5 Favorites: Denim Edition

Happy Monday, my friends! It’s been a while since I’ve done a 5 Favorites post, and I’ve had some requests for my favorite jeans, so I thought I’d update this post with my 5 favorite pairs of jeans.

I love a good pair of jeans and I always have. I remember in high school splurging on a pair of Guess jeans, and I thought I had arrived. Haha!

I’ve always been willing to spend a little more on good quality denim because the fit is generally far superior to cheaper brands, they’re so much more comfortable, and I wear jeans so often, the cost per wear averages out. However, I realize that not everyone shares my priorities or budget, so I’m always on the lookout for more budget-friendly brands to recommend.

For this post, I’m going to do two sets of 5 Favorites so I can focus equally on premium denim and jeans under $100.

AG The Farrah High Waist Ankle Skinny Jeans

The main distinction between premium denim and everything else is price point. You’d think there would be some other qualifications like fabric content, quality of materials, where they are made, how they are made; but there are not any industry standards beyond price point.

Of course, price point is typically dictated by quality of fabric and workmanship.

If you read my post on What Makes A Garment Good Quality, you may remember that premium denim tends to be made with better quality materials and have greater attention to finishing details like the wash, whiskering, and distressing. Denim with more complex washes — over dye techniques, rips, tears, and custom finishes — will be more expensive, especially when done by hand.

The most important thing to consider when choosing jeans, however, is fit. You want to find a pair of jeans that fits and flatters you, and those can be found at any price point. Of course, I only know the jeans that fit and flatter me, so this is just a starting point if you’re looking for denim recommendations.

Where To Buy Jeans

AG Mari High Waist Slim Straight Leg Jeans

With big ticket items, I try to buy on sale when at all possible, and that is definitely the case with premium denim. Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Shopbop, and Verishop are just a few retailers that regularly discount their designer denim brands, and I try to give y’all a heads-up whenever I see a good sale.

Also, if you know what to look for, you can score great finds at Saks Off Fifth and Nordstrom Rack.

Right now, Bloomingdale’s is having their Denim Days event, where you can save 25% off 2 or more pairs of jeans! (You get 15% off one pair.)

Also, Nordstrom is having their Winter Sale, and I expect Shopbop to run a big sale sometime this week. They usually do.

Verishop is a newer retailer to me, but they have free 1-day shipping and free returns, and they have a very highly curated selection of styles, which I love. Too many choices can be overwhelming!

Goodthreads Women’s Mid-Rise Crop Straight Jeans

If you’re looking for denim under $100, I’ve been pleased with some of the jeans I’ve tried from Everlane. J.Crew and Madewell are popular brands as well. Some like LOFT, Gap, and Old Navy; and I’ve even found a few good pairs at Amazon.

My 5 Favorite Jeans {Premium Denim}

#1. AG The Farrah High Waist Ankle Skinny Jeans 

I consider AG pretty much the gold standard when it comes to jeans; it’s been my favorite denim brand for years. AG has the best washes, the best fit, and the best materials of all the jeans I’ve tried, and they only get better with age.

These Farrah skinnies have a 28″ inseam, 10″ leg opening, 10 1/2″ front rise; and the fabric is 98% cotton, 2% polyurethane.

Because of their fabric content, they don’t bag out on you as you wear them, but they do stretch a bit in the right places and mold to your body for that perfect lived-in fit.

I have since replaced them with this very similar pair from Nordstrom, with all the same measurements and fabric content. Both have that great mid-denim wash with shredded hem and great whiskering details.

I also have and love this pair from Bloomingdale’s, and these are currently 15%  or 20% off, depending on how many pairs you buy.

The wash is slightly lighter than the first pair, and they have plain raw hem (not shredded.)

I have the AG Farrah in black as well.

These have a 28″ inseam, 10 1/2″ leg opening, and 11″ front rise; and their fabric content is 55% viscose, 25% cotton, 18% polyester, 2% elastane.

This fabric gives them a bit of a trouser feel, although they definitely look like jeans. They hold their shape just as well as the 98% cotton jeans, and flatter the body in much the same way.

These jeans run TTS; I’ve had the 29 and recently was able to size down to 28 due to some weight loss.

BUY: AG The Farrah High Waist Skinny Jeans at Bloomingdales // Nordstrom // Shopbop // Verishop

#2. AGOLDE Toni Straight Leg Jeans

AGOLDE is a newer brand to me, and I’ve been really impressed with the fit and feel of these slim straight leg jeans.

It’s a very slim-fitting straight leg jean, so a nice option for those of us who are having a hard time moving away from our skinnies.

They’re extremely thick and soft, and the wash is a nice mid-wash that dresses up and down easily.

These jeans have a 26″ inseam, 12″ leg opening, and 10″ front rise; and the fabric is 66% lyocell, 32% organic cotton, 2% recycled elastane. They run TTS; I had the 29 and recently sized down to 28.

