Nordstrom Denim Report

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about denim in our Fashion Over 40 Facebook Group. There are so many brands and styles and price points available, finding great fitting jeans can seem as daunting as hunting for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Jeans are my thing. I love them, but I’ve come to realize that not every woman finds shopping for jeans so exhilarating. One lady in our Facebook Group even likened jeans shopping to bathing suit shopping. Horrors!!!

I decided to take one for the team, and I headed to the mall last week to try on ALL THE JEANS.

Nordstrom Denim Report with Jo-Lynne Shane

I went to Nordstrom because they have a wide variety of brands and price points. My goal was to try on jeans from every end of the spectrum so I could report back. I took a TON of dressing room selfies and posted them for our group. There was a lot of feedback (and quite a few laughs), so I decided to share them in this post.

Keep in mind, these photos were taken on my iPhone camera in 3 different fitting rooms with various lighting (none of it good, lol.) I tried to lighten some of them in an iPhone app because it was so hard to see the details. All that to say, they’re grainy and dim, but I think you can see the difference among the various jeans I tried. I tried to grab everything I tried in a size 29 (or 8, which is the equivalent), but they didn’t always have my size, so I did my best.

For reference, these are my DL1961 Emma skinny ankle jeans, the ones I wore into the store. (FYI, the Cascade wash is ON SALE!!!) These fit like a glove. I love them, but they’re super skinny, and they have an 8.25-inch front rise, so they’re not for everyone.

DL1961 Emma

I’m going to share each picture with my commentary. Then at the end, I’ll sum up my findings. Let’s go shopping!

Dressing Room #1: Point Of View Department

FYI, the Point of View department is one of the more mainstream, affordable departments Nordstrom offers, yet it is not geared to the youngsters. It’s geared to career women, and this is where you’ll find NYDJ (formerly Not Your Daughter’s Jeans) and Kut from the Kloth. These are not what I would consider premium denim brands, although the price point is in the $75-135 range, so they’re not cheap either. They tend to carry more mature cuts and subtle washes.

These are the NYDJ Alina Stretch Leggings, size 6, $110. I was surprised that the 6 fit perfectly in these jeans, so I think they run large. This is a higher rise than I’m used to. (It’s 10.5 inches in the front, which is definitely higher than anything I have in my closet.) They fit pretty well. They’re snug in waist, they hug thighs, but they’re not super tight. They seem to be a bit baggy in the knee. I can see how women who are in their 40s and 50s and even 60s would like these. For me, they’re a bit safe.

NYDJ Alina front

Pocket placement is okay, but these don’t provide the greatest rear view. I tend to have a bit of a shovel-butt (ha!) so I am always looking for jeans that lift and shape the derrière. The pockets on these are rather large.


These are NYDJ Amy Legging. I can’t find them online to link to. They’re supposed to make you appear a size smaller. I pulled an 8, but I probably could go with a 6. They have a slightly higher waist than Alina. They’re also pricier at $134. Without trying the right size, it’s hard for me to compare, but these are probably a nice choice for those looking for a higher rise.


These are the NYDJ Mini Bootcut in a size 6 for $124. These fit pretty well. They’re snug in the thighs and waist and start to flare right at the knees. The wash is nice. I did notice that they’re not very long for wearing high heels. I was standing on my tip-toes for this picture, and they are barely long enough. I’m 5’5″ for size reference.


These are the Kut from the Kloth High Rise Bootcut. These are a size 8. I think I need a 6 in these as well, but if I had a 6, they might be too tight in waist. I don’t have much of a waist, so these might be nice for the curvier gals. This is a more youthful wash, and at $89.50, they’re definitely more affordable than the NYDJ styles I tried. Because they’re too big, it’s hard to get a good look at the fit. I’m undecided on these.

Kut Kloth Bootcut

Dressing Room #2: T.B.D. Department

The T.B.D. department at Nordstrom is primarily their premium denim brands such as AG, Joes, Citizens of Humanity, Paige, DL1961, and 7 for all Mankind. In addition to jeans, jean skirts, and jean shorts, you will find tops and jackets by the same designers, most designed to be worn with jeans. Here you will find denim prices ranging from $150 – 300. Tops are in the $75-150 range, and jackets are $100 and up.

If spending 3 figures on a pair of jeans makes you want to launch your lunch, please don’t click away!!! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY FULL PRICE for premium denim. The major retailers run frequent sales, and there are always sites like HauteLook and 6PM.com where you can score great deals. Plus, thrift shops can be a gold mine, as can online thrift stores such as ThredUp. Once you know what brands work for you and your size, you can easily find good deals and have denim that looks and feels amazing for a fraction of the prices I’m going to quote here.

