Are Jeans Really as Comfortable as We Think?

Jeans vs. regular pants… you make the call.

Paraphrased conversation from this weekend:

Me: Those are cool.  Did you get some new plaid pants?

My sister: No, I just think you’ve never seen them before.

Me: Oh.


Me: Actually, usually when I see you, you’re wearing pants, not jeans.

My sister: Yeah, it’s because jeans aren’t comfortable.  They fit tighter and they’re thicker than regular pants.

Me: Good point.  Maybe I should just start wearing dress pants all the time too.

Scene ends.

In my mind, I like wearing jeans because they’re so much more comfortable than dress pants or any color of khakis or corduroys.  But I can’t shake my sister’s words.  She’s right.  Jeans aren’t really as comfortable as I’ve been giving them credit for.

Though I had always assumed that pants are uncomfortable, it’s actually what I wear with the pants that I actually have a problem with.  Typically when men wear dress pants, they also wear a button down collared shirt (tucked in to the pants) and dress shoes; accordingly, women wear a dressier “top” and nicer (painfully uncomfortable) shoes.  But when we wear jeans, we tend to wear a more comfortable shirt (maybe a t-shirt or something along the lines of a long-sleeved polo or sweater) and go untucked.  And obviously, we wear more comfortable shoes.

Everything we wear with the jeans is less restricting than if we were wearing nice pants.  But honestly, the jeans typically fit tighter and are thicker than dress pants.  Plus, I believe there is more pressure to “look good in jeans” than there is to look good in dress pants.  More eyes are critical of jeans than they are for pants.

So what is the solution?  The obvious answer in my head is to start wearing pants when I would normally wear jeans.  That means I would wear sneakers or Chuck Taylor’s with any color of khaki or corduroy pants.  And a Smurf t-shirt.  Already though, that’s starting to sound slouchy.  How ironic that replacing jeans with dress pants could actually lower the standard, but it sort of does.

Even still, if only a personal project, I will be making a conscious effort to replace regular pants with jeans.  For guys, baggy jeans are a thing of the past (they died out around the time that dark jeans became the standard), which means these days we aren’t able to hang loose like we use to, thanks to the new norm being tighter fitting jeans for guys.  And for girls, I get the impression that not only are jeans not comfortable to begin with, but they’re more trouble to look good in, despite what happen for all four girls in Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.

Challenge: Let’s replace jeans with normal pants with jeans.  I think we can find a way to make it work without looking like a slob.

Surprising twist ending…

Everything you just read was written exactly a month ago.  It was saved in my “drafts folder” because I questioned whether or not enough people would agree that jeans aren’t as comfortable as we say we are.  But today in church, my friend Tommy Axford told my wife and I that because he went to private school, he never really wore jeans until his sophomore year in high school, and after having worn khakis his whole life, he declared that jeans are not comfortable.  So much so, that he proudly proclaimed he even wears khakis when he’s just chilling out in his living room at his house.  It was because of this conversation with him that I decided this post must be made public so that others could have a chance to agree that regular pants are better than jeans.

Being that this was written last month, since then I have had the opportunity to take my own “try wearing khakis instead of jeans” challenge.  The result- I’ve continued to wear jeans in casual situations.  Not because they’re more comfortable, but because I somehow feel they’re more appropriate for me as a guy.  I have this fear of looking like a banker- and in my mind, male bankers never relax enough to wear anything besides nice pants.  But I do hope to get over this one day.  If it were truly up to me, I would wear pajama pants all the time, but I couldn’t feel comfortable socially.  You just can’t win.

10 thoughts on “Are Jeans Really as Comfortable as We Think?

  1. My dress pants are much more comfortable than jeans. But jeans are durable. If I wear jeans to a casual event and get them dirty I can toss them in the wash and they’ll be good as new before I know it. If I get dress pants dirty, I toss them in a bag of clothes to be taken to the dry cleaners. About a year later I’ll actually take them, pay 5 bucks, drive back later to pick them up, and say, “Man, that was too much trouble… I’m only going to wear these for special occasions from now on.”
    Additionally, most woman’s dress pants are often missing two things: back pockets and belt loops. These are Must haves for me.
    But yes, dress pants are more comfortable.


  2. I love my jeans. Yes, some are more stiff and bulky than khakis or other dress pants, but I guess I also think it’s sometimes more a matter of them being more “appropriate” for some casual settings. My husband went to a Christian school, and wasn’t allowed to wear jeans. So, he bought some after we’d been married for a couple years and it was wierd at first. They just didn’t “fit” him. He usually wore Dickies.
    I agree with Elizabeth that one of the drawbacks of many dress pants is lack of back pockets.
    One final thing (maybe your wife will vouch for this): maternity jeans are very comfortable! They’re a little more stretchy and soft. If it wasn’t so dorky, I would wear maternity jeans all the time.


  3. Another irony: Jeans aren’t all that warm for winter wear (as compared to fleece). I swear the cold goes right through them. Then they’re too heavy and warm for summer (I resort to wearing dresses and leggings around the house). The only time I wear them in the summer is if I know the place where I’m going to be spending much of the day is heavily air conditioned.


  4. My mother and I have had screaming fights about me not wearing jeans. I absolutely hate everything about them; wearing them ruins my entire day. It doesn’t matter how comfortable the shirt I’m wearing is, I still despise them.


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