You already own jeans. Heck, your bedroom floor is probably carpeted in pairs awaiting the washing machine at this very moment. But what you might not realise is that this year has seen a step-change in the wealth of styles available to men with an appetite for quality denim.
So what better time to talk you through the strongest cuts, fits and washes to style out the rest of summer, and the year…
In an ideal world, you’d break in your own jeans (or have enough money to pay someone else to do it for you), allowing authentic creases, abrasions, gouges and rips to form naturally over time. But in reality, it’s easier to just pick up a pre-distressed pair already equipped with these said knackered elements which lend a pair of jeans that distinctly laid-back, grunge-infused feel.
This year, you’d be hard pushed to find a retailer who isn’t pedalling this kind of patched up and artfully distressed denim on its shop floor. There are, however, brands that do the 1990s stonewashed thing better than others.
At the upper end, Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren, Levi’s and AllSaints produce quality jeans with exploded knees and just the right number of patches. At the lower, wallet-friendly end of the scale, high street favourites Topman and ASOS are churning out skinny and slim styles that come preloaded with enough rips to suggest you’re capable of manning a cattle ranch or erecting a barn, if required.
Wear yours with a fresh riff on rebellion, like how Saint Laurent styled theirs for autumn/winter 2015, and combine with a neutral tee, pair of Chuck Taylors and bomber jacket for a look that’s put-together but errs on the side of effortlessly cool.
- Allsaints Keiko Cigarette Jeans
- Allsaints Chika Cigarette Jeans
- Cheap Monday Jeans Tight Skinny Fit Posted Worn Blue Distressed
- Cheap Monday Jeans Dropped Crotch Skinny Fit Prosper Mid Wash Knee Rips
- Topman Grey Double Knee Rips Stretch Skinny Jeans
- Levis Vintage Clothing Jeans 1966 501 Customized Selvedge Slim Tapered Fit Silver Rebel Distressed
- Burton Mid Wash Rip & Repair Jeans
- River Island Light Ripped Knee Sid Skinny Stretch Jeans
- River Island Black Ripped Sid Skinny Stretch Jeans
- He By Mango Straight-fit Vintage Marc Jeans
- Alexander Mcqueen Slim-fit Washed Selvedge Denim Jeans
- Levis Vintage Clothing 1960s 606 Jean Avalon
Arguably the key trend for 2015 (and 2014, for that matter), monochrome dressing offers the easiest way to pull off double denim, because there’s no confusion about how to clash your colours or washes and what cut of jeans to go for: it’s all about your black skinnies.
The reprisal of the indie rocker and his sophisticated uniform – seen on the likes of Alex Turner and recently reformed The Strokes – has been rolled out onto the runways and into stores, championing black jeans that fit like a snug, testicle-compromising second skin. And with high elastane content, these jeans don’t lose their shape or shift from skinny- to straight-fit after a few rounds with your tumble dryer.
That said, if a stretch skinny style makes you look like you’ve tried to force yourself into sausage casing, then try relaxing the situation by swapping for a pair of slim jeans instead – they’ll look sharp without obstructing blood flow.
You’ll find the best mid-weight options at Cheap Monday, Dr Denim and Weekday, while Nudie, A.P.C. and Acne Studios should be your destinations for heavyweight options, provided you’ve got the budget.
For the full indie/grunge hybrid look, try combining yours with a black denim jacket, plaid shirt and a white/black crew neck tee layered underneath.
Alternatively, if you’re a more refined dresser, use them in place of your smart trousers. Team with a crisp white shirt and blazer/leather jacket, and then finish off with some black penny loafers or Chelsea boots for a smart-casual look that takes just seconds to pull together.
- Topman Black Regular Slim Fit Jeans
- Allsaints Sodium Pistol Jeans
- He By Mango Slim-fit Black Partrick Jeans
- Wrangler Larston Met Black Tipped Jeans
- Cheap Monday Jeans Tight Skinny Fit In New Black
- Dr Denim Jeans Leon Slim Tapered Black Rinse Wash
- Acne Studios Ace Cash Slim-fit Denim Jeans
- Nudie Jeans Tight Long John Slim-fit Organic Dry-denim Jeans
- Reiss Caledon Slim-fit Jeans Black
Are we finally set to move away from skinnies? No, probably not. But certain menswear tastemakers would have you believe it’s time to hang ’em up.
It seems as if skinny fatigue has finally set in as a slew of high-end labels (particularly Patrick Grant’s E. Tautz) are making plenty of noise about jeans in wider, looser fits. It’s a trend that looks set to trickle down to the high street, too, with Burton, Next and New Look all including relaxed-leg styles in their new autumn/winter 2015 lookbooks.
We’re still not totally sold on the idea; relaxed fits can go horribly wrong if you don’t invest in the right pair, and can even look a bit ‘dad’ if styled incorrectly. That said, on the right man (read: whippet-thin), they make for a strong ‘anti-fashion’ look.