BUY: AGOLDE Toni Straight Leg Jeans at Nordstrom // Verishop // Shopbop // Net-a-porter

#3. Madewell 9″ Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans

These are my current go-to white jeans.

Madewell 9" Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans in Pure White

I looked far and wide to find white jeans that fit and flatter, and are not see-through. Yes, that unicorn DOES exist!!!

FYI, you can get these jeans for 20% off right now if you’re a Madewell Insider. It’s free to join Madewell Insiders, and in addition to qualifying for the occasional private sale, you get free shipping and free returns on all orders!

These jeans have a 9″ front rise, 28 1/2″ inseam (regular sizes), 9 3/4″ leg opening; and the fabric is 90% cotton, 8% polyester, 2% elastane.

They also come in petite, regular, tall, and taller sizes. No matter what your height challenge is, Madewell has a pair of white jeans for that! These jeans run TTS; I have the 29 from last summer.

BUY: Madewell 9″ Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans in Pure White at Madewell // Shopbop // Neimans

#4. Rag & Bone Shredded-Hem Ankle Skinny Jeans

I fell in love with Rag & Bone denim last spring when I discovered the Cate at Bloomingdale’s. The pair I have has since sold out, but I wore them a ton last spring and summer and into the fall.

Since losing some weight, they’re getting a little big for me, so I moved them to the back of my closet and added this pair in the Flint wash to my denim wardrobe.

Rag & Bone also does an amazing job with their wash and whiskering, and I love the shredded hem and the slightly shorter length on this pair. I didn’t love this particular wash at first, but it’s growing on me.

These jeans have a 9″ rise, 27″ inseam, and 10″ leg opening; and the fabric is 50% modal, 41.5% cotton, 6% polyester, 2.5% elastane.

They have a lot of stretch to them, so you have to be comfortable with a legging-like fit, but I really like them for my most casual looks, and they’ll be perfect for spring and summer.

Bonus, they’re currently 15% or 25% off at Bloomingdale’s, depending on how may pair of jeans you buy. They’re TTS; I’m in the 28.

BUY: Rag & Bone Shredded-Hem Ankle Skinny Jeans in Flint at Bloomingdale’s

#5. Frame Le High Ankle Skinny Jeans

Finally, these are my go-to grey skinnies at the moment.

Frame is not my favorite denim brand in general, as they sometimes slide down on me. I’m not sure why, they  just do. They don’t lose their shape, they just slide dowwwwwn.

These don’t do it as badly as some that I’ve had in the past, but now they’re getting big on me so I’m going to have to either buy the next size down or find a different pair of grey jeans.

This grey wash is very casual, but I love it. It’s a great shade of grey that seems to go with just about everything in my closet.

These jeans have very similar measurements to the AG Farrah — 28″ inseam, 10″ leg opening, 10″ front rise; and the fabric is 76% cotton, 15% modal, 6% polyester, 3% elastane. They run TTS; I’m in the 29, but I could use a 28 now.

BUY: Le High Ankle Skinny Jeans in Burton at Nordstrom // Shopbop // Frame

My 5 Favorite Pairs of Jeans Under $100

#1. Everlane The High-Rise Skinny Jeans

I recently discovered these white jeans (the black is good too!) and I really like the fit. They’re not as snug to the leg as the jeans I normally wear, but they’re nice for a change.

The denim is nice and sturdy, and they have just enough stretch to be comfortable.

These jeans have a 10.5” rise, 26.5″ inseam, and a 11″ leg opening; and the fabric is 98% cotton, 2% elastane. They run small; I’m in the 29, and the waist area is very snug.

#2. Gap High Rise Cigarette Jeans with Secret Smoothing Pockets

I’ve been wearing more cigarette jeans lately, although I just realized I didn’t put any in my Top 5 above. I tend to wear them more in the warmer months.

This Gap pair is a nice budget-friendly alternative to the AG Primas that I currently love.

I also tried on this pair in a lighter wash that I liked a lot.

These jeans have a 27″ inseam, and they also come in petite and tall sizes. They’re very high-waisted, but I couldn’t get an exact measurement for that. They run TTS or a bit small; I’m in the 28 here, but they’e verrry snug, even after my weight loss.

#3. Goodthreads Women’s Mid-Rise Crop Straight Jeans

These jeans are from Amazon, and they’re pretty good for a straight crop jean. I’m wearing the bleach wash here.

They also come in this deep blue.

These jeans have a 9 5/8” rise and a 26″ inseam; and the fabric is 93% Cotton, 5% Polyester, 2% Elastane. I wore them all afternoon, and they didn’t bag out, so I was duly impressed.

The wash and attention to detail is a bit lacking in sophistication, but at this price point, these are a solid choice. They run TTS or a bit small; I found the 28 to be snug and I kept the 29, but I’m afraid I’ll regret that if I continue to maintain this lower weight.

