How to Shop for Vintage Denim This Summer

The ultimate blue jean guide.


Nothing - I repeat, nothing - is cooler than the perfect vintage jeans. Slip on a pair of the ever-elusive Levi 501s and your outfit (and bum) is instantly elevated to it-girl artist/model status. These jeans can be dressed up or dressed down. They sit high, frame the tush, and make those legs look Gigi Hadid-long - pretty much everything we want in jeans. Brands like Vetements have even brought their own twist on vintage denim, care of some super cool deconstruction. But how do you get your hands on a pair of these magic pants? How much will a pair cost? And how do you find the perfect pair? Well, don't worry. Here is everything you need to know before snagging your own pair of vintage jeans.

1. Budgeting 
Before you set out on your denim excursion, you need to decide how much money you are willing to put down on a pair of old blues. I, personally, won't drop more than $30 on denim. You, on the other hand, might be totally cool with it. Just know that some vintage jeans will cost more than others. Vintage Levis', for example, will cost a pretty penny more than an unknown brand of jeans.

2. Where To Shop
The best places to find a lot of vintage denim are thrift shops, consignment stores, and secondhand locations. Jeans will be in great abundance in all shades, brands, and sizes at relatively affordable prices. Another way to find vintage denim is online. Probably the most famous online vintage denim retailer is Re/Done, who breathe fresh new life into old Levi's jeans and collaborate with some notable names (do Leandra Medine, Elsa Hosk, and Ruby Aldridge sound familiar?). However, be prepared to shell out $300+ for a pair.

3. Fit
It is very important to have a tailor's measuring tape on hand when shopping vintage. Jeans from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and current day will all vary in size and fit. Your mom's pair of jeans from 1980-something may say a size 6, but that six is very different from what it is today. So with every pair, measure the waist, inseam, and length. A good high-waisted pair of jeans will have a rise length (from crotch to waistband) of about 10 inches. It's a lot, I know, but it'll be well worth it.

4. Wear
Vintage denim usually falls into two groups: the distressed and the crisp. Distressed jeans have the wear and tear of their long, vintage life. Crisp and clean vintage blues, on the other hand, have a rich wash, no holes, and basically look like they were made yesterday. Also, know your washes and cuts. Washes come in light, medium, and dark, while cuts come in flare, boot, straight, and skinny.

5. Quality
This is also extremely important. Make sure the jeans that you buy are well-loved, but also well-made. What really makes vintage vintage is the durability and construction of the jean. Sometimes this means investing in a quality brand, like Levi's, while other times this simply means finding no unnecessary holes, stains, frays, or thinned out parts.

6. Shop Genderlessly
This point can cross over into any shopping situation. Search in not only the women's section, but the men's as well. Men's vintage jeans go by waist size x pant length, and also have longer inseams, making for the perfect high waist rise. Also, they just offer a wider variety, which makes staying on trend that much easier.
 
Main Image via @kathebbs

We <3 denim!  Check out our guide to finding the perfect jean jacket, and then shop some seriously cool denim co-ords that we spied a few weeks ago.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
WHO: Autumn, Jr. Fashion Market Contributor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: Southern Illinois, U.S.  
OBSESSED WITH: Satin bomber jackets 
LISTENING TO: Wait For It - Hamilton: An American Musical
CAN BE FOUND AT: @im_autumnbreeze

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

xo,
Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief