As we’ve discussed in previous posts on the Tad More Tailoring blog, jeans can offer a variety of different looks in your wardrobe. However, the way in which they actually fit your body could make or break an outfit. How are men's jeans really supposed to fit anyway? Of course this question is subjective and can be based on multiple personal factors. That being said, a local tailor or a top online tailor for jeans can help you achieve the perfect look for you!
Personal factors that come into play obviously start with your body type. Height and weight can make different styled jeans and different washes look slightly different on your body. For example, lighter washes, looser cuts, and lower rises can have a shortening effect. This could be something you would like in a pair of jeans, however, so keep in mind the overall style results that you want in your outfit. Ultimately, remember the #1 rule of sustainable fashion: dress for your body. This means avoiding trends or items of clothing that you simply “like.” Instead, go for garments that make you look and (subsequently) feel your best.
All that to say, there are some features of pants that will inevitably affect how men’s jeans fit. The most obvious of these are the waist and inseam length, or more commonly identified by the two numbers on men’s pants tags (ex.: 34/32 with the first number being the waist and the second being the inseam). This is generally the only aspect of jeans that is taken into account when deciding if the pants “fit” or not, but there are a couple more things you should consider.
The cut of jeans is often chosen as solely a style choice. While this is important to honor, different cuts have different style outcomes depending on your body. Skinny and slim fitting jeans have a lengthening effect and can also fit more snugly on men with bigger, more muscular thighs or calves. More relaxed jeans can have a shortening effect, especially on men that have more room to give due to slimmer legs.
Lastly, the two, more or less, overlooked details of jeans that have big effects are the rise and the wash. The rise is defined as the length between the crotch inseam and the waistband. As you can imagine, this can affect the waist size you need to buy even if you have a size that you normally buy. Keep in mind that an online tailor for jeans can often alter things such as this to fit your waist if this is a preferred method for you! Something a local tailor cannot change for you is the wash of your jeans, that is the light, medium, dark, or stonewashed varieties that your jeans will have. Remember, lighter jeans and horizontal distressing patterns will give length reducing results while darker washes and vertical distressing or patterning will work to elongate.
These factors considered, here are the 5 style points to check when trying on your next pair of jeans to make sure your men’s jeans fit perfectly!
First Style Point of Men’s Jeans: The Waist
Most men believe that a belt is needed with their pants in order for them to fit. In truth, jeans (and other pants!) should be able to be held up by just your waist with a belt only being worn as an accessory, not a necessity. The waist of your jeans should fit comfortably. If you need a belt to keep your jeans where you want them, they are too big- an online tailor for jeans can easily add darts to fix this problem. If they are cutting into your side or if they do not fasten, the jeans are way too tight- local tailors can just as easily remove darting to give more room as our bodies change. This being said, it is always wise to buy a little bigger if stuck between two sizes.
Second Style Point of Men’s Jeans: The Seat
Let’s be honest, some guys have great butts and they really like to show them off! However, if you avoid stairs because of the leg lifting involved or you can’t squat down to pick a dropped item up off the floor, your pants might be a little too snug. Likewise, excessive fabric in the butt is not any more appealing- think fitted, not skin-tight!
Third Style Point of Men’s Jeans: The Thigh
The thighs can be a tricky body part to dress, especially if leg day is your strong suit. A good test to make sure your jeans fit you comfortably is what is called the “Pinch Test.” While standing up straight and relaxed, you should in theory be able to pinch about ½” to 1” of fabric at the side of your thigh (The Essential Man Blog). This will ensure a pleasant and dashing fit.
Fourth Style Point of Men’s Jeans: The Calf
The same test can be used for the calf, though this one will obviously involve some bending. Another option is to try some slow-motion butt kicks. Bending at the knee and bringing your heel toward your butt can be a good telltale of how well your jeans fit at your calves. If you own jeans that are unnecessarily bigger in the calves in order to accommodate larger thighs, always know that top online tailors can taper these below the knee (half taper) in order to achieve the perfect fit for you!
Fifth Style Point of Men’s Jeans: The Length
Last but not least, we have the length of your jeans. In order to avoid the “flooding effect” or looking too sloppy, it is best to aim for a small break in your jeans. That is, a mild “bunching” of fabric is the most classic length to wear jeans for men. For a visual of this style, check out this TMT blog post all about breaks! Again, a tailor for jeans can often help get the perfect length with a simple and inexpensive hem.
Essentially, the most important thing when trying on jeans is casual comfort, or the Goldilocks effect if you will- not too tight but not too loose. This will ensure that your jeans are comfy enough for a walk in the park but put together for date night. Enjoy!