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.
How to: Find Your Fit
Women's magazines talk a lot about "dressing for your body type," but there's a reason for that—it works. And it works for guys as well. Knowing your build and being honest about your shape is crucial to finding clothes that fit well. Don't get wrapped up in the number on the tag—as any well adjusted woman will tell you, your self worth is not connected to the size on the tag. Just try on a few pairs until you pull on the one that suits your taste. Because whether you prefer your jeans a little loose or nice and tight, the right style or fit depends on what you're working with underneath.
Tall and/or Thin
Jeans in a range of colors—from light grays to dark, inky blues—trimmer men can pull off most shades. Fits to keep an eye out for are straight leg with a low-rise, along with skinny and slim fits.
Relaxed or Loose fits. While the jeans may feel "comfortable and roomy," it gives you the look of a kid who doesn't properly know how to read labels.
Average and/or Athletic
Straight leg styles best show off your proportions. A lower rise will help lengthen out the look of your legs and torso. For guys with a smaller waist, look for "athletic fits" that will keep the seat from sagging.
Tapered jeans, longer rises and cuffing your denim—all make you look slightly shorter, so beware.
Short and/or Stocky
Dark washes (which have a slight slimming effect) in straight fits. Some relaxed fits offer a bit more room in the seat or thighs.
Skinny, boot cut or some slimmer straight leg fits. And more importantly, don't try to hide any excess weight by wearing oversized, baggy jeans—they only make you look heavier and sloppy.
A Note on Sizing
Not all 32X34's were created equally. Often brands can vary in actual measurements listed up to an entire inch.
A Note on Shrinkage
Yes, jeans tend to shrink slightly in the wash. But they'll also stretch out with each wear as well. On first try-on, they should be snug, but you should be able to get your finger in between your waistband and your boxers. Don't worry, they'll soon feel much more accommodating.