The Big Thigh Selvedge Denim Showdown
This article comes to us courtesy of Brett McKay, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Art of Manliness, one of the largest independent men’s lifestyle sites on the web. He also has giant thighs that has made finding properly fitting selvedge denim jeans a chore.
For a guy with thighs that are disproportionately larger than his waist, pants shopping can be an ordeal. You’ll pick up a pair that’s sized right for your waist, but find that you can’t pull the pants past your Herculean quadriceps.
This quandary is especially common when shopping for selvedge denim. It seems like most denim brands design their selvedge jeans with the more slender gent in mind. Which is fine, but I know I’m not the only guy out there who likes selvedge denim and also well-endowed in the thigh department.
So for the past six months I’ve been on the hunt for my White Whale: an affordable pair of selvedge denim that provides ample room in the thigh area. I tested out various selvedge denim jeans, and narrowed my review selection on a few criteria. First, I tried to get just selvedge jeans. Second, the jeans had to have a fighting chance to fit around my 26-inch thighs. There was no reason testing out jeans smaller than that. Third, I tried to keep the selection in a reasonable (for selvedge denim) price range. The average price on this list is just over $140.
With every pair that I tried on, I got my true waist size (34). You’re typically supposed to buy a size down to get a slimmer fit, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to be able to sit down and not feel like my thighs and the back of my knees were being squeezed by boa constrictors nor have the crotch of the jean dig into my junk. For each pair, I performed a sit test. Oftentimes a pair of jeans will feel okay when you’re standing, but when you sit down, they transform into a tight blood pressure cuff.
Alright. With that out of the way, let’s get started.
Jacob Davis jeans have a nice clean cut and design that makes them well-suited for pairing with a blazer or sport coat. Best of all, they fit great in the thigh. They weren’t tight at all, but at the same time I didn’t have a bunch of extra fabric bunching up around the back of my knees. The Jacob Davis Straight Leg jeans passed the sit test with flying colors.
They’re also about the same price as regular old Levi’s.
Price: On sale now for $79
Big-Thigh Guy Approved? Yes. These were just right for me. Not too tight; not too baggy.
Dyer & Jenkins Lot No. 002
The guys at Dyer & Jenkins created a high-waisted jean cut that’s reminiscent of the cut of jeans 1950s bikers wore. They sit at your true waist (around your belly button) and offer plenty of room in the thigh and crotch area for the man with athletic thighs.
Since I’ve only worn jeans that sit on your hips, the high waist cut took a bit of getting used to. But once I made the adjustment, I really dug them. Squatting and sitting offered no discomfort. And while some might worry that the high-waist might appear too grandpa-y, these were the pair my wife felt looked best on me.
Big-Thighed Guy Approved? Yes
Unbranded 321 Straight Fit Jeans
I had read somewhere online that guys with man-sized thighs should check out Unbranded. I like the concept. No branding anywhere on the jeans and no celebrity endorsements or expensive ad campaigns to promote their product. You’re just paying for the pants. My rebellious, No Logo, culture-jamming high school self would love these jeans!
Only problem is they were terribly uncomfortable on my big thighs. I had to use my 455 lb deadlifting strength to pull them all the way up past my quads. When I walked around, I looked like a stiff-legged Frankenstein. Sitting wasn’t an option.
Big-Thigh Guy Approved? No
Dyer and Jenkins Lot No. 001
Besides the high waist cut, D&J also offers a traditional cut that sits on your hips. They’re a little more snug in the thigh area than the high waist cut. Definitely dug into my crotch, even while I was standing. If your thighs are bigger than 26-inches you’ll want to stay away from them.
Big-Thigh Guy Approved? Yes. They’re a little more close-fitting, but not “jeggings” tight. If you’re looking for a bit more room, definitely go with the high-waist version.
Tellason – Ankara Straight Leg
Tellason’s Ankara straight leg jean was the result of men’s style writer and consultant Michael Williams approaching Tellason with his idea of the perfect-fitting straight leg jean. Apparently, Mr. Williams ran into the same problem that many bigger-thighed men face when trying to find a pair of selvedge jeans — none of them fit!
The Ankara straight leg offers plenty of room in the thigh and seat for the biggest of big-thighed men. They have a similar fit to the Benny Gold jeans. I bought my true waist size instead of sizing down with the Ankara, so they’re pretty baggy in the thigh, which I like.
I wore my first pair of Tellason’s almost every day for a year and they just got more and more comfortable. I did experience a crotch blowout a few months ago, which was a bummer. Apparently this is a common problem with raw denim if you wear them all the time and don’t wash them regularly. I went a year before I washed my first pair. I’ve since learned my lesson and try to wash my raw and selvedge denim about once every two months.
The big drawback on Tellason is price. Even though they’re on the lower-end when you take into account the brands that sell pairs for two or three times as much, they’re still out of the price range I would consider. Especially when there are alternatives they are just as good-looking and well-made at half the price.
Big-Thigh Guy Approved? Yes, with plenty of room to spare.
There you have it. A review of five pairs of selvedge denim jeans with the big-thighed man in mind.
Like I said at the beginning of the post, there are definitely more brands out there that are making selvedge denim for men with bigger thighs in mind, you just have to be willing to spend a lot more money. I’d be curious to see others’ recommendations in the comments.
When shopping for selvedge denim to fit your big thighs, you’ll need to experiment. Always check online to see if a company provides the upper thigh measurement. If they don’t post it, call or email the company. That will save you a lot of time and money.
Also, keep in mind this general guideline: The larger the waist on a pair of pants, the bigger the thigh opening. This means you’ll want to avoid the usual rule of sizing down when you buy selvedge denim jeans and instead start off with a pair of jeans that fit your actual waist measurement. If you find that the thighs are still uncomfortable, you’ll need to size up one or two waist sizes until you get a comfortable thigh fit and then take your jeans into a tailor to get them altered around the waist. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but if you want to squat 600 lbs and wear selvedge denim jeans, it’s just something you’ll have to do.