There is no doubt denim is the default for most men and with that in mind designers are hell-bent on giving us options, probably more than we care to entertain.
Though there is little doubt among the fashion elite that denim is the default for the ever-elusive male consumer, which kind of denim, which washes, colors and cuts is a little less clear. Not only are we reclusive, difficult for designers to discern what exactly it is that we want in our clothes, we are also creatures of habit, less inclined than, say, the fairer sex to step outside the box. The challenge becomes to ease us ever so slightly into the shallow end of the fashion pool and hope we start swimming.
Let’s start with the most obvious offender, or rather the trend that gives the most offense:
Even the name is off-putting: skinny jeans. There is something effeminate about it that most men are simply not willing to work around. So let us change it up for you: slim cut, or straight-slim cut, and yes, there is a difference.
Skinny jeans, the kind that took to the runways sometime in the past few years, are championed by the ultra-hip and suitable only if you’re living in a post-apocalyptic punk dystopia or the East Village. Slim cut are a little more forgiving, both on your frame and your ego. They’re less like tights, offer a little more mobility and give length to your body without the saggy sloppiness of trends past or the whole chicken-leg look being a concern.
Our Picks: Sly Engineered Blue ($180), Travis Ozone ($185)
This may come as a surprise to some, but “blue jeans” do not necessarily have to be blue. Again, we’re stepping outside the usual comfort zone with this, but with colors coming into play more and more in men’s wear (we couldn’t live in black and white and the occasional brown forever) it’s time to at least consider what that might mean for denim.
Maybe the runways’ red trend is a little much; it might be pushing the envelope a little too far if this is your first time around the fashion block, but you’re going to start seeing some branching out with blues (some different kinds of blues), some browns, some grays and some greens.
Our Picks: Clay Machine Selvage ($238), Corduroy Camel ($180)
Gone are the days of the standard Levi’s blue scale; the new wash is dark and getting darker. Luckily we’ve passed through the ultra-worn phase, those weird few years of denim adolescence when we bought pre-torn jeans with shredded hems and holes. That’s over. The new look, still with some semblance of wear, is more grown-up and groomed.
While on the subject of being grown-up: when you were young, you could get away with wearing pants somewhere just below your ass. But you’re no longer young. The style du jour is a rolled cuff with a complementary shoe and some funky socks. A good pair of jeans should go unnoticed, only serving as a clean-cut counterpoint to the more potent parts of your dress.
Our Picks: Sly Dry Indigo ($185), Travis Charred Clean ($185)