The Dark Wash Jean

Jeans, Denim, Blue Jeans, whatever you call them – the bottom line is that they’re a staple in every man’s wardrobe. But that doesn’t mean most guys know how to choose the right pair.

Every day, I see looks of dissapoinment slapped across people’s faces as the men in their lives waddle around in poopy-pants, flop about in the moo-moo version of jeans or show off their twig and berries.

Let’s fix this.

Have questions? Curious what others think?

Join us in the comments section of the video above.

Every single man, no matter their size, age or body type should have a few pairs of dark washed jeans in their closet. They work for nearly all occasions outside of a formal setting and look good with virtually everything- especially my list of men’s wardrobe essentials. They’ll never steer you wrong and are likely the pants you’ll wear a majority of the time.

The 5 Aspects Of Jeans

1. Wash or Rinse

This dictates how light or dark the jeans are as well as how they’re treated. Light wash = lighter colored. Dark wash = dark.

My preferred wash is dark blue, sometimes called indigo, depending on the brand.

Because of the title of this article, you know I’m recommending that you own dark wash jeans. The reason is because this wash looks great on everybody, hides skinny or thicker legs better than any other color and can be dressed in a casual or less-casual way. I love them so much that I put them on every single one of my clients.

2. Style

This is also called the “cut” and sometimes also called the “fit” of the jeans. Depending on your body type, you should be wearing a certain style. We’ll get into that in a minute, but the most common styles are (in order of slimness):

  • Skinny
  • Slim
  • Straight
  • Boot Cut
  • Relaxed

3. Size

The waist and inseam (leg length) measurements of the jeans. Ex: 32×32 (inches).

If you’ve seen my Fit Guide, you know appropriate jeans sizing, but here’s a quick refersher:

  • They should fit your waist without needing a belt. They can even be slightly tight, as denim will loosen as you wear them.
  • The inseam (length) should leave a slight or full break where they meet your shoes. Anything shorter will look odd and anything longer will bunch at your ankles and throw off your proportions.

4. Denim Type Or Fabric Blend

Denim material can be blended with a variety of other fabrics. Some jeans may have two to three percent spandex and others might have polyester blended into them.

A quick thought if you go with spandex blends:

  • Spandex blends, while a little more comfortable and forgiving in the thighs, tend to stretch out and not retain their shape as well as 100% cotton blends. I’ve definitely seen some “poopy pants” as a result of this.

It’ll depend on what you prefer, I can go either way on this – some of my recc’s below are blends, some are 100% cotton.

5. Fit

I get asked all the time “How should men’s jeans fit?”

Here’s the the trifecta of how your jeans should fit, regardless of age or body type:

  • You should be able to pinch a minimum of 1 inch of fabric, but no more than 1.5 inches on either side of the thigh.
  • They should fit your waist without a belt.
  • They shouldn’t be too short or too long – having a slight or full break. 

Check out my Fit Guide for more in-depth info.

The Best Dark Wash Jeans For Your Build

A quick note about your height: It doesn’t matter. My clients range in size from 5ft 3in to almost 7ft and I’ve never put them in different jeans because of their height. These are the best jeans for short men, tall men, medium-sized men and so on. The only thing that matters is your build: slim/regular or larger.

Slim or Regular Build

You’ll want to get a “Slim” fit. Slim-fit jeans tend to slightly hug the thighs, knees, and calves while tapering down from your knee to ankle.

A lot of my slim & regular built clients initially believe this style will make them look too skinny. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that they’re used to wearing super baggier clothes to try and hide their slimness, which, coincidentally, just makes them look slimmer. A proper fitting pair of jeans just looks right, regardless of your build, and doesn’t make you look one way or another – I promise.