The key to pulling them off is taking the normcore route – i.e. simplify everything else and stick to wardrobe basics. Wear yours with some hefty turn-ups, get those mankles out, and team with a plain white tee, plimsolls and tough worker shirts for a casual summer vibe.
As we segue into autumn, though, you might want to trial them in a smarter setting, pairing them with a long-sleeved polo shirt and an overcoat.
- Edwin Red Listed Selvedge Burn Jeans
- Gap 1969 Straight Fit Jeans Japanese Selvedge
- Uniqlo Men Regular Fit Selvedge Jeans
- Nudie Jeans Steady Eddie Straight Fit Dry Compact Dark
- G Star Jeans New Radar Low Loose Dark Aged
- Diesel Jeans Waykee 88z Straight
- He By Mango Loose-fit Dark Vintage Hopper Jeans
- Calvin Klein Jeans Marky Mark Jeans In Salt Blue
- Replay Jeans New Bill Relaxed Fit Mid Wash
White jeans were last a ‘thing’ in the mid-2000s when English indie troupe Razorlight was in the charts. But, like Johnny Borrell’s career, they’ve been consigned to obscurity in the years since. For 2015, though, they’re back with a bang and if you’re keen to squeeze the last few drops out of summer looking on-point, you need to grab yourself a pair in a slim-fit, stat.
The freshest, boldest way to wear these is as part of an all-white ensemble. Not only is it a strong option for guys who want to look sharp without having to overthink their morning routine, but it also provides a clean and crisp canvas that sits perfectly against your post-holiday glow. Try teaming with a collarless white shirt and a pair of adidas Stan Smiths for an updated, non-Borrell take on the trend.
Likewise, heavily washed jeans are back on the agenda. A killer way to tap into the appetite for lighter-than-your-average denim for guys who don’t want to commit to full-on icy white, we recently broke down five easy ways you can wear them.
- River Island Slim Fit Jeans
- Dr Denim Jeans Snap Super Skinny Fit Clean White
- Sisley White Stretch Slim Jeans
- He By Mango Slim-fit Medium Wash Jan Jeans
- He By Mango Slim-fit Light Vintage Tim Jeans
- Cheap Monday Tight Jeans Skinny Fit In Stonewash Blue
- Reiss Wallace Slim-fit Jeans White
- Acne Studios Ace Slim-fit Stretch-denim Jeans
- Polo Ralph Lauren Slim-fit Denim Jeans
- River Island Light Wash Dylan Slim Jeans
- Levis 501 Ct Jeans 501 Ct Slim-fit Jeans
- Our Legacy First Cut Jean Light Vintage Wash Blue
The launch of the new Levi’s 501 CT earlier this year has led to an explosion of high street iterations of the oft-overlooked tapered cut. This should come as good news for heavier fellas or those who’ve not been skipping leg day. Why? Because tapered jeans are refreshingly roomy for blokes with big thighs and behinds, but who still want a slice of the streamlined silhouette that skinny- and slim-fits offer.
Not to be confused with the ill-advised carrot-fit that hit the big time a few years back, tapered cuts don’t have the same gratuitous crotch depth and can be worn without running the risk of looking like you’ve just, er, had a bit of an accident. Wear yours in exactly the same way you would a slim or skinny pair (if you could fit in them), but avoid trying to smarten them up too much, as their slightly more relaxed cut steers them more toward the casual side of things.
For the real deal, scoop up a pair of Levi’s CT, or check out Topman and ASOS to trial the trend without committing too much capital upfront.
- Lee Jeans Arvin Slim Tapered Fit Blue Legacy Mid Wash
- Asos Tapered Jeans In Indigo
- Topman Ltd Blue Broken Twill Slim Tapered Jeans
- 7 For All Mankind Chad Low-rise Slim Jeans
- Ed-55 Relaxed Tapered Jeans
- River Island Dark Wash Chester Tapered Jeans
- Paul Smith Tapered Jean Mid Wash
- Edwin Ed-80 Slim Tapered Jean Unwashed 11.5oz Compact Indigo
- Levis 501 Ct Jeans 501 Ct Slim-fit Jeans
Low Cost, High Quality Denim
There’s no need to sacrifice a month’s worth of beer money to lay your paws on a pair of high quality jeans. Nowadays, mercifully, there are a number of outlets renowned for constructing jeans in superior denim for a fraction of the price you might pay for a pair from specialists like Levi’s, A.P.C or Nudie.
High street favourites Uniqlo (selvedge denim in a variety of fits and washes, £34.90), Topman (Raw Stretch Selvedge, £45) and Gap (Japanese selvedge, £64.95) have been instrumental in bringing selvedge denim to the masses, ensuring you get true value for money and making it easier than ever to build a quality denim collection.
Whether it’s a tee and some trainers or a shirt and a blazer you team yours with, there’s no escaping the fact that quality denim forms the backbone of a successful menswear wardrobe. Look to these styles and rest assured your denim is right up to date.
Have you seen any other jeans styles jousting for attention? Which of the above would you likely invest in?
Let us know by commenting below.