How to Buy Jeans for a Dad That Don’t Look Like ‘Dad Jeans’

It’s safe to say that the world is sickened by overly distressed denim, rhinestone pockets, buttons-for-decoration and anything with the words “Affliction” or “Juicy” scrawled across the derriere. I mean, a man can enjoy a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight if it’s on TV, but save us all if everyone started wearing the clothes those guys wear. I’d rather get punched in the throat by one of those MMA guys than be caught in a not-so-dapper pair of elastic-waisted, triple-pleated, sky blue “dad jeans.”

So where’s the middle ground between Martha Stewart and Apple Bottom Jeans for guys?

Rule one, of course, is to leave out the “boots with tha fur.” Men don’t need to “peacock” with their jeans. We don’t need flags, buckles, extra zippers or bedazzling.

Rule two, ask your wife or a trusted female friend. For all you wives, significant others and friends of dads, please help. He hasn’t given up, it’s just that he hasn’t had to attract someone other than his partner since cargo shorts with Birkenstocks were considered appropriate date attire.

The current dad-jean scene screamed for some rectification. Let’s make him look great and hopefully keep him from ripping them open the first time he squats to clean up Easy Mac off the bedroom floor. (Why do my kids eat Easy Mac in the bedroom? Because I pick my battles; don’t judge me.)

Here’s what we’ve found and advise you to follow our lead:

The Matix Gripper Denim Jeans – you can get them online or go try them on at PacSun. PacSun you say? Isn’t that store for teenagers? Short answer? Yes. Long answer? They have great prices, and as long as you can muster the courage to step into the store with the pop punk from 2005 playing, you can find some great, affordable jeans.

I never thought I’d be a fan of Perry Ellis jeans until I actually had to borrow a pair from a friend, because I got BBQ sauce on mine. Again. They fit so that I don’t talk in a high-pitched voice, but still don’t look like I’m wearing denim pajama pants. Definitely a good choice for active dads.

For the boot-cut types out there…we know who we are. Not everyone can pull off straight leg jeans. I spend five days in the gym every week and wear tight t-shirts to make me look way tougher than I really am. So if I wear straight leg jeans, I basically look like a moron. Not that I don’t anyway, but straight leg jeans complete the look. I like my jeans from Banana Republic and have had good success with them being high quality and lasting a long time. However, please beware, think dark wash and don’t be drawn in by their lighter, distressed options.

We wouldn’t have even tried Lee Jeans if we hadn’t seen them on site at the Dad 2.0 Blogger Summit in San Francisco this year. Lee’s representative saved one of our colleagues buckets of money – he has decided Lee Jeans compare favorably to the extremely overpriced selvedge denim he gets from his fancy friends’ boutiques. Lee brought to mind the goofy wave stitching on the tapered oval pockets of 1991 until we slipped into one of these 2015 bad boys. They apparently have something called ring-spun denim and four-way flex. We’re guessing those are the technical terms for comfy and long wearing.

And we end with some parting words: don’t wear brown shoes with a black belt or black shoes with a brown belt.

Ryan Anderson Bell is an author, speaker, advocate and podcaster. Follow him on Twitter at and Facebook at

Rex Eaton is a husband and father and helps run for fun.

(Excerpted from their guest blog post on


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here