There’s nothing to stop you from investing in a trusty new pair of jeans to wear until they fall apart, no matter what time of year it is. However, old habits die hard, and mid-summer will forever be the time when we feel the itch to upgrade our denim wardrobe—blame the back-the-school ads.
And we don’t take this purchase lightly, either. As previously mentioned, the best jeans get even better with age as they mold to our body shapes, distressing begins to develop, and the fabric becomes increasingly softer. We’re looking for denim so good, it deserves a second or third life after we take our pants to be patched up because we’ve worn them more than any other item in our closets.
That said, there’s no way to ensure every single pair of jeans you buy will be a long-term wardrobe staple, but looking to the labels below is a solid place to start. Ahead, see 20 of the best jeans brands to know (and shop) right now.
New York-based AYR is behind denim that reaches sold-out levels of success. The female-founded, sustainably minded company offers a collection of thoughtful pieces to wear all year round (AYR, get it?), including jeans with a forever cool, wide-leg fit and slim-fit denim with the optimal amount of stretch.
Los Angeles-based Mother produces its line almost entirely locally and creates pieces that you’ll wear day after day, mostly because they’re so comfortable. We love the jean brand’s effortlessly undone, frayed hems and the ‘70s-inspired silhouettes that include wide-leg, high-rise styles.
Eloquii is the go-to destination for on-trend styles in sizes 14 to 28. Naturally, that includes versions of ‘90s baggy jeans and tailored denim trousers, as well as all the classic skinnies to fill out your closet.
Levi’s get better with age—we’re talking about both the denim itself and the brand. While you can strike denim gold searching for secondhand Levi’s in your favorite vintage stores, the jean brand also continues to make current styles of stiff-fit jeans that mold to your body every time you wear them.
Citizens of Humanity
Few “It” items from high school tend to be as desirable years later, but, at least for millennials, Citizen of Humanity jeans are just as exciting as they were in the early 2000s. Made of premium denim, the styles today strike a balance of classic (straight, relaxed, and cigarette pants) and fresh (the deep-V is a welcome alternative to the return of low-rise jeans).
Extra-stretch-denim devotees, you might want to move along. Agolde is an editor-loved jean brand that’s mastered some of the best non-stretch silhouettes, such as the ‘90s pinch waist and, for an alternative to the average, criss-cross waistband.
If you’re searching for sustainably made denim that offers more than the basic washes and silhouettes, Boyish is the name to know. It covers the essential straight and skinny fits, but what really makes the brand stand out is the colored denim and playful design details woven throughout the collection.
Affordable and timeless, Gap continues to deliver with modern silhouettes and sleek trouser fits for those who prefer dressed-up denim. We also love the brand’s range of lengths to cover different heights, including short, petite, regular, tall, and long.
LA-based Slvrlake is all about impeccable fit and quality denim. Using “premium vintage indigo denim,” as stated on its site, the jean brand offers structured silhouettes in a variety of classic washes, from timeless straight-leg shapes to on-trend utilitarian details.
Spanning from 000 to 24, American Eagle Outfitters stands out for its commitment to inclusive sizing. If you’re a fan of distressed and vintage-looking denim, its collection of boyfriend, mom, and ‘90s jeans has plenty to be excited about.
Warp + Weft
Warp + Weft does what few denim brands can: it sustainably creates comfortable, stylish denim in inclusive sizing, all for under $100. The brand also treats its jeans with HeiQ V-Block technology, which has antimicrobial effects.
Japanese jean brand Moussy uses high-quality denim to craft silhouettes inspired by menswear. Shop amazing washes in vintage straight fits, as well as black, structured skinnies (which may also be our new favorite evening jeans).
With the most inclusive size range on this list, Universal Standard offers amazing fits for sizes 00 to 40. The label doesn’t skimp on exciting silhouettes, either: In addition to snug skinny jeans, we love the classic straight-leg fits and wide-cuff details.
Madewell has been ubiquitous with denim since its launch in 2006, and the collection continues to deliver. It offers inclusive sizing and vintage-inspired silhouettes—one of our current favorite styles is the Demi-Boot, with a subtle kick flare at the cropped hem.
Tu Es Mon Tresor
Just relaunched last year, Tu Es Mon Tresor (You Are My Treasure) is a jean brand that offers a curated line of seven silhouettes that encapsulate all the things we love about vintage denim. The fit, the quality fabric, and the subtle worn-in appearance will keep these in your closet for years to come.
Just a few years old, Still Here made quite an impression right from its debut with a collection of denim that’s all about the rear view. We’re not talking butts (although it’s fair to assume so), but instead colorful, artful details that run along the back of the legs. Today, you can find plenty of playful options as well as other unique details that make this brand distinguishable from all the rest.
Direct-to-consumer label Everlane is all about conscious essentials, and that includes its denim. Here, you’ll find some of the comfiest high-rise skinnies on the market, ones that maintain their shape no matter how many times you wear them.
Perhaps you first came to AG for the stiff, 100% cotton denim that wears in like a dream—now stay for the unique silhouettes it offers among the collection of classics. Recently, we’re loving the Darted Aven’s tailored waistline, which creates a hybrid trouser/jeans look.
Founded by Emma Grede and Khloé Kardashian, Good American may have some celebrity power behind it, but the denim speaks for itself. The label is known for its waist-gap-free jeans that fit right to your individual shape (unless you’re going for a baggier fit, of course) in an inclusive range of sizes.
A ‘90s-born, Turkish jean brand, Mavi has a long history of creating denim with a great fit and thoughtful trend references. If you’re looking for comfortable jeans to spend all day in, we suggest perusing the options in the SuperSoft collection.