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December 2, 2011 2:08 PM   Subscribe

MeFites, what is your favorite place to get a good pair of jeans, under $30?

I've lost some additional weight (yay for me!) but now my pants are falling off. Belts don't help, because the issue extends beyond my waistline. My legs disappear when I put my jeans on, and there's a lot of extra fabric, everywhere.

I need to get a practical pair of jeans that I can wear to work without looking like a hobo, and I need them to be fairly inexpensive. They cannot be skinny jeans, because I'm not a willowy, thin type of girl. I am short, broad through the hips and stingy with my wallet - where should I go?

*I'm in New Orleans, BTW.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (52 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I have gotten Levi's for pretty cheap on sale at department stores in the past. I like Levi's. Check somewhere like Macy's.

And you probably already know this, but go for a dark wash. Dark jeans, even cheap ones, always look less hobo-y than light-colored ones.
posted by phunniemee at 2:13 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you are between sizes 0 and 14, upscale thrift stores have a wide variety of reasonably priced brand-name jeans.
posted by TheCavorter at 2:13 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

[in as anachronistic of a Brooklyn-Yiddish accent as you can imagine]

What, you people in New Orleans think you're too good for the salvation army?
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:14 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Is there a Kohl's around? They have Levis for $30 here in California.
posted by sacrifix at 2:15 PM on December 2, 2011

Screw skinny jeans. I like a good pair of Flirt cut jeans at Old Navy. 29 bucks!
posted by Sayuri. at 2:17 PM on December 2, 2011

Response by poster: No, kohl's are on the northshore. Very long drive.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 2:18 PM on December 2, 2011

I'm a guy, but I frequent JCPenney for this; they have Lee jeans usually at a pretty good price, and coupons are easy to come by.
posted by kindall at 2:21 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is there a good ole jc penney where you are? I have to tell you about my latest pair of jeans from there. They are from the a.n.a line and they fit and look fabulous! I'm not sure how much they were regular price but I got mine on sale for 25.00. Penney's is always having sales.
posted by daydreamer at 2:23 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any of the discount stores (Loehmans, Marshalls et al).
posted by wrok at 2:23 PM on December 2, 2011

Seconding Old Navy. Personally, I like the Diva boot cut.
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:23 PM on December 2, 2011

I actually got two pairs of jeans that I am very happy with pretty cheap from Target. They have several different fits like Old Navy, etc... Congrats on needing a smaller size!
posted by LilBit at 2:24 PM on December 2, 2011

I'm a big thrift store-er.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:25 PM on December 2, 2011

Academy Sports & Outdoors. Usually I can get good jeans for about $30. Also, fwiw, my fiancee's build fits that description, and after trying the men's what, 527 line, 529? one of the two, really enjoyed the fit.
posted by Seeba at 2:27 PM on December 2, 2011

I've gotten great jeans at Target and Old Navy. ON probably has a wider range of cuts/styles.
posted by elizeh at 2:27 PM on December 2, 2011

I'm wearing a pair of Levis in great shape that I got at Goodwill for I think $6.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:27 PM on December 2, 2011

Seconding Marshalls, Ross, or TJ Maxx.
posted by smirkette at 2:28 PM on December 2, 2011

I love Old Navy jeans, and they go on sale all the time. And they have shorter-length inseams. Yay!

Target's always an option, too. I have one pair of Merona jeans - I don't like them as much as my Old Navy jeans, but they fit all right and are work-appropriate.

Consider a trouser-cut jean; they can look a little more grown-up/professional than bootcut or skinny jeans. On the other hand, they can look more matronly.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:28 PM on December 2, 2011

Getting classic Levis 501 button-flys on sale or at thrift store and then busting out the sewing machine works for me. Not the garbage "501 boyfriend" jeans they market to women, but the kind for men that have been made and cut the same for like a million years now. You'll have to figure out what size fits you best, but then it's just a matter of cutting and re-hemming the legs. You'll be able to get the same pair of jeans time after time.

