The Dead Giveaway of Cheap Denim

When it comes to shopping for jeans, it's safe to say that we want it all, meaning that we want quality denim that looks expensive but isn't. The good news is that acquiring that isn't as impossible of a feat as you'd think. The key is knowing how to spot the qualities that cheapen the look of denim and what to buy instead. As we recently did with jewelry, we tapped an expert on the subject of denim to school us on the subject of spotting cheap denim. 

Mary Peffer, VP of marketing and brand creative for J Brand told us, "With the advanced capability of lasers, it’s harder to break down denim don’ts via fabric stereotypes. But a product with crummy hardware is still a pretty good giveaway to the overall design approach. Another way is to examine packaging trims. J Brand’s become more transparent in terms of what innovative elements go into our jeans, e.g., eco-wash water reduction, recycled hardware, recycled cotton, Photo Ready HD stretch technology, and more. But with all things fashion, if something speaks to you, and you feel good wearing it, then that’s the most important thing."

So to recap, hardware that looks cheap will subsequently make your denim look cheap, and innovative materials are a hallmark of high-quality denim. Now that you know, keep scrolling to shop 20 pairs of jeans that look expensive (even though much of it is easy on the wallet).

Pretty much every Who What Wear editor swears by these.

Quite possibly the perfect mom jeans, in our opinion.

These feature a hint of stretch for extra comfort.

Buy these beauties as your reward for making it through winter.

We're highly impressed by the price point of Everlane jeans.

We love how sleek black jeans with black hardware look.

In case you're on the fence, this affordable pair has excellent reviews.

J Brand consistently makes some of the best cropped flares on the market.

The hardware on denim in the '90s was particularly low-key.

No one will guess that these are only $35.