It isn’t an exact science, but it seems like you have to try on approximately 25 pairs of jeans for every one pair you keep. So, what happens when a pair of jeans are perfect in every way, aside from the fact that they have a button fly rather than a quick, easy zipper? For multiple PureWow editors, it’s a total deal breaker. For others, well, they’ll take two pairs, please and thank you. Before you pick a team (and perhaps disregard an otherwise perfectly flattering pair of jeans), read this pro and con list for button-fly denim—then make your call.
Why Button-Fly Jeans Are the Greatest Denim Invention of All Time
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1. No risk of leaving your fly down
If you’ve ever worn pants (which I hope everyone reading this article has), you’ve probably been subject to the embarrassment and horror of realizing you left your fly unzipped for the last two hours—and no one said anything. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it will probably happen again in your lifetime. Unless of course, you remove yourself from that situation entirely and swear by a life of button-fly jeans. You literally can’t forget to button your pants (promise), so this worry will no longer be on the table. Phew, we just felt our anxiety levels plummet.
2. Less prone to coming undone
Sometimes you get a finicky fly that just won’t stay up, unless you lay the tab at the perfect angle—and don’t sit down too fast. With a button fly, you very rarely have to worry about a button popping off. And if by some freak accident it does, A. you have four other buttons holding down the fort; and B. a single button is much easier (and cheaper) to replace than hoping your tailor can work her magic on a whole zipper.
3. Slimming and tummy controlling
While zippers pull up and down from the same vertical plane, there’s something about the way buttons pull in five different directions that makes them feel more custom fit to your body. There’s also more give with buttons, so the fabric around them stretches and forms to your curves like a zipper never could.
4. Vintage feel
The OG denim brand, Levi’s, created its 501 jeans on May 20, 1873—with a button-fly closure. Zippers as we know them weren’t put into production until 1912 and weren’t officially sewn into a pair of Levi’s until 1947. Because of this, there’s something decidedly old-school about the button closure that makes a pair of jeans feel lived-in and—dare we say?—cooler.
1. Unflattering bunching
Obviously when there are big metal buttons in the crotch region, you’re going to get some bunching when you sit. But that happens with zipper-fly jeans, too. One thing we’ve learned on our quest for the perfect button-fly jeans? Make sure they’re not too loose around the hips. When they fit snugly, your fly won’t stick out at an awkward angle.
True, it may seem that buttoning and unbuttoning five times over, every time you go to the restroom would get exhausting and too damn repetitive. And it’s definitely not something you want to do with freshly painted nails (trust us). On the flip side, as soon as your jeans are broken in (i.e., a few wears, max), they unbutton and button with ease—and without the fear of jamming a zipper. One PureWow editor put it perfectly, “I love the satisfying quick 'pop, pop, pop, pop, pop' when they’re broken in and I can unbutton them all in one fell swoop!”
Are you a button-fly convert yet? Good. Here are six pairs of jeans you'll love: