How to Shop for Vintage Jeans

Like a lot of you, my eco-anxiety was at an all-time high when I first learned about the impact fashion has on our planet. Hearing that 26 BILLION pounds of clothing will be thrown out this year was a real shocker. I'm now known as that sustainable denim girl and honestly, I am honored hahaha. 3 years ago you'd see me buying at least one new piece of clothing every week from all of the fast-fashion giants - girls night out am I right. But, the more I educated myself and became aware of the issues, I started to shift my consumption habits to buying vintage or secondhand!


Nowadays, you can basically find any piece you are looking for vintage/secondhand because it has most likely already been invented. Fashion is so cyclical, I am even starting to see some of the old trends I used to wear coming back. Take the bootcut. My first pair of designer denim was a pair of bootcut jeans from Seven For all Mankind and now we're starting to see this style creep onto the runway.


Vintage Levi's have also become somewhat of a couture item, with influencers and designers pairing luxury items with vintage denim and cool collabs like Denim Tears' new upcycled collection. It's becoming "cool to care" (thanks Boyish Jeans for that slogan) and with the amount of clothing in the world right now, there is so much opportunity to reuse discarded garments and save them from ending up in our landfills.

'I think for all of us it means an attention more on craft, on creativity, and less on the idea of clothes that are instantly disposable, things that you will throw away just after one reading,' - Anna Wintour

Luckily, denim is one of the most durable fabrics out there and there is an abundance of it at your local vintage, thrift or charity shops! But, of course finding the perfect pair of vintage peach-sculpting jeans is easier said then done.


Here's a little guide to help you find your perfect pair.


Levi's Styles:

Other Brands to Look For:

Sizing Tips:

  • Ignore the sizing label and get a measuring tape

  • Knowing your own measurements will help streamline your hunt for that perfect pair

  • Buying vintage denim means buying men's styles a lot of the time, so as a general rule of thumb, take the number on the tag and subtract by 2!

  • ex. size 32 = size 30

  • Try the "neck trick"

  • this is where you take the waist and stretch it around your neck - I know it might look like you are trying to strangle yourself at Value Village, but it works

  • if the ends of the waistband touch perfectly, they'll fit your waist; if it overlaps, they will be too big

  • Make sure to note that vintage denim generally has no stretch

  • Having trouble finding the right fit? TAILOR THEM!

  • @RachSpeed also has this great video on re-sizing your thrifted jeans



It takes time and actual searching to find your perfect pair, so don't give up! But, I hope these tips will help you when you're on the hunt ;) Let's break the stigma of secondhand shopping and embrace the natural fades and distressing that come with it!


Until next time, STAY DILIGENT FRIENDS and follow me on Insta for more facts, brand recos and all things denim + sustainability.