Designer Denim: What’s it worth?

October 8th, 2005

Seven Jeans
We got a question from a reader named Steph: At what dollar amount are there are diminishing returns on having your butt look great in a pair of jeans?

Susannah thinks that there are diminishing returns after $200 or $250, but she notes that this figure is at once completely arbitrary and wholly personal. Trisha places her personal estimate at a slightly lower figure–maybe $175 to 200ish.

We could go all Econ 101 on this and talk about percentages of disposable income, because where diminishing returns hit would vary with household income level. Maybe for you a pair of designer jeans is worth 5% of your monthly paycheck. Maybe it’s 10%. Or maybe it’s 2%.

But does this help? It’s true that it’s a very personal question, and where these diminishing returns hit depends on many factors, a few of which could be: household income, affinity for luxury, and how difficult it is for you to find a pair of jeans with an excellent fit. One person may say $225 is the limit, another person, $500…and yet another person may value designer denim to the price tag of $1000.

Our rule of thumb, though, is that a pair of jeans is too expensive when a glance at the price tag brings a frown to your face.

Your thoughts?

Entry Filed under: News

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Steph  |  October 11th, 2005 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for the reply! I appreciate your consideration of everyone’s unique life circumstances. Sometimes it feels like the fashion-machine tells us that only the très cher can be chic. Not every woman can afford Paper Denims or Sevens…and there should be no shame in your denim standard to be Gap (Sorry Susannah, the horror!).

  • 2. Trisha  |  October 11th, 2005 at 11:35 pm


    Interesting observation about the fashion machine. I feel the same way sometimes, especially with the whole movement towards Luxury everything. However, there’s also a growing trend towards Masstige, or luxury/prestige + mass consumption. Surface Magazine ( devoted its current issue to this concept of Masstige and how it is redefining luxury. The articles aren’t online, but you can find them at your local bookstore!

  • 3. La BellaDonna  |  December 1st, 2005 at 1:06 pm

    Hmmmm. There are four pairs of jeans in my wardrobe: two light, two dark; one each in a shorter, one each in a longer length, depending on footgear. I think I got them on sale, too, for … about $108, total. And that’s what I think denim is worth.

    Of course, this is coloured by the fact that, unless I’m on the back of a motorcycle, only my significant other sees me in jeans.

    As far as denim itself goes, well, I bought a chunk of it that required multiple washings to get rid of excess dye, plus research that brought me to Dharma Trading and some specialized supplies for setting dyes and getting rid of runoff – so I guess the answer is, when I’m the designer, I’m willing to spend a lot more, and go to more effort, as well.

  • 4. Trisha  |  December 1st, 2005 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing.

    And for the record, I got my all-time favorite pair of jeans for about $30 at H&M. I like this particular pair for the unique detailing (dual semi criscrossed waistband detailing). I guess it goes to show that price isn’t everything!

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