A Guide to Finding the Perfect Vintage Jeans

Vintage jeans are a wardrobe stable. They are a piece that look amazing on everyone. They can be styled so many ways that you may not even recognize them from one outfit to the next. That being said, they have to be the perfect pair, and finding that perfect pair is essentially a spiritual journey.

Many stores sell their own “distressed” version of a boyfriend jean designed to replicate the look of vintage denim – but nothing can compare to the wash of something that has actually lived a whole other life before it finds its way to your closet. Reformation is always an option from stores like Urban Outfitters and Brandy Melville, but the price you pay is way more expensive. If you are not keen on thrift stores, or just new to them in general, here is my guide to making sure that you find yourself the perfect pair of jeans among the racks.

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Go at the right time. Shopping at the end of the day is not always the best way to go with thrift shops. If something really good was there in the morning, it is likely gone considering there is only one of everything. Shop earlier in the day so you can get your hands on the items put out overnight. The start of a new seasons is also usually a good time to go to thrift stores because that is when people clean out old things from their closet. Lastly, calling ahead of time and asking the store when they get new items in is a good way to ensure that you will have lots to choose from when you go.

Know what you are looking for. Levis – styles 501, 505, and 551 – are the most popular styles. They are probably the ones that you took a screenshot of on Instagram when you saw that hot girl wearing them and decided you wanted to get yourself a pair. Start with these styles, and then move on to deciding what kind of wash you like. This will help to ensure that you are not overwhelmed with all of the options. If you love the distressed look, also remember that you can DIY this later on.

Never assume that you know what size you are. Vintage denim fits smaller than modern sizing, so you will probably have to go up about three sizes from what you normally wear. The fabric is oftentimes a lot stiffer too meaning that you may need some extra room so you can actually sit/eat/live in them. Each pair has been worn and washed many times before hand. No two pairs are the same, and therefore no two pairs will fit the same.

Always try things on. As mentioned, you never know what size is going to work for you. Awkward crotch can be very real in old jeans, especially because a lot of them are actually men’s. Additionally, don’t forget that thrift stores usually do not allow for returns, so you are better off trying them on before you purchase them. Finding the perfect pair can take a lot of trail and error. Grab some friends and make a day of the hunt. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t find what you are looking for right away – true love (a.k.a. jeans that make your butt look cute) is worth waiting for.

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