Articles,  Fit guide

How Should Men’s Jeans Fit (Ultimate Guide)

   This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn More. 

How should men’s jeans fit?

You’ve probably heard of jeans with a straight, slim, athletic, tapered, skinny, super skinny, straight slim fit…and the list goes on. What if I told you these labels don’t matter one bit?

Instead, what really matters is determining what body shape you are and finding the best fitting jeans for your body.

This jeans fit guide will hopefully cover everything you need to know about how men’s jeans should fit from the waist right down to the leg opening.

How Jeans Should NOT Fit

Source: ASOS
Source: Top Man

How Should Men’s Jeans Fit?

Waist

This might seem the easiest aspect of fit to get right. You pretty much just have to make sure the pants sit on your waist without needing a belt, right?

Well not exactly. The tricky part is figuring out where the pants should sit. Most men wear their jeans too low. Wearing jeans too low on the waist is not only unflattering but also makes your legs look short. The whole purpose of jeans is to create a streamlined look from your waist down to your shoes to make you look taller and leaner. So where exactly should your jeans sit on your waist?

how should mens jeans fit , waist of jeans

Your jeans should sit on the top of your hipbone. Don’t have a hipbone or can’t seem to locate it? No problem! Use your belly button as a guide. Your jeans should sit about 1-2 inches below your belly button.

How Tight Should Jeans Be At The Waist?

When buying a new pair of jeans, the waist should be a bit snug. It shouldn’t be exceedingly tight, but also not loose. The reason why you want to go for a snug waist fit is that denim typically stretches about an inch or so. So after a few wears, the jeans will fit just right at the waist. If you buy a pair that already fits perfectly at the waist without being snug, it might stretch a bit too much with multiple wears and become loose over time.

Rise

The rise is an overlooked aspect of jean fit but one which is critically important. The rise of the jeans dictates not only the comfort aspect of the jeans but also their overall look.

Low rise jeans are not only uncomfortable but also make your legs look shorter. Too much of a high rise will lengthen your legs but at the expense of making your torso look short.

The sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle and is referred to as a mid-rise. So you’re probably thinking that if the pants are labeled as mid-rise then I should just go ahead and get them? Not so fast. The problem lies with the fact that most brands have a different definition of what constitutes a low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise. In other words, a mid-rise in one brand might fit like a low-rise in another or vice versa. So what can be done about this?

I’ve tried on countless brands and have found out the perfect way of finding the correct rise. You can either use a tape measure and measure the front and back rise of the jeans or you could just use the belly button/hip bone test mentioned earlier.

Ideally the front rise of a pair of jeans should be around 10 inches while the back rise should be around 14.5 to 15 inches. I’ve found this to be the sweet spot when it comes to the rise measurement since it blends both comfort and style.

how should men's  jeans fit, front rise for jeans

As mentioned above, the jeans should sit on top of your hip bone or 1-2 inches below your belly button. Once the jeans sit at the right spot, move around, sit, or do anything that you typically do while wearing jeans and check if they are comfortable.

You shouldn’t feel any discomfort in the crotch area. If there is any pulling or discomfort in the crotch area, then this isn’t the right pair of jeans for your body. Try on another pair or brand.

How Long Should Jeans Be?

This is probably the easiest fit aspect to get right, yet most men mess this up. Look around, most men are wearing pants that are too long which makes their pants bunch up right on top of their shoes. This ruins not only the look of the pants but also of the complete outfit. It makes them look short and stubby and if they are exceedingly tall, then it just makes them look like a bad dresser.

Then there are other men who wear their pants too short where 2-3 inches of their ankles are visible. Personally, I find this look unappealing since it looks more trendy than stylish. Try to avoid these two extremes. Your jeans should fall straight from the waist to the top of your shoes without excess material. They should lay flat on the top of your shoes without bunching.

So these aspects of fit are relevant regardless of your body type. The waist, rise and length should all be the same regardless of which jean fit you are going for. But now let’s get into the different type of jean fits where the hip, thigh and leg fit come into play.

Different Types of Jean Fits

This is where all those labels come in; slim, slim straight, straight, skinny, athletic fit et cetera. I don’t consider the label as being important.

Source: Gap

What matters is how it fits your body. For example, I’ve worked with men who have an incredibly skinny physique and if they tried on a straight fit jean, it would look like they are wearing snow pants. So for their body type, skinny jeans are the best option.

On the other hand, men with more mass in their legs cannot even wear a straight fit jean since it would hug their legs tightly and make it appear as if they are wearing skinny jeans.

Get my point? The label doesn’t matter, what matters is how a particular jean fits your body.

So how should a jean fit in the hip, thigh and leg?

Overall fit

The jean should have a straight fit from your waist down to the leg opening. It shouldn’t be too tight where it hugs your body but also not too loose where there is too much excess room.

Hip

The jean should lightly hug your backside without being tight. It shouldn’t be so tight that it shows the exact shape of your hips. As a general guideline, you should be able to pinch 1-2 inches of fabric between your hips and the jeans.

Thigh

You should have enough room in the thigh area that if you were to sit down, it wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Again, the rule is to be able to pinch 1-2 inches of fabric between your thigh and the jeans. Anything less and you’ll be struggling to sit down and anything more and you will have excess fabric.

how should men's jeans fit, jeans thigh fit

Legs

No matter if you have muscular or skinny legs, the jeans should not hug your legs. Instead, you want about 1-1.5 inches of fabric between your legs and the jeans. Anything more than 2 inches, and it will look like you are wearing loose fitting jeans.

how should men's jeans fit

Final Thoughts

I hope this men’s fit guide made clear how should men’s jeans fit. Again, the key is to ignore labels and instead check how the jean fits at the waist, hip, thigh and leg in order get the perfect fit.

Interested in wearing jeans to work? Read Business Casual Jeans.

Banana Republic Jeans

Levi’s Jeans

Everlane Jeans

Gap Jeans

American Eagle Jeans