Having good jeans is not hereditary or otherwise beyond your control. But it does take know-how and patience. The wrong jeans can send the wrong message entirely. So this is one you want to get right. Read on for the definitive Rath & Co. guide to shopping for denim.
Just about everyone looks good in a pair of inky blue, straight-leg jeans. This is the first basic pair that I recommend everyone should have. It’s timeless.
What does the perfect pair of jeans look like? Well, that depends on your physical proportions.
Note: Aside from cuts, there’s a huge variety of pocket styles among different types of denim. This is an important factor because you want to make sure that the rear pockets are not too long for your seat. For example, I’ve found that with clients 5’ 8” and under, the pockets on the 7 Standard Classic jeans are too long and end up making the client look misproportioned.
Once you’ve got the dressier dark blue rinse, you’ll want to get a more casual rinse that’s a little lighter in color (see above). These are for weekend afternoons and low-key trips to your favorite watering hole.
Another easy way to add versatility to your denim wardrobe is to introduce colors aside from blue. I’m a big fan of grey, white, off-white (the latter two especially good for warm weather; see above) and other interesting shades like red. If this appeals to you, check out Rag & Bone for an array of unique washes which change each season. Last Fall, I styled a client in a pair of burgundy AG’s and orange suede Louis Vuitton driving loafers. It was a very cool look! Note that if you go with white (a bold, confident choice), make sure you keep them spotless.
Side note: if you like the look of cuffed jeans (see “Washes and Colors” above), you can skip the hemming and roll 1.5″ cuffs.
Not to be dramatic, but please don’t be caught dead in any of the following jean-related offenses: heavily contrasting stitching, (No), obnoxiously-patterned pockets (Double No), very pronounced whiskering or distressing (feels artificial and is not slimming), boot cuts (save it for the cowboys), or black jeans (this worked for the “November Rain” video but little else).
Wash your jeans inside out to maintain the color.
In general, you get what you pay for with jeans – up to a certain point. A $50 pair of jeans from Uniqlo is a good option if you’re watching your budget, but know that they won’t last as long as a pair of Citizens, for example, that cost $175. Do the math: in some instances, it makes more sense to invest in quality up front rather than have to replace inexpensive jeans every year. All of that said, I have a client who had been talked into buying several pairs of $1K plus Louis Vuitton denim by an overzealous salesperson before he started shopping with me. Perhaps you cannot put a price on that which makes your butt look good, but really, it’s not necessary to spend more than $250-$275 to get a solid pair of jeans. Once I started shopping for that client, I found him a whole slew of denim that cost less than ¼ of what he had spent previously – and he liked them better than the super-pricey ones.
Ever wonder if you’re cool enough to rock the jean-on-jean look? Well, you are! You just need to know how to do it. The key to wearing jeans on bottom with jeans on top is to make sure each item is a distinctly different wash from the other. A fail-safe way to do this is to combine a light rinse denim top with a dark, selvedge jean. A light rinse denim top also looks clean and crispy with white jeans.
I know all of this may sound complicated, but trust me, putting a little effort into your jean shopping will go a long way. If you’d like tailored help with achieving denim excellence, contact me.
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