If you’re a short, slim man, it’s very difficult to find a pair of jeans that fits well and flatters your body type.
Being short makes it hard to find jeans because almost all jeans will be too long. Very few manufacturers make jeans with inseams shorter than 30 inches.
SEE ALSO: Clothing Industry Hates Short Men
But, since getting pants hemmed is relatively easy, it’s actually more important to find a pair of jeans that fits well everywhere else – especially around the hips and through the legs.
If you’re a thin guy, this is no easy task, especially if you don’t want to wear ultra low-rise jeans (which usually aren’t the most flattering choice for shorter men).
At just over 5’5″ and 125 lbs soaking wet, I’m a small guy. Some might call me petite, but I prefer “of modest stature”.
It’s always been hard for me to find jeans that fit well, and I usually end up compromising on something like the rise, leg opening or quality.
That’s why I decided to go hunting for a great pair of jeans. There are a few brands I’ve always wanted to try (like A.P.C.), as well as some brands I haven’t tried in a long time (like Gap).
So I ordered 12 pairs of jeans from 10 different brands, tried them all on and documented the whole experience in order help you figure out which brand will work best for your needs.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with the show. First, the highlights:
My 3 Favorites
#1: Gap Stretch Skinny – Surprisingly awesome (see below).
#2: Levi’s 510 Skinny – Perfect middle ground between slim and skinny.
#3: Nudie Pipe Led – Pricey, slim, flattering and comfy.
Gap Stretch Skinny – Honestly, I thought I was better than The Gap, which is why I hadn’t tried on a pair of Gap jeans for a very long time.
But out of all 12 pairs, these were my favorite. Plus, they happen to be among the most affordable jeans out there.
They’re slim but not restrictive, and the light wash is actually perfect for casual outfits.
What a pleasant surprise! Well played, Gap.
A.P.C. Petit New Standard – I’d heard amazing things about these jeans, and they look so good on models, so I had high expectations.
Unfortunately, the ones I bought were way too big, which is ridiculous since I bought my actual size.
I’d have to size down to a 27 for them to fit properly (vanity sizing has gotten out of control).
But the details (like the size and placement of the pockets) would still be way too big for a smaller man.
Not to mention, these were some of the most expensive jeans on the list! Just goes to show, it’s not all about the price or the label.
12 Pairs of Slim Fit Jeans
Watch me try on all 12 pairs in under 7 minutes:
And here’s the full list, including:
- Fit photos
Also, each pair is linked to one or more places you can buy them online, just in case you see something you like.
#1: Gap Stretch Skinny
My Thoughts: These jeans fit well and look great. They probably won’t age as well as higher quality denim, but still, I’m very happy with this purchase.
#2: Uniqlo Slim Fit
My Thoughts: Uniqlo’s “slim fit” isn’t quite slim enough for my chicken legs. Guess I should stop skipping leg day…
#3: Uniqlo Skinny Tapered
My Thoughts: These need to be hemmed (they only had 34″ inseams in stock), but other than that they fit really well, and they’re very comfortable.
These jeans almost made my top three.
#4: Levi’s 510 Skinny (eBay / Amazon)
My Thoughts: They fit well, they’re affordable, and they’re almost always available in a bunch of different sizes and colors. What’s not to love?
#5: Nudie Pipe Led
My Thoughts: These Nudie jeans are worth the price tag. They somehow manage to be super slim but comfortable at the same time.
Trust me, I did a few lunges while wearing them just to make sure.
#6: A.P.C. Petit New Standard
My Thoughts: These run way big, so you need to size down at least two sizes to get a pair that fits.
The denim and craftsmanship and clearly top notch. Too bad they’re not made with the smaller man in mind.
#7: Rag & Bone Fit 1 (Skinny Leg)
My Thoughts: I don’t say this often, but these are a bit too slim, especially in the, ahem, seat. I actually tried a size 29 too, but it was too loose around the waist.
This is why it’s important to try on lots of different brands. Many just aren’t made for your build.
#8: Mott & Bow Skinny
My Thoughts: Definitely not “skinny” but fairly comfortable. These were way too long out of the box (they only offer 32″ inseams), so I got them hemmed to a better length.
To be honest, I’d prefer a slimmer cut and would rather not have to pay for alterations on jeans that cost this much.
#9: Peter Manning NYC
My Thoughts: What sets PMNYC jeans apart is that they’re made specifically for short men. This means that every little detail – from the size of the pockets to the shorter rise – flatters the ‘not so tall’ body type.
Just look at these back pockets compared to those on the A.P.C. jeans!
