Best Denim Under $100 // Spend & Save

During the reader survey, I got this comment, which inspired today’s post:

“I would like some jeans suggestions at a price point under $100. I just can’t pull the trigger to spend more than that! Is it really worth it?! I would like to read that blog post!”

I do think premium denim is worth it, with a few caveats. Always buy it on sale, and only if you’re going to wear them a lot. That said, there are perfectly good jeans for less than $100, so I’m going to do a roundup of those for you today!

I’ve ordered quite a few pairs over the past few weeks, trying to vet the best of the best. I’m sure there are other good ones out there, but this is what I’ve found. I’m also focusing mostly on skinny jeans because straight and bootcut styles are a whole different animal, and I need more time to research those. But what I set out to do is find good alternatives to my favorites that I wear over and over again. For size reference, I’m 5’5″ and 140# and I wear a 28 or 29 in most jeans, depending on the brand.

Best Denim Under $100

Vigoss Jagger $65 // I ordered the Jagger Ripped Skinny Jeans because they look very similar to my beloved AG raw hem legging ankle jeans (that incidentally are ON SALE!!! I also found them at of all places, although the price isn’t as good as it is at Saks Off 5th.) You can see them in the Spend & Save image above.

I love the fit on these, and the wash and distressing looks really good for the price point. They’re also very soft and comfortable. I think these are the jeans that impressed me the most.

These are selling out fast at Nordstrom, but I did find them on Amazon, so YAY! The Jagger is also available in a few other washes at Nordstrom This pair has a nice medium wash with a frayed hem and no distressing, so I ordered them to try for you. I’ll let you know how they do. For size reference, I’m wearing a size 28 in these.

also wearing: BP. cozy mock neck sweater // R Minkoff Mika mules

Articles of Society Sarah $65 // This is another pair that are good dupes for my AG raw hem legging ankle jeans. These are thin and soft and really comfortable, and the fit is great. That said, I feel like the distressing looks kinda cheesy. I’m super picky about such things, but details like that are what sets premium denim apart from the less expensive brands.

These are good jeans, and I certainly  don’t expect $64 jeans to look like $225 jeans, but if you’re looking for a similar-for-less style to my AG jeans, I’d go with the Vigoss shown above. For size reference, I’m wearing the 28.

also wearing: Madewell // Sam Edelman Felicia Flats

Blank NYC The Skinny Classique $60 // This is another good alternative to my AG skinnies. These are also really soft, and a little thicker than the Articles of Society, and I like the wash and the distressed details better. They’re also 30% off at Zappo’s, normally $98. (Pardon the slippers! I don’t have a picture with any other shoes, for some reason.) I’m wearing a size 28 for reference.

also wearing: Rails Hunter plaid shirt // UGG Dakota slippers

Madewell Roadtripper Jeans $75 // I’m super excited to tell you that these just got restocked because a lot of you wanted to try them. For a non-distressed jean in a darker wash, these are great. The fit is fantastic, they feel good on, and they look great too. They are stretchy so they may bag out a bit with wear, I didn’t wear them long enough to be sure, but in general Madewell jeans are known to be a great value.

also wearing: Halogen striped cashmere sweater // Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flats

I also love that Madewell is featuring extended sizes and models that aren’t all young and thin. Check out this page… SO refreshing.

also wearing: Halogen striped cashmere sweater // Michael Kors Natasha leopard slides

Lucky Brand Brooke Legging Jeans $90 // I almost forgot to include these so I’m adding them in late! I’ve styled a few pairs of this style on the blog, and they’re really good. They fit well and they’re flattering, and they don’t stretch out terribly.

also wearing: Lucky Brand washed eyelet top // Lucky Brand Anika Sandals // similar crossbody

I also set out to find a good pair of black skinny jeans under $100, and I found some good ones!

I love my AG legging ankle jeans in black, and I also wear this Frame pair (pictured above) quite a lot, although I have to hitch them up all the time, which is annoying. (The AG pair is an inch shorter than the Frame.) For size reference, I wear a 28 in the AG and a 29 in Frame.

Someone recommended these Levi’s Slimming Skinny Jeans, and they’re a great price so I ordered a pair to try. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed at first attempt. They’re very figure flattering, and the price is great. I’m wearing a size 29.

