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If ever there were a menswear encyclopedia of must-have styles for the modern man, there’s no doubt that it would include denim – that holds true year after year, season after season. Blue jeans are the sort of everyday piece that can be dressed up (with an Oxford shirt and a navy cotton blazer) or dressed down (with a timeless T-shirt), for starters. Plus, they’ve got real-life workwear roots – trusted by everyone from construction workers to old-time prospectors and miners. And the great thing is, they come in all kinds of colors, fabrics, and fits to suit every style and body type. For our money’s worth, these are the best jeans for men.

What Makes a Great Jean?

When looking for some of the best jeans for men, consider three crucial bullet points: Fit, fabric and design. In terms of fabric, most jeans today are still made with 100 percent cotton, often in varying weights measured in ounces. Yet, the best men’s jeans nowadays also feature stretch for ease of movement, so they feel less stiff and move with you. We think the best jeans land somewhere in the middle, with a hint of stretch and a lot of high-quality cotton denim. Look for design details like durable rivets to give the jean a classic five-pocket design. We also appreciate small touches like contrast stitching and perhaps even a leather logo patch near the back belt loops. Color-wise, the best jeans come in everything from crisp dark blue to edgy black and even modern shades like olive or burgundy.

How to Choose the right Jean?

Finding the right pair of jeans for your wardrobe comes down to considering how you like your jeans to fit and how you’re going to wear them. Know your waist size when shopping for jeans, and consider how you’ll style them (the best jeans should end at the top of your boots, sneakers or dress shoes without dragging on the ground or riding up too high on your ankle).. Some blue jeans for men are made from rigid, durable selvage fabric, which refers to the “self-edge” stitching process that gives the jean a red-white-blue fabric detail at the heel cuff – these jeans are more expensive, less common and typically much heavier in weight.  When in doubt, look for classic jeans in cotton or stretch cotton, as opposed to heavier, pricier selvage jeans.   The right jeans also come in a wide range of sizes, and the fit is also crucial. Look for brands that offer jeans in fits like Straight, Slim or Slim-Straight. There are also Relaxed-Fit jeans to suit larger body types, but we say that most guys are going to look positively stylish in Slim-Straight jeans – they’re neither too baggy nor skintight.

Our Favorites

Mugsy Light Wash Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Piers Coolmax Jeans

  • Light Wash
  • Stretch Material
  • Laidback Style
Mugsy Jeans Fulton Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Fultons Jeans

  • Original Style
  • Dark Wash
  • Versatile
Mugsy Jeans Beans Casual Jeans

Mugsy Beans Casual Jeans

  • Casual Fit
  • Rich Color
  • Distinctive Style

Best Light Wash Jeans

Mugsy Light Wash Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Piers Coolmax Jeans

Light wash jeans are an ideal casual style move for the well-dressed guy. Light wash jeans are more laidback than dark blue denim, making them a wise choice for the breezier days of spring and summer in particular. And Mugsy Jeans knows how to make a pair the right way. They craft jeans with a ton of stretch and in a wide range of sizes, for starters. And there also plenty of light wash options, each with different colors and fading techniques: Some give off a stone-washed vibe for a retro ‘80s feel, while others are lived-in enough to look live you’ve had your pairs for years, right out of the box.

AG Tellis Light Wash Jean

AG Jeans Tellis Modern Slim Jeans

Leave it to the denim masters at AG Jeans to deliver some of the best light wash jeans for men. It’s so easy to appreciate light wash jeans, because companies like AG put a ton of thought and character into each wash. Each pair is made with ultra-premium cotton that’s been treated and washed for a distinctive look. That means these jeans are designer-quality, with a price tag to match, but there’s nothing like finding a custom-fit pair of denim from AG Jeans. They even offer denim with a range of distressing and subtle rips for an edgy look.

J.Crew Light Wash Jeans

J. Crew 484 Stretch Jeans

J. Crew is a staple in the closets of modern guys for a reason: The brand covers a wide range of categories made for every day of the week, from office-ready suiting to date night shirts, classic chinos and of course, some of the best jeans for men. J. Crew makes jeans in a more relaxed Classic fit as well as its tailored, fan-favorite 484 fit. And there are plentiful options to suit your preference in terms of a light wash, from ultra-light jeans in a super-faded seven-year wash to a middle-of-the-road three-year wash. Add a J. Crew pocket tee, and your next casual #OOTD is a lock.

Abercrombie & Fitch Light Wash Jean

Abercrombie Athletic Fit Straight Jeans in Light Wash

Give Abercrombie a second chance, and rethink what you thought you knew about the iconic brand. While the company made swimwear and graphic tees a major thing in decades past, Abercrombie is now grown up and reinvented, with a nod to its classic, rugged roots. That includes timeless denim in a range of helpful cuts, like an Athletic-Fit straight-leg pair. The real winning detail of its light wash jeans are the expertly faded washes, which look precisely like you’ve been wearing your own pair for years. And best of all is the fact that they retail for well under $100.

