Denim jeans are man’s best friend, at least fashion-wise. An utterly versatile piece of menswear, you can dress it up for classy gigs, and dress it down for a casual hang sesh with your buddies. Of course, while it may seem like a no-brainer of a sartorial choice, if you really want to get the most out of a pair, you need to put some thought into the kind of jeans you pull on.
Fabric and measurements come with their own considerations, but the most important thing you actually need to think about when looking for a pair is fit. Why? Because denim jeans that fit right and feel right will make you look good, but an ill-fitting pair will make your butt look saggy or your thighs and calves look huge.
So before you go shopping for your next pair of all-occasion jeans, find out what your body shape is—it’s what determines what kind of cut and style of pants will fit you and best bring out your ass-ets (see what we did there?). Once you know, keep these things in mind:
For the slender man
Usually for people on the thin end of the spectrum, clothing a size or two higher will help balance out your slender frame. When it comes to jeans though, you should opt for something that follows the lines of your body, not hide it. Baggy jeans will just swallow you up and make you look even smaller, so go for slim-fit cuts: skinny or straight-leg jeans.
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While skinny jeans will work for a slender guy, make sure you don’t go for something so tight it may as well be jeggings. Not only should you have more mercy on your crown jewels than that, skinnies that are too tight will just make you look even more stick-thin. Instead, go for something close-fitting that will hug your legs, from your thighs to your ankles. Denims in darker colors are very stylish, especially when paired with oversized kicks; lighter washes though add some width to your thighs, making you look less thin.
Pro-tip: Do yourself a favor and buy a pair with a bit of stretch to them; you’ll not only get a better range of motion, you’ll be infinitely more comfortable, too.
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Straight-leg slim-fit pants are a little more forgiving than skinny jeans. It’s looser around the thighs, knees, and ankles, which lets your legs breathe a little more. It’s still fairly snug, but creates a...well, straight silhouette that will look good on men with slender, rectangular-shaped bodies. Straight-leg jeans also look great when cuffed, so don’t hesitate to roll up your hems to spice up your look.
For the muscled dude
If you seriously like spending time at the gym and have the muscles to show for it, you’ll need jeans that show off your build, but not exaggerate it in an unflattering way. Too close-fitting, especially around the thigh area, and you’ll look oddly-shaped. Too baggy, and no one will know you never skipped leg-day. This means the perfect pair for you would either be regular or bootleg cut.
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Regular-fit is the most-worn style of pants. Cut fairly loose from hip to ankles, it lets your thighs breathe without slipping off your frame. It’s the most solid style around, working well for any situation or occasion, whether you need to pull on a casual tee over it or tuck in a button-down shirt.
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The bootleg cut, on the underhand, is a gamble. Because it was designed to fall around a pair of boots—like the name suggest—there’s a bit of a flare below the knees. Heed our words, gents: bell-bottoms for men will never come back in style. That being said, a subtle bootleg cut, if worn correctly, can make you look even manlier. It’s exactly the sort of jeans that evoke that rugged cowboy persona all boys aspired to once upon a time.
For the heavy son
If you’ve got a bit of heft to you, shopping for jeans sometimes become more a search for a pair that fits at all, instead of a search for a pair that fits right. But just because you’ve got a bigger bod than average—whether that’s ‘cause of your natural build, or because of too many cheeseburgers, we don’t judge—doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about the type of jeans you wear. Because a heavy-set man? Should go for jeans that are either relaxed or straight-leg (not skinny though!).
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Relaxed, or classic-cut, jeans are possibly the most comfortable pair you will ever wear. Similar to regular-fit jeans, they’re loose all the way down. This style has more fabric in the seat and legs though, making them a smart choice for the full-bodied men out there. But just because they’re roomy doesn’t mean they should hang off you, so find a pair that will fit nicely along your hips and thighs, but fall smoothly down the length of your legs. This will make you look more sturdier instead of heavier.
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Straight-legged jeans aren’t just for the slender gentlemen out there. They also look good on dudes with some serious meat on their bones, as the cut will make your thighs and calves look slimmer without highlighting any unflattering bulges. You can also go for darker washes to maximize the effect, with the color working to elongate and narrow down your legs.