Hukot HaGoyim in this case is something done specifically by gentiles and therefore it would be prohibited (see S"A Yoreh Deah 178). So my question is, would jeans fall under this category?

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    This question could be improved by clarifying what the issue might be or explaining "hukot hagoyim". – Monica Cellio Dec 19 '11 at 2:39
  • Also, I should mention that in some communities in Israel, people wear Jeans on Shabbat because they are so much more expensive than "slacks" – avi Dec 19 '11 at 7:02
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    @Avi I don't see the most frum people around the world wearing them (doesn't mean anything) but it's just a thought. – Hacham Gabriel Dec 19 '11 at 13:53
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    H'Gabriel, please edit your question to include as much information as you can on why you think "Hukot HaGoyim" would be an issue here as well as, as @MonicaCellio recommended, a definition/explanation of that term or at least a link to one. – Isaac Moses Dec 19 '11 at 16:00
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    H'Gabriel, your latest edit doesn't do much to clarify the question. There is no gentile law about wearing jeans. – Isaac Moses Dec 19 '11 at 16:12

So long as it isn't indecent, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:81) writes that it's not a problem. I've written it up here.

And for those who don't believe me, here's what it looks like in the original responsum:

Scan from Igros Moshe

Link to the pdf: page 1, page 2.

Specifically regarding jeans it's even easier as we know where jeans come from -- gold prospectors who needed rugged clothing. If the origins of a practice are pagan, prurient, or make such zero sense that you'd obviously only be doing it to emulate the non-Jews, then it's a problem. None of that is the case here.

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  • By the way there is a sign up in The Community Synagogue of Monsey (Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler's shul) that "dungarees" (i.e. jeans) -- are not appropriate wear for praying. But that's a different issue entirely ... – Shalom Dec 19 '11 at 16:39
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    You're not supposed to pray unless you're dressed "nicely." Rabbi Tendler feels that jeans don't qualify for that -- if you were working in the yard you'd wear jeans (which is fine), but if you suddenly got called to meet the Governor you'd probably switch to "proper" slacks. He's fine with you wearing jeans all day long -- just not for prayers. Then again you're supposed to take off your overcoat for prayers too -- not because there's anything wrong with wearing an overcoat, but because you wouldn't meet the President while wearing one indoors. – Shalom Dec 19 '11 at 17:44
  • Is he a Posek?? – Hacham Gabriel Dec 19 '11 at 18:02
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    Yes, Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler is most definitely a posek. This was simply the sign he was posting in his own shul about recommended dress. (This is also subject to local cultural norms, obviously.) – Shalom Dec 19 '11 at 18:11
  • I just remembered! The Kila Ilan was used to make Levi jeans a while back, no? The Ben Ish Hai (B"Y Baba Mesia 61b) writes that the Kila Ilan is part of the Sitra Ahra therefore there are some that don't wear jeans. – Hacham Gabriel Dec 26 '11 at 2:55

Rav Musafi says that in a place where people that dress modestly don't wear jeans, one shouldn't wear them. Therefor I would assume there is no issue of Hukot HaGoyim. http://www.doresh-tzion.co.il/QAShowAnswer.aspx?qaid=65856

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    Who's Rav Musafi? Does he say anything indicating that his reasoning is related to chukat hagoyim? – Isaac Moses Jan 8 '12 at 16:48
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    @IsaacMoses Rav Mutzafi is one the most prominent Sefardic Rabbis in the world today, and I didn't see him say anything about chukay hagoyim. – Hacham Gabriel Jan 8 '12 at 16:53

R Shlomo Aviner answers this question in his book On the air p. 114.

He writes that it is only chukot ha-goyim if the non-Jews are the only ones who wear a particular type of clothing. If observant Jews also wear them, there is no such problem. As such it depends on the time and place.

He notes that if the pants stick to the body and outline its contours, then it is not modest for men, and all the more so, for women, no matter what the material is.

He brings as support Tshuvot HaRashba V:121 as well as the Igrot Moshe quoted in one of the answers here.

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  • What do you mean by "no matter what the material is"? – Orion Jul 20 '18 at 3:18
  • Jeans or not: non-jeans tight pants would be forbidden because of modesty – mbloch Jul 20 '18 at 3:19

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