Dress Better Instantly! Dark, Straight Leg Jeans

Ditch the wide legs and bleached whiskers. Wearing dark jeans in a straight leg fit will make you look more polished, whether you're having a beer with your pals, or talking raises with your boss.

Jeans: H&M, $19.99 | Suede Bucks: Bostonian, $80 | Sportcoat: Lands' End Canvas, $240

Jeans — the quintessential American garment steeped in casual wear. Jeans have permeated every corner of the American subculture from the the Marlboro man, to the President’s “dad” jeans, to the office on casual Friday. Jeans are inherently casual and are mostly associated with off duty and lounging activities. However, the right pair in the right color and fit can look downright smashing at the office or on date night.

Good jeans are all a matter of fit and color. Since fit is king we’ll start there.

Levi's 510 skinny


Levi's 510

In recent years the trend has gone to slim but this doesn’t mean the trend fits you.

Skinny jeans are just that, so if you’re carrying a little extra weight below your waist or have thighs bigger than your head, they won’t be the best option for you. Slim jeans for slim dudes. Just don’t go this slim.

Levi's 501


Levi's 501 Original

By far and away the best option for most men. Straight fit jeans flatter most body types whether slim or hefty and compliment the male form better than any other type of fit. It is the most classic and most widely accepted fit across the board, and in our opinion, a standard part of the uniform.

bootcut jeans


Levi's 517

These should only be worn with – boots. Point, blank, period. If you’re in the market for them, to wear with your boots, look for a style that doesn’t have an exaggerated flare leg opening.

Levi's Relaxed


Levi's 559

Unless you feel like swimming in a sea of denim never wear these.

Same goes for anything labeled as “Loose”.

Jeans: H&M, $19.99
V-Neck T-shirt: Target, $6.99
Henley: Target, $12.99
Shoes: Keds, $45

Once you’ve got the perfect fit it’s time to choose a color. Jean colors fall into two categories; light or dark. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Actually there isn’t. Dark jeans win handsdown over light—at least blue jeans, white are another matter. The light wash “dad” jeans should stay on your dad, especially since he’s not as cool as you. Dark jeans are more professional, more polished, easier to dress up AND down and hide stains better (if you’re washing your jeans every week you shouldn’t be). Light jeans should be saved for band members and those guys still stuck in the 80’s.

Dark plain wash jeans will be your best bet when you’re going after the “smart casual” look. You’ll look smart since you won’t have tons of distressing and rips in your jeans and you’ll still look casual because well, you’re wearing jeans. Take a break from the standard khaki and polo uniform and throw on some dark denim and a sportcoat—we’ll tell you which one later—or a fitted t-shirt and you’ll be two steps ahead of the next guy.

Jeans: H&M, $19.99
T-Shirt: American Apparel, $15.99
Shoes: Keds, $45

Which brand you wear—try Gap, H&M, or Levi’s— and how much they cost is up to you, but we’ve never paid more than $50 for a pair of jeans and don’t plan to. But we’ll save that discussion for another time. Now go try on some jeans!

Grant Harris

Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today's professional man. He has a healthy obsession with socks. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook.