Let’s keep this brief: Every guy needs a pair of dark, tapered jeans.
But you may be wondering, why tapered jeans over straight leg or bootcut styles?
If you have a smart, sharp, casual style, one that often calls for jeans, an OCBD, brogues, and a sportcoat, having a slightly tapered leg on your jeans looks better.
Instead of having the same shape all the way down the leg, tapered jeans get narrower from the knee down to the ankle, resulting in a cleaner look, smaller leg opening, and less fabric bunching at the bottom.
Owning at least one pair of tapered dark denim jeans is important. You can wear it with everything from a T-
Tapered jeans are like regular straight leg jeans, but they get gradually narrower from the knee to the ankle. This style has a clean and more modern look.
My Recommendations for Tapered Jeans
Overall, my favorite pair of pants are from Bonobos.
They have 5 different fits and a multitude of sizes to choose from. And the sizing is standard across all Bonobos’ bottoms, so you only have to figure out your favorite fit and size once.
Another brand I always recommend is Levi’s. They’re ubiquitous, affordable, and have a ton of different models that fit every body type.
I have two gripes about Levi’s, however.
For one, their sizing and fit is inconsistent. So if you have three pairs of Levi’s 541 in a 32×30—the exact same size and model—there’s a good chance they’ll fit differently.
Second, they seem to change model numbers often. So don’t be surprised if Levi’s discontinues your favorite model the second you discover it.
(It’s also possible they have a similar fit, they just changed the naming convention)
Levi’s has solidified their offering of tapered models. however:
The 501 Taper is similar to the 502, but with a higher rise and button fly like the Original 501. This one also seems to come and go (They had the 501 CT before this, which I loved, but again, they discontinued it).
All of these models have stretch denim fabric options. Typically it’s a 98/2 cotton/elastane blend, which is ridiculously comfortable. I always recommend at least 98/2 blend nowadays.
For the denim purists, there are rigid, non-stretch versions as well.
What Are The Best Tapered Jeans For Your Body Type?
- Have a bit more to spend? Go with Bonobos jeans
- Normally wear Levi’s 513 or 514? Try the Levi’s 502 regular taper
- Typically wear Levi’s 510 or 511? Try the Levi’s 512 slim taper
- Usually wear Levi’s 501 or 505? Are you a bigger or more athletic guy? Go for the Levi’s 541 athletic taper or the 501 Taper, if you can find it
That’s it! Happy jeans shopping.
This post was originally published on March 2014 and updated June 2020.