Denim Jeans for Men: A Guide

There are a few simple pleasures a man has in life: his family, his morning coffee, and his first quality pair of denim jeans. Seriously though, there is nothing more reliable than a well-fitted, high-quality pair of denim. Having a go-to pair in your arsenal is crucial to your style.

Denim jeans have stood the test of time, and for good reason. They’re versatile, rugged, and, when worn with the right outfit, incredibly sharp. In this guide to denim jeans, I’ll walk you through what washes you should be wearing, what clothes you should wear denim with, how to take care of your denim, and we’ll wrap with a few outfit examples you can wear home with you. Ready? 

The Wash

Left to Right: Light, Mid, Dark, Grey, Black

The wash of your denim refers to its level of darkness — the amount of dye remaining — and its base dye color. After denim is dyed, it goes through a washing process to give it the desired fade — light, medium, or dark. If you’ve owned a pair of denim jeans for some time, you’ll notice that it gets lighter each time you wash it. This is why you should only wash your dark denim sparingly if you want to keep that rich, dark color. When it comes to the base dye color of the denim, there are two popular choices: indigo and black dye.

Indigo Dye and its Washes (Light/Mid/Dark)

Out of the two main dye colors, indigo is the more popular of the two. With an indigo-dyed pair of denim jeans, you will come across three main washes: light, mid, and dark. Each wash goes through a standard washing process. While it’s a very technical process, the best summary of it is that the more washing denim jeans go through, the lighter they turn out. 

Black Dye and its Washes

When you look at black- and grey-wash denim, it’s really not that different from dark- and mid-wash denim. The only difference between black-dyed denim and indigo-dyed denim is, you guessed it, the dye used in the process. 

Styling Denim Jeans

Denim is typically worn in more casual settings, though there are a few instances where putting on a pair of solid, dark jeans or a jacket is a great way to stand out. 

Casual

Washes: Mid and Light Indigo, Grey

Pairings: T-shirts, Henleys, Polos, Button-down shirts

Smart Casual

Washes: Dark Indigo, Black, and Grey

Pairings: T-shirts, Button-down shirts, Blazer

Check out our guide to Smart Casual.

Business Casual

Washes: Dark and Mid Indigo, Black

Pairings: Button-down shirts, Dress shirts, Blazer

Check out our guide to Business Casual.

Taking care of denim jeans

Before I launch into our denim care guide tips, the most important thing you can do is read the care label. For help, here is a quick diagram on what some of the most common symbols mean:

Courtesy: Burton

(In order: 40 degree single bar, Do not use bleach, One dot tumble dry, 3 dot iron, Do not dry clean)

The General Rules:

  • Turn inside out pre-wash
    • Most dye on denim is present on the outside, so turning your denim jeans inside out will prevent fading.
  • Don’t overload your washer
    • Denim is a heavy fabric, which can reduce the effectiveness of the washing process when loaded with too many other clothes. 
  • Wash before you wear (for darker denim)
    • Dark indigo or black denim may rub off on your legs, so it’s best to let the washer get rid of any excess dye before you wear your jeans. 
  • Hang dry
    • Dryers can shrink your denim as well as aid the fading process. By hang drying your denim, you can avoid unnecessary wear and tear. 

Check out our full clothing care guide for men.

All things considered, you can’t go wrong wearing a nice pair of denim jeans. They’re considered one of the most versatile pieces of clothing for a reason. Having a couple of different washes in your wardrobe will give you a great variety to choose from and get you one step closer to the perfect outfit for any occasion.

Shop our denim

Business Casual for Men: A Guide

Business casual attire is the perfect medium-ground for any formality requiring a more formal dress but not suit & tie. It’s a flexible formality that allows jeans, but it’s not casual enough to accomodate sneakers. A good go-to business casual outfit can be a pair of dark denim jeans, wingtips, dress shirt, and a wool blazer over top.

A few key factors to consider when deciding on whether or not you should be in business casual are the location, context, and occasion of the event you’re attending. If you’re attending a professional event outside of work hours, then opting for a more casual look with a pair of jeans will do the trick. However, if you’re networking for your business and want to impress fellow attendees, you’ll want to wear chinos and a blazer.