My only complaint is the leg opening. It’s a little wide and cuts off my leg in a funny way. I can’t find the leg opening measurement anywhere, but the inseam length is 28″. I ordered the short because I wanted the ankle length.

also wearing: BP. cozy mock neck sweater // R Minkoff Mika mules

LOFT Modern Skinny Jeans $70 // I was really impressed with these when I tried them. They’re a bit stiffer than the brands I typically wear, but the fit is fantastic. These are a 28 for reference. Best of all, they’re 50% off right now!

Given the way these fit and look on, I would recommend trying any of the LOFT Modern Skinny jeans. They have quite a few washes to choose from. I didn’t used to like LOFT jeans, but they’ve really improved, and I’m impressed.

also wearing: LOFT striped button sleeve sweater // R Minkoff Mika mules

That’s all I’ve got for you today. I wish I’d tried more non-distressed blue jeans, and of course there are always straight and bootcut styles. I hope to do a post on those another time.

For a bootcut style, I recommend trying the Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution Itty Bitty Bootcut Jeans. They come in regular (32″ inseam) and petite (30″ inseam). I’ve only tried the Ab-solution skinnies, but they’re really good. They do stretch out, though, so I recommend sizing down one.

Then there are boyfriend jeans and all the newer high waist cropped straight and flared styles. I’ve tried a few of those, most under $100, but none that I love. Of all the ones I’ve tried, I think I like these Levi’s best, but I didn’t keep them because I didn’t love the frayed hem. I’m still on the lookout for the perfect pair. I recommend sizing up if you order any of the Levi’s. They run really small.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any favorite jeans under $100, let us know about them in the comments!

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88 thoughts on “Best Denim Under $100 // Spend & Save

  1. I have a pair of Vigoss skinnies that I got in early fall from stitch fix, and I love them. Not sure which ones (the back pockets have flaps, which I haven’t found on any other Vigoss skinnies) but they fit very well, and I haven’t found them to stretch out. I hadn’t heard of the brand before then, but I really like the pair that I have.

      1. Lucky is definitely my go to for around $100 price point. They have so many styles that fit almost every body type. I have the Brooke legging jean with a raw hem and love them. I also love love love the Lolita style for skinny jeans and the Sweet for boot cut.

        As for the new high waist cropped straight and flared styles, I recommend trying Rebecca Taylor La Vie Ines jean. They are close to the AG and Paige price point and super cute. I think you might like it.

  2. If you are thinking about the Wit and Wisdom boot cut jeans seriously size down. I am between an 8 and a 10 and got the 8. I thought they fit great so I kept them and washed them. Now I wish I had gotten the 6…seriously not a size I ever wear. They stretch out a lot and while you don’t really “see” the stretch I feel like I look bigger than I am in them due to extra fabric and sag.

    1. Oooh, yikes. That is good to know. I do remember the skinnies I had stretching out quite a bit, and I had the 6 (which equals the 28 I tend to wear in some brands.) I should order a pair and try them out.

  3. Liking my Kut from the Kloth bootcut jeans from Macy’s.  They go on sale often for $25!

    Great post.  I wish I could wear skinnies — not good for this pear, but I love the look.

  4. Was thinking about the comment that inspired this post.  

    You often mention you looooove your AG skinnies (and they are definitely on my try-on list)… I wince a little at the cost, too (although I’ve bought pairs for each of my girls with minimal wincing).  I think the key is that if you find a pair of jeans you feel great wearing and can swing the price, you will always get your money’s worth.

    I wear my Vigoss all the time.  I feel like they’re catching on a little as a brand, but for me they’d be worth it at (almost) any price….love the fit!

    1. Glad to hear you like the Vigoss. I tried them a few years ago and wasn’t terribly impressed, but I really like these. I’m sure they’ve continued to perfect them over the years.

  5. I wear skinnies from Loft and Ann Taylor. They are great jeans except that I keep having to hike them up. I think part of my problem is that I need a size 26 for my butt and waist but I need a 27 or 28 for my legs. Do you have any advice?  I’d be willing to shell out for premium denim if I felt confident I wouldn’t have more of the same. (No distressing, please????.)

