Raw indigo denim has had a strong run. At this point, just about every guy has a pair of deep blue selvedge jeans in his closet, and that’s a good thing. The jeans go with everything and take on a great patina as they break in and the color fades and whiskers.
But sometimes you need to lighten up. That’s why you’re seeing more and more stylish guys wearing light-colored denim this fall. The jeans, which are typically stone-washed to lighten up the color of the fabric, give off more of a relaxed vibe. But you have to be careful, because light washed jeans can also easily veer into “Dad Jeans” or Normcore territory, and that is not the look you’re going for. The goal is not to look like Brett Favre in a Wrangler commercial.
The key is to find a pair with the same qualities as your raw jeans, just with a lighter color. You still want quality denim, you still want a slimmed down fit (unless you think skinny jeans are dead). In the event that you’re not a professional denim hunter we found five great pairs of light washed jeans that fit the bill and don’t require a ton of investment. And don’t worry, your raw jeans aren’t going anywhere. This isn’t about replacing, it’s about expanding your denim arsenal.
The color on these jeans is terrific. They look like you spend all your time at the beach (which is what we’d all like to be able to do). They have a slim fit, but have just the right amount of stretch in them so you won’t feel constricted.
It isn’t easy to improve on the classic Levi’s 501. But Levi’s pulled it off with the 501 CT, which has a more modern, tapered leg. You can wear them three different ways depending on your style. Buy a pair true to size for a classic fit, size down for a slimmer fit, or size up for a slouchier fit.
A great intermediate option if you aren’t ready to make the full pendulum swing from dark wash to light, these mid wash jeans have more room in the leg, but still taper below the knee so they don’t come across as too baggy.
You could spend months wearing your jeans hoping to achieve the perfect worn-in look, or you could just buy this pair from J.Crew. The 770s are made from Japanese denim and are distressed by hand. The fit is that ideal sweet spot of not too tight, not too loose.
5. CLUB MONACO
The bleach wash on these slim fit jeans is almost white, but that doesn’t mean you can only wear them in summer. Pair them with a blue button down, a navy crewneck sweater and a vest and you’ve got a go-to outfit for fall.