October 18, 2013 / Buying Jeans: The Safe Bets
Want jeans that will work for you in many situations? Check out our safe bets!
When it comes to fashion, jeans are an important staple in any man’s wardrobe. Long gone are the days when only certain people wear jeans; today, pretty much EVERYONE wears jeans. Unfortunately, along with an increase in popularity comes a major increase in the number of options; a big enough increase that what used to be a simple purchase can now be quite confusing. Besides a countless number of brands, there are also a huge number of different varieties: Boot cut, straight leg, skinny, loose, you name it, they probably have it.
I could go on and on about all the different types and brands but all it would do is add to the confusion. In this article, I am going to make it easy for you and give you a few "safe" options that should work in a variety of settings. Naturally, fashion is localized and also very contingent on the crowd you hang out with. With that said, here are some safe options that can fit in with a wide range of groups.
The Safe Cuts: Straight Leg or Boot cut
The first step I like to consider when selecting jeans is the cut. The safe bet are straight leg or boot cut. There are many other varieties but I find one of these two to be the most versatile. If you prefer a looser fit, go with boot cut. If you want a style that gives you more of what I like to call "hipster flexibility", go with straight leg.
The Safe Jean Colors: Blue
They used to be called blue jeans for a reason. Don’t get fancy with colors if you want to play it safe. Stick to traditional blue colors with some fade. I recommend a blue that isn’t too dark and isn’t too light. I know some say to err on the side of dark, but I personally don’t love colors that are too dark on jeans. Something like the below is the typical color I would recommend for a ‘safe bet’:
The Safe Jean Fit: Not too tight, but definitely not too loose
Perhaps the most difficult component is the fit because there is simply no one size fits all. You will have to try a few brands, sizes, and fits to see what works best for you. I prefer to err slightly on the tighter side but that is because it fits my body type a little bit better but it really depends on you. Make sure you put your phone, wallet and anything else you normally carry in your pockets in the jeans you are trying out. Eventually, you will likely find brands that fit you well and are in your price range. Also, move around, try sitting, even do a split like maneuver. Remember though, at the end of the day, you are trying to look good, not do gymnastics, so be reasonable in your comfort expectations. One thing I like to look for are jeans that have a small % of spandex material in them which greatly adds to comfort (many 7 for all mankind brand jeans for example).
To make it even easier, here are some safe options I like at various budget points.
Low Budget: H&M Straight Regular Jeans
These jeans can easily be had for $40 if not cheaper and fit pretty great. I like Dark Denim Blue or Denim Blue colors for these jeans.
Mid Budget: Levi’s 501s or 505s
Levi’s is the classic jeans brand and the 501s are their classic fit. However, if you prefer a zipper fly and slightly less tapered fit (more straight leg), go with the 505. A color/wash I like is: "Amped" for the 501s. You should be able to find many varieties of 501s and 505s for around $50-$75.
High Budget: 7 For All Mankind "The Straight"
There are a lot of options at the $200 price range, but the safe bet is to go with an oldie but goodie, "7″ jeans. I like "The Straight" cut in the "Brooklyn Bay" color. These jeans will run you about $200, or $99 if you get them at a discount store or discount online retailer like Rue La La. While some may consider "7″s a little "behind the times", the purpose of this guide is to give you a safe option. In later guides I will discuss some of the more ‘hip’ options if you are looking for some edge.
Ultra High Budget: ?
I would say that for a ‘safe bet’ going above $200 is quite unnecessary. If you want to add a little more flair and can afford it, I recommend looking into some Cavalli brand jeans.
Going to the department store looking for jeans can be overwhelming; however, it doesn’t have to be. If you simply aren’t interested in spending the time and effort finding the perfect pair of jeans and just want to get in and out, try following this guide or going for the recommendations in this article. I don’t think you can go wrong with them.