In my experience, Old Navy is too variable in their cuts, even across the exact same size, fit line, and color, which makes getting a new pair of the pair you bought last month that fit really well is effectively impossible. Plus most of their jeans have stretchy stuff in them, which is great, but means that they can sag terribly after even a small amount of wear. ON jeans straight out of the dryer might as well be a different pair of pants from ON jeans you've been wearing for a few hours.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 2:28 PM on December 2, 2011

Old Navy.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:30 PM on December 2, 2011

Eddie Bauer jeans from the online site where I can get petite sized boot cut jeans. And under $30 because I only buy on sale or with a coupon. They are well made and last forever.
posted by bearwife at 2:31 PM on December 2, 2011

Love the Flirt cut at Old Navy.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 2:33 PM on December 2, 2011

I have the same body type as you, except I'm also very short. I love Gap Long and Lean Jeans (which I have to get hemmed). Sometimes I can find them on clearance for no apparent reason -- my last pair was $7! But you can often find them on sale (using coupons) for around $30.
posted by chickenmagazine at 2:34 PM on December 2, 2011

(From Ms. Vegetable):
Sears. Not kidding. I buy jeans at Sears. I'm currently wearing a pair of them.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:35 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing JC Penney for Levi's. The a.n.a. brand mentioned already is good too. If you sign up for their mailing list you will get (too frequent) offers for extra discounts and free shipping. They have free returns in their stores so you can order a bunch and return the ones you don't want. I ordered 10 pairs last month and returned 8 of them.

I have a protruding bottom and a bit of a muffin top and these fit me really well. They fit my curves and I can bend over without exposing anything.
posted by apricot at 2:38 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am quite in love with Mossimo jeans from Target, particularly the dark washes. They look nice and the bootcut style they sell now en masse makes my thighs look slim. They are quite long, but the short length is the right length for me. They make a million varieties and sell them by type like Old Navy. I used to like Old Navy jeans, but I went recently after not having shopped there for about a year, and I felt like all their jeans were made of plastic and utterly unflattering. I would never buy jeans there again.

I've heard Gap has nice jeans as well. Not sure about the price. And I buy second-hand designer jeans sometimes, because nice denim is a great luxury.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:39 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite] has some pretty good pre-christmas type sales going on right now.
posted by misterbrandt at 2:41 PM on December 2, 2011

Nthing Old Navy.
posted by smilingtiger at 2:42 PM on December 2, 2011

Nthing Target. I am a total Expensive Fancy Jeans Snob and yet I am wearing a pair of Target Xhileration jeans right now. They were on sale for like $9! I wish I had bought 10 of them.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 2:51 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Old Navy. Also, I have gotten some surprisingly good and non-skinny jeans once or twice from H&M.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:54 PM on December 2, 2011

I went through exactly this over the last few months, and found that Old Navy gave me the most bang for my buck. Although I did once get a pair of jeans at Target, from the sale rack, that were about $6.
posted by rtha at 2:58 PM on December 2, 2011

I like to go to secondhand stores like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads. It's usually about $20 for an almost-new, high quality pair of jeans, at least here in Los Angeles.

They are very selective about what they take, so you won't find anything that's very worn out or damaged like you would at a real thrift store. Of course, you pay a premium for that - but you don't have to spend hours looking through a thrift store (which I also sometimes do, but not for jeans).
posted by insectosaurus at 3:00 PM on December 2, 2011

First of all, congratulations!

Secondly, I love LOFT jeans. They are on the pricey end for quality at full price, but LOFT typically has massive sales. (I think the most I've ever paid for their jeans is $20. Once I bought a pair for less than $5.) I'm a huge fan of the boot cut and flare (especially petites), but they offer all sorts of different cuts and washes.

Right now they're doing an additional 30% off sale, but they frequently have an additional 40% off. For Black Friday/Cyber Monday they had additional 50% off.

TJ Maxx and Marshalls are also great if you have the time to dig. I'd also go to your local department stores and see what they have around on clearance, especially Belk and Dillard's. Sales sales sales!
posted by sums at 3:23 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I always go to KMart to get reasonably priced name brand jeans, usually for less than 25.
posted by annsunny at 3:38 PM on December 2, 2011

Oh gosh, I'm so surprised so many people love Old Navy jeans. I hate them. I just bought a skinny pair for sale for like 18 bucks. They stretch out within 20 mins of wearing it - making me look like I have that Mom pooch. I'd check out thrift stores and consignment shops. I've gotten jcrew pairs there for 30 bucks.
posted by quodlibet at 3:38 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ann Taylor Loft has great jeans - get on their email list to know when things go on sale, you can get jeans there on sale for about that price. They are constantly having 30% or 40% off sales. Bonus is that it's in a separate building at Lakeside so you don't have to go into the actual mall. Shudder.
posted by radioamy at 3:51 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Particularly if you're still losing weight, thrift stores, although with the caveat that my experience is that getting women's jeans at thrift stores can take a lot of extra time & patience.
posted by epersonae at 3:58 PM on December 2, 2011

