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9 Tricks to Make Jeans Look Expensive on a Budget

Even a $25 pair can look like it cost 10 times as much.

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Pick the right amount of stretch

Too much stretch will result in saggy and thin jeans, but a weightier pair is more durable. Try to find denim that’s 98 percent cotton and 2 percent elastane—look for Spandex or Lycra on the label—to get plenty use out of your jeans without them looking worn. (Here are more fashion tips to look expensive on a budget.)

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Avoid embellishment

Stick with subtle stitching over intricate back pockets. Gems and crazy designs tend to look tacky, but a plainer back looks sleek and will last the test of time. (Related: Check out these other tricks for spotting a well-made piece of clothing.)

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Pick the right wash

A dark, uniform indigo wash is slimming (along with these other fashion tricks to look 10 pounds thinner), and generally looks more upscale than lighter shades. Steer clear of fading and whiskering details, which tend to make a cheap pair look even cheaper.

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Say no to rips

Rips can look intentional and cool on designer jeans, but the tears tend to look rattier on cheaper pairs. Find an untorn pair in a solid wash for a more high-end look. Don’t miss these style tips from women who always look put together.

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Find the right fit

If jeans sag in the back or pull in the front, you’ll be dooming yourself to an ill fitting pair. Length is just as important as waist size—too-long jeans will drag on the ground, creating unsightly tears and frays after being trampled. These other denim mistakes will ruin your outfit too.

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Head to the tailor

Taking your jeans in for a custom fit sounds like it would put a huge dent in your wallet, but for around just 10 bucks, you can make the denim fit you like a glove for far less money than a designer pair. Adjusting the rise could be a tough fix, but shortening the length or taking in the waist are easy alterations. You can also ask your tailor to slim the legs if your favorite jeans have gotten too baggy. Read about these other surprising clothing fixes a tailor can make.

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Try trouser jeans

Made of denim but designed in a professional silhouette, trouser jeans kick your regular pair of denim up a notch. Even an inexpensive pair can pass for dress pants from afar, and the style is universally flattering. (Related: Click here for fashion secrets from personal stylists.)

8 / 9

Say no to over-washing

The less often you wash jeans, the better they’ll retain their original shape and color, so don’t throw them in the washing machine unless they’re stained, smelly, or saggy. Cheap denim is particularly inclined to fade, so turn them inside out before tossing them in the wash on the cold cycle. Let your jeans air dry so they don’t get misshapen in the dryer, and steam them in the bathroom while you shower to keep them smelling fresh between washes.

9 / 9

Belt it up

Even if your jeans aren’t the perfect fit, you can fake a well-fitting waist by cinching with a belt. Pick a simple leather band to make your entire outfit look polished.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.