The Designer Difference: When You REALLY Get What You Pay For

A few years ago, I did something I’m not super proud of: After growing out of a very expensive pair of jeans and swearing off designer denim forever, I went to a *fast fashion* store (that shall not be named) and purchased a $10 pair of what can only loosely be described as “jeans.”

They were blue and to some extent covered my legs, but the fabric was thin and felt cheap; the fit was weird in every possible way; the closure button rattled when I walked; the zipper would not stay closed; and almost every seam was frayed after 2 weeks of wear.

In short, they sucked. And what made it way worse was that by this point, I actually knew how great premium jeans were in comparison, at least in terms of quality and fit. But I was surprised to learn later on that a higher price tag goes way beyond things like that.

Refinery29 asked AG, Big Star Denim, and a few other designer brands what gives when it comes to premium jeans and the answers are pretty illuminating. The key differences include:

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The 3 Denim Styles You Can’t Live Without: Spring Edition

Simplification is virtue when it comes to the jeans in your closet, especially if you’ve been moved to pare down lately. But how do you know exactly what pairs you need to have? We’ve narrowed down a few styles that are always on trend to help you decide. These are the jeans you should always have in your closet:

The Dark Skinny

Skinny jeans in a dark wash with structured fit are a fashion unicorn: They can be dressed up or down, they are universally flattering, and you can wear them year round. Dark skinnies are a closet staple and can take you from the office to a night out to the weekend without missing a beat.

…and I don’t care what anyone says, skinny jeans are not dead. I will defend them until the end of my denim days.

Our Picks:

AG Legging in “Delight”
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Seven Stages of Grief: How to Get Rid of Jeans

Did you know the average woman has 7 pairs of jeans? That’s the average, I’ve actually had ladies tell me that number is really more like 10 or even 20 pairs of jeans.

But what’s really surprising is that of those jeans, most women only wear 3, maybe 4 of those regularly.

Does that mean you have to get rid of jeans you don’t wear? I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s really hard to part with jeans. Any time I have to let a pair (or more) go, I literally go through the 7 Stages of Grieving:

Stage 1, Shock: I can’t believe these jeans don’t fit!? I just bought them this past fall!

Stage 2, Denial: There’s no way these are the wrong size. I must just be bloated or something.

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Why I’ll Never Shop Designer Jeans The Same Way Again: The Founder’s Story…

…And the $200 pair of jeans that inspired her to change denim shopping forever.


Kelly Ernst is the founder and CEO of Redenim, the easiest way for you to find your new favorite pair of jeans delivered right to your door.

I decided to try my jeans on one final time. And just like the last few times I’d attempted, I could barely get them up over my knees. I’m not entirely sure what I thought would happen. Maybe they would magically fit like a glove again, the way they had when I first tried them on in a SoHo boutique six months earlier. Maybe things would have gone back to the way they were.

Defeated, I squeezed back out of them — an equally difficult feat, surprisingly — and gently folded my jeans. They looked as if they were destined to go back on the shelf, but with a long sigh, I placed them at the top of a pile of “donate-ables” in a brown paper shopping bag at the foot of my bed. 

Slowly, deliberately, I meandered the six odd blocks from my New York City apartment to the nearest Goodwill where I dropped the bag. I tried to maintain an air of cool indifference, but the truth was, I felt so profoundly sad. 

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Washing your jeans: If you’re doing it, you’re doing it wrong.

Drops updated

Jeans don’t need to be washed.

I actually heard you gasp out loud but hear me out…

To preserve your Redenim jeans’ unique character and ensure that their fit and color hold up, we recommend washing them only once every 60-90 days, if that.

Seriously.

But why? It may seem counterintuitive, but your jeans will actually fit better and last longer if you don’t wash them. Think about it. Your favorite jeans are your favorite because of how they fit YOU. Your jeans are designed to take your shape as you wear them and a single wash can wipe away all that progress and alter them permanently. But that doesn’t mean you can’t clean your jeans. You just have to know how to clean them properly.

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