The Wardrobe

  • Dark Denim Jeans
    • Wearing dark denim jeans in a business casual typically means you’re leaning more towards casual than business, but as long as your jeans are made of dark denim (either navy or black), then you’re in the clear. Dark denim is a staple in American workwear, and so it rightfully belongs in a man’s wardrobe.
  • Chinos
    • Chinos are traditionally a business casual pant, so they’re a great option for a business casual outfit. They’re a versatile piece of clothing that will allow you to pair it with any of the following tops. 
  • Shirts
    • Either dress shirts or button-down shirts will work here. Depending on the rest of your outfit, you can choose what kind of shirt to wear to balance out the rest of your look. Opt for neutral colors if you want to stay traditional.
  • Sweaters
    • Sweaters are a great way to layer your look as well as bring it up a notch from a traditional suit & tie. There are multiple styles, such as crew neck, v-neck, and quarter-zip sweaters. 
  • Blazer
    • Wearing a blazer is an important part of business casual. It’s the clothing item that will elevate your look, regardless of what else you have on. 
  • Bonus: Shoes
    • When it comes to the shoes you wear for a business casual outfit, it’s best to stick with dress shoes. Sneakers are too casual, no matter how polished and fancy they look. Unless you’re trying to make a fashion statement, I’d suggest staying away from wearing sneakers and opting for more dress type shoes, such as wingtips or cap-toe dress shoes. Refer to our Shoe Guide for this one.

Outfit Ideas

Winter Business Casual

This style of outfit is great for the colder occasions where you want to layer up but still look stylish. Notice here he’s wearing a turtleneck sweater with a blazer-style jacket over top. This allows him to transition to a smart casual attire if needed.

Modern Business Casual

This is a great day business casual outfit, where you can see a good usage of neutral colors with a nice dotted shirt pattern. The popped collar is a choice you have to make for yourself, but take the occasion you’re attending in mind when choosing your accessories.

Conservative Business Casual

This is a picture-perfect description of business casual. A fitted and tapered pair of dress pants accompanies a tan blazer and light blue dress shirt. Notice the brown dress shoes and matching belt.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does business casual mean?

Business casual is a style of attire that is a professionally acceptable alternative to a suit & tie. Depending on your profession, business casual is actually preferred over a suit & tie while still being formal enough to presently oneself accordingly.

Can I wear jeans in business casual?

Yes, however, they should be made from dark denim. This is because darker-colored denim is widely regarded as more formal than lighter-colored denim.

What should I wear business casual for?

Depending on your profession, it may be acceptable to wear business casual attire to your workplace. Otherwise, it is typically appropriate for work-related events such as happy hours, conferences, and interviews.

Can I wear sneakers for business casual?

No. Sneakers are considered to be too casual for a business setting.

What is business casual, really?

Business casual is the go-to formality option for events and situations that require a more formal setting than a typical gathering, but less formal setting than a typical business affair. Examples of events where business casual is appropriate at are company happy hours, networking events, conferences, and seminars.

Check out these business casual products:

Chinos for Short Men

This is a guest post written by Style Crew ambassador, Ivan Martinez. 

Chinos are one of the most important pieces in a man’s wardrobe. They’re a great choice for an elevated casual look, and they’re incredibly versatile. Dressed up or down, chinos are a staple piece in a sharply dressed man’s wardrobe. 

Where Did Chinos Come From?

Like many menswear pieces, chinos come from a military background. The first known use of chinos was during the Spanish American War when they were part of the Army’s uniform. The cotton they used to make the pants was imported from China, which, funnily enough, would be how they came up with the name “chino” (chino is Spanish for Chinese). 

Common Fit Mistakes

Mistake #1: Too Long

The most common mistake men make with their pants’ size is wearing pants that are too long. You can tell if your pants are too long by how many breaks there are at your ankle. If there is more than one full break, then your pants are too long. 

Mistake #2: Too Baggy

Another common mistake men make is not wearing the proper cut of pants. There are many types of cuts such as regular, slim, and skinny, and our suggestion is to wear a cut that surrounds your legs but doesn’t constrict your movement. For most, a slim tapered cut will work wonders. 

