The best white jeans for men are more like the best jeans, period—and no matter what time of year it is, they’re always in style. The misbegotten notion that denim of any color should be relegated to the brief period between major national holidays? Forget it. When we say that white jeans are jeans first, and you can wear them from the dog days of summer to the doldrums of winter, we mean it.
Which is good news, because there’s never been a better time to buy a pair. You could start with Levi’s—the first name in capital-J Jeans of every kind—but do enough digging and you’ll also encounter myriad options from brands big and small, each with something slightly different to say. As for how to wear them? Easy: white always looks great with more white, whether you’re reaching for a crisp white fresh tee from the cleaners or your most tattered, stage dive-ready vintage joint. And just like your favorite pair of chinos, white jeans sync up seamlessly with loafers, especially if the loafers involved take full advantage of footwear’s wild-style moment. (That said, white jeans with black loafers? Easy money all year long.)
To help you kick those outdated sartorial conventions to the curb, we rounded up the absolute best white jeans for men on the market right now. No matter when you decide to break ’em out—or in the case of those heavyweight selvedge options, break ’em in—they’re going to look killer long after Labor Day’s passed.
The Classic Pick
There’s simply nothing wrong with a pair of 501s, no matter how you slice it. The fit? Always in style, straight down from the hip. The quality? Guaranteed to last you through the next four hypo cycles, at least. The color? A crisp white that you can dress up with a blazer, or throw caution to the wind and let Mother Nature add its own patina to. And at less than $50, you can afford to re-up should you encounter some rogue BBQ sauce at your next summertime throw down.
The Stretchy Pick
Some stretch jeans can veer into unintentional jeggings territory, but these Japanese selvedge joints from the Americana masters at Todd Snyder are decidedly not skinny. The trim thigh tapers elegantly down to the ankle, a sophisticated, slim-but-not-too-slim cut ideal for what we like to call “first impression flexing.” You’ll stand out from the blue jean masses without scaring anyone off by coming in too swervy right from the jump.
The Bootcut Pick
Yes, bootcut jeans are back. But before you toss on two polos and stock up on hair gel, know that the version we’re talking about here isn’t anything like the ones you probably remember from the turn of the millennium. Instead, they’re hacked off at the ankle, lending them a ’70s-inspired DIY vibe. (They also come courtesy of Jonathan Anderson, menswear’s foremost craft-oriented designer—at a noticeably un-designer price.) At just 30 bucks, they’re a golden—or is it ecru?—opportunity to embrace the new wave of boot -ready bottoms without committing to a ramen diet for the rest of the month.
The Denim Fanatic Pick
It’s common knowledge in the denim community that Japanese-made jeans are just better. To this day, a big chunk of the brands making jeans on the old-fashioned shuttle looms denimheads freak for hail from Japan, and Orslow is one of the best of the bunch. Their weighty 13.5 oz selvedge option calls for some breaking in, but once it does you’ll notice the difference. Small details like oxidized copper rivets nod to the glorious heyday of heritage menswear, even if you’re the only one who appreciates them.
The Artfully-Distressed Pick
The most important thing to remember when buying ripped jeans is to not overdo it: a good pair should look like you’ve owned them for years. Enter Frame’s subtly-distressed version, which incorporates a single, solitary hole placed just-so by the knee and…not much else. The slim fit makes these an especially solid option for taller guys looking for pants that temper the crispiness of white denim with a little vintage edge.
The Not-Quite-White Pick
Okay, so maybe coke-white jeans are just a little too bright for you. We get it. That’s where J.Crew’s off-white option (the brand calls this color “charred stone”) comes in. They boast all the same elements you’d want from their chalky counterparts, from the simple 5-pocket design to the “works on everyone” straight fit, in a shade of ecru that’s a touch less blinding.
The Baggy Pick
The rumors are true: the denim market, once dominated by slim (even skinny!) silhouettes, has now largely swung the other way. Loose-fitting jeans rule the day. Don’t get it twisted, though—embracing bagginess doesn’t have to mean going full JNCO. The secret to nailing the look? Cop a pair of jeans cut like these, and pair ’em with a body-hugging knit or a trim white tee, just like cool guys have been doing since, well, forever.