My Favorite Ethical Denim (and the Runner-Ups)!

We’ve all been there in the fitting room - struggling and stretching out our legs whilst squatting (and trying not to make too much noise) to squeeze a pair of jeans up the thigh-booty region, only to be highly disappointed once we actually get them on… I’m no stranger to having my “shopping mood” completely killed after trying on a pair of unflattering jeans that makes me question my lifestyle choices.

Having a good pair of jeans is important - not only for our own comfort, but for our self-confidence! After attempting to cheat on my favorite brand again today, I finally decided to just happily stick with my go-to’s. They’ve never let me down. They’ve lasted for ages. They’re high-quality, affordable, and ethical (those 3 attributes are actually quite hard to find these days!)

In an effort to hopefully make your search for the perfect, affordable, ethical pair of jeans a little easier, I’m going to share my favorite denim brands, and my not-so-favorite brands.

This post is not sponsored! Just sharing some genuine feedback to help a girl out!

The One’s That Didn’t Make The Cut

Madewell’s “Fair Trade” Line

What I tried on: High Rise Skinny Jeans + High Rise Button Up Shorts + Classic Denim Shorts

The Verdict: I really wanted to like Madewell’s denim because I love how they look on the shelf, unfortunately, they just don’t do it for me. They are slightly more stretchy than I prefer (which also means they have a higher blend of elastane - a synthetic fiber that is not so eco-friendly). They also fit strangely around the booty - meaning they are big enough to get over my big booty, but they don’t hug my waist; they kind of just gaped open and turned my shape from hourglass to more of a straighter look (which isn’t bad, but isn’t my true shape).

Levi’s (New Production)

What I tried on: Pretty much every fit in the “skinny / straight” department.

The Verdict: Levi’s isn’t necessarily the “most” ethical brand on the block, but I’d say it’s about 50/50. I feel about as good about Levi’s Denim as I do Madewell’s Ethical Line - “it’s a start” towards accountability and responsibility.

Nevertheless, I do not like Levi’s on me. They’re SO thin which honestly makes them feel incredibly cheap, especially since most denim is easily over $60.

HOWEVER, Levi’s VINTAGE Denim is a different story. Genuine vintage Levi’s are much higher quality, and you can’t go wrong with that classic 501 fit.

Rag & Bone

What I tried on: High-Waited Black Skinny Jeans

The Verdict: Maybe I haven’t found the right pair of Rag & Bone Denim, but also wasn’t a huge fan of these. They felt stiff, and the ankle cut was way too wide to be considered a skinny-jean. It was teetering the line of being a boot-cut!

Last, but not Least…
The Beloved; My Favorite(s) of All Time


What I tried on: Mid-Rise Skinny Jean ($68) + The Cheeky Straight Jean ($78)

The Verdict: They’re 100%, all hands down, the winner. Let’s be honest, we probably all saw this one coming. I’m pretty sure at this point, 80% of my wardrobe is from everyone (and a lot of secondhand everlane via postmark!). They feel nice; not too thick, but also thick enough to feel like good quality. They’re not too stretchy, but also just stretchy enough to be able to wear after throwing them in the dryer (Yes - I know, a big no-no with jeans.. but come on, who actually has time to freeze denim?!)

The Cheeky-Straight Denim - $78

The Cheeky-Straight Denim - $78


What I tried on: High Rise Skinny Jeans - $95

The Verdict: Honestly, between Everlane and DSTLD, it’s a tie. I literally alternate between wearing my everlane cheeky denim and my DSTLD jeans daily. I can say this, I’ve had my DSTLD denim for over 3 years now, and they still fit me fantastically. They’ve stretched out a little, but considering that I wear them almost every day and wash them once a week, they’ve held up surprisingly well. This is good news, considering they are a little pricier than what I prefer, at $95.

High Rise Skinny Jeans - $95

High Rise Skinny Jeans - $95

Another Option

If you’ve already found your favorite pair but it’s not an ethical brand, check out Poshmark, Relovv, Depop, or Thredup (to name a few). You’d be surprised what you can find there! As I mentioned earlier, I’m almost always able to find a specific brand of clothing secondhand first, and it’s saved me a ton of money, too!

I’d love to know YOUR favorite denim brands, and even better if they’re ethical!! Share your favorites with me in the comments below!

Sierra KimComment