Despite their origins as workwear, jeans are foundational to modern fashion and style. Nowadays you can find a lot of affordable pieces in your local stores but keep in mind one thing. The pairs included in this post are timeless pieces, not the actual trendy ones. We recommend you invest in a couple of quality jeans, rather than a bunch of cheap ones that will look bad after a couple of washes. If you buy a quality pair of jeans, they will look and feel the same, even years after the purchase.
The History of Denim Jeans
First, if we want to define the essential pairs of denim jeans, we need to understand their purpose and history. Jeans are pants made from denim or dungaree cloth. Denim jeans were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873. Jeans are named after the city of Genoa in Italy. A place where cotton corduroy, called either jean or jeane, was manufactured. Levi Strauss came from Germany to New York in 1851 to join his older brother, who had a dry goods store.
In 1853 he heard about Gold Rush in the West, so he moved to San Francisco to establish the Western Branch of the family dry goods business. There he sold, among other things, cotton cloth. One of his customers was Jacob W. Davis, a tailor from Reno, Nevada. Davis made functional items such as tents, horse blankets, and wagon covers.
One day, his customer ordered a pair of sturdy pants that could withstand hard work. He made them from denim that he bought from Levi Strauss & Co and made them stronger by placing copper rivets at the places pants rip the most: pockets and flies. When he wanted to patent them, he wrote to Levi Strauss, and they became partners. They opened a larger factory, and that is how jeans were born.
If you wore black jeans every day for a whole week and only alternated the tops, no one would say a word about it because it’s so basic and versatile. Black jeans go with everything you wear. Strap on your favorite watch and pair it with a dress shirt, or put on some casual accessories and wear it with a white t-shirt.
One thing is certain. You can’t go wrong with black jeans. If you are planning to purchase your first pair, I suggest you buy a bit more expensive one and try to wash them as little as possible at the recommended temperature. Black jeans can easily lose their signature dark color, even high quality ones. I am a huge fan of black jeans. I’ve been wearing them since I was fourteen years old and had the opportunity to experiment with cheap and high-quality ones. No matter how expensive your jeans are if you wash them too many times or at not the recommended settings, they will lose their color.
Light Washed Jeans
Light washed jeans are for more casual looks. It matches best with light colors such as white or light-gray but can look good with black. It’s the perfect choice for the summer weather because it absorbs the sun more than your regular dark ones.
If you want to buy a light-washed pair that will last a long time, try to avoid the distressed ones because, after some years, they will distress way too much. Also, a distressed pair is not as versatile or formal as a classic.
Classic Dark Blue Jeans
It’s the second most versatile option, in my opinion. If I had to pick one pair of jeans for the office, it would be dark blue jeans. Paired with a white shirt, it’s the perfect option for workdays when you want to have casual attire. You can easily dress it up or dress it down. Because of the dark wash on this pair of jeans, it looks great on everybody. Whether you are a slim guy or have a bigger build, it can hide skinny or thicker legs better than other light-colored pairs.
Gray jeans are another versatile option – you can dress them up and down. They look great with white polo or shirt. I recommend this choice for engineers or people working in a business casual environment.
Finally, the last one is personal preference. While white jeans can seem extravagant for some, they could be an excellent choice for others for summer days at the beach or in the club. As I mentioned earlier, light-colored clothes absorb the sun the best – this is especially true for a white pair.
How Should Jeans Fit?
Now that it’s clear what kind of jeans to buy, you need to know the second most important rule – how a pair of jeans should fit. It’s not rocket science, although there are some rules which will help you.
If you are a larger person, try to avoid skinny jeans because they will make you look bigger than you actually are. Try slim or regular cut. If you are a skinnier person, try a skinny pair. If you see super-skinny, leave it there or bring that thing to the girl section of the store. I don’t know why it exists at all for men.
The most important thing is to have a pair that fit you without the need for a belt. Keep in mind, belts are accessories, if you use a belt to keep your pants up, it will look baggy on you, and you will not feel comfortable wearing it.
Are Distressed Jeans in Style?
At last, what about distressed and ripped jeans? If you are a young guy currently in school with a casual style, distressed jeans are a great option for you. However, if you have a serious job in an office, you need to forget about distressed jeans as soon as possible because it is unprofessional. The office requires a clean and organized closet with timeless pieces.
Keep on reading: The Complete Guide on How to Dress Like a Gentleman