Fits to flatter: a guide to men’s denim

Latest posts by Craig Lomas (see all)

For so many of us, jeans are the staple item in our wardrobe – not because they’re the most expensive piece, but more because they’re such a versatile product. Achieving the right fit is inevitably the hardest stage – from skinny to carrot fit, they’re not equipped for all shapes and sizes. A pair of jeans should fit just as well as a tailored jacket, otherwise you could end up with a very questionable outfit choice.

Along with the fit, the wash of denim you buy makes a vast difference in how they flatter and contour your body. As a general rule of thumb, I tend to avoid acid washes in more relaxed fitting styles (such as a carpenter fit), as the light nature of the fabric makes me look ‘bulky’.

Use the following as a guide to buying the right fit for your shape.

Men's Denim - SKINNY JEANS

Skinny fit

Arguably one of my most loved denim fits, it’s the skinny and spray-on jean. I would say it’s the most diverse fit, which I can easily pair with various tops and jackets. It’s taken me years to move away from skinny jeans and introduce new fits into my collection – it’s almost become a uniform of mine.

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Black skinny jeans can be worn by most seeking to achieve a slimmer silhouette. The key is making sure you get the right leg length, as copious amounts of excess length bunched up is a total juxtaposition to the intended slim fit.

I struggle to think of any shoe that can’t be worn with this fit of jean – well, maybe a kitten hell, but if I knew any of you wore those, you’d be in prison.

Tip: Light washes should be avoided by shorter people such as myself, as they can tend to make the legs look squashed.

Men's Denim - STRAIGHT LEG FIT

Straight leg

A straight leg is a great alternative to a skinny fit for men with substantial thigh size. I know copious amounts of gym buffs and skinny jeans just don’t work for them, as their waist size and thigh size can’t be squeezed into the tighter fits.

A straight leg will have a more form-flattering fit and a much slimmer silhouette than a boot cut, for example. A straight leg can look great when going for a laidback grungy look by teaming with Vans/Converse and an oversized band tee. Again, there are hundreds of washes available in this style, but I would opt for darker shades for larger legs, to trick the eye into giving a neater silhouette.

Tip: Grunge is a big look for Autumn/Winter, so opt for a pair with heavy abrasion – with scuffs, tears and rips. Please make sure you wear suitable underwear, just in case you get a bit threadbare .

Men's Denim - MENS BOOT CUT JEANS

Boot-cut

This is one I tend to avoid as it always brings back memories of those ‘sassy’ teen days thinking I looked like Brad Pitt, when in reality I looked more like Calamity Jane. It is, however, a great fit for a mature customer. These jeans can be worn with a tailored blazer and shirt for an alternative to a boardroom suit. Pick a pair that are tonal to your jacket option in order to keep a cohesive look.

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As with all fits, please ensure you get the right leg length and if this isn’t possible due to half sizes, take them to a dress maker or alteration specialist. It’s surprising how much excess hem allowance can make an outfit look messy.

Tip: Avoid wearing heavy boots and trainers with these style and opt for loafers or desert boots.

Men's Denim - CARROT FIT JEANS

Carrot fit

Let me go back to 2010 and guaranteed the only fit I had in my wardrobe in great supply was a carrot fit. This was the year that the often referred to ‘drop-crotch’ was reinvented by chains such as All Saints and River Island.

A looser fit on the thigh, followed by a tucked-in calf shape, is the iconic form of carrot fit jeans. The beauty of these is they can easily be tucked into boots without having the awful excess fabric bunching around the ankles that some people get when they wear a looser style. It’s one of my pet hates when guys wear baggy jeans and pin them into heavily relaxed boots. Go for the carrot fit if you want to wear military-style boots. With the fit being a half skinny fit and half straight leg, you can get away with wearing these whatever shape and size you are

Tip: For guys with bigger calves, ensure you buy jeans that have an elastane content similar to a skinny fit, to allow ease and toleration.