Denim Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Jeans

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Navigating the extensive world of denim can be exhausting. Among the sea of different cuts, washes and finishes there will be plenty that won't suit your body shape or your personal style, but at the same time there will be plenty that have the ability of transforming your look - some of which you might not have even thought of yet. Of course, a pair of white jeans won't be for everyone, much like black skinny jeans aren't necessarily the right option for a more stockier guy, but once you find that right pair it's a damn good feeling.

So to help you reach a sense of denim nirvana, allow us to run through the key colours and washes and how to go about wearing them.

Black

At some point in your life you'll have owned a pair of trusty black skinny jeans, but whether you pulled them off well is another question altogether. By their very nature black jeans should be slimmer than say a pair of raw indigo denim jeans, but at the same time they shouldn't be skin tight - especially if you're someone who wouldn't dream of skipping leg day.

How to Wear It:

Black skinnies go with pretty much anything, regardless if you're dressing them up or down. Try teaming them with either a pair of white premium leather sneakers, a white Oxford button down shirt and a fine grey knit or alternatively, throw on a pair of black and white Vans Sk8-His or Chucks with a vintage band T-shirt and an open red and black plaid shirt to channel your inner late-teen grunge side.

Levi's 511 Slim Fit Jeans in Moonshine
Levi's 511 Slim Fit Jeans in Moonshine

White

Let's face it, white denim isn't for everyone; not only is it pretty tough to pull off, but there's only a short period of the year when you can get away with wearing it and not standing out like a sore thumb. Having said that, white jeans aren't solely limited to the summer months, but then you run the risk of getting caught out in an impromptu downpour when sporting them during the autumn. But if you're feeling brave then why not give pair of white jeans a go. You might get laughed at initially, but once everyone gets over them you'll be looking sharp. Just make sure they're cut slim and finish on or just above the ankle.

How to Wear It:

When it comes to which top halves to team with your bright white jeans you won't go far wrong by keeping things classic. Think navy and white Breton stripe T-shirts, navy pique polo shirts and pale blue Oxford shirts. As for the footwear try a pair of navy canvas slip-ons or some light brown leather derbies sans socks.

Levi's 501 Customised & Tapered White Light Jeans
Levi's 501 Customised & Tapered Jeans in White Light

Raw Indigo

On top of fine navy knitwear and grey marl sweatshirts, a pair of slim fitting raw indigo denim jeans are a must-have in any guy's wardrobe. Not only will they provide you with a plethora of different outfit options, both smart and casual, but if you invest in a good quality, hard-wearing pair (go for selvedge if possible) then they'll last you for ages, while looking better and better the more you wear them.

How to Wear It:

Due to their versatility you can get away with wearing raw indigo denim jeans with most things. Just make sure you cuff them once or twice to show off your selvedge stitching and to avoid denim bleeds on your footwear. We suggest teaming them with some quality brown leather brogue boots, like the ones shown here, plus a chunky bit of charcoal grey or burgundy knitwear layered over a pale blue chambray shirt.

Nudie Jeans Original Dry Selvage Thin Finn
Nudie Jeans Original Dry Selvage Thin Finn

Light Stonewash

Stonewash denim gets a lot of stick, maybe it's due to how the lesser sartorially-inclined folk have been known to sport it in the past - ill-fitting, flared bottoms, paired with horrendous footwear, etc. - but if you get a slim fitting pair and team them with the right kind of components they're an indispensable option during the warmer weather when raw indigo denim would inevitably leave you with rather sweaty legs.

How to Wear It:

By it's very nature, light stonewash denim is more at home with dressed-down ensembles rather than smart, so try teaming it with grey marl sweats, plaid shirts and oversized knitwear on top and old skool sneaker silhouettes on the feet.

G Star Jeans 3301 Slim Fit Medium Aged
G Star Jeans 3301 Slim Fit Medium Aged

Heavy Stonewash

Like I said already, stonewash denim is one of those things that allows plenty of room for error, but if it fits properly - slim preferably - then having it in your wardrobe will help you to mix it up once in a while from your usual go-to black or raw indigo options.

How to Wear It:

As with the light stonewash denim, it's advisable to save the heavy stonewash styles for dressed-down occasions when you can get away with wearing trainers or boat shoes and not look out of place. Keep things simple and classic on top with either a failsafe fitted white crew neck tee or a crisp white Oxford shirt, plus a fine navy knit if there's a nip in the air.

Edwin ED80 Slim Tapered Jeans in Dark Blue
Edwin ED80 Slim Tapered Jeans in Dark Blue

 

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