    1. I have the exact same problem!  I wear a 26 but sometimes the waist gaps but the legs are tight!  I’m going to try the Vigoss. I have a pair of Paige that are pretty good and Wit and Wisdom colored skinnies that I reach for quite a bit. It’s frustrating!

    2. Wendy, I have sorta have the same issue.  Have you tried any of the curvy jeans?  I love Loft curvy skinny jeans…have them in dark rinse, black and burgundy washes.

  6. Can you do a post on jean lengths?  I don’t quite understand ankle and cropped lengths.  They seem to shorten the leg line to me.  When I looked at the black Levi pair that you complained about the leg opening, it looks to me like they are just a hair to short.  

    1. Yeah, that 28″ length can be awkward on me. I like it best with booties. Jean length is hard b/c it depends on the shoes, the top, the body shape, etc. I like to have a few different lengths for different purposes.

  7. I have the Madewell roadtripper in black and I also own a pair of the 9 in high rise jeans which are about $60 more. I can definitely tell that the roadtrippers are not as high quality, but not by a lot. They hold their shape really well but they definitely run big. I wear a 29 in the 9 in high rise and a 28 in the roadtripper (and in reality, I’m probably between a 29 and a 30) I don’t really have any problems with them bagging out over time, although they have loosened slightly with a couple of washings. I need another pair of regular jeans and I’m trying to decide if the high rise skinnies are worth the extra $60 or if I should get the roadtrippers again. Madewell doesn’t run sales very often but I’ve gotten some amazing steals on a few of their trendier styles.

  8. Hi! Great article! Can you recommend a pair of premium jeans with a higher rise? I have tried several pairs of the AG and they are just too low for my taste. Like you, I wear jeans everyday so I’d like to invest in some more high end pairs. Thanks!

    1. I’m obsessed with the Paige hoxton high rise skinny. I have bought jean, black, and white! They are the perfect rise for me, don’t fall down and don’t squeeze my middle. True to size, I’m 130# and 5’5 and wear a 27. Be careful with the ultra skinny. Those I had to size up and they squeezed my middle a little too much

    2. Hey Jill, have you tried the Farrah High Rise? They aren’t super high, though. I would call them more of a mid-rise, but definitely higher than the ankle skinnies. They have ankle length and full length versions of the Farrah:

      I’ve heard great things about the Citizens Rocket high waist jeans, but I haven’t personally tried them:

      I like the Rag & Bone a lot too:

  9. My favorite jeans brands are INC at Macy’s and White House Black Market. They carry the Short length I need (also Regular, Tall, and Petite). They’re in the $50-$100 range.

    I also have Rock Star jeans from Old Navy – inexpensive but good for the price (with different lengths).

    I’m glad you put together this post, because I’m always looking for more great jeans!

  10. This post is very helpful as I’m looking for some new jeans.  Last week, I looked around online and traipsed up to Nordstrom to do my own try on session!  😉  However, our Nordies is small and doesn’t carry a whole lot of variety.  I found one pair of Paige jeans that I liked and they were on sale.  I ended up back home ordering a bunch more from the Nordies site and will be trying on more jeans this weekend.  Honestly, jeans shopping is bit painful when compared to other fashion shopping – right up there with bathing suit shopping.  I’m 5’10”, looking for high rise skinny jeans (10″ rise), and need a 30″ inseam so I don’t look like I have capris on.  I want high quality that I can wear multiple times without the bagging out problem/stiff denim, but with a lighter wash.  I’ve ordered more Paige, AG, and Citizens of Humanity.  I’ve had good luck with the AG Farrahs before and for shorter jeans with a lower rise that I typically wear with boots, I have had good luck with Kut jeans and DL1961.  I noticed the Madewell jeans come in talls, so I will check those out as well, and for those looking for bootcut, that Kut Natalie (I think) has a good pair that come in regular and tall.

    1. Paige Denim and Joes Jeans have high rise and I love them. I size up one size for the high rise. Those are my go to jeans, mostly because I like the way the pockets hit on my backside 🙂 Also AG has a high rise that is good!

  11. Jolynne, I have been jogging for 30 plus years and have big calves and some of the Skinny jeans are really tight below knee. Some I can’t even get on. I’m a size 4/6 so any suggestions as to what would work best. I know you are a runner but have never mentioned that problem. Should I just stick to straight leg jeans. BTW great post on jeans.

