How to wear jeans

Lynnette Peck / 22 October 2015

Age is not a reason to wear or not wear the world’s most popular garment. Read our guide to the most flattering fit and colour for mature men.

Jeans have been around since 1873 when Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis obtained a U.S. patent on the process of putting rivets in men’s work trousers for the very first time. They go in and out of fashion and were popular as flares in the 1970s, were a skinny fit in the 1980s and then back to baggy in the 1990s.

Currently the classic fit of dark jeans, in a straight style, is de rigueur and this is good news for non-teenagers.

The key to wearing jeans is that they fit and we mean properly fit - they must not sag in the seat or crotch and they mustn’t flare out.

The 9 rules of good jeans for mature men

  1. Avoid patches, distressed or ripped jeans and wear jeans in a solid colour – darker is more flattering.

  2. Opt for ‘slim’ or ‘straight’ fit jeans – leave the ‘skinny’ fit to teenagers.

  3. The ‘rise’ (the distance from the bottom of the crotch to the button) is very important. Avoid ‘low rise’ as they make legs appear shorter and instead go for ‘classic’.

  4. Keep rivets and stitching to minimum.

  5. Limit pockets to five.

  6. Make sure the inside leg is long enough - you can’t lengthen them if they are too short but you can hem ones that are too long.

  7. Pay attention to the width of the bottom of the jeans. They come in different varieties including boot-cut, tapered, skinny and straight leg (the one to go for).

  8. The best shoes to wear with jeans are the classic brogues – it will keep your look age-appropriate.

  9. Dark denim should be washed as little as possible to stop the dye bleeding and to maintain the quality. This is especially true for more expensive jeans made of raw or selvedge denim.

What the fashion expert says about men’s jeans

Fashion journalist and novelist Maggie Alderson: “I don’t think there’s any upper age limit on jeans. I think a darker wash looks better on everyone and it should be compulsory (by law) to wear a belt with jeans.

Choose the most classic style, no funny business and above all avoid the big Granddad Jeans mistake - which is ironing them.

When they’re washed, just smooth them down and store them flat, folded. They’re not meant to look like suit trousers. So stay away from the trouser press...”

Our top five jeans

1. Men’s Regular Fit Jeans, £39.90,

2. Huit Jeans The Work@ Organic Regular Fit, £135,

3. M&S Collection Regular Fit Stretch Jeans in Indigo, £39.50,

5. The Jean Machine J.M-2 Straight in Black, £145,

2. Levi's Line 8 522 Indigo Slim Taper Jean, £65, 

Please note: prices and website addresses were correct at the time of publication.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.