pants week

What Are the Best Jeans for Men?

Find your (washed, black, skinny, or pegged) jeans here. Photo: Tachit Choosringam/Getty Images/EyeEm

Welcome to Pants Week, where the Strategist will be tackling all things pants-related (given that you’ll be wearing them pretty consistently from now through spring). Throughout the week we’ll be surfacing everything from the best jeans for men and women, to the best lounge-about-the-house pants, to the best work-appropriate trousers.

At first glance, it might seem as though men’s jeans are more straightforward than women’s. Generally speaking, men are probably less likely to wild out with outré shapes or daring silhouettes, and judging by the guys we talked to, that appeared true. A pair of straight-legged or slim pants appropriate for work or the weekend (maybe a rip here or there) is pretty universally favored. But within that set of constraints, there’s lots of room for interpretation when considering the best jeans for men. Now might even be the time to consider a drop crotch or year-round white.

For the smaller build

Diesel Thavar Skinny Fit Jeans

“Don’t judge me, but I still think Diesel makes the best jeans — they always fit me (I have a super tiny waist and wore a 26 in high school, though I doubt that was my true waist size). I wear the Thavar and Sleenker, which are both skinny but have some stretch. The denim has the perfect thickness, too. Just be sure to choose a wash without the annoying pre-distressing, which Diesel does way too much of.” —Joey Kuhn, film director

Note: These are sold out, but you can still get the Sleenker jeans or some darker washes here.

For the bigger build

Levi’s 541 Athletic Fit Jeans

“Athletic Fit Levis are the only jeans I ever wear. I also have them tailored for me. I like that they’re 2 percent elastane because I need room to run around! I’ll buy them in bulk and have them tapered and shortened by about two more inches from the 30-inch inseam, because I like to show sock. I’m a husky guy and my tree-trunk legs don’t fare well in an Acne or Frame.” —Daniel Packar, fashion director, Authentic Brands Group

For year-round white

Acne Studios Ace Jeans

“I traditionally do not wear jeans — my exceptions are certain reworked vintage jeans and white jeans, which I wear year-round. I just think white jeans with a navy or black sweater gives you an instant something. It’s the same effort as blue jeans but packs way more wallop. The two pairs of white jeans I wear are Acne, which have some stretch (I feel the same way about Acne that I feel about cats: I secretly like them, but I would never admit it in public. Too popular.) Gucci white jeans I wear as well.” — Nick Wooster, men’s fashion consultant

Note: These are just about sold out, but there are a few more white Acne pairs here and a similar white Rag & Bone pair here.

For wearing to the office

Club Monaco Super Slim Vintage Denim

“I wouldn’t normally think Club Monaco for jeans, but I discovered them because a friend became a designer there. I love these because the high-quality denim feels substantial and wears well, and they’re skinny without being too tight. Putting on a sweater over oxford shirt, skinny Club Monaco jeans, and white sneakers has become a uniform for work.” —Reid Myers, senior communications manager, InStyle

Note: The Vintage style is sold out, but the classic Super Slim style is still available here and Citizens of Humanity has a similar pair here.

For thigh and quad comfort

Acne Town Jeans

“Jeans are notoriously difficult for me, mostly because my legs don’t really fit into most jeans (I blame genetics). But, after years of searching, I happily settled down with a pair of Acnes. There’s stretch in them, so they give me a little bit of leeway when I’m walking around the city, and don’t feel constricting. The pair I’ve got now are the Roc fit, which I’ve had for almost two years, so they’re hard to come by at the moment, but the Town looks to be the latest evolution.” —John Jannuzzi, U.S. deputy, Twitter Moments

Note: The Town jeans are sold out, but Acne’s River jean has a similar shape and you can get it in blue or black.

For wearing with high tops

Levi’s 510 Skinny Jeans

“I was a fancy-jeans guy for years and wore my Marc by Marc Jacobs black jeans forever. Then, right before a business trip, they ripped (my flight was that afternoon) so I rushed into Levi’s and found the 510s and have never looked back. They’re comfortable from the moment you put them on, have the perfect amount of pocket space, are skinny but not skin-tight, and of course, they’re a great price. Oh, and they stack perfectly on top of my high-top sneakers.” —Alex Simons, social-media manager, Netflix

For a slightly dropped crotch

Levi’s 511 Slim Commuter Jeans

“I’d been searching for baggy-at-the-crotch/skinny-through-the-leg jeans for a while when I read about the 511 Commuter on some random men’s fashion blog a few years ago. Levi’s designed them for cyclists with a longer back rise (to prevent plumber’s crack, I’m guessing) and even as a non-biker, I find the jeans fit perfectly: roomy up top while tapering down below. I’ve had them for a few years, but they feel especially relevant now that men’s pants are going through a carrot moment.” — Jason Chen, Strategist senior editor

For something truly skinny

Rag & Bone Fit 1 Jeans

“Friends had told me these were the best jeans, so when I was wandering around Soho one day I popped into the shop — the Fit 1 was just it. They’re tapered and tighter than the Fit 2 and 3, but not overly so. They maintain shape over time and aren’t baggy by the end of the day (you know how some jeans can do that?). In black, they work for the office as well as on the weekend with sneakers or a Chelsea boot. I loved them so much I went back and bought two or three more pairs.” — Evan O’Donnell, venture capital director

Note: This pair is sold out, but here’s another Fit 1 Skinny jean and a Fit 1 Slim Stretch-Denim pair.  

For the fashion guy

Acne Max Slim Fit Jeans

“I own three pairs of the black Acne Studios Max Slim Fits. On one, I cut the hem fairly high for a super slim leg that looks great with a sharp Chelsea boot and leather jacket. On a second I snipped the hem about 2 inches lower to wear with white tube socks and Vans Old Skools, and for my work-appropriate look, I left them intact, which gives me a straight and narrow leg with some length around the ankle. Total staple jeans.” — Carlos Rivera-Anaya, head of marketing, Mr Porter

For the fashion guy on a budget

Topman Ripped Stretch Skinny Fit Jeans

“I discovered these out of sheer luck when Topman did a pop-up at Nordstrom (obviously the price is also right), but I fell in love with the stretchy material these jeans are made out of. They bend with your body a little more so I’m never feeling restricted or waiting for the material to break in. After a few wears, they loosen up while still retaining their shape.” — Eddie Camacho, art director, Havas

Note: This black pair is sold out, but it’s still available in blue and there’s a similar style in black here.

For dressy on the weekend

A.P.C. Washed Petit New Standard

“So usually when you think A.P.C., you think of denim nerds in their selvedge, but for after-hours I prefer the washed denim. The fabric is relaxed and soft for the weekends. They fit better and better over time, and you can even sell the jeans back to the store after a few years! I don’t quite know why you’d want to though. I still wear my first pair.” — Ian Klein, senior director, Corigin Real Estate

For American-made but Japanese-feeling

The Jean Shop Rocker

“When you want a great American-made jean (actually, especially if that matters to you), try Eric Goldstein’s Jean Shop jeans. One of my go-to styles is the slim-fit jeans for the Japanese selvedge detail and stitching. If you want a cooler distressed version, I’d opt for the Jim in rinsed jet black, and if you are in New York and get a chance, I’d really go to the store to get the in-person shopping experience.” — Brian Coats, stylist

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What Are the Best Jeans for Men?