#4. J.Crew 10″ highest-rise raw hem skinny jean with button fly

I’m having a hard time finding a picture of these, but I know I liked them and was impressed with the quality at the price point. In the interest of time, I’m going to share the stock photo.

#5. Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Skinny Ankle Jeans

I’m also going to have to go with a stock photo of these. I wanted to include a pair of black jeans, and these are the ones I always link when I want a similar for less version to my AG Farrahs.

I have tried them, and the fit is really good. They do tend to bag out, so I recommend sizing down.

These jeans have a 27 1/2″ regular inseam, 10″ leg opening, and 10 1/2″ front rise; and they also come in petite sizes. The fabric is 65% cotton, 33% polyester, 2% spandex.

So there you have it! I doubt many of these are a surprise to you regulars, but hopefully it’s helpful if you’re making denim purchases this spring.

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27 Responses

  1. Great post!  I appreciate you giving us some good under $100 options.  I am so happy that there is still plenty of high waisted options since they are the best for hiding and preventing a muffin top.  Since I have no plans of wearing white jeans, what suggestions do you have for a fresh look during the warm months?  Have a fabulous day!

  2. Hi Jolynne!

    How do you know what leg opening measurement is best when shopping online?  Do you measure your thigh? I get the rise and waist … but struggle with leg opening and inseam.  Is there a certain number of inches a crop or ankle length should be to look “right”?

    1. It just depends on the style of jeans and your body type. The leg opening measurement is taken at the ankle. For skinnies with a legging fit, 10″ is pretty typical. Women with thicker legs might prefer a 11-12″ leg opening. If you’re looking for straight, they will be more like 13-15″. It all depends on the look you’re going for.

  3. Great post, I don’t own a lot of jeans due to not liking front pockets. I don’t like all the extra bulk up front. 2nd problem is I have a hard time finding the taller inseam, I know Madewell has talls but I can’t part with $128 no matter how good they are.

  4. Great post! I think it’s time I start trying on some higher quality and perhaps higher priced denim. While most of my jeans fit well it’s hard to find a perfect fit.. I like a soft light weight denim ( often hard to find) I’m 5’3 so short or ankle length has to be available..petite can sometimes work but may cut me off:( and I like a medium to light wash… the sizing and fit can be crazy so I pretty much have to try on in store.. I just lost some weight since Christmas so I’ll be looking. Do you find jeans to be big in the waist even if they fit great everywhere else? ( seems to be my problem) .I’m looking forward to Nordstrom offering free shipping and returns to us Canadians as I may actually be able to try some of these great jeans you style and recommend😀

    1. I have the problem in the waist too.  I haven’t tried any that Jo-Lynne has recommended as we are very different body types but I’d like to try them in store just to see.  I’ve had good luck with Madewell high waist jeans. 

      1. Good question. I’m 27.5 inches in the waist. 37.5 inches widest part of hips. My rise is 9- 9.5 inches.. I’m 5’3 and just reached my goal weight of 130. Although I expect it to be between 130-135. .. I carry  most of my weight in my butt.. have always had. Smaller waist and fiat belly ( no muffin top).

  5. Have you ever tried White House Black Market Jeans?  I love how you looked in their black coated jeans during the holidays! I bought the gray version.  WHBM is my go-to for all of my jeans.  They fit me well and the price point is usually just under $100 or lower if there is a sale.  

  6. Thanks for another great post. Amazing how many options are out there. So glad to be able to have your help in sorting through the possibilities.

  7. Great post! For a thicker, basic jean, I love the way the Gap jeans fit that you posted. I bought both pairs the last time you posted about them. Looking forward to losing a little more weight and trying the Agolde this spring! Do you see many full length jeans going into spring/summer, or is ankle/cropped a bigger trend?

  8. Thanks for compiling these.  My favorite jeans are Paige  that I got on your recommendation last year (or 2 years ago!) but I ordered those Good Threads when you showed them a while back and I like them.  I actually had to order one size down and thy are still a little big, but I’ve learned you and I have very different body types so our fit is never the same in the same areas.  Thanks for being specific enough that I still can figure out what will work!

  9. My daughter got me Good American jeans for Christmas. She said They were expensive, but it is worth it . The jeans do not get loose after wearing them. They are comfortable. 

  10. Jeans are just all over the place with pricing. HA! I find a brand I like for a while and then, what do you know? I find another. LOL Guess that’s what keeps us buying more. My husband thinks it’s totally absurd, the number of jeans I have.🤷🏼‍♀️

  11. Great post! Thank you so much. Which pair are you wearing in the picture with the white sneakers and camel sweater? It looks like they are not the ones with the raw edge. (ps I posted this same comment awhile ago but cannot find it. If its a duplicate, please ignore!)

  12. What a great post JoLynne! You spend so much time on all of this info and it is SO helpful. I love jeans too and will hold on to this post. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

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