Peter Manning jeans are cut slim-straight, which will look great on some men, but I prefer a bit more taper through the leg.
Also, keep in mind that the overall style of these jeans is pretty classic (i.e., better suited for older gents).
You can see more pictures of me wearing these jeans in my Peter Manning review.
#10: DSTLD Cigarette Raw
My Thoughts: For raw denim, these are very affordable. They’re also very stiff right out of the box, but I’m sure they’ll break in nicely.
I only wish they had a slightly longer rise so I could wear them a little higher up on my waist.
If you’re looking for some entry level raw denim that you can break in and create some sick fades, bruh, these are a great choice.
You can see more pictures of me wearing these jeans right here.
#11: Lucky Brand Dean
My Thoughts: At one point, these were the slimmest jeans Lucky Brand had to offer. They’ve since been discontinued, but you can still find them on eBay.
They’re made from soft, washed denim that didn’t require any breaking in, and they fit comfortably through the hips and leg.
These may be the most comfortable jeans I own, but they’re not the most stylish.
You can see another picture of me wearing these jeans on the Start Here page.
#12: Levi’s 522 Slim Taper (eBay / Levi’s)
My Thoughts: The 522 is Levi’s attempt at slim fit jeans for guys with big hips, butts and/or thighs, and they work perfectly for that body type.
On me, they’re a little baggy. But if you spend lots of time under the squat rack or have a little extra junk in the trunk, the 522 might be your new best friend.
Unlike other jeans that will accommodate large thighs, these actually taper gently to a slim, flattering leg opening, which is perfect for short men.
Trying on all of these different jeans was an extremely useful exercise. I tried a few brands that were new to me and some that I just hadn’t tried in a few years.
I learned so much about the various brands and styles.
Even though this was a lot of work, I recommend it for anyone who hasn’t yet found the perfect pair of jeans or a “go to” brand.
If you go through this exercise yourself, it’s highly likely that you’ll find your new favorite pair of jeans, and we both know how great the perfect pair of jeans makes you feel.
What’s your favorite pair of jeans? Leave a comment below!
I think you should do this again with with new fits, brands, styles, etc.
Good rule of thumb: If you have a thigh gap ( like you have the gap skinny jeans) the rise is probably too low. Nudie pipe led and mott & bow have the correct rise.
I would avoid wearing any kind of low rise jeans. I personally think it elongates the leg but in the wrong way. It looks very effeminate and childish. It’s hard to take someone with lowrise jeans seriously, just saying. Mid-rise is the sweetspot. As a short man myself, the least thing I would want is to look less mature. Just my personal opinion.
Low rise jeans actually shorten the legs visually. High rise makes your torso look shorter and legs look longer. https://www.primermagazine.com/2013/spend/pants-rise-explained-and-why-low-rise-isnt-always-your-best-choice
what about Edwin ED80 or ED85. These are great fitting jeans. ED80 are my favourite.
Jake H. says
I don’t get all the hate on your Gap skinny jeans from some of the guys, they look great on you dude! I would like to see you compare Ash and Anvil’s jeans along with PM new skinny fit jeans.
Done (in case you missed it) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2AW9aUUt3I
My verdict? I prefer PM because of the rise, taper and overall styling.
Raihan Abbasi says
Gap and Levis 510 looks perfect. You may also wanna try Levis 501 Skinny! But thanks, your article was helpful.
I like Lee jeans. you should try ☺
I have been wearing levis 511’s for years yet something always felt a bit off. I just got a premium jean from Zara size 30. This pair fit me great and made me realize that the leg opening to far too big on the levis. I can relate to Brock.
What height/weight are you, if you don’t mind? I’m 5’5″ and 123lbs., wondering if the Zara 30s will work for me as well.
I think i’m still with Peter Mannings – i guess i qualify as an ‘older’ gent at 50, but i’m barely 5’5″ 125-135lbs (i bounce around) and while i have to wait for his sales to afford them – I love that the pockets and all are the right proportion and my wallet/etc still fit in them just right. Thanks to you though i’m gradually learning how to find proportional clothing for a short fellow like me and look GOOD.
Have you tried LEVI 501 CT with stretch? I am 5’8″ and near spot on weight for my height. These jeans work very well.
If you are a small guy keeping fit, don’t carry a belly etc is essential more so than big guys, find after an exercise blitz, things work better.
Another trick if they fit well is wear them in a hot bath, the fabric will shrink – a little – hopefully to your shape. Wear them as they dry (pick a nice day). Seems do the trick!
Great post btw – thanks!!
Brock, which wash in the gap jeans do you have? I can’t tell from your photos. Thanks!