  12. I really like the way the Loft black skinny jeans fit, but they seem to fade in a couple of washes.  I wash in cold and don’t dry them.  Are there black jeans that actually stay black?

      1. I didn’t receive a post this morning. I had to go back to yesterday’s post and then under Home I was able to access your review. 
        A little hint: If you add a little vinegar to the first wash it helps set the color. 

  13. I didn’t get an e-mail from you or Cindy this morning! Anxious for your boot cut review. Skinny jeans just don’t work on my 70 year old pear shape body!

    1. Janice, I posted above to Wendy.  I’m also 70 with a pear body.  I like Loft curvy jeans, tho’ they’re not “premium” denim.  I also like Talbot curvy jeans (and pants) but their jeans are not true skinnies.  They call them “slim ankle”.

  14. Thank you so much for these options! I recently ended up with a pair of high-rise Vigoss Skinny Jeans from Amazon. I have a pair of Vigoss skinny jeans that are my favorites, so I snatched a similar pair up when I saw them on Amazon at an amazing price. They arrived just in time for your high-rise jeans post, so even though I was unsure about the rise, I felt very fashion forward :). I even decided to keep them – the fit is nice and the rise is a nice change from all my low and mid-rise jeans.
    Thank you for the great info on fit, stretch, and sizing – I buy nearly exclusively online, so your posts are very helpful!

  15. Great post! ‘m so jealous….my inseam is only 26″ so even the petite crop/ankle length fit me long.  I have a heck of a time finding the raw edge skinnies because they can’t be hemmed 🙁 

  16. Thank you! Wonderful review and as usual super helpful! Recently purchased the bootcut wit and wisdom for the first time, and they’ve become my go to for casual wear. Blessings, Alexandra 

  17. I love Vigoss and I have a new pair of Blank NYC distressed I just got from Rack that I really like. I will say, I went to Rack today to return a bunch of jeans that I didn’t keep and they have a GOOFY new return system I am not a fan of. You just leave your stuff and then they return it to your credit card in 3-5 days. They only scan the receipts and not even the items. I can’t like that. #rantover

    1. I haven’t had too much of a problem with returns, but they did tell me last week that they are changing their 90 day return window to 45 days starting February 1st.

  18. I’m so glad you introduced me to premium denim! After trying AG, I definitely can tell a difference. I’m hooked on AG. ☺ however, I still love my Lucky Brand jeans. They fit great and don’t bag out throughout the day. I can sometimes find them at tj maxx….major bonus! Thanks for a great article! Very helpful as always!!

  19. Can you give advice /opinion/answer about bootcut jeans? Are they out of style completely? Are they still ok to wear? I love my Lucky bootcut jeans, but don’t know if they are completely out!! 

    1. They’re not the trendiest style going, but I wouldn’t say they’re out of style either. I think it’s all about what you wear with them. I do see younger fashion bloggers styling them occasionally, and they keep saying flares are making a return in the fashion mags but I haven’t seen them take hold. Skinnies are still the most popular, but they aren’t necessarily the best style for all body types. Straight and bootcut jeans are universally flattering and I think pretty timeless at this point. Right now, the best thing about fashion is, everything goes! It’s all in how you put things together that makes them look in or out of style.

  20. Thank you for this post!! Jeans are hard to find when you can’t see yourself spending more than $100 a pair. I am willing to try/buy Wit N Wisdom.

  21. I don’t like to spend over $100 on jeans so thanks for all the ideas.  My favorite jeans right now are Democracy, they have a panel in the front that “hold” me in. Nothing better then a comfortable pair of jeans. 

      1. I purchase mine at Herberger’s/Younkers with coupons, but I see Amazon has them.  Also have seen them at boutiques but can’t use coupons there. I think I would like to try the AG jeans. 

  22. I love this post!!  Thank you so much Jo Lynne!!  I think I own a pair of every brand of jeans in the market!!  Lately I’m living The Loft Jeans, I just purchased two pairs yesterday, in store and love them!  I’m 5’11” and weigh 139 so I get really excited when I can find jeans in store that have a good fit!! (Depends on the brand, I can wear a 27, 28 or 29….the 29, I usually end up having them altered in the waist!) I wear the modern skinny and they hit right around my ankle…perfect!! If I need a little longer length I just order Tall!!  I get so excited when I find good jeans that are soft, comfortable and have a good fit!! 

