Early in my working career when I was broke after wallet-crippling university, I had no money for extras like new jeans.
However, after working for a few years, my financial situation improved dramatically so that I could turn my attention to buying some nice clothes again including getting some great jeans.
When I was broke in school I did my best to look stylish but it was hard. Once I had a few bucks in my pocket it was time to invest in my style once again. I was excited. I saved a couple of thousand dollars and started my hunt for the best jeans for men.
To do so, I set aside 3 days and went on a serious jeans shopping spree. I hit about 6 different stores that sell jeans and browsed for hours online.
When the dust settled, I had dropped over $1,500 on jeans.
More importantly, I discovered what I consider to be the best lower and higher-priced jeans for me.
Related: Types of jeans for men and women
The main categories are broken up by price. Here are our price ranges:
- Affordable: Jeans under $40
- Mid-tier price: $40 to $100
- Expensive jeans: $100+
Under each price range, we set out the best men’s jeans by cut. Here are the cuts we feature:
Best Jeans for men overall – BANANA REPUBLIC Slim-Fit
While my favorite jean overall won’t be ideal for everyone, I’ll state it anyway because it does come in several cuts and sizes.
It’s the Traveler jean by Banana Republic. I realize BR is not even close to the most popular jean companies, but I’ve tried on and bought a lot of jeans over the years and the Traveler line is by far my favorite for the money.
When money is no object, I splurge for AG Adriano jeans. Nothing beats it; but be prepared to pay.
Now, if you’re looking for great jeans at various price points and cuts, here’s our list.
A. Best affordable jeans for men
How much is affordable jeans? While it’s up for debate, I say anything jean under $40 is an affordable jeans.
Our picks for best affordable jeans for men are by Calvin Klein and Lucky. Check them out.
1. Best affordable skinny jean: Calvin Klein Skinny Fit
I’m a big fan of the Calvin Klein brand. Great jeans. Great underwear. Great apparel for men for reasonable prices.
Please note that skinny fit jeans are for slighter builds. If you’re bigger, you might prefer slim-fit.
The jeans are definitely a great buy under $40. However, not all CK jeans are under $40. You need to hunt around. Some fall into the mid-tier pricing.
The pair featured above falls in the affordable range. It’s a great-looking jean. I’ve owned CK jeans and they last a long time, fit well and are comfortable. The above-pair includes 2% elastane to give them a bit of stretch. I prefer jeans with a bit of stretch to them.
This pair is styled to sit just below the waist which looks good.
2. Best affordable slim cut jeans for men: Calvin Klein Slim Fit
With this jean you can enjoy the stylish tapered “painted on” look if you have larger thighs (like me… I wear slim fit). This zipper jean offers some additional comfort with a bit of stretch.
Frankly, for the money, this is an outstanding jean. Yeah, it’s a bit clean but in appearance but you can cool it up or stay clean cut depending on your shoes, shirt and accessories.
3. Best affordable straight leg jeans for men: Lee Straight Leg
Lee jeans is a wildly popular jean brand because you get a decent jean for not much money. Most of Lee’s offerings fall under $40. This is an example of a straight leg cut jean by Lee.
Comfort is paramount with a cut that sits on the waist combined with some slight stretch in the leg. Moreover, it’s a straight leg so it’s roomy from top to bottom.
4. Best affordable relaxed fit: IZOD Comfort Stretch
This jean is not only comfortable, it’s cool if you like the relaxed fit. I love this particular dark blue as well. I can’t believe it costs what it does.
5. Best affordable loose fit (baggy) jeans for men: Nautica Men’s Loose Fit
Loose fit are for bigger men that prefer some semblance of comfort squeezing into something that just doesn’t look good or is horrendously uncomfortable.
Nautica is a good apparel brand (I’ve bought lots of Nautica clothes over the years) and the fact you can buy these jeans under the affordable range is great.
6. Best affordable designer jeans for men: HENGAO Ripped Jeans
If you’re the stylish type and are going for a hip look but don’t have oodles of cash burning a hole in your pocket, these HENGAO jeans just might work for you.
The thing with designer jeans is that could mean anything. Could be grunge, hipster or yuppie. These are of the grunge persuasion. For the money, they’re a good jean.
B. Best mid-tier-priced jeans: Banana Republic
How much are mid-tier jeans? I say jeans costing $40 to $100 are mid-tier priced jeans.
Okay, Banana Republic jeans aren’t the cheapest men’s jeans around. They’re mid-tier priced jeans but on the balance, for the money, BR jeans are my favorite by far. It’s my main go-to store, both brick and mortar and online to buy jeans.
Specifically, my favorite BR men’s jean is the Traveler brand.
For the money, Banana Republic’s Traveler jeans fit very well, are comfortable and look great. They come in a variety of colors, from light blue to dark blue and black. Yes, I have every shade so that I have a pair for any occasion.
1. Best mid-tier skinny jeans:
These are super skinny jeans. Not for me, but if I could pull it off, I’d love these. I actually like Lucky Brand jeans. They’re very popular and decent quality.
