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What are the best type of jeans for a man?

The question

What kind of jeans should I get?

The answer

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The answer to this totally depends on whether you have a beard. If you have a beard, you likely already know what kind of jeans you want: you want uniformly darkish, unwashed Japanese selvage denim, made into jeans by a small company with an amusing name, rather than by a giant manufacturer such as Calvin Klein or Guess.

You will be aware of the location of the company's factories and their labour practices (the word "ethical" will appear somewhere in their marketing.) You want the jeans quite plain, with not too much elaborate contrasting stitching, and you want them very narrow in the leg, especially the calf.

You want them hemmed so that they just touch the top of your shoe – or you will turn them up about an inch, just to show off the selvage along the seams.

You want to buy them just a little tight, because they are going to stretch about an inch in every direction, and they will not shrink because you are not going to wash them, ever –the blue dye comes out in hot water, so the jeans will fade and stain your other clothes. You will just wipe off smudges with a damp cloth.

You will spend more than $100 on them. (Note: You may buy them to fit and then soak them in hot water when you first get them, to soften them. They will be tight when you first wear them and then they will stretch.)

My current favourite of these perfect jeans are made in Canada by United Stock Dry Goods (see what I mean about the cute names?), and go from $140 to $180.

If you do not have a beard, you may relax a little about jeans: You may buy very similar-looking jeans by Levi's at the Bay, on sale, for $70 or so. Just make sure they are dark and not distressed, and keep them narrow.

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Novelist Russell Smith's memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a style question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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