These days, it’s easy to drop upwards of $300 on a pair of jeans. Given that you’ll wear them approximately a billion times, the cost-per-wear calculation cancels out most of the sticker shock, but if you’re not obsessed with having a designer label affixed to your backside, there are other significantly cheaper (but equally wearable!) options to be had. We’ve rounded up six insider-approved pairs – well-crafted, thoughtfully designed, sometimes sustainably made and always clocking in under $100 – to satisfy your closet staple needs.
Best Baggy Boyfriend JeanS: BDG
Urban Outfitters’ in-house brand BDG is a sweet source for of-the-moment denim trends (think: top-stitched skater jeans, reimagined bootcut options from the early ‘00s), and with super-accessible price points, it’s economically practical to give these unexpected styles a go. Want to really throw it back? This roomy, acid-washed pair nips in at the waist and is made from a rigid denim so that super-slouchy silhouette will stay put.
Best High-Waisted Black Jeans: American Eagle
We get it: you probably haven’t shopped at American Eagle since graphic tees and flared jeans were in, but don’t sleep on their highly regarded (and super expansive) denim selection. This staple pair – made from always-bounces-back stretch denim – is designed to eliminate that pesky waist gap yielded from a perfectly fit hip. Plus, this style, like the rest of their denim collection, comes in short, regular and long lengths so you can accommodate your precise inseam without a trip to the tailor.
Best Vintage-Inspired Tapered Jeans: Uniqlo
If you know, you know: no one makes elevated budget basics better than Uniqlo. Modern designs imbued with that easy sense of Japanese style make for a super special, but approachable aesthetic. As you might imagine, the brand’s denim assemblage falls right in line. These deeply blue tapered jeans—designed with Parisian sensibility by Uniqlo U’s artistic director (and revered designer in his own right) Christophe Lemaire – are easily the next best thing to vintage.
Best Straight Jeans: Frank And Oak
Homegrown brand Frank And Oak does a lot of things well, but we’ve always been partial to their well-crafted, wear-anywhere denim. Our pick – the Stevie fit – is tapered from top to bottom (hello, superb bum lift) and designed with heavy, zero-stretch denim that has lasting power (meaning you might want to consider going a size up.) Bonus: this pair is made from 100% organic and sustainably sourced cotton, and uses 95% less water than traditional denim-making methods.
Best Mom Jeans: Topshop
If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect mom jeans a cinched high waist, that not-too-loose, relaxed shape, cheeks that don’t appear too long – you know there’s a lot of unflattering fits out there. May we suggest Topshop’s less-than-$60 version: made with 20% organic cotton, this classic pair is cut from ultra-soft, authentic denim and comes with a rolled hem so it’s easy to pair with a bevy of extra-tall footwear styles (think: ankle boots, high-top sneakers, or traditional Docs)
Best Wide-Leg Crop Jeans: Gap
Fact: the Gap walked so all the cool, contemporary denim brands could run. It’s why these classic off-white kick flares made our list. Designed in a more stain-forgiving ecru shade, these jeans feature structured front pockets that promise to hold you in all day. It’s also worth noting that the heritage brand is making strides in the sustainability space: this particular pair is made through their WashWell program, a manufacturing initiative which has saved hundreds of millions of litres of water since it launched in 2016.
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