Take Our Word for It: These 15 Designer Jeans of 2022 Are Worth the Investment

The top spot goes to Saint Laurent's '90s Mid-Waist Cropped Jean

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Shopping for jeans can feel like an arduous task. Everyone has a wish list, but checking everything off is usually impossible, especially when you’re considering an investment in a pair of designer jeans. A good place to start is right here, as we’ve researched for you, having sourced the best available to shop with the help of style expert Zanna Roberts Rassi.

“As far as my top picks, I’d have to say I lately have been gravitating towards Levi’s 501s and Agolde as my go-tos this summer for [straight-leg, high-waisted pairs] in true blue and black,” Roberts Rassi tells Byrdie.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Our top pick is the Saint Laurent '90's Mid-Waist Cropped Jeans for its body-hugging fit combined with the trendy straight leg silhouette. While the jean feels current and on-trend, it is also classic enough to be a style that sticks around making it worth your investment. For the designer look and feel at a more wallet-friendly price point, try superdown Dylan Straight Denim Jean.

The list that follows is as comprehensive as possible to make the chances of meeting your next favorite pair of jeans much greater. 

Ahead, discover Byrdie’s list of the best designer jeans to shop right now, along with more key insights from Rassi.

Best Overall: Saint Laurent '90s Mid-Waist Cropped Jeans

SAINT LAURENT Blue 90's Cropped Jean

SSENSE


Straight legs are all the rage right now. This vintage-inspired pair from Saint Laurent features a cropped straight-leg silhouette and a curve-hugging design. At the same time, the mid-rise has a timeless appeal to make for the most worthy investment.

Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: US 24-33

Best Wide-Leg: Isabel Marant Lemony High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

Isabel Marant Lemony High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

MATCHESFASHION

Isabel Marant stays true to her laid-back style in this roomy pair of jeans. The style is anchored high on the waist and cut for a super wide leg. The maker kept things classic with a 100 percent cotton composition.


Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: US 2-14

Best Affordable: superdown Dylan Straight Denim Jean

superdown Dylan Straight Denim Jean

REVOLVE

Roberts Rassi says she loves this pair for its versatility, and the value doesn’t hurt. It’s made from crisp, white denim and cut with an unfinished hem. Wear it more casually with a sleek T-shirt and leather ankle booties or with your best blouse and pumps.

Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: 23-30

Best Skinny: FRAME Le High Skinny Jean

FRAME Le High Skinny in Blanc

FRAME

FRAME makes solid staples you can always rely on. The label’s 'Le High' skinny style sits at the smallest part of your waist and is woven with stretch to sculpt and lift your lower half.

Composition: 92% cotton, 6% polyester, and 2% elastane | Size Range: 23-34

Best Ultra High-Rise: AGOLDE Pinch Waist Ultra High Rise Skinny Jeans

AGOLDE Pinch Waist Ultra High Rise Skinny Jeans

Shopbop

Per its name, this ‘80s-inspired silhouette from AGOLDE is designed to flatter your frame with a neatly cinched waistband. It features a super high rise and a skinny fit from top to bottom.

Composition: 90% cotton, 6% recycled cotton, 3% polyester, and 1% elastane | Size Range: 23-34

Best Low-Rise: R13 Boy Cropped Low-Rise Straight-Leg Jeans

R13 Boy Straight Leg Jeans

Shopbop

If you’re a fan of early aughts styles, then this R13 pair might be for you. The low-rise style is crafted from white denim and gray stitching, which outlines the classic five-pocket construction on a cropped, straight-leg silhouette.

Composition: 98% cotton, 2% elastane | Size Range: 24-31

Best Mid-Rise: GOLDSIGN The Harper Mid-Rise Slim-Leg Jeans

GOLDSIGN The Harper Jeans

Shopbop

These GOLDSIGN jeans nod to classic '90s shapes with their mid-rise and tapered legs. Wear your pair effortlessly with strappy block heel sandals and sneakers alike.

Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: 23-32

Best Logo: Gucci Logo-Patch High-Rise Flared Jeans

Gucci Logo-Patch High-Rise Flared Jeans

MATCHESFASHION

A subtle logo never hurt anyone. These ’70s-inspired Gucci jeans will make an impression via the Gucci brand patch without wearing out the eyes from the repetition of a motif. They’re made from lightly faded cotton-blend denim and include five pockets and a red logo patch at the cuff that reads Gucci quelle qu’en soit la saison—Gucci whatever the season.

