrobe. They can be dressed up for an evening on the town or a smart casual Friday at work. The can also be dressed down for a relaxed Saturday afternoon with a t-shirt.

What makes a great pair of jeans though?

There are many factors to consider when looking for the perfect pair of jeans, but first, you have to understand the common mistakes that men make when picking a pair of jeans. First, men typically don’t have the patience for shopping so this can lead to a bad decision on jeans. They must take the time to understand what type of jeans look good on them, and this varies depending on the man. Secondly, not all men have access to a good selection, which might have to do with their location. So you might have to venture out a bit to find the right pair. Finally, they may not have the knowledge they need regarding fit, wash, size, material, etc.


Let’s start by looking at some common fits. “Fit” refers to the cut and shape of the jeans, and the right fit for you will be highly dependent upon your body type, as the right fit will play up your good features.

  • Skinny – The latest trend in jeans is a fit that hugs the body a bit more, and skinny is on the extreme side of this. This fit will hug the body from the waist to the hem at the bottom. These typically come in a low rise or mid-rise cut.
  • Slim – The stepbrother to skinny, but not nearly as tight – giving you more room throughout. These are typically available in a mid-rise cut and will slim down from the thigh to the hem.
  • Regular – These tend to come in a mid-rise cut, and are more of a straight-legged jean, with a straight cut from the knee to the hem, leaving more of a leg opening.
  • Relaxed – These are called relaxed for a reason, they aren’t going to hug the body at any point and will feel loose throughout.
  • Loose – This is the roomiest fit, leaving ample room in the butt, thighs, and legs for men of larger body types.


Now let’s look at the rise. “Rise” is how high the waist comes up the torso on a pair of jeans. Though it is rare to find a rise measurement on a pair of jeans, the rise is measured by the length between the bottom of the crotch and the top of the waistband. There are typically three types of rise in a pair of jeans: Low, medium, and high.

  • Low rise – worn lower, typically on the hips. This means that you might have to buy a larger or smaller waist size, depending on the difference between sizes in your waist and your hips.
  • Medium rise – this would be a “regular” type of rise that will place the waistband right around the belly button. This is a good option for a pair of jeans that you will want to tuck a shirt into.
  • High rise – the waistband will come higher than the belly button on these, and are best for men with a larger belly. They will help slim the front, but you should avoid tucking your shirt in with these.


When it comes to size, there are two measurements that you need to pay attention to, waist and inseam. You will typically see a set of numbers on a pair of jeans that looks like this: “34 x 32”. The first number will be the waist measurement for this pair of jeans and the second number will be the inseam – or length. The inseam measurement is taken from crotch to hem.

Sizing is pretty simple on a pair of jeans, but one thing you will find is that the sizing will vary depending on the brand. That’s why it’s important to always try your jeans on before you buy them – it will save you frustration later on.


There are several types of washes available to choose from. Wash refers to the look of the denim after it has gone through treatments to achieve that specific look. Raw denim has not been washed or treated and are a deep indigo color. Different brands will have their own names for their washes, but keep in mind that a classic dark blue pair of jeans is often the best choice for a staple pair.

Body Types

  • Thin – for those with a thinner frame, it’s best to look for a slim fit or straight leg jean, depending on preference. Either a low or mid-rise will look great on you; avoid the high rise at all costs. Any of the larger fits will look sloppy and detract from your overall look.
  • Athletic – again, a slim fit jean with a straight leg will likely be your best bet. If you like the boot cut, you can typically get away with it because you have the best body type to pull it off. Again, you should stick to the low or mid-rise styles. Avoid large rear pockets and elaborate stitching that will detract from your athletic build.
  • Muscular – those with a muscular build will typically have larger thigh and calf muscles so they will need a little more room in the legs. A regular fit will suit your body type nicely. Stick to a mid-rise jean and you will accentuate your toned behind.
  • Large Waist – those with a little extra padding can have their choice of a regular fit or a relaxed fit to give extra room throughout. This will keep you from feeling the squeeze. You can get away with a higher rise jean if you like, and you might even look at a straight leg as long as the bottom opening isn’t too large.

How do they feel, look?

This is what matters. Remember that a great pair of jeans will accentuate your looks, they will go with almost anything, and they will be comfortable – eventually. It may take some time to wear them in like a good pair of boots, but they will form to your body and some point and become like a second skin.

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