Since their invention as workplace wear for miners in the 1800s, the humble blue jean has become an iconic fashion item. These denim trousers form a fashion staple for women, men, and children. The fabric has become a staple of jackets, tops, and even shoes.
Since the 1800s and their introduction, many brands of jeans sprung up. Some provide basic denim, others create haute couture of the material. You can still find pairs of these pants riveted together as the originals were or sewn with thread.
Many fits, styles, colors, and cuts developed through the years as designers looked to reach more people with their clothes. This list introduces the top brands of denim pants in the world.
Best Jeans Brands For Men
We’ll let the guys go first in a modern, 21st-century manner. The best brands for men recognized early on that they have different body types and deserve the same custom fits as women. The design houses that provided for taller guys, shorter guys, heavyset fellas, the skinny boys who could not put on weight no matter what, and the average men who could wear just about any denim pant succeeded in lasting.
As it turns out, men also care how they look, they just go about it in a different way. Regardless of your body type, these denim brands make a jeans that will fit you and compliment your build.
Calvin Klein Men’s Jeans
Source: Calvin Klein
Since 1968, fashion designer Calvin Klein and his business partner Barry Schwartz have provided all-American looks to consumers. Their men’s jeans struck a chord with men everywhere by offering styles to fit men’s builds, such as tapered jeans, slim-fit jeans, straight-leg jeans, and denim jean shorts. The many options provided by CK made them a favorite amongst men who can finally find denim that looks good on them.
Diesel Men’s Jeans
The trendy Diesel brand provides a sturdy, comfortable jean for the luxury set. The entry price of $150 might sound expensive to those looking for a bargain, but these jeans last. Their colors do not fade, and the brand uses high-quality materials.
G-Star Raw Men’s Jeans
Since 1989, G-Star unique denim products such as jean pants crafted from raw and untreated denim. Although the brand creates luxury clothing, it does so in a street-fashion style. The brand offers over-dyed, untreated, and unwashed looks, so each man can find the perfect look for him.
Levi’s Men’s Jeans
The original that started it all also kept up with the times. Levi Strauss invented the denim jean. He provided the original pants to miners.
Rather than sewing together the seams of the pants, he used rivets making it really tough to split a seam, but guys deep in a coal mine needed that. Today, nearly every person owns at least one pair of Levi’s jeans whether 501s, 505s, 511s, or their favorite design. Every denim jean in existence owes its start as a brand to Levi’s.
Lucky Brand Men’s Jeans
Source: Lucky Brand
In 1990, Lucky Brand Jeans introduced its clothing line in California. Designers Barry Perlman and Gene Montesano combined humor with fashion to create this rock’n’roll-inspired brand. Besides looking cool, these jeans fit well and despite the grommets, the denim pants provide comfort.
Paige Men’s Jeans
Founded by former Miss California Paige Adams-Gellar, Paige jeans introduced a new fabric, Transcend, providing a soft performance fiber that fits without overstretching. They do not lose shape over time or through numerous washes. Paige Jeans offers a Pigment Dye collection with vintage-washed colors, so you can make a fashion statement without looking like you are trying.
Pepe Men’s Jeans
Source: Pepe Jean’s
Found in 1973, Pepe Jeans sells in more than 80 countries. These jeans fit nearly anyone because of the designers that founded them use innovative cutting techniques to create unique shapes. They also include hand-finished detailing that customizes the shape of the jeans, so they provide an ideal men’s fit. The company uses washing methods that ensure the jeans do not stretch or lose shape.
True Religion Men’s Jeans
Source: True Religion
In 2002, True Religion became a favorite purveyor of denim when it introduced the Super T stitch. The proved one of the heartiest stitches, using a five-needle thread with a two-stitch-per-inch process. The luxury jeans provide a relaxed fit and sturdy, long-lasting wear. Consider purchasing a pair as an investment in looking good.
Wrangler Men’s Jeans
Founded by C. C. Hudson, the main competitor for Levi’s for many years began as denim designed for farmers by a farm worker. Started in the textile city of Greensboro, NC, the pants provide a durable and comfortable heavyweight denim pant. You need never work as a cowboy or farmer to own a pair of these dependable denims.
7 For All Mankind Jeans
Source: 7 For All Mankind
Worn on four continents so far, this niche brand provides luxury and fit. 7 For All Mankind jeans brand founded in 2000 by Peter Koral, Michael, and Jerome Dahan, combines a focus on innovation with design, finish, fabric, and fit. Meant for the male fashionista, it also provides an ideal fit.
Best Jeans Brands For Women
A few of the best men’s brands repeat in the women’s list since they design for both genders. A few of these you will find only appear on the women’s list though since they focus on designs for that gender.
In 1975, designer Giorgio Armani and his business partner Sergio Galeotti found the Armani Jeans luxury brand. Offering haute couture denim, it offers simple, straightforward designs for casual wear. Its clean lines appeal to the well-dressed woman.
