Boyfriend jeans. Mom jeans. Worn and comfortable. High waisted, straight leg, loose fitting. We’ve heard it all. This effortless look feels nostalgic and seems to always pair best with a crisp, white tee. I’m a huge fan of this style, but the truth is, I’ve been fearful to try it out.
I’ve kept my eye on this look for several months now, perpetually uncertain if I could pull it off. Then I found a pair of vintage, well worn Levi’s 501s and my questioning was all over. Whether or not I could actually pull off this look, I snagged my secondhand treasure for $35 and ventured home to style with a perma-grin of satisfaction slapped across my face.
If curiosity with worn, effortless denim has been swirling around in your mind, I’ve carefully gathered four ethical options for a reasonable investment.
You can rent a car, you can rent an apartment, you can even rent your wedding dress. But did you know you can lease a pair of jeans? I know, right!? First question, how does this even work? After paying a one time membership fee of $20, Mud Jeans allows you to select the perfect pair of jeans for you. You pay only $8 a month to lease your jeans. After the year is up, they are yours to keep if you love ’em! Ready for a new pair? Send back your old jeans, check out updated options, and continue leasing a brand new style. What happens to your returned pair? Well, they’re recycled and re-crafted (Watch the process here!) Ethically manufactured in Tunisia, these jeans are the perfect option for the minimalist!
By joining the Better Cotton Initiative, Levi’s Water<Less denim line is making a powerful impact on the environment. While a typical pair of jeans requires 42 liters of water to give it the well worn look, Levi’s Water<Less line uses as little as 1.5 liters of water for some of their pairs. Levi’s is on a mission to reduce chemical use and ensure that water leaves their garment warehouse cleaner than when it came in. Levi’s is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and has claimed, “Our goal is to be the most sustainable apparel company in the world.” Though I feel Levi’s still has a long ways to go until they fully embody their desire for radical transparency, I am encouraged to see this classic brand moving in a unique direction!
As mentioned in a previous post, I’m a big fan of DSTLD’s denim line. With a vast selection of washes and styles, this brand is certainly one to keep an eye on. DSTLD is passionate about producing 100% sweat-shop free apparel, eco-friendly + sustainable fabrics, and offering affordable pricing. They remain an online-only retailer with no middlemen, meaning you get the savings! Currently, their denim line starts at $75, not exceeding $105. If you are interested in trying out the effortless denim look, but are restricted by budget (hello, aren’t we all!?), these are a wise option for you.
Alright, I had to end this post with one gorgeous pair of denim. I admit, they are well of my personal price range. If you can afford more expensive treasures, Imogene + Willie is a worthy, long term investment. These trousers are a timeless silhouette, easily paired with a fitted tee or dressed up with a silk blouse and wedges. Imogene + Willie takes pride in ethical production, as each pair of jeans is patterned, cut, and sewn in the USA. For those of you with means to curate an ethical wardrobe at a higher price point, this classic pair of denim will last you seasons and stir curiosity.
Freedom to experiment with looks that simultaneously inspire and intimidate you is something I’ve been contemplating lately. I’m learning to release the pressure to fit a particular mold, defining my own favored aesthetics, and am embracing the joy that follows!For me, experimenting with my personal style is always intertwined with a conviction to shop ethically. If you find yourself on a similar journey, I hope you stick around. Perhaps you’ll find some questions answered, some brands to return to, and a little encouragement towards a more ethical wardrobe!