The Power of Jeans: Four Rules to Upgrade Your Jeans to Business Class

November 18th, 2009

martin-osa-straight-leg-jean_111709Straight Leg Jean | $79.50 at Martin + Osa
Pair these impeccable dark rinse jeans with the right shoes and top, and you’ll be ready for the boardroom.

It’s not every day when the tech world starts a fashion trend - but power jeans aren’t just for Silicon Valley innovators anymore.  Though they’re still not accepted in certain industries (bankers remain wholeheartedly woolen), power jeans are becoming increasingly popular among elite business and political circles.  Even President Obama is wearing them.  But how do you elevate your jeans to business class?  We have four simple rules just for you.

Rule 1: Wear Your Jeans Dark
Generally speaking, the darker the color, the more formal the jean.  So when you’re wearing your weekend denim, only pull out your dark rinse jeans for work.  The plainer the jean, the better.  Save your acid wash, distressed, and embroidered (eek) jeans for the weekend.

Rule 2: Stick With Straight Leg Jeans
As for fit, you want to strike a balance between too loose and too tight.  Just like Goldilocks, you’re looking for something that’s just right.  Too loose, and you can be accused of wearing "dad jeans."  Too tight, and you’ll be accused of just the opposite.  Straight leg jeans work best; leave your skinny jeans and your bootleg jeans for the weekend. On a similar note, look for low-to-medium rise styles - no excessively low rise jeans for work, please.

Rule 3: Top Off Your Jeans With a Pressed Shirt
The idea here is to pair your jeans with an equivalently business-appropriate top. Button-down shirts (or cashmere turtlenecks) are de rigeur, and to ensure that the look is appropriately tailored, make sure that your woven shirts are pressed.  (But please don’t press your jeans - that’s a bit much.)  Top off the look with a fitted blazer - or a seasonally appropriate topcoat.

Rule 4: Finish Off Your Look With Good Shoes
To elevate your jeans to the boardroom, pair them with business-appropriate shoes - oxfords or other leather-soled shoes are a must.  No athletic shoes, no sandals, no flip flops.  And unless you’re working in Silicon Valley, or an equally casual culture, no sneakers.  

How do you wear your jeans to work?
  Share your style with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Men

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gary  |  November 18th, 2009 at 6:13 am

    Your suggestions are right on target, Trish. I have a couple of other ideas I use when wearing my jeans to work. I like to pair my dark rinse jeans with a plain white shirt (casual, like a J. Crew secret wash) and, if it’s cool outside, a lightweight cardigan. And I’m hardly ever without a pair of my trusty Clarks Desert Boots, which seem to go well with just about everything, including jeans (the suedes seem to work especially well with jeans). I tend also not to wear a belt with my jeans (feels a little too Dad jeans-ish to me with a belt).

    btw, I can recommend the J. Crew jeans, especially the dark rinse crinkle resins in vintage slim. These have a great finish, are slim but not skinny, and for the price (just under $100), made of very decent denim.

  • 2. Jim  |  November 18th, 2009 at 6:27 am

    I like the idea of mixing in dressier items with your jeans at work. Wing tips and boots seem to work better with jeans than my plain cap toe oxfords. I don’t know about the pressed shirt rule — I’ll wear a slightly ruffled button-down oxford with the top button left undone, a knit tie and a cardigan or v-neck.

    The other key is to make sure your jeans fit in the waist so you can tuck your shirt in.

  • 3. Gary  |  November 19th, 2009 at 6:18 am

    Re Jim, yes, waist should be snug enough to keep the shirt in without the need for a belt–but not too snug.

  • 4. Fan  |  November 30th, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Yes I follow the four rules, and I also like to tuck in the button down with an appropriate belt

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