A Jeans Buying Guide for Dan Ryckert (or You!)

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dangerhelvetica

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Edited By dangerhelvetica

Dan Ryckert's been getting a lot of crap lately on Twitter since he's been talking about his difficulty in finding a new pair of jeans. But the truth is, finding a good-fitting pair of jeans isn't quite as simple as going to a store and finding something that just fits. I'm no expert, but I've spent some amount of time trying to find the right pair of jeans and learning the confusing industry terminology. There are a number of things to consider when making your purchase, so I'm going to break them down. #1 and #2 are essential, but the rest you can skip if you're in a hurry/don't care.

1) Fit

The first choice in jeans is your fit. Fit in jeans lingo has a specific meaning; the fit will basically determine how tight your jeans will be on your thighs and calves. For men, the names for the cut usually go from Skinny, to Slim, to Straight, to Classic (Regular), to Relaxed. These can range between putting your legs into a straw, to something like putting on a pair of Hammer pants. Levi's alone has 14 different types of fit for men. But if you just want a pair of jeans that'll probably fit and be comfortable, I think you'll probably be comfortable with Straight to Regular. But if things feel tight or too loose in your legs rather than your waist, try out a different fit. Fit can also determine where your jeans fall on your hips, referred to as the "rise". If your jeans feel a little low around your waist, aim for something described as medium or high rise.

2) Waist and inseam (34x30, etc)

This is the most obvious measurement, and you might think it should be standard, but in truth, things are a bit more complicated than that. But as you might guess, these numbers generally represent the size of your waist and length of your leg, in inches. But you don't have to measure these yourself. To start with, use the numbers on your existing jeans as a guide, and buy sizes that are lesser in the waist if you've lost weight. But also bear in mind, jeans can shrink in the wash and stretch as you wear them, so the way they feel in store might not be how they fit in a few months or even after a first wash. As such, you might want to buy jeans from a store with a decent return policy. There's unfortunately not a lot of space in your average dressing room, so it might be difficult to really get a good feel for how your jeans fit at first. But once you find something you think fits well, try to move around as much as you can, and make sure they won't fall down as you walk around or suffocate you. Sit down if there's a seat available. Try to spend at least 10 minutes with them on. Jeans will generally get more comfortable as you wear them, but you still want something that fits right to begin with.

Now, as for the inseam, this number is somewhat less vital and really depends on personal taste. It's honestly not something I'm super confident about, but I'm guessing you won't want to have to worry about turning up the cuffs or anything like that, so get a pair that basically reaches the middle of your sneakers. Anything longer and you might have to cuff them to avoid stepping on them, anything shorter and you might wind up showing your socks all the time. But again, compared to other measurements which can lead to considerable discomfort if not gotten right, it's not really that big of a deal.

3) Other stuff: color, brands

As for color, you'll probably see a lot of different advice online, but just go with what you like, which I'm guessing is roughly mid-blue. Darker washes tend to be dressier and more fashionable, but mid-blue is unassuming and just kinda works.

A lot of jeans are pre-distressed, which means they're pretty much put through a dryer a couple dozen times to give them that beat-up look. Again: personal preference.

Most jeans are pre-shrunk or Sanforized, which means the amount they'll shrink in the wash is limited, and therefore should fit fairly closely after being washed to how they felt in the store. But do not buy shrink-to-fit jeans, which complicate things considerably.

As for different brands: I don't have too much advice in this, it again will probably come down to personal taste and how much you're willing to spend. But do bear in mind that sizing will likely differ from brand to brand, so if you're wearing brand X and want to buy brand Y, the measurements you already have will not be completely reliable. But they're not even completely reliable even within the same brand, so again, just use the measurements as guidelines.

So, that might seem like a lot to take in, but to summarize:

1) Fit: Probably Straight or Regular.

2) Waist x Inseam: Try multiple different waist sizes and spend time to get it right.

3) Other than that, buy what looks good to you.

Good luck!