Source: Calvin Klein
The jeans of the haute couture designer Calvin Klein caught on for women first when he hired then model Brooke Shields to tell the world, “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.” The racy ad with the now-famous actress, model and businesswoman enticed women throughout the world to wear the tightly fitted denims. Since the 1980s, the brand has led the way in women’s denim.
The brand takes its name from the designer who created it, born a debutante, a woman who became an heiress in her 20s, but who decided she would rather have a career than a life as a socialite. As a designer for various fashion houses, she created many of the looks of the 1970s, but Vanderbilt became the fashion savior of women everywhere when she invested in the skinny jean.
At the time, she worked as a designer for Murjani designing blouses. Learning from a co-worker that the brand had a glut of darkly dyed denim in its warehouse, she pitched the idea of designing a perfectly fitting denim jean for women. The brand let her run with the idea and the late Gloria Vanderbilt created a fashion trend that we still wear today.
Luxury brand Gucci doesn’t just offer some of the best purses on earth. Women love this brand’s blue jeans, too. Founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, it offers award-winning designs from a business known for strategic vision.
Founded in 1981, by the end of its first decade of existence, the Guess Jeans company clothed most of the high schoolers and college students in America. With superior marketing, the upscale brand quickly became a high household name despite the then exorbitant cost of their blue jeans. How great was their marketing you ask?
When introduced, the jeans cost a whopping $50 a pair. In today’s dollars, that would cost $162.05, but high schoolers across the US worked odd jobs to buy a pair when their parents balked at spending that much on a pair of blue jeans. For comparison, a pair of Lee jeans cost $14.99 at the time.
The Indian brand Killer Jeans, established in 1989, has earned the top spot among those in India and its surrounding countries. The fashion favorite of fashionistas on that side of the globe, in an area known for still relying on traditional dress, the company boldly introduced lowered waistline jeans in 2002 and shredded jeans in 2004. The brand has won fashion awards such as the India EFFIE Award and IAA Olive Crown Award.
Founded in 1889 by Henry David Lee, the Kansas firm began as work wear. It now produces some of the best-fitting women’s denim jeans. You can find a size suited to your height and waist size plus the brand offers numerous cuts.
What started as a men’s work wear denim grew into a favorite among women since Levi’s kept its measurement sizing when it began designing for women, too. This lets women with long legs pay the same amount as someone with average length legs, a rarity in fashion. There are no plus sizes in Levi’s since they have always offered a wide range of waists sizes. They offer slim cut, straight cut, relaxed fit, tapered jeans, boot cut, and skinny fit for women.
Lucky Brand Luxury Pants
Source: Lucky Brand
The luxury brand Lucky became an instant fave among women for its denim jeans in a variety of fits. Choose from cropped jeans, flared jeans, skinny, straight leg, and bootcut jeans. The brand designs its denims to fit like a glove making them top the list for women who want great fitting denim.
Source: Tommy Hilfiger
American brand Tommy Hilfiger, established in 1985, moved its headquarters to The Netherlands but retained its American feel. These luxury jeans for women combine fitted cuts, intricate detailing, strong colors, and the best available materials to produce jeans that last and fit well. The luxury brand offers its clothing in more than 80 countries.
Since its founding in 1981 by the late Gianni Versace, the causal Versace Jeans mix an unmatched depth of color and modern, cutting edge styling with cuts made for the curves of a woman. The jeans brand, an offshoot of the House of Versace, founded three years before, caters to the trendy as well as the upscale with its luxurious designs.
While Wrangler began as a work wear brand, as a women’s fashion brand, it expanded its designs and integrated vintage and modern looks. It owns many sub-brands, so if you own any Aura, 20 X, or Riggs denim, you actually own Wranglers.
Where To Buy the Best Jeans
While some may not associate buying American with upscale department stores, Nordstrom features a Made in America section. The upscale purveyor of luxury goods that began in 1901 in Seattle, WA, and now has more than 100 locations throughout the US, as well as an e-commerce store. Ironically, the luxury store with such a strong commitment to high quality American made apparel was founded by an immigrant, John W. Nordstrom, who moved from Sweden to make a fortune gold mining.
Arriving with $5 to his name, he mined gold in the Klondike. He made $13,000 and invested it in a shoe store with a partner, Carl F. Wallin. Still owned by the Nordstrom family, you can find many denim items made in America. The stores also denote items crafted in the US that use foreign materials, such as denim shipped from overseas rather than loomed in the US.
You can purchase most of these brands online at major department stores such as Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, or smaller department stores such as Dillard’s, Foley’s, Belk’s, and Kohl’s. You can order them online via Walmart and Target. Some of these brands, you order from their online boutiques such as Versace or Armani. You can buy vintage pairs of these denims on eBay.
Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions about denim jeans, and we have answers. Read on to learn the ins and outs of every shade of denim and the many factors that go into making your favorite pair of pants last longer.
What makes a pair of jeans high quality or the best?
Great jeans start with superior denim. It evidences the strongest tensile strength due to the spinning and weaving methods used to create the twist and gauge needed for softness, comfort, and toughness. Its weight holds up to surface abrasions. The denim can stretch, then return to its original shape. The indigo used to dye the fabric is color safe.
