{Denim, Every Budget, Every Body, Every Occasion}

Hi B, do you have any recommendations for good brands of jeans and/or stores that carry them? Price doesn’t really matter at this point, I am just looking for something durable and flattering.

It’s tough to talk about jeans without being specific — what style or cut are you looking for? Skinny, bootcut, high-waisted, flare-leg, jeggings? Jeans for going on a first date, out to dinner with girlfriends, or for wearing to work on casual Fridays? Colored denim, distressed denim, dark-wash denim? Where, when, and why changes everything!

For inexpensive denim, or if you want to try out a style without committing to spending hundreds, I love Forever21. Before I was sure the dark skinny jeans trend would stick, I bought a $12 — yes, one dozen dollars — pair from F21 that are still some of my favorites four years later. They’ve helped up amazingly well considering the price point!

If you’re looking to spend less than $100, I also highly recommend Urban Outfitters, where you’ll find well-priced lines like BDG and classic Levi’s. I live in my black BDG skinny jeans as an alternative to standard blue denim. With boots or heels, a blazer or a flowy chiffon top, black skinnies are great for a laid-back dinner date or a casual office setting. BDG is also a perfect line for testing the waters of high-waisted or crayon-colored denim at $60 or less a pair.

J Brand are a favorite of my friends and fashionistas. Last season’s line of colored denim and cords were fabulous, and their Denim Leggings and Super Skinny jeans are wardrobe staples for throwing on with heels, a tank and a blazer and meeting friends for cocktails. Buy them at your local high-end department store (Bloomies, Nordstrom, Saks, etc.). You can always find big brands online, but I fully believe denim must be tried on in person.

Other denim in the $100-$200 price point that I can personally recommend are AG Jeans and Paige Premium.  AG makes a great style called The Stilt, which is a skinny, straight-leg cigarette pant that hits at the ankle, perfect for tucking into boots, wearing with flats, or dressing up with heels. Having a pair so versatile is fantastic; one of my favorite tips on wearing denim is don’t think you can wear both heels and flats with the same pair or the hems will be ruined (I’ve learned this the hard way, alas).  AG’s The Ballad is another style to love; the slim bootcut leg  is a classic silhouette.  Paige also makes great bootcut and skinny styles, they always have great stretch, and I will say that they compliment the rear-view quite well. Paige is a brand I see quite often when I’m perusing Nordstrom Rack, which means scoring them for about $80 instead of at least twice that much.

Another go-to pair of denim in my closet are my Joe’s Jeans Wide Leg Trousers. I bought mine at Anthropologie years ago but you can find them at Neiman Marcus or online. They’re the perfect jeans for work — a sophisticated dark wash, a bit of stretch, and a slightly higher rise so your button-down shirts don’t come untucked.

But the truth is, there’s no way for someone else to give you advice on the best denim for you. Different styles, washes and cuts flatter different people. For example, while 7 for All Mankind and their sister brand Citizens of Humanity have always been hot brands, they’ve never done anything for my bottom half.

With denim, I think the keys are spending some real time trying on many styles and brands in order to own a few great pairs, and sticking to what looks great on you personally, rather than what’s trendy. When you’re looking for the one, new, great pair, stick to classic styles that aren’t going away — bootcut, straight leg, or skinny — and pass on embellishments and extras, such as whiskering, coating, studding or zippers. (And remember, rhinestone jeans are for cougars.)

No matter how many pairs you own, one much-loved pair of jeans that are good quality can last for a decade or more and will only look and feel better with time.

Forever21 Distressed Skinnies

BDG Black Skinny Jeans

BDG High-Rise Red Skinnies

J Brand Denim Leggings

AG Stilt Cigarette

AG Ballad Slim Straight Leg

Paige Bootcut Stretch

Joe’s Jeans Denim Trousers


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