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Cloudunderfire

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Abercrombie makes the best pants all the sudden, but that may be because I mainly wear black super skinny jeans.

Theyre also the cheapest out there when compared to H&M and Urban Outfitters.

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atomicoldman

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These are a lot of words about buying pants and while I'm sure it's very thought out and helpful, I'd like to offer a shorter guide should one quickly need information on how to purchase jeans:

Just go into the dang store and try some on and if they fit well then pay for them and leave.

Buy some beer while you're out too, you've earned it.

end of guide

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ViciousBearMauling

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I'm also gonna suggest you don't skimp on jeans. Buy a nice pair. The comfort of your lower body is worth it.

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MezZa

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#4  Edited By MezZa

Buying jeans and pants in general is probably one of the most frustrating processes. Maybe that's because I would like to have a 28x36, but can only ever find 30x36. :( And even then most stores don't have that. Maybe some day I'll just settle on having my stuff tailored.

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rollingzeppelin

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#5  Edited By rollingzeppelin

You can always buy a bit bigger and get them adjusted by a Taylor. I got my shirt and jeans adjusted for $30 and now they look awesome on me.

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Blackout62

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#6  Edited By Blackout62

Screw it, just let the frustration take over and order some $160 dollar jeans off the Levi's website and revel in the fact that the cut is slim but you don't have to break them in every time they come out of the wash.

All I'm gonna make a ballsy proposition here: maybe learn how to hem a pair of pants. If you can do that as well as you can sew on a button life will be so much easier.

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csl316

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#7  Edited By csl316

Carpenter jeans at Kohl's are pretty comfortable and not too tight (I think they're probably Levi's, but I don't really shop much so I assume Kohl's makes them).

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slowbird

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don't wear jeans

they are terrible

get some khaki pants and thank me later

you can even sleep in them

no annoying lumps at the seams like jeans have

this is a public service announcement

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sparky_buzzsaw

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I can't believe this is a thing. I mean, well done, OP, but... holy poop nuggets, I can't believe this is a thing.

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Sergio

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#10  Edited By Sergio

Or he can just try a pair on in the dressing room while still at the store, then decide if he likes it or should try a different pair on. It's not difficult. I haven't seen any small dressing rooms in the US.

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randombattle

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You can always buy a bit bigger and get them adjusted by a Taylor. I got my shirt and jeans adjusted for $30 and now they look awesome on me.

You don't even need to find someone named Taylor to do it. But it helps.

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bigmess

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I like bullhead jeans. They're a little stretchy but feel great.

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allodude

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#13  Edited By allodude

Helpful tip: when you're trying on a pair, try sitting down. I've had to return pants before because they were so uncomfortable whenever I took a seat.

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PokySharpy

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Here, Dan. These are the jeans you want. Levi's 513 Slim Straight.

http://www.amazon.com/Levis-Mens-Straight-Bastion-32x32/dp/B00C7XIIHA/

Slim, but not too slim. Medium rise. A little bit of stretch so that even if they shrink a tiny bit (they do), they will stretch back into fit. Even look good on beefier guys like me.

These are the perfect jeans. They are not too expensive. You can roll into any Kohl's and try on as many different sizes as you need, and they come in various colors.

Best part - once you find the right size, you can order multiples from Amazon. A nice dark uniform wash (Bastion) to "dress up." A medium blue distressed wash (Cash) for bumming around in t-shirts. A uniform flat grey wash (Monogray) to substitute for khakis.

I have searched far and wide over my 36 years on the planet, and the Levi's 513 is the pinnacle of jeans.

Then again, you might try them on and they feel/look weird. That's why you try shit on. =)

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bsh0544

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#15  Edited By bsh0544

You know I want to shit on Dan for not knowing how to shop for pants, but my real secret is that I've already spent years fruitlessly shopping for jeans and now I just buy the one kind of jeans (Lucky, anything that sounds "relaxed" and is in a 34x34 at Marshalls/TJMaxx/similar). I think if I tried to just go to the mall today starting over from zero my brain would explode.