Okay? Okay. So let’s go.

To make comparisons easier, and to get me home in time for the school bus, I am only trying on skinny styles. All of these brands do carry bootcut and flares, of course, as well as boyfriend styles and everything else.

These are Joes Jeans Flawless Skinny. They retail for $189. They feel like pajamas. I am not kidding. The fit is more snug than the NYDJ and Kut jeans I tried earlier, and it’s also thinner and stretchier. They’re just more comfortable to wear.  That said, they do have a low rise, and I know that is a deal breaker for some. Fortunately, high rise jeans are making a comeback. YAY!

Joes Jeans

joes back

These are the DL1961 Florence Skinnies that I have at home. Size 29. I adore these. They just fit like skin. Sososo comfy.

DL Florence

Dl Florence side

DL rear

Then there was the AG Ankle Legging. You guys. THIS is why they can charge the big bucks….

AG front

My rear view has never looked better. I mean. Come ON.

AG back

Alas, these are $225, so they did NOT come home with me this time. I will, however, be watching them like a hawk in hopes that they go on a major sale. Also, the comfort on these is amazing.

AG side

Now let’s move on to the less expensive brands and see how they compare.

Also in the T.B.D. department, I found this pair of Treasure & Bond cuffed crops for $88. Treasure & Bond is a Nordstrom private label that gives back. Nordstrom donates 2.5% of net sales (that’s 5% of net profits) to organizations that work to empower youth, such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Girls on the Run, so that’s cool.

Treasure & Bond tends to be priced more affordably than the brands I’ve mentioned so far in this post. The styles are geared to a younger, urban crowd, but they have a lot of great pieces. I often link to their jeans as a budget option, but I’d never tried any till this week. I grabbed this pair of cuffed cropped jeans off the rack because I was curious to try them.

Treasure and Bond front

Initially, I notice the comfort factor. They are stiff. And for $88, still not super affordable — but it sure beats $225, lol!! They fit okay, but there’s something weird about the crotch region. They simply aren’t as flattering as the premium brands. The rear view isn’t horrible, but it’s nothing like AG or DL. The pockets are placed too far apart, or something.

Treasure and Bond rear

Dressing Room #2: B.P. Department

The B.P. department caters to teens, but you can find some great pieces in this section, and they are generally more affordable than the other departments. My Lush tunic, for example, is from the B.P. department.

The first brand I went looking for was Vigoss. Sheaffer introduced me to Vigoss jeans. She swears by them, but I’d never tried them before. I did notice that they are made in the USA and had “premium denim” in their label, but they are priced in the $59-74 range. This pair of Chelsea skinnies is $64. They don’t have the comfort of the pricier denim, but they fit pretty well.


The rear view isn’t bad at all. I can see how these would be a good option for those who don’t want to pay 3 figures for denim. That said, DL1961 is on HauteLook right now for $64-69. I’d much rather spend $64 on DL1961 than Vigoss. Just sayin’.

Vigoss rear

Next I tried the Sarah Skinny by Articles of Society. They didn’t have a 29, so I am wearing a 30. These aren’t bad either. They’re softer and stretchier than the Vigoss pair, flattering on the legs, not too loose, not too tight. They also seem to have a bit of a higher rise than the Vigoss pair that I tried, and I know a lot of you are looking for a higher rise.

Articles of Society front

I’m not as crazy about the rear view, though. The pocket placement is too wide, and they don’t do anything to shape the derrière. That’s a deal breaker right there, folks. Always look at your rear view when buying jeans!!

articles rear view

Moving on!

Finally, this is the STS Blue Piper Skinny, size 9. I am actually pretty impressed with these. Now, they’re made in China, so they might totally stretch out and look awful after wearing for a few hours, I have no idea. But the fit is very nice, and the rear view is much better than the pair by Articles. The pockets are smaller, and the fit is better. These are only $39. In my opinion, they’re the clear winner for the B.P. department. Does anyone else have any experience with this brand??

STS Blue

STS Blue rear

STS Blue side

I never saw Wit & Wisdom jeans, and I’m super bummed because I really wanted to try those.

In Summary

I’m gonna wrap this up real quick. You get what you pay for, and I definitely think that holds true for denim. You can find cheaper denim that looks pretty good, but you can also wait and buy premium denim on sale or at off-price shopping outlets or even at thrift stores, and find a better pair of jeans that will look better and hold up for longer for about the same price as the cheaper brands.

If you’re looking for a more mature fit with a higher rise, try NYDJ.

At the end of the day, finding a great pair of jeans is all about trying on a TON of different styles and brands until you find the one that works for YOU. We are all built differently and have different needs.

