The 16 Denim Brands Every Jeans-Wearing Guy Needs to Know

Need a new pair? Here's where to start.

The key to building and maintaining your perfect wardrobe is starting with the essentials. And as far as pants go, denim should be on the top of your list. Great jeans have a home in basically every part of the modern wardrobe now, from casual weekend-wear to office-appropriate pairs. But the ever-increasing versatility of jeans means there are many, many brands to choose from. Consider this your guide to figuring out where to start. Ahead, the 16 best brands that'll help you build a denim wardrobe that'll last. 

Uniqlo Selvedge Jeans

Uniqlo's denim is a favorite around the Esquire offices. It has a bit of stretch, so it's super comfortable while you're sitting at your desk. And at $40 a pop, the price is hard to beat.  

BDG Matcha Dad Jean


Urban Outfitters' BDG brand is great for well-priced, slightly trendy denim. If you're not sure whether a certain style is right for you, head here to give it a test drive.  

Everlane The Athletic Fit Jean

Everlane is the master of basics, and its denim is no different. This athletic fit leaves room in the thighs and butt for guys who don't skip leg day.  

Levi's 511 Slim Fit Jeans 

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Levi's will never not be a denim brand you should have in rotation. Every guy could use a pair of (modern) classic 511 blue jeans.  

Abercrombie & Fitch Straight Jeans 


Abercrombie is still a staple spot for stocking up on basics, and the brand's dark blue straight jeans are a no-brainer.

DL1961 Nick Slim Fit Jeans


DL1961 veers into edgier shapes and detailing in a way that's not overwhelming. This super light-wash, lightly distressed pair is great for the warmer months ahead. 

Gap Selvedge Skinny Jeans

Gap denim is another favorite around the Esquire office, especially when it comes to something that's just plain comfortable. And for a pair of selvedge jeans, finding something under $100 is still a steal.  

More great denim: Viktor's Custom Denim

More great denim: Leon's Raw Selvedge Jeans

DSTLD Skinny Slim Jeans


DSTLD's denim is great for all occasions, but the L.A. label's washed options are especially suited to the weekend. They're super comfortable, and look just as good dressed up as they do dressed down.  

Blank NYC Horatio Distressed Jeans

Blank NYC strikes the right balance of feeling stretchy without stretching out as the day wears on. These are particularly great for travel.  

Mott & Bow Wooster


Mott & Bow makes a mean pair of denim for every day: slim fitting, with the perfect medium-blue wash. 

Madewell Straight Leg Jeans

J.Crew's sister brand, Madewell, finally entered into the men's denim department—and it did so strategically. The selection is pared down and perfect for every occasion.  

7 For All Mankind The Standard Straight Leg Jeans


7 For All Mankind jeans always seem to fall just right; the construction of the leg is never too skinny, but you can also trust it not to poof out where you wish it wouldn't.  

Paige Transcend Lennox Slim Fit Jeans

Paige's Transcend fabric disrupted what the denim world thought a pair of jeans had to feel like. These are very soft, and won't dig into your stomach when you're sitting.  

Rag & Bone Standard Issue Fit 1 Jeans


If you're looking to level up your denim staples, you can't beat a black pair of Rag & Bone jeans. They're long-lasting but don't need breaking in.  

A.P.C. New Standard Selvedge Jeans

A whole generation of denimheads cut its teeth on A.P.C., and there's a very good reason why: The Parisian label's signature jeans are just that good. Do they take some serious wear before they're truly comfy? Sure. But that's kind of the point; you beat the hell out of them so you can make them your own. 

Acne Studios River Tapered Jeans


One of the OG players in the Scandinavian denim movement (it's real, and it's spectacular), Acne Studios got its start making great jeans before becoming a full-fledged fashion brand. Luckily, the company still makes a great pair. They're a little pricier, but thanks to the high-end construction and materials, they'll last you for years.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Christine Flammia
Christine Flammia writes about style, grooming, and more; she is the former associate style editor of Esquire and is currently pursuing a PhD in communications at Columbia.
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