All Types of Men’s Jeans Explained: Every Jeans Fit and Style
With so many different types of jeans available, it can be hard to know which ones to buy.
Below, we’ll explore the different types of men’s jeans and all the different terms used to describe them. We’ll cover everything from straight fit to slim fit, high rise to low rise, and dark wash to acid wash.
Let’s dig in!
Note: This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click a link and purchase something, I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.
Types of Jeans Cuts
The cut of jeans refers to how the shape of the jeans’ legs are cut.
Straight Leg Jeans
Straight leg jeans (a.k.a. straight fit jeans) have legs that are cut straight down from hip to ankle, so that the width of the leg remains the same from top to bottom.
Straight leg jeans come in slim, regular or relaxed fits, but if a pair is labeled with straight fit, they are typically somewhere in the middle.
Tapered Leg Jeans
Tapered jeans (a.k.a. Tapered fit jeans) are cut so that each leg tapers down from thigh to ankle, meaning they get gradually narrower. They accentuate the natural shape of your leg, providing a comfy fit around the thighs and a slim fit around the shins and ankles.
Tapered leg jeans come in slim, regular, relaxed or athletic fits. If a pair is labeled as tapered fit, they’re usually slim or regular. You’ll have to try them on and see for yourself.
Bootcut jeans are jeans that flare out around the ankles. These jeans were originally designed so the leg openings would fit over boots.
Most men should not wear bootcut jeans (even when they occasionally become “trendy”) as they enhance curvature, which creates a more feminine appearance.
Types of Jeans Fit
The fit of jeans refers to how tight or loose the jeans feel.
Regular Fit Jeans
Regular fit (a.k.a. classic fit) is the traditional standard fit for jeans that sit between slim fit and relaxed fit. This refers particularly to how they feel around the thighs. They are neither too loose, not do they hug the thigh tightly.
Regular fit jeans can have straight, tapered or bootcut legs.
Read more: Straight Fit VS. Regular Fit:What’s the Difference?
Slim Fit Jeans
Slim fit jeans are jeans that feel snug around the thighs and seat. The denim follows the shape of your legs from the waist down to the hem, without being skin-tight. They are flattering for men of average and skinny body types.
Slim fit jeans are usually tapered; otherwise they will be labeled a slim straight jeans.
Skinny jeans sculpt themselves along the contours of your leg. They are skin-tight from the thighs to the calves and the ankle.
These jeans are trendy, but they can limit movement and be hard to put on. You may find yourself pulling at the waistband trying to get the jeans over your thighs. They usually come in stretch denim to alleviate this problem.
Want to know more? Check out: Slim Fit vs. Skinny Jeans: Which Should You Choose?
Athletic Fit Jeans
Athletic fit jeans are designed to follow the natural shape of muscular legs. They provide a snug waist, extra room for big thighs and taper from knee to ankle.
Athletic fit jeans are the best jeans for men with big thighs. They flatter the athletic body-type, but many overweight men also find them comfortable to wear.
Relaxed Fit Jeans
Relaxed fit jeans offer a looser fit than regular fit jeans. They have a lengthy rise and wide leg that makes them feel roomy in the seat, crotch and thighs. They can be looser in the waist as well, but they shouldn’t drop from your hips when you walk around in them.
Buy the right length to avoid fraying the hems.
Loose Fit Jeans
Some manufacturers offer loose fit jeans, which are an even roomier variation than relaxed fit. They are even more spacious in the seat, thigh and crotch, but should fit around the waist.
“Baggy jeans” is a catch-all term for jeans with a looser fit. Relaxed and loose fit jeans are baggy, but people often buy over-sized jeans to achieve this look — i.e. jeans that are a size or two larger than you should be wearing. These will drop from your butt if you walk around in them.
If you like the baggy style, I recommend that you get relaxed or loose fit jeans in a proper waist size instead.
Types of Jeans Rise
The rise of jeans refers to the length between the bottom of the crotch and the waistband of the jeans.
High Rise Jeans
High rise jeans sit at your natural waist — just under your belly button, or sometimes even covering it.
These jeans look flattering on heavier men when worn with an untucked shirt. They’ll give your silhouette a straight line from the waist to the ankle, avoiding the dreaded muffin-top effect.
Mid Rise Jeans
Mid rise jeans sit a little below the natural waist, between the hips and belly-button. This is the standard rise of jeans.
Low Rise Jeans
Low rise jeans sit on your hips, well below the belly button. These jeans give you a more relaxed look.
Drop Crotch Jeans
Drop crotch jeans sit on your hips like low rise jeans, but have a larger rise, giving more room in the crotch and seat. They look like you’re wearing a saggy diaper and I don’t recommend this style for most men.
Types of Denim
Below, we’ll explain a few different types of denim types, washes and dyes.
