Light washed jeans have been growing in popularity for the last few years. No longer considered just the poor fashion choice of American presidents and uncool dads, they’ve become a nice option for guys who want to take a break from their regular rotation of dark, raw denim. I particularly like them in the summer months. Being lighter in color and weight, they look and feel a lot better on a hot, sweltering day.
The key is in the fit. You can get something fuller if you know what you’re doing, but I find slim-tapered cuts are easier to wear. Try something a little trimmer in the thigh and narrower at the cuff – even if you’re used to wearing a slim-straight leg (like I am). That’ll avoid having these look like the kind of jeans you find at Costco.
- If you’re looking for something affordable, start with Levi’s 511s and 513s. Both come in a variety of washes, such as what Levi’s calls their Lake Merrit and Pickleweed. You can regularly find them on-sale at Levi’s for not too much money (at the moment, the 511 Pickleweed is just $19). A reader of ours also recommends the 522 and the 501CT.
- For a good, mid-range option, try J. Crew. They have a skinny jean called the 484 and a slightly fuller fit called the 770 (which is what I prefer). With their usual 25% discounts, you can expect to pay about $85. Levi’s Vintage Clothing also has a reproduction of their 1960s 606 fit, which they claim is the first skinny jean. It’s on sale right now for $70.
- For a little more money, there’s Patrik Ervell, Acne, and RRL (stick to their slim fit). APC also sometimes offers their New Standards in a light wash, although this season, it’s only available in the skinnier Petit New Standard model.
- My own pair is from Our Legacy. They’re trim throughout the leg without being overly skinny, and the wash is reasonably natural looking (which is always a plus when buying non-raw denim). Find them on sale at East Dane, The Great Divide, The Selective Few, and Need Supply (the last is having a special sale where you can get an extra 20% off with the coupon code GRAB20)