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From pleated to classic, straight leg to slim, there’s a right jean for everyone out there.
JEANS ARE BOTH the most straightforward and the most complicated garment — a classic wardrobe staple available in so many fits, fabrics, sizes, washes, colors, weights, and rises that finding the right pair can verge on needle-in-the-haystack territory. Never fear: There are some superlatives out there, and best of all, they’ll make every kind of denimhead happy, whether you’re looking for something coolly casual or a pair that you can rock to work and slightly more dressed-up affairs. Here are some of the most wearable denim jeans.
What do you get when you mix the billowy nonchalance of skater-friendly style with the smart, grown-up structure of a chino? Noah’s Pleated Jeans make you feel cool and cultivated all at once. They come in three basic shades — indigo, light wash, and black — so you can match your pleats with almost anything in your closet. It’s the perfect style to go from day to night, to dress up or dress down, to wear on lazy weekends or for after-work cocktails. SHOP NOW
I’m typically a fan of a looser, straight-fit shape in pants — which Raleigh also makes plenty of — though if you’re looking for something with a slimmer taper at the ankle, you can’t do better than what this North Carolina-based company has to offer. They make all kinds of incredibly creative things out of denim — their pointalist chore coat has been on my wish list for a while now — but they do the basics so well that there’s no doubt you’ll find something for your closet. SHOP NOW
When a dad jean is your direction, Drake’s is 100% your pick. The buttoned-up British brand makes some of the best suits in all of menswear, and they bring that same sense of relaxed, precise elegance to everything they touch, including these high-rise pants, made from high-quality fabric woven in Italy and Japan and dyed with natural indigo. Tuck an oxford shirt into these with a nice pair of boots, and you’ll feel like a boss. SHOP NOW
If your idea of denim dapperness is looking like James Dean or Marlon Brando in their 1950s heyday, then your best bet is going to the OG of OGs, Levi’s, which still makes a version of the classic that put them on the map: the original blue jeans, first made in 1873 (!), with a signature straight fit. You just can’t go wrong with something that’s been relevant and absolutely right for this long. SHOP NOW
If you’re looking to ride the middle with a pair of jeans that’s somewhere in between slim and straight fit, Buck Mason might just make the denim for you. This is just a straightforward quintessential pair of mid-rise pants, with Japanese selvedge denim that will wash in well and a leg that’s loose in the thighs and slightly slimmer below the knee. SHOP NOW
Alex Frank is a contributing editor at Departures. Based in Manhattan, Frank previously worked at Vogue.com as deputy culture editor. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Pitchfork, New York Magazine, Fantastic Man, and the Village Voice.
Nishi Patel is a junior designer at Departures. Being raised in both New York City and India sparked her love of food, which has her constantly looking for new recipes and restaurants.
The styles you couldn’t get enough of in 2023.
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