I tend to make investments in denim - since I wear them so much - and yes, by 'investments' I mean that I spend more on denim than other pieces in my closet. There are two main reasons: 1) denim doesn't wash well in general so I want pieces that stand up to weeks of wear without stretching out and really premium denim is the way to go to avoid stretching and sagging 2) I'm not 22 anymore. I want denim that makes me look and feel AMAZING no questions asked. I'm too old to be fighting with uncomfortable fits and unflattering fabrics. In a sense I believe I owe it to myself at this stage in the game. Does that mean that every pair I own is expensive or has to be? No. Absolutely not. I still love a good deal, so I try to know when to splurge and when to save.
In defense of splurging on jeans, I will say that one or two splurge pairs is all you need if you are on a tight budget. One of the pairs I am going to talk about here I wear about 90% of the time. So once you find your 'go-to' pair you can fill in with other less expensive options for a well-rounded denim wardrobe.
1. & 2. The Rocket by Citizens of Humanity is my number one go-to jean. I have this cut in a few different colors and they are my daily denim. They go with tees, sweaters, boots, sneakers, sandals - you name it. This version is my favorite but I also used to have a pair of the Sculpt and love those too. The Sculpt is stretchier like a jegging versus a more classic denim fabric. I will say that I wore my Sculpt pair so much the butt wore out, so I'm not sure if that is due to over use or the denim material used to make that fit. Either way, my regular Rockets are still going strong. I highly suggest the Rocket is the classic blue color and black.
3. Next up are the Paige Transcend Hoxton - the reasons I love these are plenty. First as a gal on the shorter side I always need to get my denim hemmed, which can be a real pain. These are ankle length so no hemming needed. Plus I love the nice thick denim and the high waist for making me feel sucked in - in all the right places. If you love a little distressing, but nothing overboard these are the jeans for you. I also own this cut in black with the undone hem and really love these too! You can never go wrong with black denim, they always look pulled together and flattering in my opinion! Just FYI, I went up a full size in this pair as they seem to run quite small.
4, If you love a more relaxed option, I really love the slim-boyjean from Madewell. The relaxed and slouchy feel is perfect for weekends or a more off duty look and really Madewell makes a GREAT jeans in general, so you can't go wrong there. I have a few pairs of Madewell jeans and love every pair I've ever gotten there (including this fun pair I just snagged as well). For a mid price range pair of denim I think you get all the highlights of a much more expensive pair making them a great value. I found I needed to go down a size in this cut.
5. If you wear a lot of knee-high or over the knee boots for fall and winter you know you need a very stretchy and tight fitting pair of jeans to go with the boots. I just discovered this pair of skinny jeans from Rag & Bone and LOVE them. I have a few pairs of R&B jeans and they are all GREAT.
6. This last pair of jeans is/was hard to justify but they are one of my favorites. This pair of distressed denim from L'Agence was a total splurge. Especially since I don't love spending a lot on distressed jeans - if they distress even more as you wear them it kind of seems like a waste of money. But this pair is SO SOFT, has the perfect stretch and I am happy to say that they haven't distressed any more really than the day I bought them. If you've never tried L'Agence before and you are a die-hard denim fan, you should really check them out! I did feel like this pair ran a size large.
Let me know if you have any questions about fit, etc - I am happy to answer them!