THE ESSENTIALS LIST: ATHLETIC-FIT DENIM FOR MEN
6am: Standing appointment with your trainer — today's a "leg day" 9am: First meeting of the morning 6pm: Client happy hour 8pm: Dinner date and drinks 10pm: Taking your pup for the last stroll We get it; you’re a "man on the go". Your days are jam packed, and the last thing you want to think about is finding a pair of jeans that fit not only your body, but your lifestyle. Denim is an essential part of every man’s wardrobe – and there are becoming fewer and fewer situations in life where jeans aren’t appropriate – so yours had better work in any setting, fit like a glove, and, yes, make your butt look good. (It’s all about the confidence, after all.) Of course this is easier said than done, considering the endless choices and options available. In fact, you may be one of those guys who has had to settle on ill-fitting jeans because of your athletic build or just because the whole process can be so daunting. For the men who have mastered the art of finding the perfect denim, jeans are not only an apparel staple but also a source of obsession. What affords them that elevated status? It’s the fit and the fabric. The two go hand in pocket to create the ideal pair of denim. More and more jeans contain some amount of stretch to add mobility and comfort. Women’s denim has utilized varying degrees of spandex or Lycra for years, much to the gratitude of various body types everywhere. Men, however, have not always been so quick to jump on the Lycra bandwagon. Once strictly prized for its durability (a certain Levi Strauss used the French twilled cotton cloth called serge de Nimes – later shortened to denim – that was often worn by gold miners and factory workers), men’s denim typically contained stiffer, more rigid properties. Men, do not fear the Lycra. It’s time to embrace the stretch. Lycra means your athletic-fit jeans will actually move with you, not against you. You don’t want restrictions in your life, and you certainly don’t want them in your denim. A bit of stretch in your jeans results in a comfortable fit and feel from the minute you slip ‘em on to the second you take ‘em off. They should wear as comfortably as a second skin. By now, we know that these days form-fitting silhouettes are the best way to feel confident in your clothes. It may be the ego boost you need to meet “the one” or the wardrobe staple that helps elevate you to your next promotion. Men are finally expressing themselves through fashion – without the stigma of the outdated “metrosexual” label – and finding that clothes that skim the body equal style and self-assurance.
DENIM FOR YOUR DISTINCT BODY TYPE
Several denim lines are now focusing on body types as the basis of their fit and fabric ranges – a smart move for forward-thinking designers as well as for often-confused customers. Now consumers can seek out a fit that feels custom made, whether you’re slender with a smaller butt and thighs, of average build, or more muscular. Regarding you buff types: We know you’re spending time at the gym – and it shows – well done, sir! Now, why would you want to bury that hard-earned physique under baggy denim? You don’t. However, your gym-honed thighs and butt need some room to move, too. In the past you would have had to buy a larger size in your jeans to accommodate your lower half, meaning a loose waist, saggy bottom, and a good belt. Enter stretch denim for men – a solution that can be flattering to all guys, especially those with powerful figures. For an authority on athletic bodies, we went straight to someone who knows a thing or two about sculpting (a workout prized for its intensity and ability to chisel amazing muscles): JJ Christopher, Lululemon Brand Ambassador and owner/ head coach of Chicago-based Division St. CrossFit. “Let's be honest here, there's no way we're getting skinny jeans up past our knees, but that doesn't mean we should have to settle for wide-legged jeans just because we can get them over our butts,” Christopher explains. “Thankfully, denim with a little bit of stretch gives you that slim-fit look without being loose at the waist or restricting your active lifestyle.”
THAT’S A STRETCH
There’s stretch denim, and then there’s the dreaded jegging. You want movement in your jeans, but you also want enough structure to look polished and put together whether you’re wearing a dress shirt and jacket or rocking your favorite form-fitting crew-neck tee. Look at your denim’s composition before buying. Typically you’ll find stretch denim for men has a 98-percent cotton to 2-percent Elastane (Lycra) ratio. You’ll also see blends of cotton, polyester and elastane, but for a perfect blend of stretch and structure, no less than 70-percent cotton is a good rule of thumb for the sleekest silhouette.
ATHLETIC-FIT DENIM FOR DAY TO NIGHT
To be sure your jeans are work appropriate and date approved, stick to denim with a darker wash. A clean, sophisticated design is also key – meaning no distressed look, fading, holes, etc. Think of them as white collar denim. Choosing a comfortable fabric that can keep up with your busy day and transition with your lifestyle is king. Denim with a hint of stretch allows for men to be efficient, while maintaining their style integrity. "We work hard already, so when it's time to enjoy a night out we shouldn't have to put more effort into finding a pair of jeans that fit,” Christopher says. “And if you're self-conscious about wrapping up your athletic legs, a dark wash with few embellishments will keep the focus on your clean lines and not your thighs." Thoughtful denim design details like high-end threads and hardware further elevate a pair of jeans, taking them from ordinary to something else entirely – something that no modern man’s closet is complete without.
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