Step away from the Dad Jeans: Identifying the symptoms of DJS and how to cure yourself, once and for all

by Megan Collins  |  in Casual Style

The following is a post by Megan Collins of Style Girlfriend.

As Jerry Seinfeld might say:

What’s the deal with Dad Jeans?

It’s fitting that I begin this tirade with a Seinfeld-esque question, seeing as the comedian and erstwhile Acura spokesman was one of the worst offenders of Dad Jeans back in the day.

We give the President a hard time, but I think VP Biden deserves just as much of a hard time.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, “Dad Jeans” are a less-than-flattering style of denim that all guys would do well to avoid. That’s because Dad Jeans fall decidedly on the “don’t” side of men’s fashion.

The color is a light blue wash – some may say “stonewashed” if you even remember that phrase from the 80s. The style is high-waisted, sitting well above the hips, and veering dangerously close to a guy’s ribcage. Perhaps worst of all, Dad Jeans billow out around the waist, ostensibly in the name of “comfort” or a “relaxed” fit, though looking at them makes me feel anything but.

Dad Jeans are often seen in the wild worn in conjunction with mock turtlenecks, windbreakers, New Balance “walking” shoes (you know the kind – uber-white, with a sole so big it looks like a platform shoe), and a generally dismissive attitude towards fashion.

Steve Jobs wore Dad Jeans. So did Danny Tanner on Full House. The new torchbearer of the Dad Jean look is our very own commander-in-chief. Wearing his everywhere from the campaign trail to family vacations, the press has filled many valuable newspaper inches dissecting the president’s detente with denim.

So, how to break out of the Dad Jean rut?

Get the fit right

Before you even start shopping, cajole a loved one to help you measure your waist and inseam. You may have been buying one size all these years, but who knows what size you actually are now? Or ever really were? At the store, stick to this number, even if it’s smaller than what you normally wear.

The jeans you try on may feel a little tighter than what you’re used to, but so long as you’re not moving into Steven Tyler territory (ie, skin-tight skinny jeans), you’re probably just experiencing a common sensation known as “wearing clothes that fit for the first time.”

Get the style right

What to look for: You want a dark rinse, straight leg, and absolutely no adornment. This is not the time to get courageous. No studs, no “whiskers” (that terrible rinse that makes the creases look there forever), and definitely no pre-cut holes.

Suck it up

“But Megan,” I hear you arguing at your computer screen. “I want to be comfortable.”

Of course, we all do. But if I left the house feeling the ultimate level of comfort every day, I’d be wearing my flannel J. Crew pajama pants, the ones with the cows printed on them. You don’t want that.

So buck up, learn to take one for the team known as “all of society” and readjust your comfort settings. And for how much better you’ll look, isn’t it worth it? With a quick shopping trip, our president, and anyone else afflicted with DJS (Dad Jean Syndrome), could successfully break out of the disappointing denim cycle.

It’s as easy to make a good impression, as it is to make a bad one. That’s because a little effort up-front—finding a great pair of jeans that fits you and doesn’t make you look like an eighties sitcom star—means no work later on.

Just think of how confident you’ll feel getting dressed every morning when you open your closet and find jeans that fit well and look good with any outfit you wear.

Your kids—or future kids—will thank you.