I hope everyone is having a beautiful day! My name is Heather Anderson, and I’ve always been a denim lover. In fact, jeans were my favorite thing to wear even as a little girl! I’ve even been called the “denim whisperer” and the “jean queen” by some of my fellow denim lovers, so it’s no surprise that I’m always on the hunt for my next best pair of jeans. I wear jeans six days week – casually on the weekends with sneakers, dressily to church or a business meeting and everything in between during the week.
Needless to say, I know my denim and know it well. I try on tons of denim to get just the right fit; I actually have my own “3 step criteria” I put a pair of jeans through before I buy them, and I’m going to share these with you below! I realize that everyone is on a different budget, so be sure to scroll down and check out the best jeans under $100, $200 and $300 that ALL fit the criteria below! Rest assured that all the jeans below are close to perfection by any standard!
What I look for in a good pair of denim:
This is the most important factor to keep in my mind when buying denim. What makes a great pair of jeans more than anything else is the fit and how it looks on your body. I always make sure they are fitted enough because most denim stretches, so I err on the smaller side when buying jeans that have any kind of stretch to them. I also make sure the waistline doesn’t gape or get too tight. Per my own preferences, length plays a big role as well: do they hit me just above my ankle bone to show off my ankles (the slenderest part of a woman’s body), which would also be great for showing off my favorite pair of heels? If they are too long, which is sometimes the case for me, I would consider having them hemmed by a tailor as a good option. This is an especially good idea if the fit is amazing everywhere else. I personally advocate this option because about 90% of my own denim is hemmed! As much as anything else, getting that perfect length is key to having a well-fitting pair of jeans.
You should not only look good in your jeans but also feel good in them! I always make sure they aren’t too tight or binding on the waist or legs. I also like to buy denim that is soft and feels good against my skin. Since I travel quite a bit, it’s imperative that all of my jeans are comfortable. Some are definitely more comfortable than others: for example, jeans with a bit of stretch in them are far more comfortable than a pair of more rigid jeans. I still make sure that my rigid denim is comfortable enough. In stretchy jeans, sizing down by one is a good idea, while you should do the opposite (size up by one) for rigid jeans.
Another thing I look for in a pair of jeans is wearability or versatility. Are the wash and color going to match a bunch of items in my closet? Can I create a plethora of looks around the jeans to ensure I’m getting good value per wear? If you only wear something a few times, the answer is probably no, but if you wear it 10+ times, then that item is most likely a good investment. To sum it up, if I find a pair of jeans in a versatile wash that I know I’m going to wear a lot, they pass the test!
Keeping different budgets in mind, I’ve rounded up the six chicest pairs of jeans: two under $100, two under $200 and two under $300. You can be sure that all six pairs of jeans below pass all my criteria for making a wise denim purchase!
Best jeans under $100, $200, and $300
Best Jeans Under $100
JEAN #1: 501 SKINNY JEANS BY LEVIS – $98
This season is all about light wash denim – it’s fresh and looks amazing paired with basically anything. I came across these ripped jeans by Levi’s on SHOPBOP and was instantly impressed – the fit is perfect, very flattering and they doesn’t stretch out much at all, so you can take your regular size. They’re a high rise of 11 inches, which is a little higher than most high rise denim, but I personally love this because it means they’re even more slimming and do a great job of elongating my legs! The best part about these chic distressed jeans is that they’re UNDER $100, making them a steal and a definite must-have!
JEAN #2: TOPSHOP ‘JAMIE’ BLACK JEANS – $70
These jeans from Topshop are sold at Nordstrom. Everyone needs a good clean pair of black jeans in their denim collection. I wear these non-ripped black jeans when I need to be a bit more dressy than usual like for church or a semi-casual business meeting. I always love to pair my black jeans with a chic blazer and stunning heels for a polished and stylish look. This particular style jean comes in many different washes, some with distressing and some without, so there is a wide variety to choose from. They’re an uber-high rise, which means they will make your legs appear longer and slimmer (a major plus in my book)! These jeans are also very comfortable because they have a nice amount of stretch to them. They come in two lengths (which helps if you’re shorter like me). One caveat: these jeans run very small, so I suggest sizing up one to two sizes. For example, I wear a size 25 in most designer denim, and I wear a size 26W x 28L Petite in these.
