Finding the perfect pair of vintage jeans is no small feat.
Actually, it's literally a journey than can take years (or even a lifetime, tbh.) We all want that pair of light wash, high waisted jeans that make our tushes look cute and our legs long. Jeans that are California beach chic meets effortlessly Parisian cool (that's a mouthful). A pair of jeans so timeless yet so relevant and that go with any shoe we own.
Of course, finding a pair looks easy enough thanks to online shops like Redone and the endless Instagram models who flounce around in old school Levi's that fit like a glove. But for regular people, it takes a lot of trial and error.
The trickiest part about vintage jean shopping is that the sizes are completely different than what we wear today, so it's never as easy as ordering your normal size. It's all about knowing your measurements and comparing them to the width of the jean's waist and hips -- and even then, they can still be too big or small (I have a pile of about 4 pairs that I thought would fit.) Styles of jeans within each brand like Levi, Lee, Calvin Klein, Jordache, and Wrangler fit differently. A slim fit is going to be different than a more relaxed fit. Not to mention, everyone's body type is different and certain styles simply suit them better than others. Throw in the risk of online shopping and you're gambling with Etsy. But is it worth it to find the jeans? I think so. But I also may be a vintage shopping addict.
If you're embarking on this adventure with me. Welcome. You're in good company. To help you on your way, here are my favorite Etsy shops that carry the best vintage jeans. Before you get started, it's important to know your exact measurements (specifically hip and waist) so you can compare it to the measurements listed. The tag may read size 12, but the shop owner who measures them might list the actual measurements that correspond with a modern size 8.
Good luck and God speed. May we all find our perfect pair of vintage jeans and live happily ever after (in style).
Is this not what vintage denim dreams are made? I recently found Noteworthy Garments and purchased my first pair (eagerly awaiting their arrival in the mail.) First off, Jacquelyn (owner) is incredibly nice and helpful. I had a question about my size and she re-measured the jeans and compared them to other fits within a half hour of me inquiring -- at night! Her denim collection is the epitome of cool girl and very reasonably priced. ALSO, she stocks larger sizes (when modeling them, she pins them so the fit looks accurate, so the jeans above are all sizes M-L even though they look smaller.) It's hard finding vintage jeans in the size 10-12 range, so her shop is a relief.
ROSLYN VTG TRADING CO.
Roslyn VTG is one of my absolute favorite vintage shops. I love their gritty, all American appeal. Band tees, shredded jeans, old camo jackets -- I want it all. My style has been changing a lot lately and RoslynVTG is a shop I regularly feel inspired by. I bought the top pair (the one above is an additional one if you want shop it!) and the style is so perfect. You know how vintage high waisted jeans can look a little too mom-ish? Well, these jeans are just plain cool. I would recommend this shop for jeans, just make sure to fully check the description for imperfections since Roslyn is all about the destroyed/used aesthetic.
So, I'm a big fan of RawsonChicago and I would 100% recommend going to Rachael's shop for jeans, utility trousers, soft t-shirts, dreamy blouses, and more! Her aesthetic is so distinct and inspiring -- I've been finding myself looking to her curation style as a reference when getting dressed this spring season. Everything about her shop's style is effortless, comfortable, yet utterly romantic. I actually have an interview with her comin' up! So keep your eyes out for that.
When I came across Heather's Hands I thought, "This is too good to be true." She has what seems to be a massive inventory of classic vintage Levi's. On each of the jean pages, there are options to select sizes and inseams according to your actual size. Being 5'10, this is a huge draw for me. I ordered two pairs from Heather's Hands and the first pair was too big because I guessed my size wrong (most vintage jeans aren't accurate to sizes we wear today, which is super frustrating) but Heather offered an exchange! I also got a black pair in a size smaller and they fit perfectly.
NOIR OHIO VINTAGE
A few months ago, I went to A Current Affair in Brooklyn. If you haven't heard of it, it's one of the largest vintage pop ups in America. Basically, about 100+ successful vintage shops are selected to have a stand in a massive warehouse. One of the most popular shops there? Noir Ohio Vintage. Women were swarming their jean selection to frantically try on denim threads from the 1970s to 1990s. With a healthy IG following of 24k, I think it's safe to say Noir Ohio has been rocking the vintage denim game. I recently bought a pair of 501 Levi's from them and I basically have yet to take them off.