Eco-Friendly Denim You Can Actually Afford

As far as new, independent denim brands go, DSTLD jeans is one of the biggest players on the market right now. The company launched in April 2014 with the mission of bringing quality denim at a lower price to consumers by going straight from the factory to the website (similar to how Warby Parker can sell designer-y glasses for $95). It's a pretty sweet deal, especially when you factor in that they refuse to work with sweatshops and use eco-friendly material almost exclusively. But can a pair of $65 jeans really stand up to high-end denim that's triple the price?

Click Here To Shop The DSTLD Collection

Well, there's no better way to find out than take it for a test run. For the past week, I've been running around in three different fits of the DSTLD jeans (low rise skinnies, mid rise jeggings, and mid rise shorts). I went hiking in California, grocery shopping in Brooklyn, and dancing in Manhattan with these bad boys, just to see how they held up to my everyday lifestyle. Between each day of DSTLD-ing, I wore a pair of my most expensive jeans for comparison — though, full disclosure, they're only worth $189, because I haven't had the nerve to splurge on the $250+ rag & bone pair most people are comparing the DSTLD denim to. Here's my official verdict.

Mid Rise Skinny Jeans

The Fit

They run true to size (or, at least, true to my size) and most of the jeans on the site come with a couple inseam lengths, ranging from 28" to 32" depending on the pair you choose. At the moment, DSTLD exclusively sells skinny jeans and denim shorts, so if you're a boyfriend jeans-only type, this isn't the place for you. And when I say skinny, I mean it — in the best way. I have bony little ankles, so even so-called "super-skinny" jeans sometimes bag around my feet. These most definitely did not.

One pretty big negative? No. Freaking. Front. Pockets. I know that ladies' jeans often omit these so the fit is smoother, but it's one of my biggest women's clothing complaints. Where am I supposed to put my hands when I'm feeling awkward in a big group of people (read: all the time)?!


The only thing that makes the skinniness of these jeans bearable is the incredibly amount of stretch in the fabric. The two pairs of regular denim I tried were about 42 percent tencel (an eco-friendly version of rayon), 32 percent cotton, 14 percent rayon, 8 percent polyester, and 2 percent spandex. The jeggings were even stretchier at 50 percent polyester, 46 percent modal (a semi-synthetic rayon), and 4 percent spandex. Compare that to the 98 percent cotton, 2 percent polyurthane blend on most rag & bone jeans.

Low Rise Ankle Skinny Jeans

Now, for me, this high stretch was a pro as well as a con. I appreciate jeans I could feasibly do a split in (if I felt so inclined), but for day-to-day wear, I actually prefer sturdier denim with a little less give. Still, they were super comfy.


As with most jeans, they last longer if you take the time to hand wash and line dry. However, throwing in them in the washer every couple of months certainly won't ruin your DSTLD denim!

Mid Rise Roll-Up Shorts

Final Verdict

Are these jeans worth $65? Yes. Does the denim look and feel like it cost you $65 instead of $250? Also yes — though it will look like it cost you $65 instead of $7, too. However, the fit across all the styles is super flattering (these shorts are my new favorites — AND THEY HAVE POCKETS!), and they are ridiculously comfortable. Plus, it's not often you can get a pair of affordable jeans and know they were made totally ethically. That alone makes DSTLD completely worth it.

Images: Franco Del Valle