As much as we cosign the wearing of uniform-wash denim with everything in your closet, every guy should have a pair of distressed, broken-in jeans at the ready in his wardrobe. They’re the appropriately chill choice for times like, well, right now, when the weather is warm and your wardrobe is more relaxed. But when it comes to old-looking jeans, you want to make sure they look worn and cool, not outdated. So here’s what you want to look out for:
Ricky Gervais isn’t quite in George Clooney territory with his pair but they’re still on the wrong side of vintage. For one, the rise looks like it’s about two-inches too long—a telltale sign of dad denim—and the bagginess through the calf and ankle is too generous for its own good. And when it comes to the all-important wash, his pair doesn’t have much depth or character—it’s the kind of stone-washed blue that plagues piles of jeans in discount stores everywhere.
Which brings us to Zachary Quinto and Miles McMillan, stylish New York couple, wearing old jeans that don’t look outdated. Notice the darker, truer indigo wash on each of their pairs and the way each is cut a bit slimmer throughout the leg than what Gervais has on. The length of McMillan’s jeans in particular is perfect; they just skim the tops of his shoes with practically zero break to speak of.
It certainly helps that Quinto and McMillan finished things off with simple, modern sneakers. The only thing worse than dad jeans is dad shoes.
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