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How to score the perfect pair of fall jeans for under $50

Sep. 3, 2014 at 12:39 PM ET

No wardrobe investment has quite the return as a great pair of jeans, so it’s no surprise we want at least one new pair per season. For fall, it’s all about the perfect boyfriend cut, sleek straight legs and subtle patterns, says fashion expert Julia DiNardo of style destination Fashion.Pulse.Daily. And there’s no need to spend a bundle: “You don't need to go high end to find the perfect quality of denim. Think about what good quality means to you, and the most important function of the jeans for you — amazing fit, intended solely as a seasonal item, something to run errands in, etc. — and focus there.” 

Do slouch

Cheap Jeans
H&M

“The overall aesthetic of boyfriend jeans fits into the casual-luxe mode of dressing that has been popular as of late; paired with a well-cut blazer and heels, you can look both put together and at ease simultaneously,” says DiNardo. Relaxed through the waist and thighs, H&M’s boyfriend silhouette tapers to a flattering rolled cuff just above the ankle, making them our favorite slouchy choice. (H&M jeans, $49.95, hm.com)

Going steady

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Amazon

“There are multiple components that make the boyfriend jean way more universally flattering than its predecessors, the skinny jean and jegging,” says DiNardo. “The silhouette is more forgiving in areas that women tend to be sensitive about, such as the hip and thighs, and it looks perfectly on trend styled with a belt or rolled-up cuffs, which also help fit issues for those of us with waistband gapping issues and ladies who are on the petite or tall side and have trouble finding jeans at the proper length.” Whether you’re new to the cut or have been wearing ‘em for years, you’ll appreciate the flattering, not-too-loose cut on this worn-in pair. (Eddie Bauer boyfriend jeans, $39.99, amazon.com)

Dark thoughts

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H&M

Here it is: The perfect pair to dress up or down, with a sleek dark wash, classic five-pocket styling and straight legs. (H&M straight regular jeans, $39.95, hm.com

Grey gardens

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Nordstrom

Gray denim feels fresh for fall, but is just as wearable as our favorite blues. Bonus: This pair comes in an impressive size range, from 000 to 19. (Jolt skinny jeans, $44, nordstrom.com)

Edgy Audrey

Cheap Jeans
H&M

If Audrey Hepburn were still alive and lived in Williamsburg, we think she’d love these ankle-length, ripped-knee jeans, with black Ferragamo flats, of course. (H&M ankle-length jeans, $29.95, hm.com)

Unfamiliar pattern

Cheap Jeans
Nordstrom

“Fall’s a great time to try colored and patterned denim,” says DiNardo. “Stick to hues that are more season-friendly, such as darker neutrals, and remember that the most important thing in looking great in more adventurous styles of denim is finding the perfect cut and size for you.” We’re smitten with the subtle burgundy and cream pattern on these black jeans. It’s fresh and fun, without shouting for attention. (Jolt detail print jeans, $48, nordstrom.com)

Teal appeal

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Charlotte Russe

We can’t wait to pair these jeans with a slouchy sweater! (Refuge colored skinny jeans, $29.99, charlotterusse.com)

Svelte number

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Macy's

Frumpy styling often goes hand in hand with tummy control. Not so with this sleek pair from Style&co. Discreet suck-you-in panels are hidden inside a classic straight leg style. (Style&co. tummy-control jeans, on sale for $47.99, macys.com)

Western front

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Old Navy

Old Navy’s tireless denim selection never ceases to impress. One of our favorites? These long, lean bootcut jeans. (Old Navy ‘The Diva’ jeans, $29, oldnavy.com)

Well suited

Cheap Jeans
Macy's

Trouser jeans are still your best bet for business casual dressing, and this crisp pair come in three inseam lengths and a slew of sizes for a professional fit. (Lee Platinum ‘Monaco’ jeans, on sale for $39.99, macys.com)

Keep ‘em looking great! Even if you scored a great bargain on your jeans, treat them like investments, suggests DiNardo. “Since denim can also go quite a few times before needing to be washed, you may want to treat your beloved jeans as more of a specialty, extra care item, and hand wash or get them dry cleaned to extend their luster and longevity.”

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