Mistake #3: Wrong Proportions

For us shorter men, buying clothes just to have them altered at the tailor is the go-to fix to a common problem. But for some of us, this isn’t actually solving the problem! Pants are constructed for the taller man (over 5’8”), so a simple hem won’t change the foundation of the pants. Taller men have longer legs, so the knee area, pockets, rise, etc are constructed with those proportions in mind. If you’re 5’5” and you wear pants that have proportions designed for a man who’s 5’9”, it looks wrong. 

Mistake #4: Quality of Material

The material that chinos are made of is an important factor in how long they last. When you skimp on quality, you’ll inevitably find yourself paying more in the long run because you’ll end up buying more pairs. The higher quality chinos you buy, the longer they’ll last you.    

Wearing and Styling Chinos

Casual

Here I wore a white t-shirt and a wool sweater with some green chinos and casual sneakers. This is a great look for a normal day out on the town running errands. 

Featured:  Crew Neck TeeCrew Neck SweaterChinos

Business Casual

Here is another Ash & Erie model in a great business casual outfit. Khaki chinos with a quarter-zip sweater and button-down oxford shirt make for a great combo.
 
Featured:  Blue Oxford ShirtQuarter-Zip SweaterKhaki Chinos

Smart Casual

Here I paired the khaki chinos with a few extra layers — a v-neck sweater and a blazer. I also decided to add a bright colored tie and pocket square to accessorize the look. This is a great smart casual outfit if you want to look put-together but add a fashionable spin to your outfit. 

Featured:  Dress ShirtV-Neck SweaterKhaki Chinos

The greatest part of Ash & Erie is not only the great fit but the abundance of options when it comes to your inseam. No matter your height or style it’s tough to find an inseam that fits you off the rack and most times you need to take pants in for tailoring, so not only are you paying to purchase the pants, you also have to pay a tailor for the fit that you initially wanted. Don’t spend more than you have to or the perfect fit gents.

Ivan Martinez is a men’s lifestyle and style blogger based out of Minneapolis, MN. Ivan’s personal style is focused on highlighting classic, timeless pieces and adding in a twist of modern fashion.

Check out his page here: @iammrmartinez

The Ash & Erie Difference

Building From Scratch

We’ve poured a tremendous amount of work into developing our chinos, and we hope you can feel the difference when you put it on. We work with great mills to source our cotton, and our development process is unmatched. 

How to Wear a Henley Shirt

What is a Henley?

Henley shirts are a stylistic choice for many, and when pulled off correctly, they elevate your style a few notches. Henleys are a versatile fashion choice that can be worn for a diverse set of occasions. They can also be worn alone or layered for a more polished look.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through what a henley is, how it should fit, and how you can style it. 

The Henley — How it should fit

Neck

The neck of your henley should never be tight enough to constrict your breathing, but it shouldn’t be so loose as to be considered a “scoop” neck either. A well-fitting henley’s neck portion should be in close diameter to the width of your neck. Henleys do have a placket, however, which means you can button or unbutton as many or as few buttons as you want. The number of buttons you choose to have buttoned/unbuttoned is a choice of preference, but we suggest unbuttoning one button.

Body Length

The body length of a henley should end around the middle portion of your pants’ fly, and it should do this with minimal, if any, bunching. 

Sleeves

While there are some henleys that are short sleeves, we’re choosing to discuss long sleeve henleys. As with any long sleeve, the sleeves should end near your wrists where your wrist meets your hand. There should be minimal bunching as well.  


Fabric

One last factor to take into consideration is the fabric of the henley itself. The fabric is important because the material dictates the stretch factor of the shirt as well as the durability. With the right fabric, your henley will retain its fit through many washes.

Common Fit Mistakes

Common Fit Mistake #1: Body length is too long 

The body length is one of the most important pieces of a henley to get right. If the henley is too long in the body, then bunching will occur and it will make you look shorter.

Common Fit Mistake #2: Sleeves are too long

Along with the body, the sleeve length is another important aspect of your henleys’ fit. If the sleeve length is too long, then the sleeves themselves will bunch up and look unkempt. 

