They'll take you on a first date or to the grocery store. Wear them with high heels and they're hip; pair them with sneaks and they're relaxed. Denim jeans may have started out as sturdy workwear, but they have reached fashion icon status. According to Cotton Inc., the average American owns seven pair of jeans and wears them three or four times a week. Here's the lowdown on what to buy:
For the chic at heart, it's not enough to have a nice-fitting jean: it's paramount that it be the hottest wash, coolest leg style and hippest length. And a designer label doesn't hurt either. Primo labels can set you back more than $100, so make sure you can get them zipped without laying down. Hot labels: J Brand, Chili & Pepper, Blue Cult, Hudson, Paper, Denim & Cloth, Seven, Earl Jeans and Joe's Jeans.
If perfect fit or personalized style is what you're after, try custom-made jeans. Online merchants will use your measurements to design a one-of-a-kind pair; in-store shops let you customize or create a pair from scratch. Do-it-yourselfers can add crafty touches like patches, crystals and studs for self-expression.
You may love splurging on new styles, but it's the trusty five-pocket style that you'll probably reach for day after day. Look for comfort and great fit: a bootcut jean (your choice of rinses) with some stretch tops the list.
No question: you need plenty of jeans in your wardrobe. Stock up on sales, promos and discount-store priced jeans to see you through. Look for basic and classic styles (glitzy knock-offs usually look cheap).