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$42.50 jeans with five-star reviews

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A good pair of jeans is hard to find.

They need to be equal parts flattering, comfortable and versatile, preferably something that doesn’t cost a week’s rent and once you tick all (or most) of these boxes, gives you years of wear.

And like coveted cafe spots, must-watch Netflix series and hardworking beauty products, the best way to find a great pair is through a trusted recommendation. That’s why we asked the news.com.au team to share their tried and tested denim favourites.

From a pair of jeans loved by Kylie Jenner and designer skinny jeans worth the investment, here are the styles they have on high rotation.

MARKS & SPENCERS, SIENNA BUTTON FRONT STRAIGHT FIT JEANS

Marks & Spencers, Sienna Button Front Jeans in Light Denim and Blue Denim, $42.50

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Full disclosure: These jeans came to me via a PR recommendation when I was researching this season’s highest-selling jeans. With more than 900 five-star reviews on Marks & Spencers, they’re one of the UK department store’s best-selling jeans, which might have something to do with their very attractive $42.50 price tag. They also happen to be the most comfortable pair of pants I’ve ever tried.

Unlike some cheaper jeans, the cotton still feels thick and high quality while the elastane gives them a great stretch. The mid to high rise is perfect for tucking in tops when you need to dress things up for work and their slightly tapered leg gives you just enough shape for a flattering fit. I also love the fact that the jeans come in an inclusive AU6 to AU24 size range and you can pick between a short, regular or long leg length.

My colleague, Edwina Barraclough Carr is also a fan. Road-testing a pair in the Blue Denim wash she raved about their flattering cut and fantastic pricepoint.

“Undoubtedly the best thing about them is their impeccable cut. It’s extremely flattering and hugs the thighs before tapering out towards the ankle, giving the jeans that sort of off-duty-but-still-chic look that can be worn in basically any situation,” she said.

“The stretchy fabric and mid-rise waist means that they’re outrageously comfortable regardless of whether I’ve just consumed a large meal or not, and as someone who’s in possession of a derrière, I don’t feel as though I’m walking around with a perpetual jeans wedgie, which is rather nice.

“The blue denim colour I chose is beautifully timeless and there are several other options I’ve now got my eye on. Since my first wear I’ve started feverishly recommending these excellent jeans to anyone who’ll listen to me. Yes, it turns out, in this case, budget equals brilliant.

TOPSHOP, MOM JEANS

Bella Fowler, Entertainment Reporter, on her $80 go-to pair that’s stood the test of time:

Topshop, Mom Jeans in Bleach, $79.95

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Much like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, these jeans were passed down to me by a friend a few years ago and I have loved them ever since. Bought from Topshop in the early days of the ‘mum jean’ craze, they’re tight in all the right places, with a flattering high-waist and vintage-look light denim finish. As a former strict black-jeans only girl, the lighter shade of denim has become a wardrobe staple of mine. Like most jeans, they loosen a bit with each wear after washing but they don’t get that telltale sag in the knees. The denim is soft, has worn well and they go with everything from heeled boots and a jazzy top to socks and sandals while working from home. A word of warning: Emphasis on ‘tight’ – they’re true to size but I probably wouldn’t wear them to yum cha.

The jeans are also available in a range of other washes like blue-grey ‘smoke,’ cream and indigo.

LEE, HI MOMS

Edwina Carr Barraclough, Commercial Writer, on the mums jeans that inspired her to ditch her skinny jeans

Lee, High Moms in Real Blue, $149.95

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When it comes to clothing – or anything for that matter – I usually bristle a little at the “mum” prefix, given its sometimes pejorative use to describe something decidedly daggy. Now, however, it’s had a chic upgrade. Case in point? These Lee Hi Moms jeans. I bought this pair a few months ago and they marked my graduation from skinny jeans to a looser more casual fit and now I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. They’re outrageously comfortable (no more popping my top button open after breakfast) and are fitted and contoured beautifully. Mums clearly know what’s up.

LEVI’S, WEDGIE JEANS

Jess Wang, Commercial Writer, on the uber flattering boyfriend jeans also loved by Kylie Jenner:

Levi’s Wedgie Straight Jeans in Jive Sound, $139.95

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These jeans are quite frankly so good that I own them in three different washes. They’re famed for their butt-boosting ability and Levi’s states the back seam is cut slightly higher to give you the appearance of a lifted derrière. However, I can confirm they don’t feel like you actually have a wedgie, because no boost in aesthetics is worth that discomfort. Instead, what you get is a pair of perfectly straight-cut and cropped jeans that cuts a flattering figure front and back.

In terms of fabrication, the 99 per cent cotton feels like a thick and weighty denim (which is my personal preference), while the 1 per cent elastane gives you a tiny bit of stretch. Although my Size 28 pair are tight and possibly even tighter in a post lockdown world, I like that they somehow give me the appearance of a flat tummy, a total lack of abs be damned.

J BRAND, MARIA HIGH-RISE SKINNY JEANS

J Brand, Maria High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Everlast, $389

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One of life’s greatest joys is sliding into a pair of jeans that fit just right (Chicken Fried fans will get the reference). Having tried a lot of brands in my time, I can comfortably report I’ve found a pair that do indeed fit just right. They’re from American clothing company J Brand, which is stocked locally on The Iconic, ASOS, The Outnet and Net-A-Porter and while they’ll set you back $300+ apiece, they’re worth it.

Having bought a classic style in all the necessary washes (black, light denim and dark denim) nearly a decade ago, I haven’t had to buy a new pair since. They have not stretched, stiffened or faded over the years, which I’ve noticed is a common problem with cheaper makes.

The biggest plus is they’re made to fit your body shape – not the other way around. So you don’t get that dreaded gaping around the waist if you need a bigger size to fit your curves and hips (meaning they’ll still be comfy after Christmas dinner – no unzipping under the dinner table necessary).

Another reliable brand is Nobody Denim, which in my opinion are of a similar fit and style to J Brand and at a slightly cheaper price point.

Love a wardrobe staple? Check out our roundup of the best white t-shirts and white sneakers to add-to-cart. Consider it your weekend outfit sorted.

For more shopping stories, head to our Best Of fashion page for our trend wrap ups, must-have buys and curated picks.

You can also have a look at our Coupons page to get brilliant savings on top fashion brands like Portmans, Forever New, Oroton, Sheike and many more.

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