GOOD LUCK! And as always, I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments.

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66 Responses

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Jeans are such a huge part of my wardrobe that it’s worth it for me to invest in a good, stylish pair. I literally wear them every day! JBrand works really well for me and I stick with a dark wash too. Jeans are tough. You really do need to try on different pairs to know what’s going to look good. I will definitely try NYDJ. Thanks for this! You may have saved me the same trip 🙂

  2. Great post 🙂 And great faces 😉

    The way the pocket placement and size can affect how your B-Side looks is a science! I do go for narrower and smaller pockets as well usually. Currently I’m looking for a slightly distressed skinny that doesn’t sit exactly skin tight

    Alex – Funky Jungle

    1. Absolutely! (And you don’t even have to be 40, we just named it that cuz that’s how we often brand our posts, but anyone is welcome!) We are trying to figure out how to add more people since we changed the group to a Secret FB group. Evidently you can only add people you’re FB “friends” with… so we’re trying to figure that out.

  3. Can you go denim shopping with me? 🙂

    Actually, what I really need is for someone to come over and help me purge my closet – I try everything on an someone to say yay or nay and help me put together outfits from what I have. Ever thought of doing that sort of service for a fee?

    1. Yeah, it is best to try first. But I love that Nordstrom has that awesome return policy, so I feel like there’s no risk to ordering a few pairs to try. 🙂 Even though I have one, I often end up ordering online.

  4. TJMAX often has designer denim. Last weekend I saw both Paige and Joes as well as NYDJ at great prices. However, the selection of sizes and was limited, but if you are patient you can score big.

  5. I LOVE this post and would love more like them! So nice to see all the different brands and hear your take on the fit! Thank you for taking the time to do this!! I have owned a pair of STS jeans in the past! They are sooooooo comfy but do show wear after a few hours AND sadly, I have to say that this is the only pair of jeans I owned that literally fell apart. Not well constructed. I definitely would not purchase them again. Hope that helps someone. I would also love to see you model some other store jeans such as Loft and gap and banana republic… a girl is always on the lookout for a great pair of jeans!

    1. That’s good to know about STS. I have never liked the feel of LOFT jeans. They’re so stiff. I used to wear Gap jeans, but I haven’t tried them in a while. It might be worth making the rounds one day. 🙂

    1. Definitely! We are working out some kinks. We made it “Secret” so it wasn’t visible in Facebook searches and wouldn’t come up as a suggested group, so we don’t get any crazies in there (haha) but now it looks like people can’t request to join if I give them the link. I think the only way to add people now is for someone in the group to be FB friends and add the person that way. Cyndi and I will discuss and figure this out! We definitely want more people to be able to join. 🙂

  6. That was a fun post! I didn’t realize Nordstrom’s had so many brands to choose from.
    I’ve had good luck with mid-priced brands at Macy’s:
    Tommy Hilfiger
    INC (a house brand of Macy’s)

    I also love my new jeans from White House Black Market.
    I think with jeans, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding the perfect pair!

  7. Such a great roundup of jeans – thank you! My fav jeans are Rag & Bone. Pricey, comfortable and like you say, you get what you pay for. Nordstrom has just opened in my city, so I’ll be going next week and will try some of the jeans you recommend. You can never have enough pairs of denim!

  8. Were the AG ankle leggings “shredded” in the front? I want to order some but the link is for the shredded ones 🙁

  9. Thanks for a very informative post. I like the jeans on the first picture. I’ll have to look for those next time I’m in Nordstrom. Fun seeing all the facial expressions!

  10. I love NYDJ jeans especially because they loosen a lot as you wear them. I then go down one size and they fit perfectly!

  11. I have always been a Joes jeans gal, but I do have one great cropped pair of NYDJ and another amazing skinny jean from Wit and Wisdom! You need to try that brand sometime. Thanks for all the pictures!

  12. Jo-Lynne — Thank you so much for taking the time to try all these on. I like your other reader do not usually enjoy jean shopping. It tends to be very frustrating, especially the gap in the small of your back. With your guidance I’ll be trying on some of these and than watching for the deep, deep discounts. I love the wash on the Kut from the Kloth, I’m going to have to venture farther than Kohls. haha I do have one question I need to ask but not sure if this is the forum. I was out today sporting some new jeggings and my brown riding boots. Problem is they are a black Friday special, and not good quality. In two hours I ended up with two blistered toes, and I had gel inserts in too. Instead of quantity, I need to find quality. I was going to look for the heeled booties, but think riding boots might be more useful for my lifestyle. Are there any that you can recommend for comfort in a budget lifestyle? Again I’m sorry if this is the wrong forum, but I’ll be needed comfy boots to go with the awesome jeans you recommended. Thank you so much!