I believe they’re called “worn medium blue”.
Great article! Just a side note, UNIQLO hems all of their jeans in store for you to the length you need them for free. I love the the pair I have right now because are the exact length I needed them when I left the store.
One of my close friends is very short and usually finds it difficult to pick the right jeans. I have bookmarked this page for him. Hope, it will be helpful for him. Thanks a lot.
Hey Brock, I have this problem. Every time I get a pair of jeans, they’re usually 30×30 and I get them hemmed to ~30×27. However, hemming them takes off most of the tapering, and they usually end up looking too baggy in the ankle/calf area. What is your experience with this? Is my only option to take these to a tailor and get them tapered?
Yeah, if you’re going to shorten them that much, and they have a lot of taper from the knee down, the only solution is to have your tailor re-create that taper (preferably while they hem them).
Alternatively, you can cuff them using the pinroll technique to shorten and taper at the same time, but that’s assuming you like to wear your pants cuffed.
Brock, ignore all the claims that the Gap pair is too skinny on you. On your body, if anything those Gap jeans are slim–certainly not skinny. I would argue that most of the jeans you tried on are too baggy (unless you’re looking for a straight fit). If you want a slim cut, the Gap jeans fit your body type best.
Ressa SoReal says
I agree… Gap the best for him…APCs would be great as well if he sized down.
I would have to agree with a lot of the guys here. The Gap jeans don’t seem too flattering on you. Maybe if they were a darker rinse you might get away with them looking alright. As they are the tightness and lighter shade look like women’s skinny jeans.
I would say your best bets would be the Nudie Pipe Led and Uniqlo Slim. The Uniqlo Skinny along with a couple other skinny ones seem to have too shallow of a rise. The rise meets up with the hem of your shirt and looks very odd.
To add my own research, as a slim short guy I have struggled a lot with jeans until somewhat recently. I did a similar ‘try all the fits test’ last year and again a few months ago. I found that for for height and size (5’6″ 130lbs) Uniqlo and Levi’s seemed to hit the mark the best. My favorite pairs are Uniqlo Regular Selvedge, Uniqlo Slim, Levi’s 501 CT (pre-custom tapered), 511 Slim Stretch, and 501 Shrink to Fit.
Thank you for being my turning point in clothing fit. I’m taken much more seriously now as a 25 year old that no longer looks like a teenager stuck in puberty.
I have to chime in again here as I was looking at these pics and noticed something. Brock, you may not be the supper-skinny guy you think they are. Despite my hatred of skinny style, I concede some guys look decent in skinny cuts. Usually they are very narrow body types. This doesn’t have anything to do with muscle or fat, but rather with the bone structure and how this creates a long, narrow silhouette.
You have said you don’t have much meat on your bones, but I think your bone structure is wider than you are aware, especially at your rib cage. You aren’t built like a tank, but you aren’t unusually narrow either. This creates an unbalanced look top to bottom, especially in relation to the calves.
Also, I think many smaller guys are about half a head less than average, which might be 6-6.5 heads high. This also creates a bit of an unbalanced look top to bottom. 9 head high super heroes can look good in tights.
Maybe slim, not skinny, would be best.
Anyway, so ends your free structural analysis. Hope you didn’t mind.
Great job on the video and the jean review. I recently bought a pair of CK slim. I think for the people who don’t like the slimmer fit they should try a pair. When I put these on both of my kids said I looked taller. They don’t fit like the skinny jeans (i.e. they don’t compress your calf muscle). They fit snug at first but then you learn to love them and everything else feels baggy.
I agree that some of the GAP stuff is actually good. I didn’t buy anything there for about 15 years. I recently heard their chinos fit nicely. I bought a pair of slim stretch and they fit similar to those jeans and they look good when you cuff them.
John Quebedeaux says
So i’ve been hunting for a pair of jeans that will FIT me, i’m 5’5″ and hovering between 125-127lbs, so really close to your build i think; although, i suspect you have skinner legs based on your comments. Just fyi: I found that Peter Manning’s (original blue like yours) 28w fit my build best (awesome really). I haven’t decided if 26l or 27l are better in length yet – i may have over adjusted and gone a tad short, i suspect 27l as now i’ve washed the pair 26l pair i just got enough times to see the real fit. I did get a 29w x 27l too (dark blue) but they’re just a bit too loose, kinda like you looked in yours, and require a belt where as the 28w are so incredibly comfy and fit me just right (in the legs too, i couldn’t fit them if they were tapered any more) AND I DON’T NEED A BELT! (yes, that deserves caps).