For the record Banana Republic makes a nice pair of slacks too.

Edit: I want to say also that spending extra on a nice pair of pants that fits exactly how you want is worth it. You'll be more comfortable and that'll just come across in how you behave and carry yourself.

Double edit: Now I'm invested. Dan, I want to know what kind of pants you wind up with.

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71Ranchero

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Holy shit you guys talking about having jeans tailored. Just wear a belt.

The 30+ year olds guide to buying jeans:

  • Can you button them up without sucking in?
  • Do they feel like they wouldn't rip if you brush up against metal or wood?
  • Are they cheap enough that you wont care if you have them on when you are doing an oil change or anything else that could get them stained?

If the answer is yes to all 3 of those then you pay the nice man or woman at the cash register and go home with your new jeans.

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Zapf

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Buy some 501 shrink to fit and head to the beach Dan. Rub that ocean all over your body. Run all day until they dry. Thank me later.

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Doctorchimp

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Dude.... Levis 501s.

It really is that easy. If you're lucky buy some Ben Davis pants to change it up once in awhile. It's really that easy

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ArbitraryWater

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I can't believe this is a thing. I mean, well done, OP, but... holy poop nuggets, I can't believe this is a thing.

Can you? I can believe this is a thing.

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FinalDasa

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#20 FinalDasa  Moderator

Jean shorts Ryckert, I hear they're in fashion right now.

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yogibeast

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Dan should just get some barbell jeans. they are fuckin amazing.

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doctordonkey

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Don't mind the people shitting on your work, this is actually really well put together for anyone interested in getting the right pair of jeans, you clearly know your stuff.

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FranticRain

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Buy Wrangler jeans from your friendly neighborhood Walmart. They are cheap, and they have more space in the crotch, where it counts.

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bacongames

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#25  Edited By bacongames

This reminds of all the research I did before attempting to get a suit made this year. I didn't get the chance to use it yet but there was a lot of digging to make sense of all the measurements and things that really matter. I might do one of these for getting a suit, if only to save people the madness of digging through men's fashion forums.

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ShadowKnight508

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There are some good Wrangler and Levi Strauss jeans out there, but depending on what style/fit you prefer, which one you pick out is up to you. I prefer Levi-Strauss for jeans that I wear to work (comfortable for a long day's work) and Wrangler for everything else.

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alexisg

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#27  Edited By alexisg

Can we talk about crotch blowout for a minute?

You are gonna live in your jeans quite a bit and eventually your favorite pair is gonna bust in some fashion. I honestly did not even make up this term it's a real thing (I had countless discussion with Vinny about this back in the day). The problem with sanforized jeans (props to @dangerhelvetica for knowing the difference) is that they are weaker than the raw or shrink to fit counterparts. The only jeans that I have not had blow out on me are raw jeans, but they are most definitely a bit of work (ok a lot) to make them fit. I'd guess that you will go through 3 - 4 pair of regular jeans before you start to see your raw jeans die in the same fashion. In an ideal world you might have a raw pair that you use as your workhorse jeans and then a pair of non-raw jeans which are probably a lighter weight and in all honesty more comfortable.

Some various tips and thoughts:

  • Find a jean repair shop. Most tailors can patch up your jeans, even repairing full on blowouts. Actual jean repair shops may simply have the better equipment and experience to make the repairs that much better.
  • Watch this show about denim from Putthison.com https://vimeo.com/7391362 It includes some tips on washing those raw jeans and overall just a nice video about denim (In the time it took me to write this post I noticed @dudeglove also posted this link).
  • Buy a pair with a small amount of spandex or lyrcra just to treat yourself, but don't wear these every day unless you are willing to replace them often. These have always been the weakest pair for me but they are also the most comfortable. And not in a skinny jean terrible way... more like a guy who drinks his fair share of beers and wants to have a little stretch on some days for comfort. Fidelity Denim makes a nice pair and I've heard from others that on the cheaper side Uniqlo has a decent pair (personally I buy a ton of socks and underwear from Uniqlo).
  • Actually consider @slowbird 's advice from above.
  • Find a jean repair shop. Seriously, paying 25-30$ to fix a pair of jeans is almost always cheaper than buying a new pair.
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sirchode

