Jeans advice: non-skinny designer jeans?
September 25, 2014 6:54 AM   Subscribe

My goto jeans are Levis 527, which are their "boot cut" style. I typically buy them for $40 online. My problem is that after 6 months of moderate wear, the butt starts to sag and they look like old man pants.

Question 1: is this due to them being cheap jeans?
Question 2: assuming yes, and I have to take the plunge into > $100 jeans, can anyone recommend designer jeans that somewhat close to this style? I don't like / am not ready for skinny jeans.

Thanks for your help-
posted by cgs to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You might not like this answer.

Uniqlo makes Jeggings for men. They are around $30.

Now hear me out. They aren't skin tight at all. They don't show your junk. Somehow, they are perfectly loose and also stretchy when you need to bend you legs.

They don't look or feel like skinny jeans and yet they fit perfect. They feel like pajama pants.

Boot cut is not usually in style anymore unless you are wearing boots.

Guy Wearing Uniqlo Jeggings

Another Picture of them, more fashionable.

This one is a model.

Here's a purchase link
posted by bbqturtle at 7:01 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

So, I reread your actual question. Here are my answers.

I think you should stick with levis brand. That said, there are definitely different levels of quality within the levi brand, and if you want to spend more money (go designer) I recommend looking at the levi made in america line. Highest quality/price ratio I've seen in jeans.

I have a lot of luck with Levi 511, but they also have shrink-to-fit which some people like.

It's possible you are washing your jeans too much. I only wash my jeans AT MOST once every two months. A lot of people put jeans in their freezer and such, but I will pick up and smell my jeans and won't notice any body odor or anything. YMMV. It feels weird the first few times, but you get used to wearing jeans with a little oil.

If that sounds really gross, it may be. It's kind of a polarizing topic.
posted by bbqturtle at 7:05 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

This question makes me wonder if this is something that could be fixed with a little sewing, even by hand if it's worth > 60$. I'm thinking you might try pinching a tiny bit of cloth off, right next to the central butt seam so it's not visible, to see if you can get them back near to the original fit. (Initially you'd just pin it in place so that you can try them on and see if it achieves the appropriate effect, of course.)
posted by XMLicious at 7:46 AM on September 25, 2014

I've had problems with Levis shrinking and losing their original shape too. I don't think I would buy them again. However mine were bought in Europe, where the quality of the cotton used is normally inferior to that used in the US for the same jeans. I think bbqturtle is on to something with the reduced washing frequency.

bbqturtle you might feel better or worse about yourself after reading this recent straight dope article about washing and freezing jeans.
posted by guy72277 at 7:52 AM on September 25, 2014

Tommy Hilfiger jeans are hard-wearing and come in regular style. The style names change each season so you really have to go into a shop and try them on (to make sure you don't end up with skinny jeans). The dark blue ones are hardest-wearing, the stone-washed not as much. I don't know US prices but they're probably $100 full-price and $50 on sale. I generally buy a pair in the Christmas sales get a year of hard wear from them.
posted by nevan at 8:02 AM on September 25, 2014

Best answer: I have a lot of luck with Levi 511, but they also have shrink-to-fit which some people like.

511's will probably be too skinny if you've liked boot cut; I tried on the 511 this weekend and felt like I was going to have to just pay for them and a pair of scissor to get my calves out of the things. If you want to give Levi another go, I like the 505 and the 514 which are both straight leg without being skinny (505 sits higher than 514). I think the 514 will do most of what you want. This /r/malefashionadvice thread has some thoughts on slimmer boot cut jean (there aren't many), that might also be helpful.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:16 AM on September 25, 2014

Data point: I have I think 3 pairs of 514s; two were made in Mexico and are 100% cotton, and the other was made in China and is some percent spandex - they fit fine, but fit very differently from the Mexico-made ones. All were bought from zappos. None of them hold their shape or wash like the Levis of my youth (sigh), which I assume is because they were made for outlets like zappos. I may try an a pair from the actual Levis store next time.
posted by rtha at 8:28 AM on September 25, 2014

Response by poster: I feel like the universe is forcing me to switch to skinny jeans ;-)

Just to be clear: those of you who have worn both designer and $40 jeans, designer jeans keep their shape longer?
posted by cgs at 8:40 AM on September 25, 2014

For womens jeans, I have not found that designer jeans, as a rule, keep their shape longer. For that reason, I have learned not to give a crap about whether they are designer.

I have read that you get better jeans if you buy the brand from the brand store, rather than a discount store. Apparently they sell the crappier version in discount stores.
posted by troytroy at 8:53 AM on September 25, 2014

I've typically had good luck with Levi's (511 fwiw), so I don't know the answer to 1 for certain. But if you're looking for nicer pants, you might check out Unbranded brand.

I'm expecting a pair to arrive later this week so I can't personally speak to the shape, but the quality and construction are pretty well-regarded, and depending on the style you choose, you might still be able to get away with paying < $100. The cuts range from skinny to more squarish tapered leg pants.
posted by Gilbert at 9:03 AM on September 25, 2014

Also, designer jeans (of a better brand) don't need to be washed as often or as much. When you do wash jeans you should try spot washing out smudges and every 1-2 months dump them in cold water, scrub them with a little bit of soap and then hang dry overnight.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:09 AM on September 25, 2014

Meanwhile: Which Levis to buy and where.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:14 AM on September 25, 2014 [9 favorites]

Here's the Reddit "Men's Fashion Advice" forum guide to buying "pre-washed" jeans (as opposed to raw denim which is the fixie of jeans essentially). Good looking suggestions in there!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:25 AM on September 25, 2014

I also only have experience with women's jeans, but the opposite one to troytroy: my AG's (regular price $150+) and even Lucky Brand jeans ($100+) noticeably keep their shape better over multiple wears than cheaper jeans from American Eagle and Kut from the Kloth. My designer jeans were all purchased on sale from a regular retail store though, not an outlet.
posted by serelliya at 9:51 AM on September 25, 2014

I've been really happy with Bonobos' Jeans --- they've held up well. They aren't cheap, but they aren't as expensive as AG either.
Bonobos Blue Jeans
posted by dgc at 10:28 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Even if you just wash your jeans in the washer, not putting them in the dryer will make a big difference in how long they last (this comment is re: women's designer jeans, but I think it is likely to apply to your case too).
posted by nat at 11:06 AM on September 25, 2014

100% cotton jeans will eventually bag in the butt and knees. The way to counteract this is to find jeans with a bit of spandex in them so that the denim shrinks back a bit. Those don't bag nearly as much, though it's not a perfect solution.
posted by quince at 11:13 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd actually consider taking the opposite tack, and rather than buying a pair of super-expensive jeans in the hope that they keep their shape, I'd buy a pair of super-cheap ones so that I wouldn't much care. I've heard a lot of good things about Lee Cooper, a British brand that recently appeared in Big W stores here in Australia: $29 AU for a pair of jeans. I tried a bunch on yesterday and they look and feel as good as any Levis I've ever tried on, though of course not as good as my preferred Diesels. But I'll be picking up a few pairs on payday to try out and see how long they last.

I only wash my jeans in one big load about once every six months. Cold water, line dry.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:29 PM on September 25, 2014

Response by poster: I have migrated to the 514 from the 527. Thanks for all the advice!
posted by cgs at 7:41 AM on January 13, 2015

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