From then on, wear your 501 Shrink-to-Fits as hard as you can and wash ’em every couple of weeks. (Definitely not with whites, and definitely don’t put them in the dryer.) Eventually, they’ll probably end up as the best-fitting, best-feeling pair of jeans you own, at any price. Or skip the shrinking and buy the standard-issue 501s. They don’t come in the same super-dark version, but there are plenty of rinses, all pre-shrunk and ready to wear out of the box.

The Best Cheap Jeans with Just the Right Amount of Stretch


Organic Cotton Slim Fit Jean

Sizes: 28×34 – 40×34 Rise: 10.75″ Leg opening: 13.5″ Materials: 98% organic cotton, 2% elastane Fabric weight: 13 oz. Fly: Zip Colors: Varies

What sets apart Everlane’s elastane-enhanced jeans from its comfort-focused competition is that they’re also surprisingly sag-resistant: you can wear them Monday through Sunday, and it’ll be a long, long time before this pair loses its flattering lean shape. That’s great, because the subtle wash cements these as the most office-appropriate pair in our cheap jeans round-up. Everlane’s pristine indigo look is simple enough to work with anything, at any time. If you’re looking for a weekday business casual suggestion, try them with a tweed blazer, knit tie, and equally-crisp white sneakers for a fit that’ll take you from a meeting with your boss straight into post-work drinks with your most gossipy colleagues.

The Best Cheap Selvedge Denim Jeans


Stretch Selvedge Slim-Fit Jeans

Sizes: 27×32 – 44×34 Rise: 10″ Leg opening: 14″ Material: 98% cotton, 2% spandex Fly: Zip Colors: Indigo and black

It’s rare to find selvedge denim under $100, but Uniqlo remains a hero to fans of high-quality, low-cost jeans. Selvedge denim takes longer to make than regular denim—and as a result, usually costs more—because it’s woven on looms that leave a densely-woven, non-fraying self edge (that tell-tale stripe on the outer leg seam, usually white and red, and flexed with an upturned cuff). You should care about selvedge for at least one reason, maybe two: because it’s pristine denim that you get to wear in yourself, and because denimheads will see it and give you a nod of approval.

Uniqlo’s selvedge is mid-weight, a little crispy, and imbued with a hint of stretch to keep it from choking out your thighs while it wears in. It’s sanforized, too—denim jargon for “pre-shrunk,” so you don’t have to worry about washing them. Little touches like gunmetal hardware and reinforced belt loops make Uniqlo’s stretch selvedge jeans feel more premium, too.

The Best Cheap Athletic-Fit Jeans


Relaxed Fit Straight Leg Jean Pants

Sizes: 26×32 – 42×36 Rise: Mid Leg opening: 17″ Colors: Varies Material: 100% cotton Weight: 10-13.5 ounces

For those riding the menswear Dad Wave™ or for those with thicker-thighed bodies, get yourself a pair of Lees. The fabric is hardy, the fit is boxy and perfect for athletic builds, and the wash is blissfully uniform, without any crazy distressing. Most important, they’ll only set you back $30. Because we all know affordability is the sine qua non of a great dad jean.

The Best Cheap Slim (But Not Too Slim) Jeans

Sizes: 28×28 – 42×34 Rise: N/A Leg opening: 14.75″ Material: 94% cotton, 5% recycled cotton, 1% Elastane Fly: Zip Colors: Varies

Gap kicked off this whole “quality jeans at a nice price” movement more than a decade ago, and it keeps the party rolling with these medium-wash crowd-pleasers. This pair was engineered to look great on the broadest range of body types: not too snug, not too loose. (Which makes them the rare slim jeans that are flattering for those with plenty of “power” in their legs.) Not for nothing, there’s also a lived-in character to Gap’s Slim Jeans that’s hard to come by—they’ll feel like an old friend right from the jump. And who doesn’t like spending time with an old friend?

The Best Cheap Double-Knee Jeans


Rugged Flex Relaxed Fit Double-Front Utility Jean

Sizes: 30×30 – 44×36 Rise: N/A Leg opening: 17″ Material: 98% cotton, 2% Elastane Fabric weight: 15 oz. Fly: Zip Colors: Indigo

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