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Find Your Ultimate Jeans

ShortList’s style director picks the finest

Find Your Ultimate Jeans

Denim brands feature many styles and silhouettes – Let our definitive guide should ease the confusion. From left to right...


Weathered jeans £95 by FIRETRAP; Authentic pumps £40 by VANS; Perfect for guys with bigger thighs, generous in the upper leg yet defined with tapering. Best worn with layered Tees, hi-tops or trainers.


Unwashed dark denim jeans £39.95 by GAP; Tan leather boots £320 by WOLVERINE; 0844-770 7058. Generally suits taller men. These jean look better when worn slightly too long. Best worn with shoes featuring an elongated toe.


Ellsworth straight selvage jean £120 by TIMBERLAND; Suede high-tops £125 by VEJA; Best for a gym-bodied man – skinny guys disappear in them; tubbier men gain pounds. Wear with layered sportswear and hi-tops.


Grader skinny jeans in grey fade £135 by DENHAM; 020-7684 1044. Burnished leather penny loafers £105 by GH BASS AT SCHUH; Suits lean, athletic figures; very unforgiving if you are on the larger side or too thin. Wear with slim-fit shirts and blazers, boots or slim loafers.


Weathered denim Original Slim Rider jeans £170 by LEE 101; Brown suede desert boots £79 by CLARKS ORIGINALS; Not as extreme as the skinny fit, this jean suits the shorter, slimmer man. The jean of choice to pair with contemporary tailoring.


Unwashed 505 REG FIT/Selvedge Yard jeans £95 by LEVI’S; Grey suede Saint brogues £125 by KURT GEIGER; Best suits an athletic shape. Opt for worn-in treatments as this style should mould to the body for full effect. Pair with brogues or desert boots.

The Denim Glossary

Unravel the jargon used on swing labels and tickets to find the perfect jeans for you

DENIM SHRINKAGE: Denim naturally shrinks when washed. To minimise this, wash at a low temperature and do not tumble dry.

CROCKING: How indigo dye rubs off fabric onto skin or other fabrics.

CAST: Indigo can be green cast, when yellow dye is mixed in, or a red cast, which is the traditionally recognised pure indigo denim.

CINCH: A strap with a buckle usually at the back of a jean. First used in the 1800s to hold jeans in place.

RING SPUN: Twisted yarn used in weaving. It makes the denim stronger and is therefore more commonly associated with premium denim.

SELVAGE DENIM: High-quality denim woven with heritage machines at a slower pace. Selvage – the clean edge of fabric produced by a shuttle loom – is traditionally used in the outer leg seam.

RESIN: A chemical used on denim finishing/washing to trap the colour and reduce crocking.

SLUB CHARACTER: A textured look created by weaving denim with uneven yarns. Slub character can be vertical and/or horizontal.

RAW DENIM: Denim as it comes from the fabric mill. Purists prefer raw denim as it takes on a worn-in look with continuous wear.

RIVET: A metal stud placed on stress points of jeans. They were first patented by a tailor in 1873.

By Niklas Vila Karpe, head of denim design at Firetrap