Depending on your shape, American Eagle jeans are actually really great. They're usually in the $35-45 range before discounts (you can usually find a coupon code somewhere). The fabric is really comfortable and the inseams are shorter than usual. They also offer "short" sizes online. I'm 5'7" but with the world's longest torso/shortest legs, and the regular actually works for me. Lots of washes and cuts. Be forewarned that they are cut ridiculously low, but that kind of works for me if I tuck a camisole or undershirt in to prevent gaps.
posted by charmcityblues at 3:59 PM on December 2, 2011

Seconding American Eagle jeans. I bought a couple pairs on sale for $19.99 earlier this year and I like them a lot, especially because they come in short sizes.
posted by wondermouse at 4:17 PM on December 2, 2011

Levi outlet! I got a really cool pair for 15 bucks. Also seconding thrift stores (I prefer stores like Buffalo Exchange, where you can buy/trade/sell your clothes, since the clothing is much more curated and trendy that traditional second hand shops.)
posted by too bad you're not me at 4:37 PM on December 2, 2011

The Old Navy "Dreamer" cut. It has room for the 'junk in my trunk'. (Although I have some of the other cuts, too, and they're good.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 4:45 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

target and levis are great, also if gap is having in store clearance i like to go there.
posted by zdravo at 6:04 PM on December 2, 2011

Can't beat Levi's. Old Navy jeans stretch like crazy. Same with Gap (same company...).
posted by uncannyslacks at 6:14 PM on December 2, 2011

Seconding consignment/re-sale boutique. I scored a pair of 7 for All Mankind for $25! I also really like Express Jeans - they seem to always fit my rather ample behind, are comfortable, stylish and last a long time. If you catch a sale, they are a good deal.
posted by Leezie at 6:41 PM on December 2, 2011

eBay. Find your favorite $$$ brand, figure out your perfect size, then buy them used on ebay. I like Ann Taylor petites, but that is mostly because they fit me without having to hem them...I snap them up for 70% off retail on eBay!
posted by arnicae at 6:45 PM on December 2, 2011

I go to Kmart.
posted by maurreen at 7:36 PM on December 2, 2011

I'm a guy so I can't speak to questions of fit and cut, but Wrangler jeans, about $17 at Target or the dreaded Walmart, have always lasted and held their color quite well.
posted by ambient2 at 7:42 PM on December 2, 2011

Response by poster: Whoa. Thanks for all the advice! And for the congratulations :) The results were hard earned, over two and a half years.

This is going to take some time to narrow down. Unfortunately, Old Navy and I have a long-standing disagreement over their fitting room lighting, so they're out. The too-large jeans are from Target, and that's always a good option. I love Sears because their slacks fit my height perfectly, so that seems promising, as well. Academy was a surprise, and I abhor Lakeside Mall, but I'm going to check out LOFT, and try Academy too. I don't know about thrift stores or consignment shops for high-end jeans. My "junk in the trunk" can best be described as a fat ass. The more expensive clothes never fit me just right, even at a size 6. I'll check it out - it never hurts to look!

Thanks again everyone. You guys are geniuses.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 8:51 PM on December 2, 2011

You might want to check out Pac Sun. I'm a guy who has a rough time finding jeans that fit the the way my girlfriend wants them to. I usually end up buying designer jeans, but I picked up two pairs of Pac Sun jeans on sale for $10 a piece several years ago. They fit great, look good, and are still holding up well after heavy wear.
posted by syzygy at 10:59 PM on December 2, 2011

If you have Costco membership, or a friend who does, I got my current favourite pair of Levis from Costco for $20.
posted by arcticseal at 11:36 PM on December 2, 2011

Response by poster: We don't have a Costco, but I have a Sam's membership. If they have a fitting room, though, I can't find it. And I definitely need a fitting room. :/

The idea that syzygy's girlfriend didn't approve of his jeans is cracking me up.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 6:26 AM on December 3, 2011

You can take them into the bathroom, if you ask - my Dad definitely has done that before (slightly embarrassing his daughter...)
posted by quodlibet at 2:48 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am a huge fan of Dickies brand pants and recently got their jeans which I really like too. Less than $30 a pair and they have a much more differently sizes than other places. Check out their website
posted by punkrockrat at 7:42 PM on December 3, 2011

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