All this talk about a man’s essential wardrobe and what real, down-to-earth guys need in their closets can be a little overwhelming for most dudes. You know why? Most of us don’t like shopping. Sure, there are a small subset of us who do, but in general, dudes don’t want to do it.
So, let’s just say you only make one single purchase all year. Just ONE singular item. What should that thing be?
A pair of dark denim. Straight leg, well fitting, un-whiskered, non-faded, dark wash denim.
If you STILL don’t have a pair of dark, inky blue denim with no pre-fabricated creasing or faded wash, shame on you! If you’re curious, this is one of the pairs I have (and the kind I’m suggesting you pick up).
Why is it so important for every guy to have at least one pair?
1.) It’s the ultimate in versatility
You can wear it in almost any social situation. Going grocery shopping? throw on a polo and some desert boots, and BAM, perfect casual grocery-shopping outfit. Heading to a nice bar with the lady friend? Add a pressed button up, a sport coat, and some brogues, and you’re good!
2.) You look like a grown-up
Faded washes, whiskering, and that whole pre-worn style is really young looking. It’s very American Eagle. Dark denim just takes your whole outfit up ten notches, especially when you pick the right fit.
3.) You avoid the dad jeans look
Sure, this has a lot to do with fit as well, but that light wash color just screams Dad Jeans. Or it screams high school, if you go the other extreme, fit wise (tight and super skinny). With dark denim, you don’t have to worry about that (to the right).
4.) They look great dressed up
Touched upon this in #1, but dark denim is a great substitute for trousers. You can look really sharp in a well-fitting pair. In fact, it’s become sort of my default if I need to get dressed quickly and nicely. I throw on a Fifth&Brannan button-up, sport coat, sometimes a tie, a great pair of shoes, and I’m out the door in like 12 minutes.
5.) They’re available at a variety of price points
So really, you have no excuse. If you go the selvedge route, you will be shopping at a higher price point, but you don’t have to buy selvedge to score a great pair in the same wash. Check out Levi’s, J.Crew, or Lands’ End Canvas (resin rinse) for some options at various price points.
How to pick and take care of your dark wash denim (and other things to remember)
Basic rule, aka The best rule to follow
Wear it a lot, and barely wash it. The denim stays dark and conforms nicely to your body. Wash it only when you absolutely must (rolling through mud, getting stuck in a port-a-potty that was thrown down a hill, after eating a lot of beans, etc).
Mind the rise
This is a fit issue, and you should pay attention to this no matter what kind of bottoms you’re buying. I touched upon rise in this article (Fit > pants). If you have other questions about this, feel free to ask in the comments.
Consider leg and seat room
You want to make sure you pick a slim (not skinny) pair. For a lot of you bootcut-wearers, you’re gonna think a straight leg pair feels like spandex around your calves, but trust me, straight leg looks better. Wear em for a while and eventually you’ll get used to them (and good Lord, get rid of your bootcuts).
You want the seat of your pants to hug your ass gently and lovingly, but not squeeze it to where it looks like your butt’s suffocating. Check out the Bonobos image in the left sidebar, that’ll give you a good idea of how your pants should fit in the seat.
You’re gonna crock
Crocking refers to the dye rubbing off on lighter-colored fabric. It happens, and it happens a lot. So before you hop into your Ferrari with the cream-colored seats, make sure you lay down a towel so you don’t stain the hand-stitched leather.
Or, more realistically, if you’re wearing light-colored canvas shoes or desert boots, better cuff em up once or twice, so the dye doesn’t transfer.
This weekend, pick up a pair of dark denim. It will change your life and grow up your style by at LEAST 6700%.
I know there are a bunch of you denim connoisseurs out there. What can you teach the class about picking the right fit / type of dark denim? Let’s hear your opinions in the comments below.