Best Dark Wash Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Fulton Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Fultons Jeans

Head back over to Mugsy to outfit yourself with some of the best dark wash jeans. Dark wash jeans were arguably the original style of blue jeans, made famous by guys like Marlon Brando and James Dean, and that’s just one of the many reasons why every guy needs a pair in his wardrobe. For modern times, Mugsy has updated the jean with a ton of ultra-comfortable stretch – these don’t feel like any other pair of jeans on the market, and that’s a great thing. They also offer deep dark blue indigo jeans, as well as dark wash denim with the slightest hint of authentic fading.

New Republic Rollins Jeans

New Republic Rollins Jeans

In addition to looking for the right fabric, fit and design, there’s another factor to consider when finding the best men’s denim: Price, of course. The good news is, Five at New Republic makes it easier than ever to score a standout deal on a quality pair of dark blue jeans. The details are also on point here, including contrast stitching, a back leather logo patch and durable rivets, They’re also made with stretch cotton, and we can guarantee you’ll love the rich blue color, too.

Bananna Republic Dark Wash Jeans

Banana Republic Slime Luxe Traveler Jeans

Banana Republic once helped guys dress for the office, with plenty of chinos and dress shirts, but the brand has pivoted in recent years to help guys look great just about anywhere. Its Traveler Jeans are a luxurious take on the blue jeans, with an agreeable price tag that’s not eye-popping, and they’ll certainly make it worth your while, too. Here, that means using fits like Slim and Tapered for a clean look, along with an extra-fine weave for added softness. It’s the richly crafted dark blue finish that makes this pair a set of the best men’s jeans to wear at the office or on the road, though – just as the brand intended.

Bonobos Dark Wash Jeans

Bonobos Premium Four-Way Stretch Jeans

What do you get when a company known for making some of the most expertly fitting chinos on the market sets its sights on making a better pair of blue jeans? You get some results that should work well – and in style – just about every day of the week. That’s because these jeans boast a dark, deep blue color – making them either dressy or rugged – plus a helpful blend of 92 percent cotton and 8 percent stretch. Plus, you can select from the famed New York brand’s lineup of five fit options (like Tailored or Athletic), and tons of waist sizes.

Best Skinny Jeans

Topman Stretch Skinny Jeans

Topman Stretch Skinny Jeans

For as many different fit and fabric options as you’re apt to find these days in the denim world, there are still brands making razor-sharp skinny jeans. Admittedly, not every guy looks good in skinny jeans and the bigger guys among us might find them downright uncomfortable. But if you’re tall and lean, or just prefer a rock star-skinny look and have a slender build, then Topman’s Stretch Skinny Jeans could be a wise choice. They come in sleek black for that edgy look the best skinny jeans can provide.

Levis Skinny Jeans

Levi’s 510 Skinny Fit Men’s Jeans

No list of the best jeans for men is complete without Levi’s, least of all a guide to the best men’s skinny jeans. Levi’s uses numbered fits like 510 and 511 to make it easy for guys to remember the fit they dig the most, and while options like the 513 or 514 might work for guys with bigger thighs, the 510 is a true classic in the world of skinny jeans. These sit at the waist and are skinny from hip to ankle, with a touch of 1 percent stretch for more comfort. They also come in a number of color options for every guy’s wardrobe needs, and the under-$70 price tag is highly agreeable. 

Everlane Skinny Jeans

Everlane Skinny Four-Way Stretch Organic Jeans

Everlane was founded with a simple idea: Make better essentials at better prices, and do it simply and transparently at responsible factories. That tends to make for great basics for the go-getting man of today, from T-shirts to shirt jackets to these well-made skinny jeans. The use of organic cotton gives them a sustainable feel, while four-way stretch fabric delivers comfort. They’re also available in colors like Washed Black and timeless Dark Indigo, so finding your favorite shade is easier than ever. 

Rag _ Bone Fit 1 Fordham Jeans

Rag & Bone Skinny Fit Fordham Jeans

Rag & Bone filters the classics of yesteryear (like Mick Jagger’s preference for skinny black jeans) with the styles of today top of mind, resulting in seriously cool pieces like the Fordham Jeans in the company’s “Fit 1” designation. That means they feature a tapered finish that’s skinny from hip to thigh, but it’s the wash that sets them apart from the pack. They’re made with a black overdyed wash that will break in the more you wear them, and the denim itself also features the brand’s Authentic Stretch technology. 