Things to avoid:

  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking “Skinny” fit is the same as “Slim” fit. “Skinny” fit jeans are usually skin-tight and not appropriate
  • Avoid “Straight Fit” jeans. Like the name implies, the leg of the pants are looser and will be cut straight down from the knee to ankle. This cut will look terrible on you. 
  • If you can pinch more than an 1.5 inches of denim on either side of your thighs, you need to move down to a slimmer cut or get the legs taken in. If you can avoid it, don’t rush to the tailor. Try a size down first or another brand. This is costly for a tailor to do. Having too much fabric on your thighs will make you look smaller, shorter or wider than you are.

Designer

I’ve personally worked with and touched each pair of these jeans (in all sections) and they’re awesome. The fit is very accurate, the pocket placement and stitching is great. Diesel runs a little larger in the waist, so go down a size (ex: if you’re a 34 waist, get a 32).

Tom Ford Slim-Fit Stretch Indigo Denim Jeans
RRL Slim Fit Selvedge Jeans
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
JBrand Taper Tyler Fit in Blue Hood
Diesel Buster Jeans

Budget Friendly

I love these because the quality in relation to the price is very good and you can never go wrong with a classic like Levi’s and I love Uniqlo’s wash and they also offer free hemming!

Uniqlo Stretch Selvedge Slim Fit Jeans
Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans

Larger Build

The classic “Straight-Leg” fit is perfect for you. No matter a man’s build, but especially in your case, it’s all about balancing your body’s proportions to make sure your bottom half complements your upper half.

There are a few great brands out there that offer straight-legged jeans with a slightly roomier thigh area which will hopefully solve your frustrations with finding jeans that fit properly.

Things to watch out for:

  • Avoid any cut of jean (all pants in general, for your build) with a taper in the legs. A taper will make you look really top heavy.
  • If you can pinch more than an 1.5 inches of denim on either side of your thighs, you need to move down a size, go to a slimmer cut, try a different brand, or get the legs taken in by a tailor. Don’t get the legs taken in if you can help it, it’s costly for a tailor to do. Having too much fabric on your thighs will make you look wider than you are and completely throw off your proportions.

Designer

The wash, quality and fit of these are great and I use them all the time for my larger clients because it makes them look really sharp.

AG Graduate Jeans
JBrand Kane Jeans 

Budget Friendly

Just like I said for the slim to regular built options in this category: I love these because the quality in relation to the price is very good and you can never go wrong with a classic like Levi’s and Uniqlo’s wash is great and they offer free hemming!

Levi’s 514 Tumbled Rigid Jeans
Uniqlo Selvedge Straight Leg Jeans
Gap 1969 Straight Fit Jeans

3 Ways To Wear

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-1-Full

Levis Sunset Pocket Tee
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
Allen Edmonds Wide Basic Belt
Vans Authentic Sneakers

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-2-Full Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-2-Detail

Brooks Brothers Suede Barracuda Jacket
J. Crew Garment-Dyed Henley
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
Allen Edmonds Wide Basic Belt
Vans Authentic Sneakers

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Full Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Detail-2 Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Shoes

Modern Fit Travel Tailoring Virgin Wool Suit
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Spread Collar Sports Shirt
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
The Tie Bar Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Cotton Pocket Square dark Charcoal Tipping
Johnston & Murphy Fielden Cap-Toe Dress Shoe
IWC Portuguese Automatic Watch

Outfit Inspiration

 

Get This Look: Nautical Striped Sweater & Jeans

I love this classic, casual outfit. It works in a variety of settings from meeting up with friends over the weekend to going to an outdoor bbq party. You can’t go wrong with it.

Wear a nautical striped sweater or t-shirt with jeans or colored chinos. Rolling up your pants is optional. Finish with a brown leather belt and clean, white sneakers.

Designer Option:

 

John Varvatos Cotton Striped Sweatshirt, $128
Rag & Bone Standard Issue Fit 1 Skinny Fit Jeans, $195
Polo Ralph Lauren Leather Buckle Belt, $125
WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie leather sneaker, $295

Budget-Friendly Option:

 

H&M Premium Cotton Sweater, $50
Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Jeans in Rigid Dragon, $58
H&M Leather Belt, $18
Converse Jack Purcell Sneaker, $55

 

Photo Credit: GQ

How To Dress A Celebrity: Go Behind-The-Scenes With A Celebrity Menswear Stylist

Have you ever wondered what goes in to styling a client for a big event? I’m going to take you on the inside – from the moment I’m booked on a job to lint rolling the client’s outfit before they step onto the red carpet.

