Look, we don’t know how to tell you this. This isn’t easy for us, and we know you don’t want to hear it, but here goes: you’ve been buying jeans wrong.
Ok. Whew. We feel better now.
You own at least one or two pairs of jeans. We all do. But how much thought did you put into buying those jeans? Did you weigh all your options, or did you try these jeans on, say “good enough,” and head to the cash register?
If you’re guilty of the former, know that you’re not alone. Buying jeans can be tedious, expensive, and overwhelming. It’s tempting to just get it over with. But that will leave you with a less-than-ideal pair of jeans, which will lead to you having to buy jeans again sooner rather than later. To help you out, here’s a step-by-step guide to buying the perfect pair of jeans for you.
- Assess your lifestyle. Under what circumstances will you be wearing these jeans? If you work in an office, you don’t need jeans that can protect you from the elements and withstand a bear attack. If, however, you’re a construction worker or a farmhand, you’ll need a pair of jeans that can stand up to heavy-duty physical labor. (In that case, Wranglers are probably your best option.)
- Consider your body shape. Not your ideal body shape, but your real shape. If you’re on the shorter side, go with a tapered leg. If you’re tall, you’ll probably want a pair of bootcut jeans. If you’re a little larger around the middle, make sure you buy jeans with a mid-rise waist.
- Determine your budget. Certain brands of jeans can get outlandishly expensive, and there’s no sense in spending time trying on $400 jeans when you know you don’t want to spend $400 on jeans. Do some research ahead of time to find out what brands are a) in your price range and b) of good quality. A couple tips: you can never go wrong with Levi’s, and AskMen has a handy list of the best men’s jeans for $50 or less.
- Look for darker washes. Darker washes have been handled less, and their color will last longer than lighter or pre-faded jeans. Plus, a darker wash is more versatile–you can wear these jeans to work every day, but you can also dress them up with a collared shirt and tie. Lighter washes, on the other hand, are strictly for casual settings.
- Try them on. This sounds obvious, but it’s a crucial step that some people skip, believe it or not. Don’t assume that because you own other pants with a size 30 waist, you’ll wear the same size in another brand. Try them on to make sure you like the way these jeans fit. Also, remember that the fit shouldn’t feel perfect: it should actually feel just a little bit snug. Matt Baldwin, founder of Baldwin Denim, says that people make this mistake all too often. Keep in mind that your jeans will inevitably stretch out when you wear them the first few times, so they should feel a little tight when you first buy them!
- Make them last. This final step is for after you buy your jeans, but it’s just as important as the other steps. Make your jeans last by washing them sparingly and treating them gently and lovingly, like you would a pet.
Now, go forth and find the perfect pair of jeans. You have no excuse not to!