Best Athletic Fit Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Beans Casual Jeans

Mugsy Beans Casual Jeans

Casual certainly doesn’t have to mean sloppy when it comes to these jeans from famed stretch denim makers Mugsy. This brand is simply too good to pass up when it comes to multiple inclusions our list of the best jeans for men. In fact, if you’ve tried the brand, you’re certainly aware of it. The rich medium grey color is a distinctive style choice, but it’s the more relaxed, roomier fit that makes them a great pair of jeans for guys with an athletic build. 

Performance Denim Slim fit jeans by DU:ER

DUER Athletic Straight Performance Jeans

Finding a pair of athletic fit jeans for men can be tricky enough as it is, but DUER just ended your search a bit early (aside from our other picks on this list). DUER puts tons of bells and whistles into its rugged-yet-stylish performance gear, and here, that means using stretchy tech fabric you can move around in. They’ve also included a gusseted crotch (an extra fabric addition allowing for more flexibility). The straight-fit cut works for guys with bigger legs, while COOLMAX fibers are woven into the fabric to keep you cool on the go. 

Revtown Automatic Faded Indigo Jeans

Revtown Automatic Faded Indigo Jeans

Revtown was founded almost exclusively on making a better-fitting pair of jeans for guys with a bigger build and bigger legs, and if its many fans are any indication, they’ve certainly succeeded. Its Automatic pair was engineered with four-way athletic stretch, and then Revtown took that same technology and applied it to a ton of colors and sizes. The Faded Indigo pair is perfectly casual and rugged, with a useful fit designed with the athletic guy in mind. It’s also hard to top the sub-$100 price tag. 

Flint and Tinder Huckberry Jeans

Flint and Tinder All-American Stretch Denim

There’s always been plenty to love about rugged gear from Huckberry, especially the company’s in-house Flint and Tinder line. Flint and  Tinder focuses on aptly named all-American classics, like this expertly faded pair of blue jeans. They only get better from there, as this Straight is flattering on larger guys, and yet designed with optimal mobility. Pair them up with a Huckberry tee and trucker jacket, then head to your favorite dive bar for a cold beer. 

Best Stretch Fit Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Studio Blues

Mugsy Jeans Studio Blues Jeans

If there’s a brand that makes a better pair of stretch jeans than Mugsy Jeans, we’ve yet to find ‘em. Sure, competition is fierce as guys look to get more comfort out of their jeans, but if you want denim that moves as well as sweatpants (and feels just as comfortable), look no further. These feature classic five-pocket denim construction in a deep blue color, but it’s the patented Mugsy stretch denim fabric that puts them a cut above the rest. You’ll wear these all day without feeling uncomfortable in the slightest. 

Bonobos Extra Stretch Travel Jeans

Bonobos Extra Stretch Travel Jeans

Bonobos already has the fit of your new favorite pair of denim dialed in, with a range of options to choose from, but what about the fabric? It should come as no surprise that Bonobos also makes some of the best stretch jeans, and these Extra Stretch Travel Jeans certainly live up to their name. They’ve got durable denim design details, but they’re crafted with even more stretch than a standard pair. Plus, they come in cool, crisp and dressy colorways – so dressy and comfortable, in fact, that you can wear ‘em on the plane and then right out to dinner without missing a beat. 

Todd Snyder Slim-Fit Stretch Jeans

Todd Snyder Slim Fit Stretch Jeans

Premium construction and quality is always the name of the game at Todd Snyder, and the menswear designer has the award-winning pedigree to prove it. While he’s well-known for stylish tailored suits and dress shirts, Snyder’s brand also does rugged classics well – like this near-perfect pair of faded stretch jeans. They’re made with nearly 90 percent cotton, but pack in a crucial amount of stretch fabric. This pair of stylish jeans also features a slim cut, but the designer makes other Relaxed and Straight Leg options, too. 

Mott and Bow Straight Staple Jeans

Mott and Bow Straight Staple Jeans

On the surface, these jeans might look like a typical pair of classic blue denim (which is an essential in every man’s wardrobe). And that’s a great thing, but when you dive into any Mott and Bow pair of jeans, you’re getting even more stretch than you thought possible. They’re made with Dynamic Stretch fabric featuring a 32 percent stretch factor, and the medium-weight, 11.5oz. Denim fabric should also prove lightweight and comfortable to move around in. They also feature slight distressing, but are crisp enough to dress up in business casual situations. 

Best Boot Cut Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Bootcut Jeans

Mugsy Jeans Grands Bootcut Jeans

Just when you thought Mugsy couldn’t possibly make any more pairs of the best jeans for men, they come through with a bootcut option in a tasteful design. They feature a wider fit at the ankle and the same famous Mugsy denim fabric you know and love. The vintage light wash is a neat design touch as well, but the amount of stretch in the fabric itself makes these an incredibly easy pair of jeans to wear from sunrise  to a night out at the honky-tonk. 