    1. Feel free to ask questions anywhere! 🙂 As far as boots go, have you tried the Boc brand? I think they’re made by Born. You can find them at Famous Footwear and those types of places. They aren’t leather, but they are super comfortable. My daughter had a pair last year, and she loved them. I hope that helps!

  13. Really interesting to see how differently all the brands fit! I am very curvy (jeans always gap at my waist) and have found Kut from the Kloth are great fitting for this body type (in case that helps anyone else). Also, if other readers have Nordstrom Racks nearby, I see lots of premium denim there (typically for about 1/2 off the regular price). It’s not just super trendy washes, either – they have lots of basic, dark wash denim.

    1. That’s great to know…. I have issues with that back gap all the time and also can’t afford listed price…

  14. I have always compared jeans shopping to bathing suit shopping. I have too much difference between waist & rear. I have found Eddie Bauer curvy jeans (and other pants) fit well. They are the only ones I can confidently order online and know they will fit. Thanks for all the work you did scoping out other jeans. I’m bookmarking the page for the next time I need new jeans.

    1. Yeah, I am not your girl for advice on Curvy styles. 🙂 I am not curvy. I mean, I sort of am, but I have no waist, so I don’t have that issue with jeans gaping in the waist. But the nice thing is, so many brands label their curvy styles nowadays, it’s easy to locate them.

    2. Check out Loft’s Curvy jeans and Julie fit. I’m curvy and they are the best I have found. Very affordable as well if you get them during the 40 percent off sales.

  15. I’m pretty happy with the jeans I have right now. But, next time I’m in the market I’ll probably come back to this post and see if anything strikes me. Also, one of the best parts of this post might be you giving some descriptions of the departments at Nordstrom’s. It’s not somewhere I usually shop, but I walked in the other day after you always recommending them, but I had no idea how to figure out where to find anything! Maybe a post on how to shop at Nordstrom’s and where to find what for those of us who haven’t been there before, LOL.

    1. Yeah, honestly, I find the store overwhelming. It would be hard to do a more specific post b/c every store is laid out differently. I only know our KOP store. I usually go straight to the T.B.D. department on 2nd floor b/c that’s where all the denim is. 🙂 They moved it recently, and it took me a while to find it again b/c nothing is labeled overtly. I do like Point of View for classic sweaters and things. That’s on the left when you walk into Nordstrom from the mall on the 2nd floor. That’s where they have that Caslon brand that is affordable – their cashmere goes on sale every year.

      Shoes, makeup, handbags are easy to find – all 1st floor. And lingerie is easy to locate, it’s on level 3. 🙂 The B.P. dept (Juniors) is on the 3rd floor too. Kids is up there as well. And kid shoes.

      It is the 2nd floor – women’s clothing – that is most confusing because their price point ranges SO widely and if you go to a department with $300 price tags, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and leave. Honestly, you sorta have to just walk around for a while and figure it out. Or go with a friend. AHEM. 😉

      I really prefer shopping online. The only time I go to the store is to try on jeans or maybe shoes.

      1. Thanks! Just knowing what’s in the different departments is helpful. The names don’t tell ya much. I guess it doesn’t sound as nice, but I’d be all for them just calling them “premium denim” and “juniors.” Ha, I guess I’m just not one for exploring lol.

  16. This post was very helpful! I hope you continue to do posts like this, it’s such a handy reference. I’m a recovering denim addict so I’m really trying to purge, not purchase, but I’m always on the lookout for a great sale, lol. Now I will have those phenomenal AG jeans on my radar! By the way, have you ever tried J. Brand? I have a super old pair of 910 skinnies (maybe 7 or 8 years?), that has truly stood the test of time, and the fit is amazing.

  17. thanks so much. Love this post, and so so true, we have to try on loads of different brands/sizes etc.
    I am a big fan of 7 for all man kind, however, I have had 3 pairs actually fall apart at the upper inner leg. My thighs aren’t so big that they are forcing the denim, just seems the denim is too thin…. I’ve been wearing my current pair on and off for the past year, and have just noticed the same thing. Quite disappointing. I might actually get in touch with them to see what their reasons are. It never happened with any other brand.

  18. I love Nordstrom but you might be interested to know that AG jeans are also sold by Anthropologie. They sell other premium brands as well.

  19. No-one has mentioned Levis! I ADORE them! They are the one brand where I can walk in, pick the wash and cut I’m after, the size I need, try them on once to make sure they don’t have defects, pay and walk out!!!!! Only downside is that I’m short so I need to get them hemmed….but that applies to any brand.

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