Avoiding “Dad Jeans” When Shopping For Denim

dad jeans
Jeff to the Maxx / Flickr

Are you one of those guys who thinks it’s just about trying on a few pairs of pants until you find something you can comfortably move around in? Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but if so, it might be time to take a peek down below your waist to make sure you’re not committing the ultimate denim faux paus – dad jeans.

A long worn-out fashion statement (if ever it was one) from a decade and a half or more ago, these pants leave you looking older, plainer, frumpier, flabbier, and altogether dorkier than any modern man with a sense of pride in clothing choice should ever subject himself too.

Whether you’re a single guy who doesn’t want to send out the stay-at-home dad vibe to the ladies or are an actual dad that doesn’t want to embarrass his family, here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for pants:

1. Stonewashed is Out!

Yes, stonewashed jeans were, at one time, a cool thing to wear – but that was the 80s, Man! It’s time to move on.

In fact, it’s safe to say that if your wardrobe hasn’t evolved at all in ten or twenty years, you have some catching up to do…

Here in the real world, modern jeans come in a lot of different colors and shades. To keep it simple, go with a sleek dark rinse.

2. No Tapered Legs

If a pair of jeans you try on hug your ankles down around the top of your shoes, run for your life! Tapered legs throw your lower body off balance and often give the effect of wearing high-waters – in the worst cases, they even bunch up, adding to the already-frumpish look.

Straight legs are the way to go.

3. Wear Fitted Pants

The biggest mistake is often just failing to wear pants that properly fit. Your jeans aren’t “relaxed;” they’re baggy and unflattering, in all the wrong places. Instead of guessing, take actual measurements to determine your correct pant size.

Fitted jeans should hug the body’s natural shape a bit. You don’t need to go the skinny jean route, but a correct fit can make all the difference for a guy who has been wearing unflattering clothing.

4. Just Say No to High Rise

Another big mistake and major identifier of the dad jeans is the high rise. The “rise” of your jeans is essentially the distance from your crotch to the top of the jean, and dad jeans usually come up above your waist, creating the illusion that your pants are pulled up too high. It all amounts to a very unflattering midsection and saggy-looking butt.

A medium- to low-rise is a better choice, depending on your body type.

5. Get Help!

Picking out a great pair of jeans isn’t rocket science, but it can be an intimidating challenge if you don’t know what great jeans look like. Get a family member to take proper measurements, or have them do it at the store. Visit it a tailor for advice and measurements.

Or, best of all, bring a fashion-savvy woman along with you to pick out a pair, and after that you’ll have a baseline to work with.

Repeat after me: just say no to dad jeans!

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