Saturday, July 25, 2009
Jeans - How to wear them correctly, Vintage is the key
Jeans epitomize American style and have been uniquely American since the early 1900s. They are loved by the world over and have taken many transformations over the years. Most notably in the 1980s when jeans were made by top fashion designers, they became more universally worn. That launched the ability to dress up jeans as much as dress down the jeans.
Today, very man should be able to pair his jeans with a button down shirt shirt and tie as easily as he can with a tshirt. Jeans are a basic and common element to most men's wardrobes and this is a good thing. Jeans are too versatile to be forgotten about in your wardrobe. Women will agree a man in a pair of jeans and plain gray shirt can be unforgettable. Throw on a cashmere sweater and jeans and it can be worn almost anywhere with ease. The possibilities are endless.
It also seems that the varieties of jeans are endless as well. Jeans come in all shapes, sizes, washes and ornimentation. It can really get distracting and hard to find the best pair of jeans to buy. One rule of thumb I employ is to think vintage. The essence of jeans is simple easy to wear style. Looking at the pictures of jeans from the 1950s (the best time for jeans) you can see the jeans were simple, no gaudy oriments, jewels, studs or stiching. Leave all of that for women to wear, self-respecting men should leave the peacocked jeans for others.
The men wearing the jeans in the 50s are working class men, young rebels and style icons. They all wear jeans that are distressed to various different levels, some are very worn in, others are a much darker less worn in look. But none of the jeans have holes or rips. The jeans look worn, as any good pair should, but leave the holes to others. The rips and holes are tacky and make you look like you can't afford a good pair of jeans (I don't care how much you payed for your rips and holes, it looks dumb). Stick with the distressed and wiskered jeans. There are plenty made that do not have rips and holes. And if you must own holey jeans... NEVER ever try to dress them up, realize what they are.
The most important thing to notice is the jeans are slim but not tight. Techinally the jeans are a slim straight cut. The baggy jeans, the relaxed fit, the skin tight or skinny jeans are all left behind for a simple straight cut jean. Make sure you wear the jeans... not them wearing you. Stick with the well tailored jeans. I like the vintage slim cuts by Levi (Capital E) and J.Crew. The slimmy cut by 7 for All Mankind, Joe's Jeans "Brixton" cut, the slim straight by Levi (514) and the slim straight by Gap. These cuts will fit each person differently but they are a classic and more vintage look.
Washes on jeans can be done a few ways. The dark wash and black wash on jeans (with little to no distressing) is best to dress up and a must in every closet. The gray wash and distressed washes are best for casual settings with just a t-shirt or a nice button down work shirt. The lighter washes can be worn similarly but can be great as a summer jean. Another good summer jean is a cream colored jean (stay away from the white jeans). If you only have the budget for two pairs of jeans... stick with a dark wash jean and a slightly distressed medium wash.
Remember to think vintage. They knew how to wear their jeans.
For a history on jeans click here.