I will admit that it took me more than 30 years as a man with two legs to find the perfect pair of jeans. They were Acne Studio’s Town, praised on the Strategist before, offering an ideal, slightly stretchy shape that was looser in the quads and gradually tighter down to the ankle. Then, as such things always seem to go, Acne discontinued them (though you can still find them elsewhere). In their place, the Swedish fashion collective introduced a range of denim called Blå Konst — “blue art” in Swedish — that streamlined fits and washes for men and women: three cuts for each gender, in a cascade of six colors.
Good in theory, but this “news” bummed me out. The new program didn’t seem suited for my weird guy legs, which are thicker in the thighs and skinnier in the calves. (I can blame my mom’s side for these stubby appendages — we all have them, and none of us can ever find good pants — but I suppose you’d get a more muscular version of the same shape if you did lots of CrossFit.) When I tried on the new Acne jeans, the slim-fit ones (North) were predictably too skinny. The loose-fit ones (Land) were fashion-y, though a bit absurd, as if I were going to a Seinfeld costume party. But, to my great surprise, what they call the regular fit (River) ended up being perfection.
A slight update of the Town, Acne’s River jeans are a paragon of that Zeitgeist-y tapered style that’s loose and slightly baggy above the knee, before narrowing to a not-too-tight foot opening. (I measured, and they’re about a half-inch roomier throughout than the Town, which is just right.) They’re sewn in Italy from Japanese denim, with five pockets and subtle rivets, and nothing telltale about them beyond their fit. Their silhouette would look awesome — and effortless and chill and all those other aesthetics that good denim conveys — on fat and skinny legs alike. They even look flattering in that unforgiving shade of just-shy-of-white light blue.
Unlike most other “premium denim” (remember that phrase?), there’s also no need to get the Rivers hemmed. Though the jeans are available in two lengths — 32 and 34 inches — both are technically cropped two inches. So unless you’re very tall, they’ll graze the top of your sneaks or land just a bit higher. (I’m five-foot-nine.) You could get them cropped even shorter in the event you wanted to look more like the denim models on the brand’s website. But I’m not trying to make my legs look that cool; I’m just happy to have finally arrived at regular.
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