"Usually, after a whole day of wearing your favorite jeans, it looks like you're wearing diapers, and it's not very flattering," she says.
Blue Cult and other premium jeans makers use pricier fabrics that stretch without losing shape or becoming saggy. They also pay more for intricate sewing, usually done by hand.
The biggest factor in the high cost, in many cases, is the look of the jeans, which comes from various washes or finishes - stone-washing, chemical washing, sand-blasting, baking, whiskering.
Many mass-marketed distressed jeans get that old and comfy look mechanically. Often, that vintage look we love so much - those worn-in "whiskers" on the thighs, for instance - is sprayed on.
But many high-end jeans makers hand-distress or hand-vintage their clothes.
Paper Denim and Cloth jeans, for example - which can run between $158 and $180 - are hand sewn, the pockets are hand-set and shaped differently for different sizes, and each pair is hand-finished for that naturally worn look, and then numbered.
For Blue Cult jeans, the hand-sanding, whiskering and "vintaging" process takes about 15 to 20 minutes for each pair, Athias says.
That labor-intensity makes up most of the difference between today's high-priced jeans and the seemingly exorbitant prices of Jordache, Gloria Vanderbilt, Vidal Sassoon and Guess jeans of the 1980s.
Then, the designer jeans hovered around the $50 mark, and sensible women clucked their tongues at the "waste" and "excess." Today, their daughters' jeans cost three times as much. But fashion experts say they're more than worth it.
"In the jeans craze of the '80s, it was really just about the label," says Dimmock, of SHOP Etc. "It was akin to a logo. You bought the Jordache jeans because you wanted that label on your back pocket. I think this time around there's actually a technical component to why you're spending more money. You're not just buying a label; you're actually buying quality."