Jeans Under $100 That Look Expensive

Every woman knows the struggle of shopping for jeans and the mental prep it entails. First step, you have to face the reality of figuring out your size, a society-established numerical value, which, sadly, has probably gone up at least two sizes since the last time you went jean shopping in high school. (Throwback to my prepubescent self trying desperately to fit into a size 24 jeans at Abercrombie to match with my XXS Abercrombie graphic tee. Sigh.) Next, you have to try on approximately 897 pairs of jeans before finding the right pair that actually flatters your body. Lastly, once you’ve finally find the right pair, you have to start doing the mental math to determine whether you can even f*cking afford that pair that you just spent HOURS finding. Like, hmmm let’s see—how many less times do I have to not order Postmates this week to afford these? And can I find some decent jeans under $100 that don’t look like crap on me?

Well, I can’t fix all your denim shopping woes. But, I can help you find a flattering and stylish pair of jeans that will still allow you to maintain your financially irresponsible Postmates habit. No longer will you have to deal with justifying the price once you’ve just done all of that work finding the perfect pair of jeans. Shop these select styles of denim at places like Topshop, Zara, TJ Maxx, and Nordstrom Rack, to find quality jeans under $100 that look expensive.

1. Dark Wash Skinny

A dark wash skinny is the more office-appropriate version of the standard pair of jeans. It’s like, your already engaged “doesn’t drink for health reasons” cousin at the family party version of jeans. Like your cousin, they’re conservative, predictable, basic, and otherwise boring af (but at least you know they won’t be banned from Thanksgiving for getting drunk and dancing on tables). Their cleaner, more streamlined look makes them look more expensive because it doesn’t allow for any weird fading that would otherwise make them look cheap. Wear them with a blazer to the office (depending on how casual your “business casual” dress code actually is) or wear them on the weekends with a knit oversize sweater.

J Brand Maria High-Rise Skinny Jeans ($89.97)

2. Distressed Boyfriends

If you can pull off a pair of distressed boyfriends, then you must be so chic and stylish that you wouldn’t even go near a pair of jeans that weren’t at least $200? Right??? For this reason exactly, distressed boyfriend jeans are so effortlessly stylish that they automatically look more expensive. Heck, wear your distressed boyfriends and people may even believe your knockoff Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag is actually real too!

Topshop Mid Blue Ripped New Boyfriend Jeans ($85)

3. Gray or Black

To put it simply, gray and black jeans look more expensive because they’re less basic. Think about it—like, when you’re at the bars, there’s tons of drunk betches everywhere in their medium-wash colored jeans. They’re also the same girls ordering countless vodka sodas and desperately fawning over guys. Basic. You, on the other hand, an intellectual in your stylish and flattering high-waisted gray jeans naturally stand out and don’t need to beg for guys’ attention. You’re also ordering a vodka soda, but like, not with the house vodka at least #notbasic. So yes, you’re better than them, congrats.

Zara Premium High Waist ZW Jeans ($49.90)

ZW Premium High Waist Skinny Jeans ($49.90)

4. Details

Denim details can instantly make even jeans under $100 look more expensive. More details mean more work, and more work means higher production costs, and the more money they cost to make, then the more they probably cost you to buy. Trust me, it’s a stream of subconscious presumptions people will make. But like, you got them all fooled because there are tons of great styles that aren’t super pricey, but still look it.

Premium ZW Shadow Black Rocky Jeans ($69.90)

5. Flare

Flare jeans are back, and honestly, I’m not mad about it. Paired with a heel, they make your legs look long, your outfit elevated, and, with all that going on for you, why wouldn’t people just assume that your jeans have cost you your whole month’s rent? As with the gray jeans, flare jeans are less basic and therefore, the more rare something is, the more perceived value it has. So like, flare jeans for the f*cking win.

Free People Slim Pull On Flare Jeans ($78)

If you prefer to keep spending $200 plus on your jeans, then by all means go ahead. Or, if you’d rather keep buying tacky Charlotte Russe ones, then by all means, you do you. But, if you want to actually be able to afford dinner for the rest of the week and still look good, then try one of the five aforementioned denim styles. You’ll be happy you did.

Images: @petebellis / Unsplash; Zara (3); TopShop; Free People; Nordstrom Rack
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Shannon McCormick
Shannon McCormick
Shannon McCormick (previously under the alias of 'Betch Dressed') is a self-proclaimed fashion expert with a sick obsession for all things Bravo. She primarily writes about everything fashion, but also dabbles in other areas because she's a talented overachieving Virgo. Follow her on Insta (@shanmccormick) and comment/DM topics you want to hear her incredible take on next!