Not so long ago I would balk at the idea of paying a lot of money for jeans. I figured, most jeans are designed for those 5’4″ and above and I’d have to cut off a good chunk for them to fit me lengthwise, plus factor in the cost of a tailor (if I couldn’t be bothered hemming them myself), so I couldn’t see why it was worth spending good money on them.
Now I wear jeans a lot, if my Instagram is any indication, so it’s important for me to have multiple pairs of jeans to service my daily outfit needs. And I have gone through so many jeans in my lifetime, I think if I counted the number of jeans I’ve owned thus far I’d probably have an individual pair for every day for the last three years, no joke. Most of these jeans have been pretty cheap – bargains from the thrift store, mostly from fast fashion stores. Once upon a time the most expensive pair of jeans I had was from The Gap.
My first foray into designer denim was Bettina Liano. A girlfriend from work had a pair, and as she was not much taller than me I had to have a pair to see what the fuss was about. I bought a pair of Bettina’s Ace Jeans in dark denim, and it was at the time the most I’d ever paid for jeans (I think it was about $150 or something like that – I had never paid more than $100 for a pair of jeans before). However, they were without a doubt the best pair of jeans I’d ever had – the rise was just perfect for a short-legged gal like me, the wash was slimming, the pockets made my bum look perky (as opposed to the cheaper brands, where the pockets were halfway down my thighs). I still bought cheap jeans to fulfill my denim obsession, but I still kept and loved my Bettinas, and was very upset to give them away after a few good years of wear – pregnancy did weird things with my hips and they just didn’t have the same fit after giving birth.
I had gone through so many jeans up until that point – washes fading, denim stretching waaaaaay too much to fit after a few wears, jeans not fitting properly after several tumbles in the washing machine – but the Bettina Liano ones stood the test of time (if only my body did the same!). My cousin then gifted me a pair of Tsubi (now Ksubi) Lean Beans and I was floored with how well they fit – and I still have these jeans to this day (albeit as a pair of shorts now). With this and on the back of the growth of premium denim brands, I started to re-think how I invested in jeans.
What do I mean when I talk about premium denim brands? Some may call them designer denim, others may just call them overpriced jeans, but I define them as basically any jeans that cost more than $150. Here’s an interesting graphic which explains the difference between $200 and $20 jeans which may also illustrate what I mean by premium denim. Brands include 7 for All Mankind, J Brand, Paige, Frame, Mother, Nudie, AG by Adriano Goldschmied, Diesel, G-Star, Nobody, rag and bone… the list goes on.
Premium denim, quite simply, just fits me better. The wash doesn’t fade as quickly, the denim is of higher quality (so can survive going through the washing machine and not changing fit as a result), stretchy denim doesn’t stretch so much that the knees and crotch go all saggy. Happily, premium denim brands also have other leg lengths available so that I don’t have to dig out my sewing machine. Most importantly though, the pockets of these premium jeans actually sit on my bum and not in some region between it and the back of my knees.
Now about the price of these said jeans. I still can’t say that I could pay more than $150 for a pair of jeans, as good as they are. So I always wait for mid-year or end-of-year sales, sample sales or trawl through ebay or Gumtree for designer jeans at a bargain price. For example, I bought these second hand rag and bone jeans on Gumtree for $30 (including postage) and the denim is so incredibly soft and comfortable (they normally retail for about AUD$250-$300).
I’ve also signed up to Ozsale which occasionally have excellent sales on designer labels. I bought this pair of Nobody jeans for $60 (these jeans normally retail around $200; a few seasons old hence the lower price) and I can really feel the quality of the denim in these jeans is much higher than those of cheaper brands I’ve bought in the past.
Now that I’ve got a few pairs of really good quality jeans, I find that I’m not constantly buying them because the ones I have fit perfectly and stand the test of time so don’t have the need to buy any more. And I just feel good wearing them, plain as that. This doesn’t mean I don’t have cheaper labels anymore (a pair of Primark boyfriend jeans are still in high rotation) and that I don’t look at jeans when the sales are on (I will admit to buying a pair of Rollas jeans in the last boxing day sales – from $140 to $40 – couldn’t help myself); old habits die hard.
About those Bettina Liano jeans… I missed them so much after giving them away, I went looking on ebay for the exact same pair but in a different size (sadly, Bettina doesn’t make those jeans anymore).
What are your thoughts on spending $$$ on jeans? Does premium denim matter to you? Let me know!