Few items of a man's wardrobe are as essential as a pair of jeans. This series offers up style tips and history lessons about America's greatest contribution to the world of fashion.
The number of jeans sold each year ... in the United States alone.
The Essential Jean Lineup
Denim comes in a rainbow of colors and washes. Here are the four essential styles that every man should consider. Presented in order of importance ...
Dark & Classic
Can a man survive with only one pair of jeans? Of course. And if you only have one pair, let them be raw, crisp and inky in color. With a straight cut, these classic jeans pair just as well with your favorite T-shirt and retro sneakers as they do with a blazer and tie.
You can buy 'em washed and pre-distressed, but of course, the best broken-in jeans are the ones that you purchased dark (see above) and wore and washed until you realized you needed another raw pair. Soft as a pair of sweatpants, they can still be dressed up with an oxford cloth button down and a knit tie. And no jeans look better with a tweed jacket.
Black jeans can be tricky to pull off, but a pair of grey jeans has become something of a contemporary classic in the last few years. A trim pair with a slightly relaxed fit can stand in for a pair of flannel trousers—looking just as sharp with a fresh white shirt and a navy blazer or a chunky fisherman's sweater.
White jeans aren't for every guy—they take a bit of confidence. And stocky or shorter guys can have a harder time pulling them off. But when they work, they work well—offering up a clean, crisp look that pairs particularly well with dark, solid sweaters, khaki blazers and desert boots. They may be hard to find this time of year, but don't be afraid of a little winter white. "I wear them year round, though I do try to avoid the rainy days," says designer Victor Glemaud.