Consider, if you will, your life.
And now consider how that sentence was the last thing you expected to read when you opened an article about the different types of jeans for men. But alas, here we are. So let’s just roll with it, shall we?
Your life takes you in countless directions. Work, happy hours, coffee runs, music festivals, international travels, casual dates, day hikes, sitting on park benches trying to figure out how birds are things. Point is: jeans. Jeans are the throughline here. No matter what you’re doing, there’s a strong chance you’re wearing denim while doing it. So the question is, why are you always wearing the same type?
There are as many jean styles for men as there are perfect circumstances in which to wear them. From bootcut to straight leg, skinny fit to regular fit, and everywhere in between, it’s all about maximizing your comfort by diversifying your denim.
And with that, these are the 11 types of jeans for men that should be on your radar and in your closet.
Grabbing the first pair of comfortable jeans you can find and calling it a day is an easy trap to fall into. But with so many different types of jeans at your disposal, it makes sense to make your denim choices based on your lifestyle and activities. I’m barely scratching the surface with my list of 11 types of jeans for men, but it’ll help lay the foundation for comparing the most popular and versatile options out there.
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Of all the types of jeans for men, straight leg is the most universal cut—not to mention the most versatile. Don’t believe me? Look in your closet. Yep, there they are. Three pairs of straight-leg jeans that you wear every week and never bothered to classify.
You already know there’s no shortage of jean styles for men, but this is the one that should be considered your staple. Stock up, and you’ll never be without an appropriate look regardless of what you’re up to, from casual dinners to leaf-peeping dates that may or may not end in clinking hot toddy mugs by a roaring fire.
Loose-fit jeans have experienced something of a resurgence lately. But before you throw all caution to the wind and jump back on the ‘90s bandwagon, know that it takes a deft sartorial sensibility to actually pull the look off today.
Typically characterized by a roomy fit in the thigh, knee, and lap areas, loose-fit jeans are all about comfort and range of motion. This is the type of look that wants your personality to shine. You can’t go wrong by pairing these jeans with a loose sweater, flannel, or t-shirt, but don’t overthink it. Be yourself and save the rulebook for the straight-leg section of your closet.
Not too tight and not too loose, the regular fit jean just wants to get along. If you’re an average human with average legs, you should own a pair or two of these staples. You’re working with a full range of movement in this fit, making these jeans every bit as at home in the office as they are on a hike.
If denim is less of a necessity and more of an afterthought for you, this is one of the best types of jeans to keep in your rotation. Stick to dark colors to add a more versatile and elevated look to this unassuming style.
The rise of a jean is the distance between the crotch and the waist. Low-rise jeans, as you might expect, have the least distance between crotch and waist. It’s a relatively niche look, partly because it’s not the best fit for all body types.
If you’re short, for instance, this is one of a few types of jeans for men that can actually make you look shorter. More material around the waist—which low-rise jeans lack—gives the illusion of longer legs. For best results in the pulling-this-look-off category, keep your shoes and shirt casual when you’re wearing these.
Like regular-fit jeans, mid-rise jeans are a nice middle ground—the waistband typically sits between the waist and belly button. Not too high. Not too low. Just right (for most).
There’s not much you can’t pair with this style, and they’re the ideal rise if you like to tuck your shirt in. If you have an occasion and the proclivity to wear a tailored blazer with jeans, you can’t go wrong with mid-rise. It’s also a flattering look for guys of almost any height, as it doesn’t sway to the extreme in any direction.
Though I’m no early-’60s Sean Connery James Bond, I still love the aesthetic and general vibe of high-rise pants. I particularly prefer this look with a suit or accompanied by some type of linen-y summer scenario. High-rise jeans are a different animal altogether, but can still look great surrounded by the right shirts, shoes, and disposition.
The waistband of this cut is at or above the belly button—a specific throwback look at first blush, but stick with it. If you’re short, these types of jeans for men can make you look taller. If you’re tall, they can also make you look taller. As for what to wear with this species of denim, there are endless opportunities to raise your style bar, from billowy Havana shirts to your favorite t-shirt.
Tapered jeans combine the roominess of a straight cut with the fitted look and feel of skinny or slim jeans. There’s more room in the waist and thighs, and the cut gets slimmer toward the calves and ankles. So if you’ve got more muscle or general heft up north but still prefer a more fitted look, this is a solid option.
Like several of the other types of jeans for men on this list, tapered jeans can be worn almost anywhere. Keep in mind, though, that it’s a casual look. Style these jeans with t-shirts, button-downs, henleys, and crewneck sweaters. Basically, anything but a tailored jacket.
When you read the words “wide leg” up there, where did your mind go?
Comfortable? Shapeless? Specific? JNCOs? If you answered all of the above, you were correct a bunch of times (with the possible/definite exception of JNCOs). Wide-leg jeans are loose and roomy from thigh to ankle, so it’s all about comfort and range of motion with this niche specimen.
If your style skews streetwear and you’ve got room in your closet and budget for this break-in-case-of-sartorial-emergency pair of jeans, I say go for it. To pull the look off, stick with a laid-back vibe and make sure to commit. Your audience will be able to sniff out whether or not your head is truly in the wide-leg game.
As originally intended and as the name implies, bootcut jeans are meant to fit comfortably over a pair of cowboy boots. And though today’s versions are no different, they’re thankfully just as receptive to your plain-toe, cap-toe, or Chelsea boots. Above the knees, it’s business as usual with a typically relaxed cut.
In terms of aesthetics, bootcut jeans definitely err on the rugged side. They feature a prominent flair without being obnoxious about it, making them ideal for hunting trips, day hikes, or brewery hopping in Asheville. Did that get too specific? Take it as a sign from the bootcut gods.
Not to be confused with skinny fit (we’ll get there), slim-fit jeans hug the silhouette of your legs without constricting them or becoming form-fitting. A telltale difference is that slim-fit jeans have a more generous opening at the ankle, making them a solid choice for pairing next to a wider range of footwear and overall looks.
Thin guy? Hi, thin guy. You’ll like these. Feel free to tidy them up with an equally fitted button-down or crewneck sweater. But it should come as no surprise that t-shirts are fair game as well—just avoid baggy fits and keep the accompanying sneakers crispy.
The skinny fit is one of the most polarizing types of jeans for men out there. Though they arguably reached their peak around 2010, skinny jeans are very much alive and well today. As the name implies, these lil fellas are form-fitting from waist to ankle.
It’s a specific look and is best worn over a specific physique. If you’re thinking skinny, please proceed to the head of the class. This is one of the rare jean styles for men that can be worn with a blazer and a handsome pair of boots without so much as raising an eyebrow from the “Wait, does that go with that?” police. If it’s not an official police branch, it should definitely be an official police branch.
Identifying which types of jeans for men are trending is a moving target at best. That said, loose- and relaxed-fit jeans are currently having a moment, as are boot-cut jeans. Baggy, relaxed, curated.
There are endless types of jeans for men and endless types of men looking for jeans. Vertically: If you’re tall, you may be able to pull off a lower rise. If you’re short, high-rise denim is going to make your legs look longer. Horizontally: measure your waist, stick to those measurements, and size up or down based on how your jeans feel.
With so many types of jeans for men available, the sky’s the limit in terms of how few or how many you can own. If you’re on a budget and are only looking for a few workhorses, stick to straight-leg, regular-fit jeans in neutral or darker colors. If you’re assembling a stable, go nuts—just make sure you familiarize yourself with how to wear every fit of jeans.