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9 best denim brands for men, from jeans to jackets

Dressed up or down, it’s the most versatile fabric in your wardrobe

Paddy Maddison
Monday 29 March 2021 15:21
<p>We found the labels making the best selvedge, raw and classic styles</p>

We found the labels making the best selvedge, raw and classic styles

From the workshops and ranches of the old West to your modern-day wardrobe, denim is the functional fabric that took over the world. It’s tough as nails, immune to ageing, impervious to trends and for those reasons, has come to form the backbone of modern menswear.

The term “essential” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s justified where this stuff is concerned. Jeans have spent the best part of the last century cementing their status as the world’s favourite legwear and are now something no man – style-conscious or otherwise – should be without.

But denim’s success comes with a downside. Every clothing brand out there is peddling its own take on the classics, and they’re not all worthy of your hard-earned cash.

Below, you’ll find a handpicked selection of those that are, in our opinion, the most failsafe denim brands around, with a little background on each.

These are the labels that balance quality, value and style, with something for every budget and taste. We’ve also chosen a key piece from each one, just to make your shopping experience that little bit easier.

Read more:

From cheap and cheerful to the cream of the crop, these are the denim brands you should know.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Asket the raw denim jean

One of a growing number of direct-to-consumer menswear labels with a focus on sustainability, Asket cuts through the noise with its tightly curated selection of premium wardrobe basics. No frills, no fuss, just good-quality tackle at reasonable prices, and unsurprisingly, jeans are at the top of the menu.

Asket’s raw-denim jeans offer a way to enter the notoriously expensive world of raw denim (jeans that have not been wet or processed) just a shade over £100, and even by dedicated denim-head standards, they’re not half bad. The fabric itself is a weighty 13oz Japanese denim in all its unwashed indigo glory. Construction-wise, they’re put together in Italy and the attention to detail is unbeatable for the money.

Levi’s 501 original-fit jeans

There’s no name bigger or more trusted than Levi’s when it comes to denim. The San Francisco-based brand is responsible for the invention of jeans and still makes some of the best ones on the market today.

The 501 is probably the American label’s most popular style, boasting the same classic cut for the last 150 years. It has a straight leg, a mid rise, and we think it works particularly well in a casual, stonewashed indigo. If you want the real thing, there is no other option.

A.P.C. new standard selvedge denim jeans

Parisian label A.P.C. has carved out a niche for itself as the go-to spot for premium wardrobe staples with a contemporary twist. It’s always a good bet if you’re looking for simple, stylish pieces that are built to last – especially as denim has long been one of the French brand’s specialities.

A.P.C.’s crisp selvedge jeans are often touted as a gateway into the world of raw denim and the new standard is the brand’s most versatile and timeless cut. It features a regular, straight-leg fit and we’re particularly keen on the raw indigo version, which will fade beautifully and mould itself to your form over time.

Nudie Jeans jerry dry ring jacket

Swedish denim brand Nudie is on a mission to make wearing and repairing the norm. The label’s founder is a firm believer that denim products take on character with every wear and that fixing worn-out garments is far superior to buying new ones. That’s why all of Nudie’s stores offer in-house repairs and alterations, and it’s one of the reasons we love the label so much.

When it comes to jeans, the brand offers a wide selection of fits, but we’re particularly fond of its denim jackets. This one is spun from organic cotton and features a nice relaxed cut for easy layering. It’s a classic, timeless piece and something you’ll find yourself reaching for season after season.

Edwin regular tapered made in Japan jeans

Denim-mania hit Japan in the Fifties, but the machinery at Edwin’s Tokyo factory had already rumbled into action years before. Today, Edwin is one of the leading names in denim, responsible for inventing industry-shaping production techniques such as stone washing, and creating some of the best premium jeans on the market.

These off-white jeans are made using 13oz, undyed, rainbow-selvedge denim, and feature a classic cut with a slight taper from the knee to the leg opening. Blue jeans are all well and good, but lighter shades are often neglected, which is why these make such a valuable addition to your wardrobe.

Everlane the relaxed 4-way stretch jeans

Everlane is another direct-to-consumer brand with a commitment to sustainability and pricing transparency. The American label makes simple wardrobe staples at wallet-friendly prices and even offers comparisons on the website to show you what a product made to the same standards might cost elsewhere. Spoiler alert: it’s always significantly more.

These relaxed-fit jeans are one of Everlane’s “uniform” pieces, meaning they’re the sort of thing you can call on every day and wear across a wide range of outfits. They’re made with a degree of elasticity built in for added comfort and they’re even backed by a 365-day guarantee.

Uniqlo selvedge regular-fit jeans

Japanese high-street retailer Uniqlo is a one-stop shop for all of your wardrobe basics and denim is one thing it does particularly well. Take these outrageously cheap selvedge jeans, for example.

Selvedge is the name given to a breed of denim where the rough edges of the fabric are neatly finished with a subtle white and red line. It’s usually expensive, but Uniqlo is the one place where it’s possible to get a slice of the action at a reasonable price. Trust us, we’ve sampled a lot of jeans and this is as good as it gets for less than £50.

Carhartt L/S civil shirt

Carhartt is a brand known for its long history in workwear, and what is denim if not the ultimate workwear fabric? No surprise, then, that this American label makes some seriously nice denim goods, and the options available through the Carhartt WIP line have the added benefit of coming with a bit of street cred to boot.

This denim shirt is super simple, with a button-down collar and a single pocket on the chest. It’s made from stretch denim for increased comfort and has a regular fit which means it won’t go out of style easily. It’s a great layering piece from a name that’s synonymous with quality.

Cos regular-fit jeans

Fashiony types don’t tend to shop on the high street, but when they do you’ll most likely find them pawing through the rails at Cos. The Scandi brand’s fashion-forward designs and minimalist aesthetic have made it the go-to for style-conscious shoppers and jeans are one of the many things it does brilliantly.

With a regular fit and washed-indigo colour, this pair isn’t going out of style anytime soon. We love the timeless cut and the taper to the leg is just right. They’re great value too – at £59, they’re relatively accessible and the quality on offer is worth every penny.

The verdict: Denim brands for men

Made in Italy from proper Japanese denim and with a fit that puts jeans twice the price to shame, it’s impossible to fault Asket’s jeans for the money, which is why the brand is our best buy. If you’re looking to spend a little more, we’d recommend checking out A.P.C. too.

When jeans and a tee just won’t do, try one of these best men’s suits that are suitable for every budget and occasion

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