Two Alternatives to the original BR Traveler Jean – $118.00
There are jeans with some stretch… and then there are jeans that really stretch. Banana Republic’s Traveler Jean is the latter. The BR Traveler was one of the first, and continues to be, one of the most popular high-stretch jeans on the market. Not just 1% spandex for a little give, but a mix of engineered (ie polyester) fibers, a healthy dose of elastane, and then about 80% cotton to hold it all together. They are insanely comfortable and absurdly flexible.
They’re also expensive as hell and only come in one fit. Slim.
That’s not good news for dudes on a budget, and or those who need/prefer a little more wiggle room from the waist down. But, it seems like other brands are getting in on this super-stretchy jean trend, and they’re doing it for less than Banana Republic’s Japanese sourced stretch denim. Here’s how two of the Traveler Jean’s competitors stack up. Big thanks to readers Andy S. and Drew W. for the tips about these less expensive alternatives. If you’ve got a lead on some super-stretch denim that can compete with the well loved BR Traveler? Send those tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Eagle Extreme Flex Straight-Fit Jean – $43.96 w/ WEEKEND ($55)
- Size and Fit tested: 33×30 / STRAIGHT Fit on 5’10” / 185
- Fabric: 88% Cotton, 10% Poly, 7% Viscose / 2% Elastane
- The Price. Half the price of BR Traveler Jeans, which rarely go on sale. And a big thanks to Brandon D. for the tip on the 20% off code. Discount jumps to 25% off if you use the AE app. Code expires 5/24.
- Available in not just skinny and slim, but a straight fit too (but, well, hang on a sec…)
- Available in a deep, dark shade of blue.
- Closest feeling (in the hands) to BR’s original Traveler. Soft, but still denim. Might even be a bit stretchier. Snaps right back into place and doesn’t lose shape.
As close to the original BR Traveler in terms of stretch and fabric feel.
The Not So Good:
- AE’s “Straight” fit is more like BR’s original traveler slim. My thighs are wrapped in a bear-hug of denim. No wiggle room here. What makes them wearable is that stretch. But they’re cut awfully close.
- These have back pocket stitching. That’s not as “dressy” as the original BR Traveler. If such a thing as a “dressy” jean can exist.
- There’s some whiskering. It’s not super noticeable or obnoxious, but it’s there.
- Rise feels a touch lower than the BR jeans. So, if you tuck your shirts in and/or like your junk to have some room, then be warned.
The Bottom Line:
A surprisingly nice, half-the-price alternative to the original BR Traveler, as long as you’re good with that back pocket stitching and you’re not enormous below the belt. I mean. As long as your legs aren’t enormous. I WAS TALKING ABOUT YOUR LEGS.
- Size and Fit tested: 33×30 / Slim Fit on 5’10” / 185
- Fabric: 61% Cotton, 30% Poly, 7% Viscose / 2% Elastane
- Much more affordable than the original BR Traveler Jean.
- Available in a wide range of shades.
- Fit is very similar… maybe identical to the BR Traveler Slim?
Just like the original, tons of stretch and snaps right back into place.
The Not So Good:
- No dark wash? C’mon man. What we doing out there man?
- The feel of the fabric isn’t as good. It’s just not as nice as the original. It’s not as soft. Doesn’t seem to breathe quite as well. Just 61% cotton with much more poly (and viscose?) than the original traveler. Now, it’s not terrible, but it might take a little getting used to. Might feel better after a wash or three.
- Still no straight fits. Just slim. So if you’re #teamthunderthighs expect a very, very snug fit.
The Bottom Line:
Good. Not great. Worth a shot if you really like one of the available shades, but be aware that returns to BR Factory’s online site aren’t free. You’re on the hook for a $5.95 return charge.
The Very Final Bottom Line:
The AE outperforms the BR Factory option head to head, but the whiskering and back pocket stitching just doesn’t look as good as the original Banana Republic Traveler Jean’s simple and clean, deep blue look. Also, while American Eagle claims a “straight” fit, they fit more like a true slim. So if you’ve squatted and box jumped your way to quads and hamstrings that feel a little too confined in BR’s slim fit, the AE won’t be much roomier, if any at all.