  23. Great post! Thanks so much for all the work and I look forward to future posts on the other styles. Also love the info in the comments – really helpful. I’ll bookmark this one!

  24. Right now I’m a huge fan of Kut jeans, they are long have great stretch and good pocket placement.  I have a couple pair of the Wit and Wisdom, watch the inseam for taller girls, they usually end up as ankle jeans on my 5’7 self. 

    1. Good to know about Kut! I often overlook them but I did order one pair from the #NSale that I was impressed by. I kept the Joe’s that were almost the same b/c I like the feel of them a bit better, but they were almost identical and the price difference was about half.

  25. You’re inspiring me to go jeans shopping! I’ve been wearing Lee, but I like the look of the Levi’s. I should order some and just try them on with the help of my dh. He’s good about telling me if something looks right. My biggest issue is the gap in the waist which is why I haven’t tried to branch out from the Lee jeans.

    1. Yeah, that is an issue for a lot of women. It’s a pretty easy alteration if you know a good tailor (or if you’re handy with the sewing machine.) Also try out Loft Curvy styles.

  26. Enjoyed this post. I would like to see something like this on shorts. I live in deep south and will start short wearing season soon. In fact, for about 4-5 months of the year I never wear jeans..only jean shorts. lol What about NYDJ? I would love to see/hear your thoughts about this brand. I hate love or mid rise jeans. NYDJ have a number of high rise.

  27. Thank you for all the work you put into these posts! Sometime in the past you did a post on Lee Rider Bounce Backs available from Walmart for $20 or less. I purchased several pairs in different styles – skinny, straight, and bootcut – they do not stretch out and do not fade. I think I have had them 2 years and wear them every day.

    1. Yes, and you know, I thought of including them. I should have. I just didn’t have any recent pix of them. I’m so glad you like them and that they’ve held up well for you. That’s good to know.

  28. I’ve a few pairs of Joe’s, Paige and Hudson, but honestly I love the Articles of Society Jeans! They are my most comfortable jeans! I have 3 pairs… a lighter rinse ankle skinny with raw hem, a darker rinse skinny with raw hem and a black skinny. No distressing. I love them all and wear them on constant rotation! 

  29. I have a couple pairs of the AG skinnies but I want to try a pair of the Vigoss. I like how the Articles of Society look from the front but every time I’ve tried them on, I don’t like how the backside/pockets look on me. The AOS pockets seem really wide to me so make sure you check out your behind before you buy!

    1. Hey Mary. In general, you don’t want pockets that are too big or too small, set to high or too low, or too wide apart or too close together either… But which jeans fit best will vary from person to person, so it takes soem trial and error. It is just important to always look at that rear view. Often jeans look fine from the front and side, and then I see the back and… OH NO!!! Once you find the brands/styles that work for you, it’s easier to shop.

  30. Great review of your denim picks!  So I never understood the difference between quality denim and cheap denim and about a year and a half ago after reading many of your posts about investing in higher quality denim, I began my search!  And wow! What a difference spending the extra money makes!  So for the plus size girl, my absolutely favorite denim is from Torrid. They are still under $100 (ranging from around $58-$98 depending on the style), and so, so worth it!  Until I discovered Torrid denim, my faves were Gap and White House Black Market which are still really great jeans, just Torrid fits my curves a bit better!  


  31.  Recently discovered Kensie Denim. Love them!  Very soft and comfy!  Fun styles too.  Gap jeans have always fit me well too.  

  32. This was my question!!!!  Thank you so much for the blog post!  I’m a stitch closer to pulling th trigger on a pair of AG jeans, but I’ll be checking some of these out first!

  33. Hi Jolynn, these outfits are stunning as usual, lately I’ve been following you occasionally, but noticed that its been a while that you posted some kind of athleisure looks, say this cropped jeans , skinnies and paired with sports-like casual sneakers, like Nike or Adidas. In the past you had some good posts which I tried and were excellent for casual outings and errands.
    Keep up the good work.

  34. Do you own the Vigoss Jagger jeans? I’m just wondering if they stretch out with wear? I have a terrible time with jeans falling down and am looking for a new pair. Thanks for any suggestions!!!

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