Save or spend: SpendPricier jeans tend to use premium denim, which is heavy, tightly woven and often imported from Italy or Japan.
Jeans made of this fabric lift and hug your body better, "like an old-fashioned girdle," says Jason Meyer, co-owner of Detour, a denim store in Milwaukee.
Often the fabric is brushed for softness and prewashed and stretched to curb shrinkage.
Companies using this type of denim - Citizens of Humanity, Paige Premium Denim and 7 for All Mankind among them - tend to be meticulous with other details, using heavier-gauge stitching and nickel hardware (rather than lead, which corrodes), Meyer adds.
Indeed, you'll pay for all this work; 7's jeans are $100 and up. So keep your fancy denims looking new by buying a darker wash, washing them inside out and skipping the dryer.