Sorry rambling: On how yours looked, i think the medium to darker blues look better on you than the lighter ones. I didn’t like you #1 look that much, but obviously they must have felt good. Your #2 and #3 looked pretty good on you – the darkness of the blue helps to hide the out of proportion pockets – most of the others were just way way out of proportion one place or another. I’m looking at how they looked – if they looked ‘right’ or something was out of proportion or baggy where it shouldn’t have been.
Note: #11 looked pretty good on you, actually.
Thanks for showing all of these. It’ll definitely help on the quest to find jeans that fit folks like us!
Nudie pipe led should be at #1!
Benjamin McCormick says
I was a major devotee of G-Star for years, and I still wear many pairs. I like the modern, edgy styling on them, and G-Star is one of the few brands that deliver consistently when it comes to size: After you figure out which size you wear, you can buy any pair of G-Star pants/jeans in the same size without trying them on, and they should fit.
Lately, I’ve been buying Acne and PRPS denim. PRPS have probably become my favorite jean producers: Their styling is unlike every other jean company out there, and their jeans are exceptionally comfortable.
Great comparison article, Brock! At 5’5, 147, I can’t fit into skinny jeans, but I’ve found some good options. The Levis 514 straight jeans fit me well, and many of the washes come in 29″ lengths, which fit me perfectly over a pair of 1″ oxfords or casual loafers. I’ve also found that Old Navy skinny jeans fit me well. They are actually not skinny, but slim fit jeans with a much skinnier taper at the leg than the 514s. They come in 30″ lengths, but they are very slim at the leg opening and look great with a 1-2″ rolled cuff. Like the 514s, they have about 1% elastane/spandex for some stretch. I bought 2 pair, and they are holding up very well after multiple washes and daily wear, and they haven’t shrunk or faded at all with cold water washes/low-heat drying. I also like the Levis 513s, which are slimmer than the 514s, but they are not available with a 29″ inseam (30″ is the shortest), so cuffing or hemming is required. One tip from experience: If possible, try on at least 2 pair of the same jeans you like, because jeans vary a lot in sizing, and one of those pairs might actually fit you better than the other.
Appreciate the great content Brock! I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Lee Modern series L342 straight leg. 5′ 7″ 133.
Allan Platt says
What a great post! This may be one of the best reviews yet of different jeans fit for those of us 5’8″ and under. Your advice though goes well beyond just slim fit younger guys and your views are relevant to us guys over 50 (even if barely)! We survived parachute pants, dad jeans, cargo pants and puffy shirts so I am optimistic we will survive the era of super skinny jeans and not so skinny joggers!
You are spot on with PMNY. All the proportions and fit are just right. Still, I wish they would offer some more fashionable choices and keep telling them so.
I have actually had good luck with Lucky’s Heritage Slim Legends. The cut and details are a bit dressier than PMNY so they make good “dress” jeans, again for us old farts.
And who knew Levis could still pull it off at $29 online but the 514 slim straights work well for me. Though, as you said probably won’t hold well over time.
All three of these have the right rise which as others pointed out is vital (unless you are in an MC Hammer video or are trying to make joggers work).
My experience with Rag & Bone was same as yours. Too skinny, and for me, not age appropriate at all. APC was also too tight in the thigh. I guess they have adapted their cut since I last tried 5 years ago.
So I leave you with a suggested topic for your next post: how to take care of those perfect jeans.
Mountain Evan Chang says
Are either of those Uniqlo jeans from their Miracle Air line? I’m a big fan.
I was in love with their Slim Tapered Stretch Denim jeans, and I’ve had a total of 6 pairs of those in various colors. Then they discontinued that, and came out with Slim Stretch Selvedge and Skinny Miracle Air. I usually don’t fit Skinny, and I thought Miracle Air might not be as durable, so I went with the Slim Stretch Selvedge. As much as I loved showing off my selvedge, they were too tight at the thighs and crotch. So I got a pair of the Miracle Air, and wow, they’re appropriately named. They are pretty close to skin, but they’re somehow the most comfortable pair of jeans I’ve ever worn.
No, but those sound amazing. Were they discontinued?
Mountain Evan Chang says
I just got a pair of the miracle air. Super light weight and comfortable, but they only come in slim straight and are too big all around. Makes me feel a bit ‘okie’ wearing them, but might keep them anyway since they are so comfy. Also I already have a Girlfriend.
