How to Fit Jeans to Men's Body Types

by Gryphon Adams ; Updated September 28, 2017

Jeans that fit offer the benefit of looking as good as they feel. Styles change in regard to stitching, where the waist rides and leg shape. Selecting jeans that fit makes a style statement that works with any kind of jeans. The key is choosing jeans designed for the wearer's body type. Most manufactures offer a range of fits, though the terms vary. Assess the physique to match it with jeans that will make the kind of first impression that they're meant to.

Check the size on the wearer's best-fitting pair of jeans--your own if you're shopping for yourself, or his, if they're for someone else. Jeans are sized by waist and length. The first number is the waist, and the second is the length, for example: 34-36.

Assess your own or the wearer’s body type. Though the exact terms vary at different manufacturers and retailers, the fit classifications come down to slim for thin builds, average (the regular cut, no qualifiers), athletic (trim and muscular), and big or husky for thick builds.

Determine comfort preferences and the setting for the jeans. Some men prefer loose-fitting jeans. Jeans for work need to be roomier than jeans for going out to nightclubs. The Ohio State University Textiles and Clothing site advises that the terms “full-cut,” “relaxed fit” and “loose fit” refer to jeans cut wider in the seat and thigh.

Learn about body-flattering cuts. AskMen.com fashion correspondent Farah Averill recommends straight-legged, low-rise cuts for slender men; straight-legged or boot cut (with a more flared leg) jeans for lean men; wide-legged styles with small pockets for athletic men; and wide-legged jeans with large pockets for husky men.

Try on jeans designed for your body type (or have him try them on, if they are for someone else). Try jeans from different manufacturers. Choose the ones that flatter the body type. The jeans waist should meet the skin without digging in, and there should be enough room in the seat and legs to bend and change positions comfortably.


  • Because of size variations among manufacturers, measurements don't guarantee a good fit. Buy the size that looks and feels best; don’t get hung up on size numbers. One company’s waist 32 is another company’s waist 34. If you need to shop online or by catalog, look for information on jeans fit and cuts on manufacturers' and retailers' websites or in catalogs. Men with extra thickness at the waist wearing jeans cut for athletic or average builds put themselves at risk for calling more attention to the extra weight because of the bulge effect (also referred to as “muffin top”) of constricting the abdomen with jeans that don’t fit.

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About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.