As I mentioned previously (here), Spring denim is driving me kiiiinda crazy. Not only am I not sure what to do with my awkwardly cropped straight-leg jeans….I can’t even consistently identify straight leg jeans. Just when I decide to go back to my beloved skinnies, I end up surprised by a pair of denim that might be called skinny, but is anything but. Yet other skinny jeans are basically leggings. Gah! What to do?
It turns out that with a little research (and a few phone calls), we were able to pull together enough fit information to make skinny-jean buying so much easier. And I learned exactly why I have such an easy time transitioning between my AGs and Rag and Bones (their knee-opening dimensions are similar)….yet I’m completely thrown off by my GRLFRND “skinnies”….which, according to this chart, look much more like straight leg jeans than skinny jeans.
So. The first chart is a comparison of all of my personal favorites. But the next two charts? Those are based on our readers’ favorite jeans (we asked our Facebook crowd). We split the reader favs (per reader request) into a higher end and a budget-friendly category. I hope these help – either with future jean shopping (compare your existing favs to other brands), or maybe they’ll explain why that pair of jeans currently hanging in your closet is so darn hard to wear. GOOD LUCK.
*NOTE: The measurements below are inseam (left), rise (top right), then knee opening (right middle) and ankle opening (right bottom).
My Favorite Skinny Jeans, Compared
AGs are some of my forever favorites. They’re soft, stretchy, yet somehow manage to retain their shape better than most. No matter how many times I try to branch out, I almost always end up back in my AGs.
The Legging Ankle
The Farrah Skinny
These jeans are the best I’ve found in the high-rise, non-stretchy denim category. There’s something just sexy about how these jeans fit (maybe it’s the bum?). In any case, I’ve found that these jeans tend to soften with age and break in nicely. The one complaint I have is that the leg opening is wide – it fits me more like a straight-leg jean than a skinny. However…I bought the Karolina petites, which has a wider leg opening than the regular Karolina skinny jeans. In hindsight, I probably would’ve been happier with the not-petite version.
RAG & BONE
Rag and Bone’s Dre (a slouchy skinny jean) has been my go-to when I don’t feel like wearing something tight. But their skinny jeans just fit really well (and have a really good bum). Very similar to the AGs, but less stretch in the legs.
Our Readers’ Favorite Jeans, Compared
I wasn’t surprised to see Citizen’s Rockets on this list or any of the Frames. But there were so many shout-outs for the JBrand Marias, that I’m making a mental note to try them out (they have similar specs to my beloved AGs – see how useful???).
Citizens’ Rocket and Avedon jeans have practically reached hero status, based on the number of rave reviews from our readers.
Frame denim is really, really soft, and I’ve been really impressed with their washes lately.
Our readers have claimed – for years – that Joe’s are the best for curvy girls, or mamas with a bootie.
This brand has quietly snuck up and become many readers go-tos. I have a pair of cut-offs by DL1961, and can see why readers love them.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s never to count out JBrand. Their jeans are consistently well made and classic.
Readers’ Favorite Budget Skinny Jeans, Compared
Madewell was interesting. It was the only brand we talked to that gave us different knee openings and different rises for different sizes. Truthfully, I’m not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing. All other brands described the difference as “negligible”. But one things for sure: our readers are pretty happy with Everlane’s new denim. (And gang, we tried to get more info on Article of Society – a super-affordable crowd fav at Nordstrom – but….nope. They had nuthin’ for us.)
Founded in the 90’s by Ron Herman and Adriano Goldschmied, the brand is known for it’s simple, retro styles. Many of you guys raved about the line. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but this article makes a really compelling case.
Levi’s are back in a huge way, but I’m finding them a bit tricky (the fabric content really seems to matter, in terms of fit). Julieta likes hers high-waisted and fitted….while Cams rocks the lower rise a few sizes bigger, and wears ’em slightly slouchy. Both look amazing.
Team fav, reader fav – Madewell is one of our go-tos for on-trend, affordable denim.
Articles of Society
Readers have been raving about this affordable denim line (at Nordstrom) for years. Cam and Scotti both agree.
The buzz from our readers surrounding these jeans has been huge. I shouldn’t be surprised – Cams and Julieta are fans, too.
Good luck with denim shopping this Spring…(and let us know what you decide on).