Common Fit Mistake #3: Proportions are wrong

Most henleys are designed for men with the average height of 5’10”. Even with smaller sizes, the proportions aren’t very complimentary for shorter men. 

Common Fit Mistake #4: It’s not good quality

Great quality clothing lasts a long time, and more importantly it holds its fit over time. Choosing a henley that isn’t made of quality material may not prove to be a mistake in the short term, but over time it will wear out and you’ll have to repeat the buying process all over again. We suggest making the investment in a henley made from quality material sooner, rather than later.

The Ash & Erie Difference

Building From Scratch

We’ve poured a tremendous amount of work into developing our henleys, and we hope you can feel the difference when you put it on. Our fabric is sourced from the best mills in the country so that you can have the quality you deserve.

Shirts for Short Men

This is Ash & Erie’s official guide to how a casual, untucked shirt should fit. In this guide, we’ll be specifically talking about the fit of collared button-downs.

The right casual button-down makes the perfect choice for many of the social and professional functions in our lives. We wear shirts to work, to happy hour, to dinner, and more. We can dress our shirts up to be more formal, or we can dress them down to be more casual. Either way, our wardrobes would feel incomplete without the presence of a well-fitting button-down.

A shirt should fit well in four different aspects:
1. Chest
2. Shoulders
3. Body Length
4. Sleeve Length

There are other measurements, of course, but we find these four to be the main concerns when it comes to how a shirt should fit.

The Anatomy of a Shirt

Chest

The chest of a shirt is often the most important measurement to take into consideration. The fit around your chest should be tight enough to provide a clean look, but loose enough where you still have room to breathe, move around, and feel comfortable. Some men prefer an even tighter or looser fit, but most men want something in the middle.

Shoulders

The shoulders of a shirt are also very important. Even the most skilled tailors in the world can’t fix a shirt with bad-fitting shoulders. The shoulder seam should fall right where your arm meets your torso (the acromion bone).

Body Length

The body length of a shirt is probably the most common issue for us short men. Depending on the type of shirt you wear, the body length you’ll want will be different. For an untucked casual shirt, your hem should fall near the middle of your fly. When standing up straight with your hands by your side, your shirt is too short if you can see your belt and too long if it goes past the bottom of your fly.

Sleeve Length

The sleeve length on a shirt is another very common issue for short men. As a general rule, your sleeve should end right where your wrist meets your hand. When it comes to the width of your cuff, you should aim for a sleeve cuff that gives you enough room to be comfortable and fit a watch without being too wide. 

Common Fit Mistakes

Long sleeves

The most common mistake we see men make when it comes to wearing a shirt is having sleeves that are too long. This is the most common mistake because shirts aren’t made for the frame of a shorter man. Typical sleeve lengths on shirts run an inch or two long, depending on your arm length. 

Baggy sleeves

Another common mistake men make is having sleeves that are too baggy. This is more avoidable since shirts come with different cuts like slim and standard, but it’s a common mistake nonetheless. We recommend about an inch of room between the shirt and your arm, since you don’t want the sleeves to be too tight either.

Body is too long

The next common mistake men make is having a buttondown’s body length too long. This is another common mistake due to the fact that most shirts are made with men of a taller stature in mind who have longer torsos.

Quality of material

One common fit mistake we don’t want you to make is being cheap when it comes to the material of your shirts. The quality of shirt will decide how long you’ll keep the shirt. The better the material, the longer it’ll last.

The Ash & Erie Everyday Shirt

Thoughtfully Crafted Design

When we designed our Everyday Shirts, we looked at hundreds of details to design a perfect fit from the ground up. From our collar size and shape, armhole, cuff width, tail drop, and more, we’ve come up with the best possible shirt for shorter men.

We’re constantly tweaking our fit and coming out with new products every season, so check out a few of our shirts below and give them a try!

Jeans for Short Men

This is the official Ash & Erie guide on how jeans should fit a shorter man. We’ve thoughtfully curated advice from style experts to provide you an in-depth guide that will help you feel confident in your next jeans purchase.