Monday, 11am:
I receive a call from a member of my client’s team that an outfit is needed for a big event they’re attending on Thursday. Crap, that’s only 72 hours.
We’ve got only one day to pull looks (outfits) from the designer’s showrooms (where their latest collections of clothing are held for magazine shoots and celebrities to use) before the fitting (when the client tries on the looks for the first time) takes place on Wednesday.

My team and I immediately get to work putting together a mood board.

billy reid, burberry prorsum, jil sander, gucci, fall 2012, runway collection

With all the great Fall pieces to choose from this season, I decide to steer away from the norm of a suit. It’s important that my clients always stand out from everyone while still ensuring the look is an honest representation of their personality. For this event, my team and I took inspiration from Paul Newman.

image

Newman’s easy going style was an art form that all men should embody.

We decide a jacket with a strong collar layered over a sweater will be the foundation of the look. We come up with a bunch of possible combinations. Should we pair a grey cowl-neck sweater from Billy Reid with a leather jacket? Or how about a camel cowl neck layered over a button-down shirt and tie as seen on Burberry’s catwalk? Paired with a charcoal blazer? Perhaps Jil Sander’s classic black crewneck sweater and dress pants is effortless enough? A merlot sweater? After looking through designers’ lookbooks (a picture book of the season’s newest looks) for the right pieces, we race off to email and call showrooms to request the pieces. We’ve got only an hour before the NY showrooms close for the day.

Tuesday, 6am:
Between gulps of coffee, I’m calling New York showrooms, confirming the looks we requested the day before will be sent out in time to arrive at our office by noon tomorrow – just in time for the fitting with the client. My team and I then set about running around LA, securing (we call it “pulling”) clothes from designers who have their samples here in LA. It’s important to not entirely depend on samples coming from NY, in case some of the packages don’t arrive on time… or at all. Always, ALWAYS have a backup, especially if the packages are coming from NY. Too many variables can happen – bad weather, theft (this has happened a few times) and other acts of God.

Wednesday, Afternoon:
24 hours before Thursday’s event. The team and I gather all the looks – luckily, all the NY packages came on time (whew) – and load them into our cars to meet the client wherever they are – if they can’t meet at my office. Typically, the fitting can go one of two ways: One of the looks works perfectly without any fuss or the looks aren’t winners and I quickly rework the looks based on my intimate knowledge of the clothing and my client’s personal sense of style.

Once agreed, the clothes are pinned into place – this shows my tailor exactly where things need to be taken in, hemmed, etc. The outfit is then rushed to alterations. My tailor is used to my last minute requests. Everything is always urgent in this profession.

Tip: If you’ve ever wondered why stars looks so great on the red carpet, the biggest factor, aside from a few others, is having every piece of clothing altered to fit them. Whether off the runway or off the rack, clothes never fit perfectly. GET. THEM. ALTERED.

Thursday, Afternoon:
A few hours before the big event the finished pieces are picked up from the tailors and rushed to the client’s house. You’re probably thinking “Why do stylists need to be there when all the client has to do is put on the clothes and leave?” In a perfect world, that’s exactly how it’d be. But this isn’t a perfect world, so we’re there to ensure everything is absolutely perfect. In menswear, the smallest details are extremely important. The pants have to be cuffed at just the perfect length, the buckle of a belt positioned just right, the shirt tucked in just enough, I could go on for days…

With one roll of the lint brush, the look is complete and they’re on their way to walk the red carpet.

Definitely my favorite moment of the entire process is seeing pictures of that final look on the red carpet – it’s such a great feeling to see my clients look effortless, polished, and 100% true to themselves!