At this price you can have elevated expectations in attention to detail, cut, fit and style. IMO, these skinny jeans deliver.
2. Best mid-tier slim jeans for men: Banana Republic Traveler Slim Fit
Slim fit Traveler by Banana Republic is my slim fit jeans of choice. I just bought 4 pairs of them spanning almost all colors/shades.
The sizing is impressive because I can get 35″ waist which is ideal for me. They’re stylish yet not hipster or grunge. Perfect for casual workplace, going out or kicking around at home.
3. Best mid-tier straight leg jeans for men: True Religion
True Religion’s straight leg jeans are the poster child straight leg design. Despite the slightly roomier fit, they include some spandex for some stretch.
While the picture above shows black, you can get these in many colors. I daresay pretty much any jean color.
4. Best mid-tier relaxed fit: Silver Jeans Co.
Here’s potentially the best of both worlds – relaxed fit with a slight taper. You’ll look good plus be comfortable. As you can see, just like relaxed fit jeans are supposed to do, they sit nicely on the waist. The material includes 1% elastane for a slight stretch.
5. Best mid-tier loose fit (baggy) jeans for men: YOYEAH
If you want baggy, these are for you. That’s the poster child baggy look. While not as commonplace these days as 15 years ago, it’s a look you still see here and there.
When the skinny, tight jeans trend goes away, perhaps we’ll swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and sport baggy jeans again. I wouldn’t be all that upset by that. They are definitely more comfortable.
Best expensive jeans for men: AG Adriano
How much are expensive jeans? Let’s peg it at $100 to $300.
Not too long ago I splurged over $1,000 on a few pairs of AG Adriano jeans. They are spectacular. I’ve never worn jeans that fit so well, are so comfortable and look so good.
If you’re wondering what are the best fitting jeans for men, look no further. AG Adriano jeans fit like a dream. That’s what I liked about them so much.
I had never dropped this kind of money on jeans. Before putting on my first pair in the store, I wondered what could be so great about a pair of jeans that would warrant such a price tag. I soon found out. When I put them on, they fit perfectly. I knew right then and there it was a good jean. Every single AG Adriano pair of jeans I have still fit perfectly (and look great).
As you’ll see below, AG Adriano wins most categories just because they truly are the best jeans I ever wore.
1. Best expensive skinny jeans: AG Adriano Goldschmied Skinny Leg
I know the photo looks a bit conservative but these jeans will look amazing on anyone. They really will. My best days are wearing my AG Adriano (or my Lululemon joggers which are more comfortable and just as cool as AG jeans).
2. Best expensive slim jeans for men: AG Adriano Goldschmied Slim Leg
There’s a reason AG Adriano jeans are regarded as some of the best jeans on the planet. They’re elegant, stylish, well made, comfortable and cool. Again, the photo above isn’t all that cool because they’re catering to folks with bucks who are typically more conservative, but I can assure you these jeans can be worn looking cool.
3. Best expensive straight leg jeans for men: AG Adriano
While the straight leg jeans aren’t in style right now, I totally get why you’d want a pair – they’re more comfortable. The thing with these jeans is they’re never in style or out of style. There is always a market for this jean. If you’re going to buy jeans and you make bucks, level up with some AGs.
4. Best expensive relaxed fit: True Religion
Here’s a wallet-buster pair of jeans. It’s designer meets relaxed fit and voila you get this snazzy pair. You’ll be ultra cool giving off your “expensive duds” look while comfortable.
5. Best expensive loose fit jeans for men: ARIAT M3 Loose Fit
Just looking at this pair of jeans you know they’re big and they’re for dudes who have big thighs and need some room. For loose fit jeans, I like these a lot. I think they have a slimming style which is cool.
Luxury jeans for men
How much do luxury jeans cost? $300 plus and in my view you’re in the luxury bracket. That’s a lot to pay for one pair of jeans.
I can’t say I’ve had much experience with luxury jeans. I’ve never dropped $500 and certainly $1,000 on a pair.
And yes, there are jeans that cost $1,000 and more. It’s nuts.
Note: My perfect pair of jeans may not be perfect for you
It’s so obvious I probably don’t have to say it but my perfect pair of jeans is not necessarily the best for you. That said, both Banana Republic and AG Adriano brands offer a variety of cuts so I suspect most men will find something that fits well.
What are the different colors for jeans?
Most jeans are some shade of blue from white-washed (very, very light blue) to dark blue (almost black). However, for men, other colors include white, grey and black.
Below are examples of the different colors of men’s jeans.
Dark wash blue jeans
What to consider when choosing a good fit for your jeans?
The starting point is understanding the different parts of a pair of jeans.
Here’s our “parts of a pair of jeans” illustration.
Legs: If you have skinny legs (especially thigh) and waist, you can make skinny jeans look great. If you have larger legs (as in you lift weights or just have big legs), probably nothing skinnier than slim-fit will do. If you prefer more comfort, you may require a regular fit jean.
Waist: It should be snug enough so that it does not require a belt to stay up but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable. I tend to prefer slightly looser waist sizes so that it’s comfortable while sitting as well. Arguably, the waist size I choose is too big, but I do place a lot of import on comfort.
Hem: There are two approaches here. Without a roll, you want the hem to sit at the top of your upper foot. You don’t want the pant leg to bunch up unless you’re going for the baggy look. The other option is if you do the roll for a visible, thick cuff-look, get them long enough for the roll. The baggy-look roll will sit firmly on the top of the foot with perhaps a bit of bunching up. A sleek roll will either barely fall to the very top of the foot or even a bit higher.
The rise and yoke: This is where you might need to try on several pairs to get it right. You definitely don’t want crack showing when you bend over or sit down. This should be avoided at all costs. On the flip side, you don’t want a baggy rear either (unless you want the baggy jean look). It should fit so that there’s form to you but not to tight and certainly not showing crack.
Cut: The cut typically refers to the way the leg and waist fits. Skinny cut is tight from top to bottom (leg opening). It’s basically painted on. Moreover, the skinny category is really for men with lean legs. Slim fit offers the same tapered jean fit as skinny but it’s roomier for larger thighs. A straight cut jean doesn’t taper. Bootcut refers to a specific leg cut that flares out a bit toward the leg opening to accommodate boots or accommodate your appreciation of that look. Relax jeans are akin to dad jeans in that they’re designed for comfort more than anything. Finally, loose, or baggy jeans, are designed for a specific look – oversized jean look.
Denim Jeans FAQ
What are the best brand of jeans for men?
After hours and hours of research and using proprietary software to come up with popularity metrics, here’s an epic chart listing out many denim brand options.
My two favorite jean brands are AG Adriano and Banana Republic (specifically the traveler line).
Why do so many men find it difficult to find the perfect jeans?
I agree it’s not easy finding the perfect pair of jeans. I spent a lot of time trying on dozens of pairs of jeans to find a brand, cut and model I like. The reason is we all aren’t the same size or shape. Yet apparel companies produce apparel in specific cuts and dimensions. That said, many jean brands produce jeans in a variety
One pet peeve of mine though is that it’s hard to find 35″ waist jeans. I believe in the 30″ to 40″ range, jean companies should produce waist sizes for every measurement instead of going up by two (34″ to 36″ for instance). Fortunately, Banana Republic does sell 35″ waist jeans which probably explains, in part, why I like their jeans.
How much do you have to spend to get a good pair of jeans?
I think $50 to $100 will get you access to some great jeans. But I can tell you from experience, if you can afford $150, you get to enjoy jeans at another level entirely. I’m talking AG Adriano jeans, aka AG jeans. When you put a pair of these on, you can feel that they’re worth the extra money.
But if you ain’t got the cash, don’t fret. There are plenty of options around $30.
What’s the best type of jean for business casual?
Can you wear denim for business settings? Possibly. Depends on just how casual your workplace is. Assuming jeans are permitted in the workplace, it’s probably a good idea to go with a more formal style. What is a formal style of jean?
A more formal style of jean is a darker wash, no rips or tears, uniform coloring (not faded) and paired with a business casual shirt and shoe. Add on a blazer and you’ll elevate the look even more.
Should I get jeans with some stretch in it?
IMO, yes you should get a jean with some stretch in it. I understand it won’t be pure raw denim but it’s far more comfortable. I like some give in my clothes so I strongly recommend buying jeans with some stretch material (elastane or spandex) in it. Usually, it’s a very small percentage of the stretchy material – anywhere from 1% to 3%.
What are the most expensive jeans?
There are many pairs of designer jeans that cost more than $1,000. Gucci and Prada jeans can run you $1,000 to $1,200. There are some jeans on Amazon.com priced around $2,000. While I believe you need to spend some bucks to get a nice fitting, stylish pair of jeans, the most expensive isn’t necessarily the best. If you’re swimming cash and want to drop $500 to $1,000 per pair for the name brand cache, go for it. I prefer comfortable and stylish for a decent price (under $200).
Why are Levi’s so expensive?
The cost of something is relative. If you’re a broke student like I was in university, the cost of a new pair of Levi’s was expensive. Now that I have several years working in my career behind me and am on sound financial footing, Levi’s aren’t all that expensive.
But I get the point… many Levi’s jeans will set you back $40 to $60 which isn’t peanuts given there are a good number of budget jean brands out there that sell decent jeans for less. They may not have the name brand cache, but they’ll do the job.
Zipper vs. button fly?
Denim purists suggest button fly only but not me. I’m not a purist. I like some stretch in my jeans. I also usually buy zippers because it’s easier. The last thing I want to do is button up a fly multiple times per day. Not my style.
Are men’s black jeans in style?
Yes, black jeans for men are in style. Usually, it’s the cut or style that dictates trendiness instead of color. Currently, dark, light, washed, black and grey jeans are in style for men.
Are ripped jeans in style?
Yeah, for sure. They’re not for everyone. Moreover, you don’t need to wear ripped jeans to be in style. Designer jeans come in ripped and non-ripped options.