These crazy popular mom jeans from Everlane changed my life
Seriously, they look good with everything
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I’m picky when it comes to my jeans. I want them to be versatile, affordable, and durable. At the same time, jeans feel like the most basic of basics—I want a perfect pair, but I can also be pretty resistant to dropping serious cash on something designed to be a "neutral" fashion piece.
Enter Everlane’s The ’90s Cheeky Straight Jean. My perfect pants. My denim dream. These pants have ignited feelings I never knew I could experience for a pair of jeans. Suddenly, I understand the phenomenon of having a favorite pair of jeans and even of mourning them once you finally wear them threadbare.
I’ve tried a few different jeans from Everlane, and though I like them all, I love these. If I sat down and wrote a description of what I like in my basic denim, I would just wind up reconstructing these. They're everything I love about a solid pair of thrifted vintage jeans, but updated for a modern look. All that to say, I’ve fallen hard for these jeans, and I’m here to talk you through why.
What’s the deal with Everlane?
If you’ve ever shopped for ethical fashion, you’ve probably heard of Everlane. Since 2010, Everlane has been producing pieces meant to stand the test of time, both by investing in quality materials and construction and by sticking with timeless styles. Everlane specializes in reliable classics, like these leather sandals we love and our favorite white t-shirt for men.
I had an eye on Everlane jeans for a while before I took the plunge. I’ll be the first to admit that for a long time I bought my clothes with a mentality of willful ignorance—if I didn’t know that a company underpaid workers or provided horrific working conditions, it didn’t really count, right? How could I know if I was buying unethical products? It wasn’t my fault.
However, the more I learned about the fast fashion industry, the more hesitant I became to continue supporting brands that didn’t provide this information. Obviously, the willful ignorance had to die. With companies like Everlane out there, it started to feel like there was no excuse to avoid thinking about ethical fashion.
All the reasons I love Everlane’s ‘90s Cheeky Jeans
I began shopping secondhand in my efforts to be a more conscious consumer, but there are certain pieces I struggle to find in my local thrift stores. At the top of my list? A perfect pair of jeans.
Luckily, I discovered The '90s Cheeky Jeans, which have all the qualities I love about secondhand denim—and then some.
The subtly vibrant color I got my Cheeky Jeans in medium blue and cropped at the ankle, which is ideal for shorties like me. You can also opt for regular length hems, and the denim comes in dark vintage blue and white, as well.
The medium blue color is beautifully crisp and even, and while I think of this denim blue as a neutral, it strikes me as a little bit more vibrant than my other jeans. It’s a tiny detail, but without being distracting.
The high-waist, super-flattering fit I’ve always loved high-waisted jeans, and these are exactly as high as I want them to be. They rest just above my hips, covering my belly button. It’s perfect for tucking in a shirt and buckling a belt right at my natural waist—high, but not so high that it looks like I’m trying to make a statement.
Basically, these jeans are cut to be flattering in a subtle way. If I wanted to, I could wear them over and over again without my friends asking me if I owned another pair of pants. (I love tailored plaid trousers as much as anyone, but can you say this for them?)
I also adore the straight leg. It's right between a skinny jean and a boot cut, and it’s perfect. Something about the clean lines of a straight leg feels satisfyingly neat and pulled together. It’s also versatile: grown up enough for office casual, but also chic enough to wear out at night.
Their vintage feel Everlane’s jeans remind me of my favorite vintage jeans, minus my one vintage jean-related complaint. While I love finding high-quality non-stretch vintage denim, I often find that these jeans are just a tad bulkier than I would like. I spend a lot of time pegging the cuffs of my vintage jeans, trying to suggest the body-hugging look I really like. (I could save a lot of time by making myself a pin that says, “I have a waist, I swear.”)
It all feels worth it for the sake of thick, non-stretch denim—the material that I love more than any other on this green earth. Everlane’s jeans feel hard-wearing in the way of all the best vintage denim, but unlike vintage items, they actually fit me perfectly.
The transparent production and pricing A major part of Everlane's branding is Radical Transparency, but what does that actually mean? Basically, the company openly provides information about its production and pricing processes.
Everlane requires factories to meet certain standards for working conditions and pay fair wages, and it frequently visits factories to make sure the standards are being upheld. On the Factories page, you can even read profiles of each facility, including information about the environment, supply chain, and owners.
Everlane's pricing information is also easy to access and understand. When you click on a product, you can view a breakdown of how it was priced. This breakdown spells out how much money was spent on labor, materials, and transportation, amounting to the product’s “true cost”—that is, how much it cost Everlane to manufacture.
Unsurprisingly, the retail price of the product is much higher than the true cost (about three times higher, in the case of these jeans), but it’s interesting and refreshingly transparent to see the figures written out. It’s hard for me to say that I “love” spending $78 on a pair of jeans, but I do love explicitly understanding how much of that price tag is profit.
What I don't love about the ‘90s Cheeky Straight Jean
While these jeans are my undisputed favorite, there's a short list of things I don't love about them.
The vague "traditional" price comparison Hold on, didn’t I just say I love seeing the price point broken down? Well, yes, I do. However, there's one aspect I find frustrating: Everlane lists a “traditional retail” price, comparing their price with what you'd pay in another store.
They claim that my $78 jeans would traditionally retail for $155, but I only wish I had any idea how this number was derived. For such a transparent brand, I’m disappointed they don’t provide more information. As someone who has never spent $155 on jeans in my life, I’d like to know if it’s really a fair comparison.
(Editor's note: Based on my own denim experience, a comparable product might be AG's The Pheobe, which have a similar vintage-inspired style, are made using ethical labor, and cost a whopping $265.)
That being said, I understand the difficulty here. Unless other brands start widely publishing their pricing breakdowns, it's tough to make those direct comparisons.
The sometimes-awkward button-down fly There is exactly one thing I don’t entirely love about wearing these jeans, and that's the button fly. Aesthetically, I find this detail unique and cute, and as someone who's busted an embarrassing number of zippers in my life, I also appreciate that it seems very durable.
Here’s the thing, though. I have, on occasion—while, say, slouching over a recently decimated tray of nacho crumbs—managed to pop one of the buttons wide open. Because this button is invariably one of the bottom-most ones, it takes a little finagling to rebutton it without undoing the whole fly. It turns out this maneuver is less subtle than quickly zipping up under the table, so if anyone has this move down, please teach me your ways.
Are the ‘90s Cheeky Jeans worth it?
If it wasn’t already clear, I think these jeans are well worth the investment. I expect my pair to last a long time, and I expect to love them for as long as they survive. If these jeans hold up as well as I think they will, I can see myself replacing them again and again for the rest of my life.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.