There’s no more staple piece in a man’s wardrobe than jeans. Over almost two centuries they’ve gone from workwear to everywhere, as appropriate in the office as they are at your niece’s christening. But only if you pick the right pair.

To make sure you pick the right style at the right time (no Kanye rips in church, OK?) we teamed up with River Island, to host a panel talk on all things denim, with experts Chris Millington and Q Mike. Here’s what we learned.

Know Your Body Type

The slim fit’s dominance is receding, as men look to extremes instead. But whether you go for wide- or skinny-fit jeans is down to what you’re putting inside them.

The bigger your pins, the more fabric you can get away with. If you do steer tight, look for styles with stretch, like River Island’s Sid jeans, which are forgiving and built to snap straight back into shape. Because misshaped denim is never in style.

Sid Skinny Stretch Jeans In Dark Blue Wash, available at River Island, priced £30.

Sid Skinny Stretch Jeans In Dark Blue Wash

If In Doubt, Go Dark

The inkier your denim, the smarter the look. That means you’re best swerving stonewashed styles in the office.

Opt for slim, black jeans instead. That way you can dress them up with a shirt (and even a tie) but can still pull off the rocker thing with Chelsea boots and a biker jacket.

Sid Skinny Stretch Jeans In Black, available at River Island, priced £30.

Sid Skinny Stretch Jeans In Black

Show Some Skin

Runways have grown more rock ‘n’ roll, which means you can add some edge to your denim. If you decide to distress your jeans yourself, keep rips to the knees and hems – veer too high and you could make the wrong kind of statement.

To be safe, stick to River Island’s pre-ripped styles, which are based on the real-life wear patterns of archive pieces.

Dylan Ripped Slim Jeans In Mid Blue Wash, available at River Island, priced £40.

Dylan Ripped Slim Jeans In Mid Blue Wash

Double Denim Is Twice As Stylish

So long as you steer more Kanye, less Justin Timberlake, you can pile up your denims. To pull off top-to-toe, make sure there’s some variety in your tones – if everything’s too matchy-matchy it looks like you’re wearing a denim suit.

You should also balance your silhouettes – if it’s slim below, don’t wear a boxy, oversized jacket.

How to wear double denimRiver Island Style Staples

Show Off Your Shoes

Whatever your fit, your jeans should showcase what’s below. River Island’s design team have moved towards shorter legs, to leave some space between hem and trainer.

Whichever fit you choose, roll the ends to create even more definition. If you want more distressing, cut the ends and leave them raw.

Show of your shoesRiver Island Style Staples