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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a pair of Levi’s in your closet — they’re great! — until you realize all you have in your closet are several pairs of Levi’s and nothing else. They’re fantastic, but every man reaches a point in his life when he wonders what else is out there.
Buying a pair of Levi’s is like beating a video game on the easiest difficulty level. Levi’s are universally regarded as a solid pair of jeans and come in every wash, style, fit, and color imaginable. And that’s why almost every person you know owns a pair (or two or three).
Levi’s are foundational to any good wardrobe, but there’s a whole new world out there of jeans to buy! To make finding them a little easier, we’ve pulled out 10 brands across five different categories, broken down by what they can offer you.
If You’re Looking for Something Cheaper
Uniqlo’s standard Regular Fit Jeans (on sale for $39.90) are great in general, but also because they’re so inexpensive. There are few companies that make basics more reliable than Uniqlo, and its jeans have served me well on and off for the past couple years. You can even get them hemmed in-store, so there are zero excuses for them to not fit well.
And I didn’t think I’d ever write this, but I also hear good things about American Eagle’s Flex Air Slim Straight Jean ($49.95), which are buy one, get one free, by the way.
If You Want to Try Raw Denim
Raw denim jeans are — literally — a pain to break in at first, but will eventually fit your body so perfectly that it’ll be hard to go back. Plus, they’ll also get a great worn-in look the longer you have them.
The most popular option is A.P.C.’s New Standard ($195). Other good pairs in this space include the 3x1 M3 Slim Straight ($245) — or, really, anything from 3x1 — and Acne’s Van RW ($250), a vague name for what is really just a beautiful pair of classic blue jeans. If you want something a little cheaper, try Naked & Famous’s Weird Guy Blue Selvedge Jeans ($150).
If You’re Looking for Comfy Jeans
The Vans V76 ($49.50) are perfect if you’re looking for something comfortable. Think about it: Skaters need something stretchy they can ride in, and Vans is a brand for skaters. These jeans are 1 percent elastane, which allows for some give.
Bonobos also has an option for $108 made with 1 percent “stretch,” which is also presumably elastane. Instead of skating, Bonobos calls its comfy denim the “Travel Jean.” Same difference.
If You’re Looking for Something Trendy
Nudie Jeans’s Keith Replica ($375) has the loose fit and distressed details that makes them the perfect jean for today. Just don’t count on them being the jean of tomorrow. If you don’t want to spend nearly as much, H&M has a much cheaper similar pair: its Straight Regular Jeans ($39.99).
Kapital makes some denim that will truly impress (or weird out?) your friends. These Century Denim (Lumberjack Damaged) (roughly $500) really live up to their name. The author David Sedaris once wrote of Kapital’s clothing, “Do they drag it behind a tank over a still-smoldering battlefield?” Expect these wonderfully distressed jeans to fill you with similar questions.
If You’re Looking to Buy a Pair of Jeans With an Impressive Price Tag
These Gucci Slim-Fit Embroidered Stonewashed Denim Jeans ($1,250) come at a price that the owner will surely brag about three times over the course of an evening — like the owner of a new boat. But really, the best thing about these jeans is the large bee embroidered on the left leg — a signifier to anyone who knows anything that the jeans you’re wearing are Gucci.