The Savvy Man's Style Guide To Jeans
Jeans used to be one of the easiest items in men's fashion to buy
, right next to socks and that necktie for your dad's next birthday. Recently, though, that denim-clad style choice has gotten much, much harder. With the addition of countless new labels on every price point and the expansion of styles and cuts, today's jean market can be overwhelming. How is the savvy shopper to cope?
Know Your Priorities
Price is just one of the aspects where denims have expanded in the last decade. They now run the whole price point gamut from under $10 to just over $1,000 and every imaginable place in between. After all, you only get more quality the higher you go.
Yet even quality has limits. There will come a point where you're just spending more and more money without getting a considerable increase in quality - the point of diminishing returns. Once you spend past that point, you'll only be paying for brand equity, the value of the label on your pants. While that's justdandy for a lot in the fashion show crowd, it's not exactly practical, especially if you're the kind of guy who's after savvy style.
Before setting aside a few Benjamins for those denim style classics, sit yourself down and think about what you're willing to spend for. Are you okay with the idea of sinking an extra $100 for a brand that everyone on the street knows, or would you rather overlook the label and just buy the pair that looks great on you?
Smart Bargain Hunters
Finding jeans is a fairly straightforward business, at least for most of North America and Europe. Each pair in the typical men's boutique comes with two numbers on the tag. The first number corresponds to the waistline, while the second denotes the inseam or length.
Men's brands, however, can still vary quite widely on sizing. Comfort-loving brands like Levi's generally have products that are to size, while fit-conscious ones like Abercrombie usually have snugger pairs. Knowing your general size beforehand, meanwhile, ensures that you're never too far off the mark once you hit the fitting rooms.
Size can also become a problem if you wear one of the common sizes (like a waistline from 30 to 32), especially if you like shopping at sales and clearance events. Running out of sizes is a common problem for common waistlines, but that's never a permanent issue. If there's a pair on the rack that's one or two inches from ideal, you could always have it altered to a more fashion-conscious cut, while still reaping the savings at the same time.
When having a pair of jeans altered, keep in mind that the quality of the end product is determined by the quality of the new stitching. Hence, only a high-quality, trusted tailor should be approached for the job, else you risk a pair of easily destroyed denims. Also, don't expect too much from the process; if the pants are much too big or way too small, there's nothing that the tailor can do to change those proportions.
Retail or Tailor?
Never forget that the option to have the pants altered is always available, and is usually a better option if you're after the impeccable fit that good style demands. Once you find yourself looking through jeans priced past $300 a pair, visiting a tailor is definitely an option to consider for the cost.
Tailored jeans will typically be priced from $200 a pair, with the cost going up for more prestigious tailors or higher quality fabrics. You might not bag yourself a luxury fashion label in the process, but it's definitely value for money as far as quality, fabric and fit are concerned. After all, you'll be in complete control of how your pants will look, feel and be made. Tailored jeans are something of a fashion-conscious man's denim dream.
It's inevitable that you will have to reach for a pair of jeans at least once in your lifetime, so you may as well make it a great pair. Whether it's a $1,000 pay-for-the-label jean or a $200 label-free custom job is up to you.
by: Hendrik Pohl