Great topic for a post. I also have had really good luck with slim and skinny denim fits at The Gap and what’s better, some of the styles come in a 28 inch inseam for length which I have purchased (I’m 5’7″ ~140 lbs) and they hit just right at the heel.
funny, whenever I hit the Gap link and go to the waist/length boxes they insist you fill in, invariably the 28″ inseam (although I’m more a 29″ and they only seem to have 30 or 28) is unavailable – certainly for 30 to 32″ waists. I only mention this because I’ve tried them a number of times and it always happens – that or the model isn’t in stock. Maybe I’m unlucky or maybe others share the same experience and therefore don’t bother with them?
I have found the American Eagle Slim Straight and AE Skinny work best for me (at 5′-5″ and 160lbs). These jeans have a low-rise (I prefer to wear on the hips rather than waist) and are relatively affordable at $30-$45 a pair. They also have a Super Skinny style with a 12″ leg opening but I find it too tight in the thigh.
My new favorite pair of jeans is the Skinny “Flex” version – my first pair of stretchy jeans.
Just a comment about the Gap. It is easy to overlook them with all the newer stores like H &M , Uniqlo, and Primark selling things a dirt cheap prices, and higher end brands competing for attention as well. For quality and fit, the Gap is unbeatable for me. I go with the Standard fit, which is as roomy a jean as I can take. The other stuff there isn’t bad either and won’t fall apart in the wash or leave you broke
My second is LuckyBrand 363, but they are probably bigger than you care for. I prefer exactly a 16″ leg opening.
Rise is an interesting topic. I am 5’6″ with a short torso and long legs. A lower rise is good for me, which is opposite what a lot of people suggest for shorter men. Peter Manning, for this reason, is out for me.
Good article. Thanks
Good point re: rise. Most shorter men have shorter legs, but if you have long legs (in relation to your torso) low rise jeans are fine.
I forgot to mention… I actually think the Peter Manning look the best on you for a casual outfit. Maybe not the best to pair with a blazer though.
Great comparison article! My fav is the Levis 510 and 511, which your list didn’t cover. I’ve found out a couple of things that make my jeans work better for me. Since those of us with slimmer legs look better in jeans with a more tapered cut, there’s less material to “give” when you bent your knees or squat. That makes having some stretch ones to the denim more important than on standard jeans. For me, 100% cotton is out, and a cotton blend is a must.
I’m bummed that it’s impossible for me to find 29″ inseams, but glad that rolling the cuff is okay today. Otherwise, it’s a trip to the tailor for a gem job.
Thanks again for the post!
Man I should have included the 511s…they’re a great cut for lots of guys (a little too baggy for me). Good call!
Russ Ryan says
You need to add Joe’s Jeans to this list. Have you tried them? Great fabric, slim fit! Highly recommend you give them a shot.
I haven’t, but will check them out. Thanks for the tip!
I think you need to revise your top pick, they look pretty terrible and shouldn’t be in the top 3.
Really does look like you have put your girlfriends jeans on.
Uniglo look much better
Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Max.
Looking over this again, I have to say the Gap Skinny jeans don’t look too good, and I love Gap jeans. They, and a few others, look like they are painted on, especially at the lower legs. Remember though, I am the Supreme Commander of the Anti-Skinny movement. But yes, that is all a matter of personal preference. And besides, pictures can’t tell the whole story. If you see someone in person, you may have a very different impression of what looks right on them.
Fair enough, but keep it mind: these are right off the rack. These jeans will loosen up significantly over the coming weeks and months, maybe even to the point of being too loose.
It’s better to buy denim that’s a little bit tight so it can wear in nicely.
meanwhile it has to be said they do look like tights
Look at all these jabronies that have no sense of style talkin bout how they hate skinny’ lol. Chumps
Max Cady says
haha for real… Those Gap jeans are hands down the best fit for him… The PNS would fit pretty much the same if he got the right size. Same with the Uniqlo Slim Fit, he should size down.
I think I’ve worn just about every brand of (affordable) jeans in creation, going back more than 50 years. My all-time favorites were the dark Jordache jeans so popular in the 1970s. But they were $35 a pair in 1975. Top dollar.
For years my favorites have been Sears/Kmarts Basic Editions Comfort Jeans–70% cotton; 30% Poly. They used to come in many colors, including black, indigo, light blue, gray, brown, and green. Now I’m limited to indigo and light blue.
They’re comfortable, fit my slim frame (5’7″ / 150) perfectly, and at $23, they are definitely affordable.
BTW, I agree with Max; don’t care for those Gap skinnies at all.
Gap skinnies look good to me. Just seems like it’s personal preference. This is a very helpful article. I wouldn’t mind a series of these for different types of clothes (chinos, casual & dress button ups, jackets… etc)