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I also struggled for a long time to find a pair of jeans that fit and finally someone told me to try Nordstrom and they nailed it. The jeans they have are expensive, but there is absolutely something different about they way they feel and more importantly the way they fit. I've found that Fidelity jeans are exactly what I wanted from jeans: They feel nice, they fit really well, and the denim doesn't shrink when washed nor does it expand over time. Those jeans fit the same today as they did when I got them a few years ago, it's awesome. Also, when trying jeans on at Nordstrom you only need to worry about the waist; they'll tailor the length for you. Like I said, they're expensive (about $200 per pair) but in my experience you get what you pay for and I'm thrilled

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Sergio

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Dan should just give up and buy jeggings.

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chrjz

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#31  Edited By chrjz

@alexisg: You know you can have raw, sanforized denim right?

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amafi

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They don't make jeans I feel like wearing anymore. Everyone is supposed to wear awful, awful, skinny jeans I guess. Personally, I'd rather go naked.

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Anund

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@amafi said:

They don't make jeans I feel like wearing anymore. Everyone is supposed to wear awful, awful, skinny jeans I guess. Personally, I'd rather go naked.

I haven't seen a single person who looks good in skinny jeans. Not one, not even women! Sometimes the world just doesn't make sense.

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Trilogy

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Humanity

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I'll have to go against @alexisg here and say don't get raw denim ever. This is a personal preference of course, but I rather buy 2-3 pairs of lesser quality jeans that fit nice from the start, than quite literally suffer through a month or more of wearing raw denim jeans that feel awful before they finally wear-in.

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Lab392

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#36  Edited By Lab392

@mentaldisruption said:

Buying jeans and pants in general is probably one of the most frustrating processes. Maybe that's because I would like to have a 28x36, but can only ever find 30x36. :( And even then most stores don't have that. Maybe some day I'll just settle on having my stuff tailored.

Woah. Where do you find 30x36s? Maybe it's just the region/country I'm in, but I've had to resort to the rather high-water 30x34. And even then I can barely find them online, and I never find them in stores.

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Jesus_Phish

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What are you guys doing with your jeans that you have crotch blowout?

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ratamero

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I think "going to a store and finding something that just fits" is pretty much exactly what I would expect the Ryckert Approach To Buying Clothes to be.

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Joe423

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#39  Edited By Joe423

Try and get the fitting right, if the jeans look too big it's very noticeable. I'd also say try and get a pair that work with your shoes.

Also, as a skinny person I say to my fellow skinny people - avoid baggy jeans at all costs.

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Y2Ken

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#40  Edited By Y2Ken

I just bought a pair of jeans today, been wearing mostly straight, bootcut-ish (I think) for most of my life. The ones I just got are slim stretch and they're a slightly closer fit which honestly might be quite nice. These days I've not quite been feeling the slightly looser, baggier fit that I've usually gone with. Plus I think the slimmer fit is the fashion now, right? I tend to have the issue that jeans which are small enough around the waist are slightly too short in the leg, but these seem good. If I can avoid wearing a belt with my jeans, that's ideal for me. This guide is pretty handy though, interesting to read the discussion and see what approach different people take.

@alexisg said:

Can we talk about crotch blowout for a minute?

Always nice to see you on the forums, Alexis! I love that this is the line you came in with, too. It's a serious issue! I'd estimate out of my ~8 pairs of jeans in my cupboard (most of which don't fit that well now without a belt) at least half of them have repaired crotches. It's the #1 thing to go for me. I have a couple of really old pairs with a worn out left knee from when I used to play a lot of football in the park in my school days (all those slide tackles really don't do the material any good) but crotch blowout is easily my biggest issue.

