I’m someone who tries to live a sustainable, minimalist life, but still wants to be stylish on any occasion. This can be hard to balance, especially with jeans. I used to have way too many jeans, but I found the sweet spot with four pairs of jeans.
Most people need three to four pairs of jeans. This strikes the perfect balance between a sustainable and minimalist lifestyle and having jeans for every occasion. Rather than having multiple pairs in the same style, diversifying your jean collection means fewer pairs and more options.
Read below for the best pairs of jeans for men and women to have in their closets. Every pair suggested below is from a sustainable denim brand, so you can be sure that your closet is filled with eco-friendly clothing.
How Many Jeans Should a Woman Own?
There’s no one right answer to this question. The average woman owns about seven pairs of jeans. But even when I owned so many pairs of jeans, I could usually never find that single pair that worked wherever I was going.
That’s why I transitioned to a more minimalist wardrobe. I only buy and keep clothing that is comfortable, fit perfectly, and can be worn for a variety of occasions.
Below you’ll find the four styles of jeans I recommend having for women:
1. Regular Blue Jeans
This is going to be your most basic pair of jeans. Picking blue denim with a good amount of stretch means you can wear them at any point of the month without having to worry about bloating or weight fluctuation.
Your go-to pair of blue jeans should be a medium wash because it’s the most timeless and can be worn casually or more dressed up. Light blue wash can be too casual or dated right away. A skinny or straight leg fit is the most versatile.
Something like the Outland Denim Lucy in New Blue is ideal. It’s made of organic cotton with ethical production and can be worn just as easily to a nice dinner or with a casual look.
2. Regular Black Jeans
Black jeans are the most versatile pair in your wardrobe. They can be worn as work pants, date night pants, and casual hanging out pants.
Picking black jeans in a pure black, not faded wash, with a slim fit means you can rock them to work, dinner, or wherever else you need to go.
The Everlane Way-High Skinny Jean in Ash is a great pair for all occasions. Thanks to the soft organic cotton and EVERCO™ fabric, it’s comfortable enough to be at your desk all day.
3. Messy Jeans
This pair of jeans is perfect for days spent running around. Instead of spoiling your nice jeans, this pair are comfy throw-on jeans that can take a beating because you only wear them when you’re going to get messy.
The best option for these jeans is old jeans that still fit comfortably. However, if you’re looking to purchase a good pair, a boyfriend jean is a great choice because they’re loose-fitting and super comfy.
The G-Star Raw Kate Boyfriend Jean has a relaxed fit and lower waist. Plus, bonus points for having usable pockets!
4. Fashion Pair
If you still need another pair of jeans, this pair can be your fashion pair. Whether it be ripped jeans you can’t wear in front of your grandmother or a cut boot cut flare jeans, this pair is a more trendy piece.
For sustainability reasons, buying clothing that you won’t wear forever isn’t the best plan, so limit this to a pair you can wear in many different ways. One rule of thumb is to not buy an item of clothing unless you’ve been thinking about it for over two months. This usually weeds out trendier pieces that you can’t wear past their season.
I’ve been a big fan of the Ase High Rise Straight Jeans for a while because they’re not one of the classic styles, but still can be styled in a lot of different ways.
How Many Jeans Should a Man Own?
Men can get away with three pairs of jeans. If you’re looking to boost your wardrobe with more stylish, sustainable pieces, read below to find the three staple jeans every man should have in their wardrobe.
1. Slim Fit Everyday Jeans
Slim fit jeans are the perfect everyday jeans for men. It’s not as tight as a skinny and not as baggy as your dad’s favorite pair of Wranglers.
It’s the perfect tailored fit for date night, errands, and grabbing drinks with friends. It can even fit the dress code at a lot of workplaces, especially for casual Friday.
Warp + Weft’s AMS Slim Sleepwalker Jean are great everyday jeans that can be dressed up or worn casually.
2. Dark Wash Jeans
Dark blue jeans can be worn as dressy jeans or casual jeans depending on what you style them with. Everyone should have at least one pair of them.
Black or dark blue wash jeans are a great option for people who like to wear jeans every day because you can wear them with different shirts to create a whole new outfit. Something like the Ambassador Slim Fit Selvedge is perfect for dark wash jeans for casual and dressier places.
3. Messy Jeans
To save your nice jeans, you should have one pair of messy jeans. If you’re going to be doing anything like hiking, gardening, or painting, these are the pairs you wear and you don’t care what happens to them. It’s great to use an old pair of jeans for this.
If you’ve recently changed sizes or don’t have any jeans you’re willing to sacrifice, buying a new pair with looser fitting, thicker denim is ideal. Levi’s 505™ Regular Fit jeans are a classic for a reason–they’re comfy, durable, and available in a wide range of washes and sizes. Plus, they’re sustainable jeans that are priced accessibly.