A style guide to upgrade your denim game this season
Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photographs: Chisanga Mubanga and Anthony Bila
We said it before when we listed the ten items every man must own and we’ll say it again, here: Denim is like the man you want to be – tough, rugged and gets better with age.
That not you? That’s not a problem, because if you shop our denim you’ll see that the variety available is actually quite staggering. Daunting even. While your father’s jeans were blue or black, with five pockets, and they either fitted or they didn’t, today there are so many colours, cuts and finishes that something as simple as buying a pair of jeans requires some serious head scratching.
Would sir care for the button closure or the zipper fly? Subtle pocket detail or something as branded as a billboard? Stand out stitching in a contrast golden thread or a more demure stitch in the same blue as the denim? Then how would you like your jeans washed – a virginal, raw inky blue stiffness? Minimal wash with some light sanding on the knees for a vintage feel? Or multiple washes with bleach followed by a pumice stone scrub? Oh, and then there’s the cut…
Fret not, we’re here to help. First get the fit right because fit determines feel, and feel determines how your jeans look and looking good is exactly what jeans are all about. So how do you do that? By taking cues from our models Tiago and Didi, who have modelled the five silhouettes of the season and then proffered their styling advice, too.
These are not for everyone. If you have cows instead of calves and don’t share the same snake hips that our models have then perhaps you should find another silhouette that suits your stature better. The perfect pair of skinnies should obviously not be loose, but they shouldn’t be too tight either, and don’t even think about trying to get away with wearing women’s denim because your bulge will look like a codpiece. There’s a difference between skinnies and jeggings, pal.
If the weather is cool do like Didi and play with proportions in a slouchy knit on top, some leather Derbies, statement socks and a woollen hat.
If you want to play it cool like Tiago wear a tropical short-sleeve button down, lose the socks and go back at it again with the white Vans.
This is a much more forgiving silhouette than the skinny, hugging the thighs, knees and calves slightly and then loosening up around the ankles. The look here is crisp, sharp and clean so don’t be afraid to size down as they will stretch out with wear and can become quite loose after time.
For everyday wear, Didi’s medium wash denims are best worn casually with a bucket hat, pineapple print button down and wild-style Nike Roshe Runs.
If you want to kick it even more casual like Tiago, then keep things loose on top in a grandpa sweater and a pair of Nike Air Max in a similar hue to the rest of the getup.
The straight leg is cut more or less the same all the way down, so while they hug the thighs, they’re roomier around the knees and calves. For these to look their best, they should sit snugly at or just below your waist, right above your hips. Take some pressure off by looking for denim with a smidge of stretch.
Go tonal like Didi with different shades of blue, showing off your knowledge of texture by wearing dark denim on dark denim weighted by the leather adidas Superstars.
Colour block like Tiago in the jacket every man must own, the parka, in an equally classic military green and a neutral sneaker.
The classic fit is cut loose for guys who want room to breathe. Problem is, this can result in a bell-bottom effect down below. And for now, that’s definitely not a thing. So what the denim manufacturers have done is come up with a style where they tighten everything up towards the ankle, which minimises the bunching of any extra cloth. If you’re skint and want to turn your regular jeans into a tapered pair, then simply use our tips on how to cuff your pants.
Go full 90s like Didi did and wear your light wash jeans with a tie-dye Stüssy T-shirt, worker boots and backwards cap.
Keep things classic like Tiago in a white T-shirt, box fresh white adidas Stan Smith sneakers and a fitted jean jacket that’s a shade darker than your denims.
Come as you are and buy into the 90s grunge trend by pulling on a pair of ripped jeans. Just be careful when you slide them on, because if you hook a toe that sexy slit can quickly become a gaping gash. There’s a massive difference between a rip in your denim and patched, torn, distressed, hanging-on-by-a-thread jeans. Which are cool, too.
Do a juxtaposition like Didi and confuse the fashion police in a contrasting pink sweater and smart cream dress shoes that could easily go corporate.
Turn the amp up to 11 like Tiago in the grunge uniform of ripped denim, checked shirt and shoes that can, and should, take a beating.