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hatking

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Just want to chime in and say that the importance of inseam is being overlooked here. As a pretty tall guy with pretty short legs, it's a bit of a struggle, but it is worth it. There's nothing more annoying than dragging cuffs and rolling them makes it look like I've been sleeping since 1998. I'd recommend going short rather than long here, as most jeans are going to stretch out as you wear them, after a few hours they'll probably be a bit lower than they were when you put them on.

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The_Nubster

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#42  Edited By The_Nubster

It's baffling to me that so many people here are in denial that fashion advice is a thing that a lot of people know about.

This just in: it feels good to look good. A lot of the advice in here is solid. Spending longer buying clothes that you're 100% comfortable in is better than glancing at a number and paying. Not all jeans are the same, even if the numbers on them match, since jeans are cut out of bulk material and shift as they're cut.

Even better, Dan has a girlfriend now, so he's got someone who's morally obligated to follow him around while he tries on clothes! It's a fun day out.

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I_Stay_Puft

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Kilts dawg. The full flown of freedom.

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turboman

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Can we all just agree that Jorts are the way to go?

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ripelivejam

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I think someone told dan buying jeans was supposed to be difficult and convoluted like apparently every god damn thing else and thus he got cold feet. Thread also reminds me i need to pick up new jeans.

*heads to target and pays $20* :(

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ripelivejam

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#46  Edited By ripelivejam

Seriously though i don't know why everything nowadays has to be some dramatic huge time-consuming venture that needs to be researched painstakingly and requires you to be a stone cold expert before even considering making a move. I have enough to stress over/worry about. Sigh...[/rant]

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Belegorm

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My problem is my size seems to be 34x34 mostly, and any time I go to a store looking for plain normal blue jeans in that size either I can't find any the right size and color, or they're expensive (usually looking for work jeans).

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amafi

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It's baffling to me that so many people here are in denial that fashion advice is a thing that a lot of people know about.

This just in: it feels good to look good. A lot of the advice in here is solid. Spending longer buying clothes that you're 100% comfortable in is better than glancing at a number and paying. Not all jeans are the same, even if the numbers on them match, since jeans are cut out of bulk material and shift as they're cut.

Even better, Dan has a girlfriend now, so he's got someone who's morally obligated to follow him around while he tries on clothes! It's a fun day out.

I honestly can't think of any activity I want to share with a loved one less than buying clothes. Maybe attending a funeral, but it's not a clear cut decision by any means. Shopping for clothes is fucking awful.

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Crysack

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It's baffling to me that so many people here are in denial that fashion advice is a thing that a lot of people know about.

Giantbomb is not somewhere I would go for fashion advice.

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dangerhelvetica

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#50  Edited By dangerhelvetica
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As for "just go to the store and try them on", here's a full* list of Levi's product line for men. Jeans are supposed to be simple, but as a garment they're almost 150 years old and have been popular for over 50, and have been through numerous trends and fashions so they've been iterated on to the point where it really isn't all that simple. The crux of what I wrote is, yes, the most important thing to do is go to the store and try stuff on, but I never like to just be told what to do; I like to be told why I'm doing these things, so there's probably some more information in my OP than really needs to be there.

And here's the thing when it comes to clothes: with just a modicum of effort, you can improve the way you look drastically. By just learning how clothes fit on your body you can look much better and feel considerably more comfortable. You don't have to follow fashion blogs or become a #menswear type, just learn about the basics of fit, the way clothes are supposed to go on your body and you're 90% of the way there. The rest is is just a hobby, the sort of thing only other fashion-heads will notice. You don't even have to spend a lot of money, fit works the same for cheap clothes as expensive.

*that doesn't include any of Levi's premium options, where you get into the woods of having to deal with stuff like raw denim like @alexisg is talking about (those Put This On videos were a starting point for my interest in jeans, by the way). Those are the jeans that usually cost at least $100, although I have seen stuff from Uniqlo go on sale for much less. I'd give it a try but I don't live terribly close to a major city and, as has been said countless times, it really is important to try jeans on first, and for raw stuff doubly so (a store assistant can give good advice as to how much shrinking to expect).