There's no article of clothing more quintessentially American. They've been worn by cowboys, factory workers, runway models, and everyone in between, from Levi Strauss (yeah, that Levi) making the first pair in 1873 to the new crop of young designers producing some of the world's best domestically-made denim.
These days, a great pair of jeans are the biggest building block in any guy's wardrobe. They're the anywhere, anytime, any occasion, heavy-hitting outfit essential that look just as good at the bar with a torn-up tee and boots as they do at the office with a tie and blazer.
Yes, some pairs can get expensive -- and some can get really, really expensive. With big, glamorous brands, you're primarily paying for fashion label bragging rights, but don't let that dissuade you; there's a wide range of other denim labels that might not be as affordable as what you're used to, but are worth every penny.
American manufacturing, carefully sourced premium materials, precisely designed fits, and vintage shuttle loom construction from small, homegrown denim labels with more heart but smaller budgets than the mass-market competition makes most of the jeans featured here cost more than what you'd find at the mall. Though that's not to say that price is equivalent with quality -- there are plenty of ultra-expensive options that aren't worth the cash, and some wallet-friendly labels that will keep you looking sharp.
All of that means you've got to weigh your options carefully -- and then wear the hell out of whatever you decide on. And with the level of detail that goes into the very best denim, there's plenty to consider. We'll school you on everything you need to know so that your wardrobe will be stocked with the best pair (or five) possible. Read on, and get ready to meet your wardrobe's new best friend.
Confused by terms like "raw" and "selvedge?" Study up and you'll be able to easily pick out the good stuff.
Get creative with layering and this wardrobe mainstay gets a whole lot more versatile.
You're not supposed to wash 'em often. But when you do, treat your jeans right... without going overboard.