For us shorter men, buying a new pair of jeans is always a challenge. Let’s face it — modern-day jeans weren’t made with our stature in mind. For that reason, we decided to completely redesign the jean from scratch. We tested over 100 different measurements and combinations to come up with the perfect size and fit for the shorter man.

But enough about us. Let’s talk about jeans.

How Jeans Should Fit

For us shorter men, buying a new pair of jeans is always a challenge. Let’s face it — modern-day jeans weren’t made with our stature in mind. For that reason, we decided to completely redesign the jean from scratch. We tested over 100 different measurements and combinations to come up with the perfect size and fit for the shorter man.

But enough about us. Let’s talk about jeans. As a general rule, jeans should fit two main measurements: your waist size and leg length/inseam.

That’s why, when you look at any brand, they offer selection by waist and length — W and L. But for us short men, waist isn’t typically the problem — length is.

Length

Our legs are proportionately different than our taller friends. While our waist might be the same as someone who’s over 6 feet tall, our legs are almost always shorter. For instance, when’s the last time you saw a big denim brand like Levi’s offer length sizes shorter than 28L? Or even 30L? It just doesn’t happen.

An easy way to think about jean length is where the bottom of your jeans lands on your leg and how much of a “break” there is.

What is a break?

A break is essentially how much bunching there is in your jeans. You can have lots of bunching, in which there are multiple breaks, or you can have no bunching at all, in which there is no break. The number of breaks comes down to personal preference, but we suggest somewhere between no break and one full break, with a half break being the best choice for most men.

You also have the option to cuff your jeans. While most men prefer a clean, straight hem, some enjoy a cuff. Depending on your overall style and outfit, cuffing is a great option, but it should be an intentional choice and not something done just because your pants are too long.

Waist

Waist is pretty easy. The waist should be snug, but not too tight. The perfectly fitting waist would hug close to your body, which would allow you to wear them without needing a belt to hold them up. 

Rise

Rise isn’t typically something a lot of us think about, but it’s important to consider for our own style preferences. The rise of a pair of jeans determines where the waistband sits on your body. If it’s a low-rise pair of jeans, it will sit farther down and end up closer to your hip bones. High-rise jeans sit higher up and will land closer to your navel.

Generally speaking, a standard or normal rise looks best on most men, and we recommend a rise that isn’t too low or high.

Cut

This is something you’re likely more familiar with, as the cut of a pair of jeans is a more common selection. The most common cuts are Skinny, Slim, Straight, Regular, and Relaxed. Choosing a cut depends on your personal preference, but we recommend using a cut that lays closer to your legs, but not isn’t skin tight. For most men, this will be the Slim cut.

Generally speaking, the baggier the jean, the sloppier it looks. The slimmer the cut, the more it will compliment your frame and legs.

Fabric

One last factor to take into consideration is the fabric of the jeans itself. Fabric is important because the material will affect how jeans crease, move, and feel. The best denim fabric has a combination of durable cotton and elastane or other material that provides some stretch. With the right fabric, your jeans will provide a slim look, a soft feel that moves with you, and a durability that will last.

Common Fit Mistakes

Your jeans are too long!

The biggest mistake most men make is not realizing their jeans are too long! Typically, the shortest inseam a brand sells is 30L, so most men resort to buying from those brands without realizing there are better options.

Tailoring your jeans (getting them hemmed) is certainly an option, but for most short men, it doesn’t work. While hemming jeans can provide the right length, it increases the leg opening and changes proportions in a way that typically doesn’t look good. You also lose the natural hem and can see when a cuff has been tailored.

Your jeans are too baggy!

Most short men wear a cut that’s too baggy for their own good. When you wear baggy jeans, it makes you look shorter. You probably don’t want that. 

Wrong Proportions

Most brands design their proportions around the average height of 5’10” or above. So, even though your jeans might fit in the waist, the proportions are off and you find issues like the knee on the jeans is where your shins are, the pockets sit too low on your legs, and the rise is too long for a shorter frame.

Quality of Material

Choosing the best quality of denim often means double checking what the material is made of and making sure it’s up to par with your standards. The fabric that a pair of jeans is made of will influence its longevity, which, in turn, will influence how much usage you get out of them. In other words, the higher quality material your jeans are made of, the longer they’ll last you.

The Ash & Erie Essential Jean

Building from scratch

When we set out to make a better jean for short men, we had to start completely from scratch. We worked with an expert designer, fit our samples on hundreds of shorter men, and worked with dozens of mills and manufacturers to redesign the perfect pair of jeans for men of a shorter height. Our goal is to put your tailor out of business (just kidding).

How a Polo Shirt Should Fit

Polo Shirt Fit Guide

This is Ash & Erie’s official guide to how a polo shirt should fit. Worn in a variety of settings, the polo shirt is a versatile piece of clothing that you can wear to work, a party, or even the tennis court.

Polo shirts are what would happen if t-shirts decided to get fancy and level up. What used to be the representation of elite fashion, polo shirts have evolved to become much more of a staple in the everyday man’s closet. As such, there are a few key rules on how a polo shirt should fit.

In this guide, we’ll go over the main ones, but first, let’s go over the most common mistakes men make when wearing a polo shirt.

Common Fit Mistakes

As with most shirts, the body length of a polo is typically too long. Most polos (and clothes) are made for taller men, so they end up looking too long and make the person wearing it look shorter. Sleeve length is similar, where a sleeve that is too long will make arms look shorter than they are as well.

Another mistake men make is by having a baggy fit. A little bit of space between the shirt and your body is great, but if you overdo it, it ends up looking like you’re wearing a polo shirt two sizes too big. Whatever your body type, you want your polo to compliment your shape. This often means opting for a slimmer cut than what you would normally go with.

Long Sleeves

The sleeve of a polo shirt should end in the middle of your upper arm, about an inch or two below where your shoulder meets your biceps. Any longer than this length isn’t preferable, but it’s a point of preference. We generally suggest that if you have “guns,” then show them off! 

Body is Too Long

Another mistake men make when wearing polos is wearing one where the body length is too long. Polos made by larger companies are generally made with the average height (5’10”) in mind, which makes a polo’s body length too long for us shorter men. 

Baggy Fit

The next common fit mistake is a baggy fit. Polos usually don’t have a Slim or Standard option, so this mistake comes down to the size of the polo you buy. While you don’t want your polo to be tight and restrictive, you want it to hug and compliment your body. 

Quality of Material

Since a polo shirt is a knit item, the material it’s made of will impact how much it will stretch, how many washes it will last, and generally how durable the shirt itself is. We don’t suggest skimping on the quality of your polo. 

The Anatomy of a Polo Shirt

The Neck

The neck of a polo shirt is usually worn with at least the top button unbuttoned, so when shopping for a polo shirt, you don’t have to worry about neck size as much as you normally would when it comes to a dress shirt.

The Shoulders

The shoulders of a polo shirt should be right in line with your shoulder bone. This is how you’re able to tell if a polo shirt is too big or small for your body. If this isn’t the case, it’s a very difficult alteration to make. We suggest getting this part of the fit right so that you don’t have to deal with any returns. 

Body Length

This is the part of the polo shirt where you don’t want it to be too long. Most polos – and clothes in general – are made for taller men, so your polo will look too long and sloppy without any alterations. Polos are usually worn untucked, so you want to avoid any bunching that may happen due to a length that is too long. The bottom of your polo shirt should end around the midpoint of your pants zipper. If it’s too long, your polo will start to bunch up. If it’s too short, it won’t look flattering, even on us shorter men.

The Arms

As with a t-shirt, the arms of the polo shirt should fit well in both its width and length. While you don’t want the arms of your shirt to be restrictive, you also don’t want the width to be so baggy that it ends up making your arms look super skinny. When it comes to the length, the sleeves should end around the midpoint of your upper arm. 

The Ash & Erie Everyday Polo

Thoughtfully Crafted Design

When it comes to the fit of a polo shirt (especially for short men), we take great pride in our polo shirt development process and can confidently say we’ve made the best fitting polo shirt for short men.

We sought out and worked with the world’s top mills for our fabric, and we’ve gone through months of development to craft what we believe to be the best fitting polo shirt out there.

Sporting many different colors, our selection of polo shirts for short men is available here: