My name is Kendra, and I used to be a denim snob. For years, I happily shelled out hundreds of dollars per pair for premium, name-brand denim and never questioned it. I equated price with quality and fit and swore by my favourite denim labels.
One day I was purging my closet and mentally added up the approximate total value of my denim collection. We don’t need to go into specifics here, but at that dollar value, I really should have been earning interest on my denim drawer. Once I got over the sticker shock, I decided to give “cheap” denim a try and I’ve never looked back. It took me some time to find my favourite brands, styles, and fits, but I’ve been wearing cheap denim for three years now and honestly get more compliments on my jeans now than when I wore designer (which I love, by the way).
There’s a number of reasons why I love affordable denim, but the bottom line is the price. With a little research and some patience, it’s absolutely possible to find quality denim for under $50. You’ll also find:
1) Comfort – In my experience, denim made for the masses is crazy-comfortable. It almost always has a high lycra content and stretches as you move, sit, or in my case, eat.
2) Selection – Stores that offer denim at lower prices usually have a larger selection.
3) New Styles More Often – Affordable denim brands often cycle through stock quickly, so new styles aren’t limited to when the seasons change. New stock is released throughout the year as trends come and go.
4) Risk-Averse Style – A lower price point means that you may be more willing to take a few fashion risks.
The only thing you’ll need to prepare yourself for is the volume of denim you’ll need to try on to find “the one”. Denim for the masses can be tricky, so you’re basically playing a game of numbers; try enough on and you’ll find your perfect pair. During a recent trip to Zara, I tried on nine pairs of jeans until I discovered my new favourite pair of $45 skinny jeans; I don’t get upset or frustrated if they don’t fit or look right, I just move on to the next pair. To find your perfect pair of not-so-fancy pants, look for denim with a rich wash, flattering cut, minimal embellishments, and no obvious logos. Want to give it a try? Here are my top four affordable denim stores:
The Gap – If you haven’t been lately, get yourself into a Gap. Their denim selection is massive and modern, and is organized by cut, fit, and size.
Zara – Zara’s denim is my favourite if I’m looking for something with a little edge; their styles are always current and I love the variety of washes they offer.
Joe Fresh – If price is your main concern, I highly recommend Joe Fresh. Most of their denim is around $35, but I purchased a pair on clearance for $10 years ago and they still look relevant (featured here).
LOFT – I’m not sure what they put in their denim, but it’s ridiculously soft and has a wonderful stretch. My favourite pair of black jeans is from LOFT and I wear them at least once a week (featured here and here).
| Jeans: Zara | T-Shirts: Lululemon (c/o) – similar here | Belt: J.Crew (currently on sale!) | Stitched Rope Cross Body Bag (c/o) the Gap | Mona Leather Espadrilles (c/o) Lole | Necklace: Sequin Constellation Necklace | Disclosure: The above links are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something that I feature, I’ll get a small commission. Not enough to buy a pony, but it will go towards Kendra continuing to find it. |