No, we don’t want to be enslaved by fashion or lose ourselves in trends, but style updates are necessary from time to time.
Certain elements of our wardrobe are prone to being overlooked or neglected. The basics we reach for – day in, day out – are often not given much consideration, but even the most timeless menswear pieces undergo subtle reinventions.
For instance, there have been a few changes to men’s jeans over the past couple of years that have flown under the radar. And with denim continuing to play a major role within the modern gent’s wardrobe, even the smallest tweak to your current collection can help instantly bring your look up to date.
The seasoned denim wearer will benefit from knowing what’s going on as well. Trying a new wash, fit or even a different brand can add a new dimension to your personal style and ensure your wardrobe doesn’t become stale.
So, what are the key considerations for 2014?
Relax A Little (Only A Little)
Prominent on the SS14 and AW14 fashion week runways, slim fits are still the best way to go this year.
Aim for mid-rise styles, cut close to the body, keeping the shape of your knees and calves unnoticeable. They come straight-legged or slightly tapered, the latter being the best fit for shorter legs.
Around the hips, make sure they fit snug at the time of purchase as they will give after a couple of days wear.
You’re likely to notice that, although still slim, jeans are slightly more relaxed this season (see the D2SQUARED and Ralph Lauren collections below). Embrace the extra room, but don’t go baggy just yet.
On The Runways
A Subtle Wash Is OK
Have you been stressing about how to keep the dark raw indigo colour on your jeans? There are plenty of techniques: cold water with salt, inside-out wash, short machine cycles, hand-washing – although the only method that really works is dry-cleaning, which is far from a viable solution.
The good news: rugged, worn denim might be just the right counterbalance for the silky fabrics, flowery prints and other delicate trends that are set to dominate SS14. This means they can go in the machine, fade a little and still look right.
Don’t get the bleach out just yet though: you want a naturally weathered, slightly broken-in look. The kind of jeans that just lost their raw hue. No acid wash, nineties faded blues, evident whiskers or other graphic washing processes.
A good sixty degree machine cycle and a tumble dry to unwashed indigo will do the trick.
We Won’t Do Brights
We’ve had previous seasons of fluorescent, rich and pastel shades of coloured denim. This year, let’s keep it dark and subtle.
We want earth tones, khaki green, burgundy or deep blues. It will be easy to get hold of them – they will be proudly displayed in shop windows as the new spring collections arrive over the coming weeks.
Therefore, unless you have the perfect plan to sport a specific bright shade, stick to understated hues that will slot seamlessly into your existing wardrobe and anchor any other bold spring/summer trends you have your eye on.
- Diesel Jeans Belther Slim Fit Colour Mutation
- Levis Line 8 Jeans 511 Slim Fit Licorice
- Levi’s 511 Slim New Woad 3d Jeans In Blue
- Blue Blue Japan Slim-fit Rinsed Denim Jeans
- 7 For All Mankind Slimmy Coloured Jeans
- Boss Orange Man Orange24 Barcelona Jeans
- Reiss Montreal Slim Fit Twill Jeans Grey
- A.p.c. Petit Standard Slim-fit Jeans
- He By Mango Slim-fit Black Tim Jeans
White: Yay Or Nay?
White denim is a style conundrum. It belongs in the same league as cargo pants, pleated trousers and boot cuts: items that go in and out of style too quickly, and come complete with confusing appropriateness rules.
Street style reports have been showing stylish men around the world wearing white jeans in a refreshing way: forgetting rules like that ‘no white after September’, for example, and styled just like regular indigo jeans.
White jeans will make your flannel plaid jacket look fresh in autumn; work really well with any shirt in summer; and encourage us all to step out of our blue jeans comfort zone.
Keep in mind: we mean white – so say no to cream or ecru replacements.
FashionBeans Tip: If you notice your white is tarnished after a few washes, add a small amount of bleaching powder (specifically designed products for garments) to the wash, like you do to your white shirts.
- Levis 511 Light Jeans In White
- Diesel Jeans Belther 826c Slim Fit
- He By Mango Slim-fit White Alex Jeans
- Reiss 1971 St Tropez Twill Denim Jeans White
- Uniqlo Men Slim Fit Straight Jeans
- Saint Laurent Slim-fit 17.5 Hem Dry-denim Jeans
The Length Dilemma
Another question for which there’s no definitive answer: the length of our jeans.
Hemming them to suit a specific style of shoe goes against the versatile nature of the garment, yet bulking fabric around the ankles is never acceptable. So, here are two options for you to consider:
- Have them hemmed at the end of your ankles: right before it touches the top of your foot. This length works well with loafers, boots and lace-ups, showing a bit of sock or flesh on a warm day. It suits different heights and looks best on slightly tapered cuts.
- Two inches longer than the end of the ankle: looks great on selvedge denim or a well-finished pair worth turning up. The turn-up also helps to break up your vertical line, which makes this a great option for tall men who are conscious of their leg length. However, this also means they should be avoided by short men as they can make their legs appear shorter than they are.
Jeans: Turn-Up Lookbook
Jeans: Minimum Break Lookbook
The Size-Up Trick
If you are the kind of man who buys multiples of a favourite, a trick I learned from a store salesman might be of great help. You can have the same jeans in two versions: a comfortable, weekend pair to be worn with a parka on a rainy Sunday to brunch with friends, and a slimmer, fitted version for a night out or wearing with tailoring.
Here’s how to do it: buy your chosen pair in an I-can-barely-fasten-it size, which will stretch after a couple of wears but will remain snug enough for smart evening events.
The second pair, in the same style, can be bought in your actual size and will stretch to a slightly more relaxed fit – suitable when you’re around those who already like you for your great personality.
And if multiple buying isn’t yet part of your routine, remember that great style is all about consistency.
“That Much For Jeans?”
A bit of controversy to wrap up this guide: is it worth it to splurge on a pair of designer jeans? Aren’t fast fashion versions just as good?
Denim is the most likely wardrobe staple to be subjected to judgement against its high-end market niche. To help you make an informed decision, take note:
- Branding is old news (and nobody’s business). If on top of a prestigious brand there’s no special fabric, impeccable cut or intricate detailing, a high price tag is a rip-off.
- Instead, look for specialist denim labels who focus on premium materials, age-old construction techniques and offer real value for money. A.P.C., Levi’s, Diesel, Edwin, Evisu and ACNE are just some of the great brands that have been producing high quality raw selvedge denim for decades – and will continue to do so for many more to come.
- More affordable versions are available if you search hard enough. Provided they fit well, look respectably understated and don’t present any tough compromises, there is nothing stopping you from shopping the high street. UNIQLO are a great place to start.
- Wrangler Bryson Jeans In Rinse Wash
- Asos Straight Jean In Indigo
- Nudie Slim Fit Jeans Grim Tim In Dark Navy Wash
- Cheap Monday Slim Jeans In Raw Denim
- Edwin Ed-80 Deck Jeans In Soak Wash
- Levis Jeans 511 Slim Fit Black Truffle
- Acne Studios Ace Cash Slim-fit Denim Jeans
- A.p.c. Petit Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge Denim Jeans
- Diesel Krayver Slim Jeans
- Uniqlo Men Slim Fit Straight Jeans
- Reiss Bauer Denim Twill Jeans Indigo
- Gap The Selvedge Pant Slim Fit
So there you have it, some guidelines to consider when updating your denim collection in 2014.
Feel free to share your own jeans quirks, tricks and tips in the comments section below…