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.

NYDJ-Alina-rear

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.

NYDJ Amy

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.

NYDJ-Boot

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.

Vigoss

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.