Raw Denim Jeans
Raw denim is denim in its purest form; it’s unwashed, un-dyed, un-shrunken denim, straight out of the mill. It contains a starch-like substance that hardens it, making the fabric feel stiff until it’s worn in.
The raw denim trend is for you if you want to develop a unique pair of jeans that are personalized according to your lifestyle. A pair of raw jeans is like a blank canvas. It adapts to your body shape over time, becoming a great fit.
If you wear it for a long time (a couple of months) before washing it, the folds and creases you leave in the fabric will fade, creating a unique, personalized look.
Dark Wash Jeans
Dark wash jeans are made of washed denim that has a darker indigo color than regular blue jeans do. They are more shrink and fade resistant than raw denim. They’re more likely to stay dark upon washing them, and they are softer to the touch.
They look great on everybody and are easy to dress up and down. This is why it’s at the top of my list of best jeans colors.
Mid Wash Jeans
Mid wash jeans are made of denim that has had more of the indigo hue washed out of them, giving them a lighter shade of blue. They look more casual than dark wash jeans and thus aren’t as easy to dress up. They are more appropriate for casual outfits.
Light Wash Jeans
Light wash jeans are pale blue due to having most of the indigo washed out of them. They look lighter than mid wash jeans, and are a great style of jeans to wear for casual settings.
Selvedge Denim Jeans
Selvedge denim jeans are made of high quality denim. It’s woven on a shuttle loom, which passes one thread only, horizontally. This prevents the jeans from fraying and makes them stronger and stiffer,
To spot a selvedge denim in the stores, check the insides of the legs. A selvedge denim features a tightly-woven band on the edges of the fabric. This completes the clean fishing look that gives the fabric its name – from “self-edge”.
Acid Washed Jeans
Acid washed denim is created by tumble-drying them with bleach-covered pumice stones, giving them a faux-distressed appearance. This method of fading creates a blotchy contrast in the denim, which many consider to look over-the-top (Myself included.).
They come back in style every now and then, but the smartest thing to do is to avoid this trend. Nobody has ever looked good in them. Frankly, they look like a bottle of bleach fell on them.
Stone Washed Jeans
Stone washed jeans are treated with pumice stones to create a faded, distressed look. This process can also help to soften the fabric and give the jeans a more comfortable feel.
The stone washing process can vary, but it typically results in jeans that are slightly faded, as opposed to acid washed jeans. This gives them a relaxed, lived-in look that can be paired with everything from a T-shirt to a button-down shirt.
Stretch Denim Jeans
Stretch denim jeans are made of denim combined with a small bit of elastic fiber that allows you to move freely and comfortably. Not to be confused with jeggings, the jeans typically only include 2-3% of stretchy fabric, which is enough to greatly increase your leg mobility while wearing the jeans.
Colored jeans are dyed to have a different color than blue. This can be done with natural dyes or synthetic dyes. These jeans are available in a wide range of colors, from brown to bright red.
Grey jeans are jeans dyed grey. They are a great versatile style of jeans for men. They can be dressed up with a blazer and dress shoes for a smart casual look, or they can be worn with a t-shirt and sneakers for a more casual look.
What makes grey jeans so versatile is their neutrality, which allows you to wear them with any other color. Bright reds, lemon yellow, mint green, everything goes with grey.
Black jeans are a timeless style of jeans that just looks cool. There’s a reason they are so well-loved by rockstars.
They are versatile and will go with just about anything. That’s why you can’t go wrong with a pair of these. Black jeans are an easy way to give yourself some edge, but they look equally good with a smart jacket and shirt.
Types of Jeans Embellishments
Some jeans are artificially embellished to achieve a certain look. These will be explained below:
Faded jeans have a worn-in look that they typically acquire through wearing them a lot. Now though, jeans manufacturers design pre-faded jeans that artificially emulates that desired worn-in effect that makes jeans look so good.
Distressed jeans are a style of denim characterized by intentional rips, fraying, and other signs of wear and tear. The goal is to create a relaxed, stylish look that is perfect for pairing with casual tops and sneakers. They are the rock-star’s jeans of choice, due to their edgy nature.
Ripped jeans are intentionally torn and slashed to create holes in them. These can range from small rips to great holes exposing parts of the leg.
So, Which Types of Jeans Are Best?
Now that you understand all the differences between fits, cuts and washes of jeans, which should you wear?
It all depends on your body type. You can always use my checklist for how jeans should fit to make sure the jeans are right for you.
Generally, the jeans that fit most men best are slim fit or regular fit jeans with either a straight or tapered cut. The best jeans fit for men with big thighs is athletic fit. The best jeans for skinny men are slim fit or skinny jeans, while the best jeans for short men depends more on how long inseam is.
If you’re not sure what type of jeans to buy, consider your body type and experiment with different fits and washes until you find the perfect pair for you.
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