Jeans are an essential part of a guy’s wardrobe today, and selecting the right silhouette can be overwhelming. From super-skinny and skinny, to slim and relaxed fits, the choices may seem limitless.
Once you’ve decided on the right jean, determining the shoe silhouette to complement each fit can be just as perplexing. Remember, it is all about proportion in order to achieve a fluid head-to-toe look.
According to Ryan Lombard, PR manager and creative producer for apparel brand DL1961, a denim-focused label, while relaxed jean silhouettes typically appeal to a more mature crowd, younger customers are going the skinny route. Among the brand’s most popular silhouette is the Russell, a slim straight style with a 15.5-inch leg opening.
Now that you’ve honed in on a silhouette, it’s time to footnote the look. For guys who need some guidance, Javier Suarez, division director, men’s shoes and leather goods for men’s specialty store Paul Stuart, and Will Noguchi, lead stylist at Bombfell, offer some styling tips.
1. Skinny Jeans Work Best With Low-Top Shoes
For today’s popular skinny jean silhouette, pant length is rule number one. “Pant [legs] should be short whatever shoe you’re wearing,” he said. If wearing boots, said Suarez. “They should graze the top so you can show off the boot.”
A size-zip boot from Steve Madden is the right proportion for a pair of skinny jeans from Justin Timberlake 501 Slim by Levi’s, worn just above the ankle.
2. The Tuck Can Be Tricky
For anyone thinking they might want to do the “tuck” — fitting you jeans into your boots, Suarez warns it’s a more directional look, and may not be for everyone.
3. Boot-Cut Jeans Are Easiest to Style
Wider boot-cut jeans take the guess work out of accessorizing since they fit over most shoe and boot silhouettes. “It’s great for any kind of boot since it allows you to wear pants [over] the boot,” noted Suarez.
Blundstone’s classic suede Chelsea boot comfortably pairs with boot-cut jeans from Diesel.
4. Cuffed Jeans Give You Options
Thinking about doing the cuff? Suarez said, like doing the tuck, this is once again a fashion statement. However, it lends more versatility to a jean since they can be worn cuffed over a boot or at ankle length with a shoe.
Lacoste’s sleek black leather court shoe can neatly finish off a cuffed jean from Valentino.
5. Matching the Leg Opening of Jeans to Shoe Width Is Key
Noguchi has some footwear selections that can help take the pressure off determining which shoe style works best for each pant silhouette. For slim or slim-cut jeans, loafers or monk straps work well, he said. “They sharpen up your look immediately and everyone gets a full shot of your nice shoes,” he said. “Slim-cut pants fall at the ankle, not below, important to remember when consider the shoe and sock combo because you can see what’s underneath the shoe.”
For straight-leg jeans, he noted, shoes with a wider silhouette are a safe bet such as sneakers. “The proportion of how wide the shoe is to how wide the leg opening of the jeans is key and should be similar. The pants hit right over the shoe and ankle, so no ankle cleavage is exposed, but you see a lot of the top portion of the shoe.”
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