Composition: 98% cotton, 2% elastane | Size Range: 22-34

Best Vintage-Inspired : RE/DONE '70s Ultra High Rise Wide Leg Jean

RE/DONE '70s Ultra High Rise Wide Leg Jean

RE/DONE

RE/DONE is an expert when it comes to making vintage-inspired jeans. This pair is cut for a high-rise, wide-leg silhouette that's synonymous with the 1970s. The aged black wash makes them look a little more worn in, too.

Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: 22-34

Best Bootcut: DL1961 Bridget Boot Inclusive High Rise Instasculpt 32-Inch Jeans

DL1961 Bridget Boot Inclusive High Rise Instasculpt 32-Inch

DL1961

If you’re looking to complete your Y2K-inspired wardrobe with a pair of jeans, we recommend this bootcut pair by DL1961. Made for those who wear sizes 14-24 (not waist size), these jeans are made with the brand’s Instasculpt technology and feature a trendy split seam on the inside ankles for added flair.

Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: 14W-24W

Best Flared: SLVRLAKE Charlotte High-Rise Flared Jeans

SLVRLAKE Charlotte High-Rise Flared Jeans

Moda Operandi

This flared SLVRLAKE style has a distinctly retro feel. It’s cut from classic blue denim and has a flattering high-rise waist and slim fit through the legs. Style your pair with everything from boxy blazers to bodysuits.

Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: 24-32

Best Distressed: R13 Crossover Straight Jean

R13 Crossover Jeans

Nordstrom

When it comes to styles of denim, R13’s Crossover style is as edgy as you can go. It’s heavily distressed, with light whiskering at the hips. Plus, it offers an asymmetrical waist to really go against the grain.

Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: 22-31

Best Cropped: Khaite Vivian High-Rise Cropped Bootcut Jeans

Khaite The Vivian Jean

Khaite

Khaite's Vivian jeans are a vintage-inspired bootcut style that’s hip-hugging and cropped at the ankle for a casual-yet-polished appearance. Wear them with your favorite pair of statement heels.

Composition: 98% cotton, 2% polyurethane | Size Range: 24-32

Best Patchwork: Maison Margiela Décortiqué High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

Maison Margiela Décortiqué High-Rise Wide-Leg Jeans

Mytheresa


Hop on one of this year’s most talked-about denim trends with these reconstructed Maison Margiela jeans. The uneven, high-rise jeans have an avant-garde edge that will reinvigorate your usual edit.

Composition: 100% cotton | Size Range: 0-12

Best Baggy: Raey Fold Organic-Cotton Dad Baggy Boyfriend Jeans

Raey Fold Organic-Cotton Dad Baggy Boyfriend Jeans

MATCHESFASHION

If you’re after a skinny leg or fitted style, these are, as the name suggests, the opposite of that and therefore not for you. This roomy style from Raey riffs on the classic boyfriend style. It’s shaped to a low-rise fit with stitched waist pleats, wide legs, and cropped cuffs.

Composition: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: 20-32

Meet the Expert

Zanna Roberts Rassi is a style expert and brand ambassador for Afterpay. She’s also the founder of Milk Makeup.

What to Look for in Designer Jeans

Fit

A key foundational building block of any great closet is the perfect-fitting pair of denim. “You know, the ones that flatter you in all of the right places, that you can wear for every situation? Roberts Rassi says. Though, what is a better cut for one person is not necessarily good for another. It’s important to try a range and nail down your preferred silhouette(s).

Material

A major component of fit is material composition. Pieces made wholly from cotton will be stiff and inflexible, while even the smallest percentage of elastane will offer some forgiveness and stretch. Beyond that, feel the denim to gauge thickness and opt for pairs that feel the most comfortable and lay flatteringly on the body.

FAQ
  • Are designer jeans worth it?

    In short, yes. However, a more informed answer depends on whether or not the jeans fit the above criteria. "Quality is important if you want them to last a lifetime,” says Roberts Rassi. “Think of it [in terms of] price per wear. They pay for themselves.” If you can’t, or simply prefer not to pay for a pair upfront, she recommends using platforms like Afterpay to help ration the cost.

  • How does one care for designer jeans?

    “Some tips I live by for keeping my denim in the best shape are not washing as often, using cold water, and letting my jeans air dry,” Roberts Rassi says. Another method is refraining from laundering them—a far less laborious method that her husband uses. “He airs them outside, and they last him years,” she says.

Why Trust Byrdie

Hayley Prokos is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor focused on fashion and lifestyle. She contributes regularly to Byrdie’s commerce section and has a passion for sourcing chic and practical pieces with long-term wearability. After hours of researching and chatting with our experts, she’s gathered enough insight to determine which designer jeans are worth buying this season.

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