It’s no big secret that we love denim (even quarantine couldn’t break our spirit), and our short list of best jeans brands is, well, long. Discussions about inseams, washes, fit (is the vibe ’90s edge or early-aughts puddle?), and fabric (how much give do jeans really need?) are part of the daily Slack banter. We’ve spent hours debating the best places to shop for jeans and, naturally, decided the next best step was to curate all the labels we know and love into a comprehensive guide that you can basically consider your denim bible for the foreseeable future—not to be too dramatic, of course.
We’ve double-tapped, wear-tested, and read up on each one of these labels below, so get to know the best jeans brands and shop some of our tried-and-true styles, including the high-rise jeans we can’t stop, won’t stop wearing, the reworked vintage fits with the perfect amount of weight, and the size-inclusive styles that look good on virtually everyone.
Would a denim roundup even be a denim roundup if we didn’t kick things off with some classic American jeans? The heritage brand was the first to debut “blue jeans,” and now counts a slew of timeless fits to its name (like Levi’s 501s, the Wedgie, the Ribcage) available in all kinds of washes, inseams, and fabrics.
Madewell’s bread and butter is denim, so it should come as no surprise that the brand is one of our ride-or-dies for versatile fits that are not too heavy or too stretchy. The brand carries a wide range of straight and plus size styles, with spot-on inseams for petite and tall lengths—no tailoring required.
Everlane carries just about every wardrobe essential you could possibly need, including high-quality jeans that any denim enthusiast will appreciate. Expect to find everything from light-wash slim-fit jeans to selvedge denim (recognizable by the white and red striping running up the seams), all priced under $100.
Reformation’s cool-girl cuts are perfect for pairing with smocked camis, tiny bags, and relaxed boyfriend blazers. A staple among editors, its stiff denim jeans have a vintage feel, and the brand carries tons of cute, sustainably made pairs—from statement cheetah print to classic straight-leg jeans (hi, Cynthia) that sit higher on the waist with a hint of stretch for comfort.
With jeans that range from sizes 00 to 26, Good American has become a household name for inclusive fits. The brand helmed by Khloé Kardashian and Emma Grede debuted in 2016 with a small selection of styles (skinny fit, high-waist, and boyfriend) but has since branched out into more silhouettes—and categories like swim, athleisure, and footwear. For those on the hunt for the perfect curvy jean, Good American is worth having on your radar.
Whether you want the best-fitting baggy jeans or a tapered full-length, all of Agolde’s denim has that deliciously lived-in feel that only gets better with wear. The brand relaunched in 2014 with styles you’ll instantly wax poetic over (looking at you, Pinch Waist), thanks to their perfect high-rise fits and unmatched hip-hugging feel.
For a cool throwback vibe, look to Re/Done. The celeb-approved brand—which counts Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber as clients—continues the story of Levi Strauss by upcycling and reconstructing old pairs. Its denim runs up to $300, but check out the Re/Sell, a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows you to score (and resell) preloved styles at far less hefty price tags.
Built around cofounder Elin Kling’s ethos of uniform dressing, Totême’s minimalist jeans are ready to be broken in. The silhouettes echo vintage jeans from Kling’s collection, but with modern tweaks, like the twisted seam that wraps around the legs ever so subtly.
For Feel Studio, less is more: The brand offers only one fit of jeans, in three different washes and two different lengths. The idea is to celebrate the old-school appeal of denim while also considering its environmental impact. Feel Studio Inc.’s jeans are crafted in California from durable, nonstretch denim, and are shipped off in biodegradable packaging. The brand also has a premium denim style in its signature fit, cut from Japanese selvedge denim. Any unused and off-cut fabric is used to build insulation for houses, as part of a partnership with the Blue Jeans Go Green Initiative.
Looking for a vintage fit with a twist? Check out Still Here, which was founded by Sonia Beyda Mosseri in New York and produces its pieces in L.A. Each pair of jeans features a unique detail, such as hand-painted stripes or hand-stitched embroidery that are a true testament to the impeccable craftsmanship. Most styles are between $235 and $350, so they’re an investment, but they’ll for sure stand out from your denim collection.
Arguably one of the most inclusive fashion lines on the market right now, Universal Standard released its first denim line in 2019, in its full size range of 00 to 40. Cofounders Alexandra Waldman and Polina Veksler worked to crack the code of the perfect amount of stretch in jeans, with styles available in a variety of light, medium, and dark washes. With a wallet-friendly price point of $90, Universal Standard proves its inclusive mission goes beyond sizing.
Ética is one of the latest pioneers in denim sustainability. Based in Los Angeles, it was launched by a group of denim industry veterans in 2019, with a commitment to fair labor practices, conscious manufacturing, and investment in energy-efficient machinery that reduces water and energy waste. Ética uses deadstock fabric (unused materials from mills that would normally end up in a landfill but are instead upcycled) and repurposes used wash stones, compressing them into bricks to build low-income housing. Buying into its mission is easy on the wallet too: All styles come in at less than $200.
Between the subtle frayed hemlines and flawless fits that require practically zero break-in, Mother has some of the best denim in town. (Even Meghan Markle is fan!) The made-in-L.A. brand has plenty of classic silhouettes to add to your daily repertoire, in addition to styles featuring offbeat accents like “cosmic embroidery” that are just downright fun to wear.
There’s a reason Frame is a favorite of just about every A-lister imaginable: The designer jeans brand has mastered timeless, relaxed fits that you can wear every day of the week, without ever worrying about their losing shape.
With a loyal fan base of both celebrities and influencers, Citizens of Humanity remains one of the most trusted denim brands on the scene. There’s something for everyone’s style here, whether you’re looking for black jeans, wide-leg jeans, or stark white skinnies.
Anthropologie may not be one of the first spots you hit up for denim, but it should. The retailer’s in-house denim label Pilcro recently expanded its jeans collection to be more size-inclusive and sustainably made, and it excels in laid-back fits that pair perfectly with boho blouses, simple T-shirts, and quilted jackets.
AYR, or All Year Round, makes finding your next go-to pair easy: The brand carries only a limited selection of jeans (bye-bye, choice paralysis), with four (!!) different inseam lengths and sizes that go up to 34. Its hero style, the Bomb Pop, has a wait list that goes well into the thousands.
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