A carefully cut pattern leads to a better-manufactured pant. Large corporations like Levi’s, Lee, and Wrangler have their jeans manufactured at factories throughout the world. They maintain consistency in products by providing a high-quality pattern and superior denim. The factory simply cuts the material according to the pattern, then sews it according to directions, using the threads provided and the stitching they are directed to use.
How do you properly care for denim?
How and how often you wash your denim pants affects how long they last and how good they look. Here’s the shocker for most American households, especially those in the Deep South where etiquette still rules. Unless you sweat a lot in it or you stained them, you only wash jeans and pants every three or four wears.
You can freshen them with a fabric spray between washings though if desired. The act of machine washing gradually erodes the dye used on denim, so you fade your jeans each time you wash them. You also do detriment to the threads and wear the fabric down. Now, use common sense. If you live in Oklahoma or Texas, you wear your denim in high heat. You will sweat, so no cheating.
You need to wash your jeans after each wear in the summer and the late spring, maybe even early fall. It stays hot in that region of the US most of the year. Sweat also erodes fabric and causes damage. If you wear white dress shirts often enough, you notice this because no matter how much antiperspirant you use, you still develop sweat stains in the underarm area.
When you wash your denim jeans, use the delicate cycle on the washing machine. Yes, that sounds silly for a pair of work pants, but it makes them last longer. Turn them inside out. Wash with a mild detergent and fabric softener.
Never use bleach or detergent with bleach in it. You can wash all of your blue denim jeans together or your black denim jeans together, but you should not mix the colors. Your various blue will stay safe together, but if you were to launder a pair of vintage purple Gloria Vanderbilt for Murjani jeans with your new Levi’s 501s, you could transfer the purple dye to your jeans of blue.
That’s not good unless you intended to do so. This means that the rule of a “darks” load goes out the window with denim. You will have a blue denim load separate from a black denim load separate from a brown or tan denim load, etc.
By the way, the three or four day rule only applies to denim and dress pants. You can only wear your underwear once, then you wash. The same for socks. Check your labels, too, because some clothing you would not expect to need to dry clean requires dry cleaning.
Yes, this can occur with some denim blends because it matters with which material the denim gets paired. Some fashion designers will pair unlikely materials like angora with denim and cleaning the angora properly takes precedence.
What is the difference between sanforized and unsanforized denim?
Unsanforized denim refers to raw, untreated denim that has not gone through a pre-shrinking process. This type of denim is used for shrink to fit jeans. Sanforized denim refers to denim that has been sanforized, a process developed by Sanford Lockwood Cluett.
In sanforizing, a process of steaming, stretching, and shrinking causes the material to permanently shrink. This type of denim is used for perfect fit jeans, also known as pre-shrunk denim jeans.
Can you re-dye denim jeans?
You certainly can re-dye denim. You aren’t stuck with the color the manufacturer provided nor do you have to throw away a pair of perfectly fitting yet faded blue jeans or white jeans or yellow jeans for that matter. You simply buy some material dye, such as RIT, which costs about $3 to $5 at most grocery or drug stores.
Follow the package directions and you can renew any pair of denims or a denim jacket. It can take on that just purchased deep indigo blue again. You can also choose a more vivid color such as purple, red, or gold.
You can dye them to match your school colors or your favorite pro football team. If you have worn the existing indigo off in places, such as the rear seat or the front thighs, this area will appear lighter when dyed than the other portions, but its tone and hue will still deepen and darken. This provides a great way to save a favorite pair of jeans no longer in production.
What denim jeans are Made in America or Made in the USA?
Years ago, a group of American industries created a publicity and marketing campaign to focus on domestic products. It was designed to increase sales of domestic products while tempering people’s desire to buy imported goods. Who ever guessed that it would have a byproduct affect of raising the esteem of certain Made in America products and increasing exports?
So it happened and today, people throughout the world shop for items that can genuinely carry the tag that the US government created in support of products genuinely manufactured within its borders. Most of the major labels have foreign factories now, but 11 firms made a commitment to keep their production completely within US borders, so if you purchase one of the following work pant brands, you genuinely buy an American-made product.
- All-American Clothing
- Buddy’s Jeans
- Certified Jean
- Diamond Gusset
- Kimes Jeans (re-branded from Longhorn Jeans)
- L.C. King
- Round House Brand
- Texas Jeans
- Union Line
Similarly, four fashion brands of luxury denim committed to staying within the US borders. These include:
- Brilliant You Denim
- Bullet Blues
- Todd Shelton
The People History: 80’s Clothes
Forbes: Best jeans for Women
People: Gloria Vanderbilt Denim Empire
Test Fact: Best Fitting Jeans for Women
Nordstrom: Company History
Still Made in USA: Jeans
Jeans Hub: How to Dye Denim Jeans
Tellason: Sanforized Denim
Wiki-How: Wash Jeans
The Facts Shop: Washing Your Clothes
Good Housekeeping: Mistakes in Washing Jeans
Gear patrol: What makes a Quality Pair of Jeans