The Perfect Jean Bootcut Fit Jeans

The Perfect Jean Admiral Bootcut Fit Jeans

The Perfect Jean has a lot to back up right off the bat with its name, but they’ve dialed in the fit and fabric enough to live up to that billing. Its bootcut fit jeans in a rich, faded indigo wash feature a slight flair at the bottom to fit over rugged work boots or Cowboy boots. Plus, they feature more room through the thigh and are close in style to the company’s “Slim Thick” fit. For good measure, there are plenty of size options for guys of every body type. 

Mavi Jeans Josh Bootcut Jeans

Mavi Jeans Josh Bootcut Jeans

No matter what style of denim you might be searching for, there’s a great chance that Mavi makes it. The company was founded with a distinct focus on denim, and that’s extended into denim shirts and jackets – but let’s talk about the Josh Bootcut Jeans. The medium-weight textured denim features a solid amount of stretch, and what the brand calls a versatile medium-dark wash. Yet, the bootcut build should be enough to win you over if you prefer your denim cut with room to wear comfortably over durable Western boots. 

Wrangler Premium Bootcut Jeans

Wrangler Retro Premium Jean in Slim Bootcut

It’s possible to get the best of both worlds: A jean made from rugged, classic material and a jean designed to fit comfortably over boots. That’s a Wrangler specialty after all, and they’ve nailed the retro, premium look on all fronts here. The famed brand’s “Wild West” color is eye-catching and looks broken-in from day one. The bootcut design gives you the chance to wear them all the time with your favorite boots while breaking them in even further. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Men’s Jeans

Are Jeans Business Casual?

Yes, jeans can definitely be worn for business casual style. In our humble opinion, a dark blue jean with minimal distressing, pre-fading or rips works best for business casual looks. And a slim-straight cut is the most clean look, especially when worn with other versatile style staples – we prefer picks like a light blue Oxford shirt and a lightweight, soft-shouldered navy cotton blazer. 

Are Skinny Jeans Still in Style?

Depending on your build and body type, skinny jeans are still very much in style. Especially for guys with slim legs, skinny jeans are going to be your best bet for jeans that look great on your body type, compared to jeans with a more relaxed cut. If you’ve got a bigger build or bigger legs however, steer clear of ultra-skinny jeans. Ultimately though, we think every guy looks great in jeans that are either a traditional Slim or Slim-Straight cut. 

How to Fold Jeans?

How to fold jeans is a question that certainly comes up as you build out your rotation of the best men’s jeans. We prefer to hang our jeans over a standard hanger, folding at the knee and hanging at a “50-50” split – the waist should meet the ankle on the other side. Jeans can also be carefully folded in the same way and stored with other jeans horizontally, but when in doubt, hang your jeans carefully on a hanger. 

Can You Put Jeans in the Dryer?

Some jeans can certainly be put in the dryer, but our best advice is to air-dry your jeans by hanging them. Like other clothes, jeans can shrink in the wash, although using low heat with dryer balls is a helpful way to dry your jeans if needed. Again, when in doubt, air-dry your jeans. 

Can You Wash Jeans With Other Clothes?

Some jeans can be washed with other clothes in the same color family (like dark blues and navy or charcoal). Some dark wash jeans might rub off their dye onto lighter-colored clothing, so you should never wash jeans with white or light-hued clothing. Be sure to read up on how your manufacturer suggests you should wash your jeans, as guidance varies from denim brand to denim brand. 

How to Style Light Wash Jeans?

Styling light wash jeans is easier than it looks, and even cooler. The great thing about light wash jeans is the sense of retro cool they give you – they can nod to the ‘80s or ‘90s, but in a better, more modern fit. The best way to style light jeans is simply and casually: Consider pairing your favorite light wash jeans with a henley in a neutral color (like white, grey, charcoal, navy or even dark olive), then add canvas sneakers and a bomber jacket in a dark color. Just like that, you’re ready for a casual night out with the guys. 

How to Style Dark Wash Jeans?

How to style dark wash jeans all comes down to classic appeal. There’s a reason that style icons like Steve McQueen made the blue jean a staple of their uniform: It goes well with everything and can practically be worn from day to night. We like to style our jeans in rugged fashion, opting for basics like a grey, charcoal or navy pocket tee. You can then add a light chambray shirt up top if you’re feeling adventurous, or else add a black leather moto jacket and tan Chelsea boots for a super-sharp look. 

Want More From The Guy’s List

Here at The Guy’s List, we want to keep you up to date on all the best fashion brands and trends. Check out some of our other guides such as our athletic fit clothing guide to up your style game. Also, check out our coupons page for deals on many of the brands that we write about!

Beau Hayhoe, the fashion guy, is our expert in all things men's fashion and grooming. Over the years Beau has written for some of the largest men's magazines and gained a deep understanding of the best brands, styles, and products for guys. You can catch Beau on his social media listed on his author page or by reading the rest of his catalog here on The Guy's List.

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