Here’s my denim story. I typically shopped at Target, Old Navy, and maybe Gap for jeans. I checked Nordstrom Rack once in a while too, though I had no knowledge of Nordstrom brands–I just looked for whatever fit. Then I moved on to LOFT jeans and thought that was totally a step up. But then, during the last couple of years I started shopping at Nordstrom for jeans and MY EYES WERE OPENED.
Whereas I used to think all jeans were sort of thick, no more than mildly stretchy, a little stiff and uncomfortable, and that you should expect them to stretch out after a few wears, I’ve found jeans from several brands at Nordstrom that debunked my low expectations for jeans. And I’m not even talking about designer brands! I discovered some non-designer, less expensive gems at Nordstrom that are super soft and/or hold their shape after several wears. I had no idea jeans could be so soft! Or hold their shape no matter how much you wear them!
Nordstrom carries tons and tons and tons of brands of denim, and while I’ve actually only tried like 7-10 of those brands that’s all I needed to open my eyes. Not all jeans within each brand are consistent, which I’ll mention below, but here are brands I’d recommend checking out.
Wit and Wisdom (under $50)
I have the bootcut pair (HERE) and I’ve said many times that they feel like yoga pants. They are sooooo soft, stretchy, and comfortable. But they hold their shape through many wears! Several of you have told me that you got these jeans and love them too, which makes me so happy! They’re currently part of the NSale (HERE) and were sold out quickly but just got fully restocked. On sale, they are less expensive than LOFT jeans and only slightly more than Target or Old Navy jeans but sooo much more comfortable. I’m usually 6/8 and got these in 8.
Overall this brand tends to be pretty stretchy, but some of them are softer than others. They have skinny jeans also, and a handful of them are majorly discounted with the NSale HERE. The subset of W&W that has “ab-solution” technology all have elastic in the waistband for more comfort and support, but you can’t tell at all from the outside. It’s like this secret weapon that fights uncomfortable jeans that you wouldn’t know is there unless you were actually wearing them.
I can’t speak for whether the skinny jeans stretch out over time since I’ve only worn the bootcut for extended periods, but the bootcut holds its shape.
Caslon (under $50)
This brand seems to be hit or miss with how it feels, but I have found several soft and/or stretchy pairs from here. My current favorite skinny jeans are Caslon ankle jeans, which are full length on me at 5’6″. (Pic on left above.) They’re sold out but you can view the details HERE. They aren’t super duper soft compared to the Wit and Wisdom Bootcut, but they are softer than Target, Old Navy, and LOFT jeans. The biggest thing is that they don’t stretch out, even after 8 wears. And yes, I just admitted that I wore them 8 times without washing! (I think 4-5 is normal, but 8 might have been pushing it, haha!)
I’ve tried a lighter wash ankle pair and it was consistent with the pair I just mentioned. If all their ankle jeans are consistent, then this white pair of ankle jeans (HERE) should be awesome too. I wouldn’t know though, because they’re not available in my size so I haven’t tried them. 🙁
I also tried the full length skinny jeans (HERE) which seemed much stretchier and softer than my ankle pair. They might have been a little too stretchy for me, and I should have tried a size down. I can’t speak for certain about these, but they’re at least worth a try. Also available in black HERE.
The red and grey pairs that are part of the NSale (HERE) are not as stretchy as either the ankle or full length skinnies. I’m wearing the red pair in the pic above. Though they’re not as stretchy and feel thinner than the other Caslon jeans, I’d still encourage you to try them based on color alone. Red and grey have been two of my fall jeans staple colors for the last several years. The red pair got fully restocked recently.
Follow the size chart on Caslon’s product pages. I’m typically 28 in this brand. Find all Caslon jeans HERE.
Kut From the Kloth – Diana (varies in price)
The olive and grey pairs above are from this brand. The red pair are Caslon jeans mentioned above. Kut from the Kloth also vary within the brand, depending on the make. I can say for certain that the “Diana” jeans shown above are a very thick material but are extremely stretchy. This is really how all denim needs to feel on you! Thick and supportive, but stretchy and comfortable. The front rise tends to be too high for me, or else I’d fill my closet with these in a heartbeat! Though, these *might* stretch out after a little because the Nordstrom sales associate suggested so, but I don’t know first hand. Anyone know? But gosh, they are really thick and really stretchy!
Lucky Brand (varies in price)
Let me say I’ve only tried two pairs of jeans from Lucky. One was a pair from Nordstrom Rack that I wore endlessly for YEARS prior to blogging, and it never aged. The second is a pair of dark wash skinny jeans (found HERE). Those were my favorite skinny jeans until the Caslon ankle pair took over due to the Lucky Brand’s lack of pockets. Mostly I loved how they fit on me, which is a quality particular to me and doesn’t apply to all. But I also really love the darker wash with discrete stitching. These also have some stretch to them and are fairly comfortable. However, now that I’ve had them for over a year I can tell you that they have unfortunately faded over time as you can witness in the pictures above. (I really need to change how I wash darks to preserve colors better!)
But I mention these because there are a few notable pairs that have pockets and/or are medium rather than dark washes and are probably won’t be susceptible to fading. One is a pair of distressed jeans (HERE) that I’m really sad I didn’t see earlier because they are just what I’m looking for and part of the NSale. Arrggggh! Another is a medium wash pair of non-distressed jeans (HERE). Also, there’s a sleek looking pair of straight/bootcut jeans HERE and a straight legged pair (HERE) and that are both part of the NSale and discounted until Sunday! There are several great looking plus sized pairs too. All Lucky Brand jeans can be viewed HERE.
Paige Denim (designer jeans)
Compared to a few other designer brands I’ve tried, Paige is much softer which kept me going back to them. But then I discovered the less expensive brands that I mentioned above and now I don’t even know what to do with myself. So many good jeans! Haha!
And some of them are on major sale thanks to the NSale, but only until this Sunday. If you have still been thinking about trying any of these, make your decision by Sunday!
If you have other brands to recommend, please share!