Best Jeans Under $200
JEAN #1: THE ‘RILEY’ BY AGOLDE – $198
These are hands-down the most fashion-forward pair of jeans hanging in my closet. They’re cut in 2019’s hottest denim silhouette – straight legged, high-rise and ankle length. They’re made of rigid denim, which I mentioned is not as comfortable as jeans with some stretch, but for a rigid pair of jeans, these are pretty comfortable. I love the faded light wash because it goes so well with all of my Spring and Summer tops. Pastels are also a huge trend in 2019, and this color of denim compliments pastels perfectly! I’ve only had these jeans for about a month and have already worn them seven times, so I would definitely say they’re worth it!
JEAN #2: SOPHIE CROP HIGH RISE SKINNY $158
I love these faded black jeans by AGOLDE not only because they’re very reasonably priced for a designer jean, but they are also extremely comfortable! In fact, these are my favorite jeans to travel in for two reasons: first, they are extremely comfortable because they have just the right amount of stretch in them. Second, they’re virtually impossible to stain because they’re black, and I almost always end up getting something on me when I’m traveling. These are available on Shopbop, and they also come in a really versatile, lovely medium blue shade! They’re also high-rise and ultra-slimming, making these the perfect pair of jeans for almost any occasion! I adore the edgy distressing at the bottom of these jeans and the super cool fading – in short, these jeans anything but ordinary. These (once again) are ankle length, which means they show off the slenderest part of your body! On the topic of length, you could get these hemmed (I almost always do), but they’re already close to perfect! I wear a pair of these chic jeans by far the most of any – they’re that good and go with EVERYTHING! Not to mention, they run true to size.
Best Jeans Under $300
JEAN #1: ELISE AUTHENTIC STRAIGHT BY 3X1 – $275
I recently did a post entitled: I OWN 50 PAIRS OF JEANS AND THESE ARE MY TOP 3 FAVORITES, and these made this list. I’m obsessed with this gray/faded black wash; in fact, I prefer this wash during the Fall and Winter months over blue denim. The reason I love this wash so much is because of its wearability. These jeans literally go with everything from chic jackets to casual tees and cozy sweaters. These are also cut in 2019’s hottest denim silhouette as previously mentioned – straight legged, high-rise and ankle length. They make your legs look longer and you look taller and slimmer, so get your inner runway model ready! I actually sized down in these jeans and went with a 24 because they do have a bit of stretch to them.
JEAN #2: THE NATASHA BY J BRAND – $278
This is the one pair of denim that unquestionably makes me look 10 pounds thinner! They’re a mega high-waisted jean, which means they sit up about an inch higher (where a woman’s waist is typically at its thinnest) than all the jeans previously mentioned. The “exposed button fly” is another hot denim trend we’re seeing in 2019 (also with slimming effects)! The buttons are strategically placed to make your hips look slimmer. These particular jeans come in two lengths, which I love: one of these is ankle length, recommend for those of you 5’5” or under, while there is also a regular length for those of you taller girls out there (I’m 5’4”). These slimming jeans come in a variety of washes and colors, my personal favorite being light gray because this shade pairs well with all of the Spring and Summer pastel colors (so on trend right now)! These jeans feel very soft and comfortable against my skin – definitely a jean I would recommend traveling in. I took my regular size in these chic and flattering jeans.
I hope after reading this detailed article on denim, you’re more informed about what type of jeans to wear and why. Remember, fit is the most important part when buying a pair of jeans. Of course, the other two factors, comfort and wearability, also play a huge role; they too must be considered before making any denim purchase to ensure you get your money’s worth. No matter what your budget is or what type of jeans you’re looking for, the advice in this post should serve you well!
Thank you so much for stopping by today, and I’m so glad I could help out! XOXO, Heather
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