A Visual Guide to Wearing Jeans That Fit Properly

Remember, looking stylish is all about the fit.
IMAGE Esquire U.S.

It doesn't get much more iconic than a great pair of jeans. Which makes sense: They've been a staple of pretty much every guy's wardrobe for more than a century. Thing is, what makes a pair of jeans great is different for everyone. Maybe you're looking for a go-to pair for the office. Maybe you've got a traditional streak and want something that pays homage denim's golden age. Or maybe you just want to look cool.

When it comes to jeans, your mileage may vary. That's where we come in. Whatever you're looking for and whatever you're into, we've broken down the four key jeans fits for 2017. Read on to find the right one for you.

The Traditionalist: Straight Fit

If you're looking to channel the timeless style of guys like Steve McQueen, why not take a page from their era of denim and try a slightly slimmed-down straight cut? It should have a little more room in the hips and thighs, but not so much that it bags out from the body. The width at the knee should be just around the same as the width at the ankle. And if you really want to stay on-theme, a cuff—all the better to show off the selvage lines on your raw denim—is the way to go.


The Professional: Slim Fit

Just want a great pair that you're sure will fit in at your (not-too-dressy) office? Go with the modern standard that works for pretty much every body type and situation: the slim fit. Tailored but not tight is the name of the game here. The jeans should be trim through the hips and thighs, and skim your knees and calves without strangling them. (If you can see your muscles flex, you've gone too far.) A narrower hem sits nicely on top of everything from minimal sneakers to classic dress shoes.

The Rocker: Skinny Fit

From Joey Ramone to Hedi Slimane, skinny jeans have always been steeped in rebel cool. The key here is going super-slim but not legging-level skintight. Look for a pair that hugs your frame from the hips all the way down to the leg opening. Feel free to go with a longer inseam if you want the leg to stack on top of your footwear (Chelsea boots or classic Chucks are easy go-tos), or shoot for something a little shorter to keep the lines nice and clean.

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The Throwback: Loose Taper

Right now, one of the most forward-thinking moves you can make is to look to the past when it comes to fit. Think denim in its mid-'90s heyday, just tweaked for the modern age. The cuts are looser through the hips and thighs, but avoid falling into dad-jean territory with a cropped and tapered fit. You'll either want to hem or roll to get the right length—you could even cut them off to a raw hem right above the ankle, depending on how DIY you're feeling.


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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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