Men's jeans can be confusing! Not only do you have to know your inseam (how tall the pants are) and your waist measurement for each company, but you also have to figure out if you're a "Relaxed Fit" or "Tapered Leg"... and you're stuck trying to read the faded tag on the pants you bought 5 years ago and really don't want to replace but it's time.
Guess what? There are 3 specs you can memorize that will solve all this angst. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Fits are not only about comfort but making different body types look good. This men's jeans guide will help you dress yourself in the best jeans for your build, and get you familiar with the jeans makers' terms for different types of jeans.
What You Need to Know
To get the best fit, you want to know more than your waistband and inseam. You already probably know how your favorite pair of pants fits. Knowing 3 more specs will help you get the perfect fit next time a knee blows out or the heels get worn out: Rise, Leg Opening, and Fit.
A lot of people don't know the difference between rises, leg opening, and fit - and most people don't know for sure which works best for them. These are 3 areas you can really tailor your look.
Rise is all about how far the jeans come up your waist. Leg opening answers the question of how tight the jeans are at your ankle. And Fit, that's how baggy or tight the jeans are. Scroll through these examples to discover which one suits you best.
Men's Jean Rises
Natural rise jeans sit right at the waist. Cinch's Green Label is a great example if you like your pants to come all the way up to the waist.
Midrise jeans sit just below the waist, so they're not too tall but not too low. Ariat makes the M5 low straight jeans that are a great mid rise jean. These Wrangler Retro Relaxed Jeans are another great mid rise jean for men.
Low rise jeans are even lower than midrise. Make sure and wear a belt! Ariat's M3 Athletic is a great low rise jean we carry, and so is this M4 Low Rise.
While it's completely up to you, generally lowrise jeans aren't a good choice for working outside all day and bending over a lot. Low rise jeans are nice, though, for riding your horse - they won't dig into your belly as much as a mid or natural rise would.
If you have a long torso, you may want to try low rise jeans first. And the opposite is true - if you have longer legs, a natural rise may fit you better.
Men's Jean Leg Openings
There are 3 big types of leg openings in jeans common among the big jeans manufacturers. This is another piece of information you want to look out for when replacing your favorite jeans.
Tapered jeans narrow toward the hem of your jeans, so they will come closer to your boots. Wrangler 20X Original jeans 22MWX are a great tapered jean.
Straight cut jeans are just your basic straight leg jean, no flare or taper at all. Cinch's Trenton jean is a nice straight leg, as are these Wrangler 20X Jeans and Cinch's White Label jeans. You'll find lots of jeans that are straight cut.
Lastly, Boot Cut jeans are wider at the hem of the jean, flaring out a bit. Wrangler Vintage Boot jeans are a good choice if you like a little more fabric around your boots. These Cinch Carter Bootcut jeans are another great example.
Tapered jeans may help you keep looking more proportionate if you have really skinny legs, whereas if you have large legs a straight leg or boot cut will look much better. Bootcut jeans are going to be the first ones to start to lose the heel, because they hang so low on the boot. Bootcut jeans may be a little too wide to stack, they might sag instead, depending on your height.
Men's Jean Fit
Fit is the third dimension of jean cut. It's asking how close you want the jeans to be cut to your legs: slim, almost skinny jeans; relaxed; or loose and baggy.
Depending on who makes the jeans you're looking at, you may see a few different terms on the jean fit spectrum. So let's take a look, from tightest to loosest fitting jeans.
Slim Fit Jeans: Fitted seat, thigh, and knee, like Wrangler's Premium Performance Slim Fit 36MWZ:
Regular Fit Jeans: Regular-fitted seat, thigh, and knee, like 13MWZ or 47MWZ:
Relaxed Fit Jeans: Relaxed seat, thigh, and knee, like 23MWX
Loose Fit Jeans: The baggiest fit, with an extra-relaxed seat, thigh, and knee, like 33MWX
Generally, slimmer cut jeans can help give you a little height if you're on the short side, more than relaxed jeans. But more relaxed jeans may be much more comfortable, especially if you're getting on and off the horse or stepping in and out of your truck frequently. Most work jeans are relaxed fit for more movement.
It's all up to you - but we can help
So what, is it all clear now, or clear as mud? Here are 3 pointers for keeping your new jeans the way you like them - and keep reading for the best tip of all.
First, find what you're comfortable in. If you've got a favorite pair of jeans, wear it in to the clothes store and find ones that come closest to matching.
Treat them right: If you want your jeans to keep a true fit, wash them on cold and hang them up to dry. They'll even last longer that way. Make sure and wash your jeans in hot water, and dry them on hot too, if you want them to shrink.
Here's the third pointer: take them in to the dry cleaner's and get them starched: you can keep your jeans going for twice as long by keeping them starched and out of the dryer. Plus they look nicer with that nice crease from the starch.
And the best tip?
Come on in! We've got a fantastic crew of ladies here at Smith & Edwards who really care about helping gentlemen like you look their best in their Wranglers. You'll get all the individual attention you need to get your look right.
Plus, each of us would be happy to help you pick out the perfect outfit, so you can be sure to have shirts that are matched to your jeans, plus a vest, belt, or boots. Come on in and see what we can do for you today in Smith & Edwards' Clothing department!