When your jeans are feeling dirty, hand washing is the best option. But if you’re too lazy for that, both Guenza and Chen say to turn them inside out and wash them in the machine on the cold setting. This helps preserve the indigo dye and prevent shrinking. If you’ve got a pair of inky raw denim jeans in the pursuit of your own personal fades, Chen recommends hand washing them in cold water as a machine can cause some undesired fades. “In both cases,” he says, “I always hang them up to dry to preserve the fit.”
The Best Straight-Fit Jeans
Through decades of oscillating leg widths, the straight-fit jean has always remained cool. It’s sometimes called a ‘regular fit’ (and there are several nuanced takes on what exactly that means), but the gist is that they fit straight through the thighs and the legs. They’re neither slim nor roomy. If you want to get technical, the hem of a straight-cut jean will generally be about eight to eight and a half inches.
The Best Slim-Fit Jeans
Slim fit jeans cling a little closer to your legs than a classic 501 jean. But we’re not talking about skin-hugging skinny jeans here. They’re trim in the thighs and can either run straight or taper through the leg. (Think of mod style or anyone from the Arctic Monkeys.) Slim-fit jeans look great with sleek boots or any other low-profile shoe like a canvas sneaker or loafers.
The Best Relaxed-Fit Jeans
Relaxed fit jeans, as you might guess, have more room in the thighs than a classic straight fit. How relaxed are they, exactly? That depends on how relaxed you want to get. It can start as a sensible roomy cut and end somewhere in the vastness of parachute pant territory. Chunky shoes are befitting of the baggier silhouette, but more svelte kicks like a summer-y huarache sandal can look elegant with a billowy jean that’s got a clean break.
The Best Athletic Fit Jeans
Whether your thighs are meaty by nature or because of all the sweat you’ve poured into the gym, you’ll need a pair of jeans that have got more room in the thighs and seat. The right pair of athletic fit jeans can give you that trim silhouette without making your pants look like an overstuffed sausage, or bestow a tastefully baggy look while avoiding parachute pant territory.
The Best Flared and Bootcut Jeans
The ’70s are back, baby. The world can’t seem to get enough slinky shirts, trucker hats, and cowboy boots. And the wave has come for jeans, too, in the form of bootcut and flared jeans. The mania hasn’t quite expanded to bell bottoms (yet), but a tasteful widening toward the hem is all you need to add a modern touch to your staid jeans collection.
The Best Jeans Under $100
Denim’s well-known for its durability (it was originally built for hard labor, after all). Thankfully you don’t have to cough up your prettiest pennies to get the most out of a pair of jeans. Though there’s no shortage of affordable jeans on the market, some pairs are better than others. The sub-$100 price range is a sweet spot if you find the right pair, and we’ve scoped out the best right here.
The Best Black Jeans
Not all jeans have to be blue. Once you’ve got a pair of indigo-dipped blue jeans in your drawer, your next denim acquisition should be a pair of black jeans. They’re just as versatile but have a dash more attitude, sort of like the feeling you get when you wear a pair of slick sunglasses.
The Best White Jeans
White jeans can add a breath of fresh air to your blue jean rotation, especially once spring comes around. They can be intimidating for a lot of people, so here are two tips to help you get over the trepidation. First, optic white jeans can be harsh and blinding, so go for a pair of off-white or natural cotton jeans instead. Second, don’t worry about getting them dirty. Like a pair of normal blue jeans or painter pants, white jeans look better with age.
The Best Ripped Jeans
The denim industry was forever changed in the ’80s when distressed jeans were first introduced. Though straight-ahead denim purists will scoff at the idea of fabricated fades, rips, and tears, a pair of artfully-crafted ripped jeans can look just as good as a naturally broken-in pair. Ripped jeans can add a subtle vintage flair or hit you over the head with some serious rockstar attitude. Leave the crunchy raw denim and bleached-out dad jeans for everyone else.
The Best Jeans on Amazon
Maybe you don’t want to deal with the hassle of going to a thousand different stores to try on jeans. Amazon’s shipping and return policy makes it absurdly easy to try on multiple jeans, all in the convenience of your own home. We know that there’s literally everything on the beyond-mega store so we’ve separated all the wheat from the chaff to find the best jeans on Amazon right here.