The Five Golden Rules of Vintage Denim Shopping

Vintage denim shopping can be daunting, but it’s SO worth it when you find that pair that’s an instant favorite.

Case in point, I was shopping in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood earlier this year, and I found a pair of vintage Levi’s in the perfect light wash, and they fit me pretty great. The bummer was that they were marked more than $200. I was tempted, because in my book, vintage jeans are worthy of dropping a couple Benjamins. And what if I didn’t find another awesome pair and someone else bought these?! Still, I decided to risk it and wait and see what else I found around Williamsburg, since the shop was located just a few blocks from where I was staying.

And I’m so glad I did, because a couple stores later, voila. THE perfect jeans lay waiting for me. And they were $100+ less than the previous pair I had spied.

The lesson here is that I was so worried about finding an amazing pair on this particular trip (since I was in Williamsburg and who knew when I’d be back!), that I almost spent way too much money. Patience is key when it comes to vintage denim shopping.

Some other things come into play, too, and Teen Vogue recently chatted with Samantha Elias, co-founder of The Vintage Twin, to get some important tips before you hit the streets:

  1. Prioritize wash

    According to Elias, a unique wash is what makes vintage denim so special. Look for wallet outlines, yellowing and paint splashes for a look that only vintage denim can give.

  2. Don’t rely on alterations

    If you love almost everything about a pair of vintage jeans, but they don’t fit, Elias suggests you keep moving. Find a pair that doesn’t need heavy alterations—you’ll spend less money and you’ll be happier with the fit.

  3. Weather the trends

    Trends come and go in vintage, just like they do with new jeans. This fall, Elias says sales of baggier silhouettes are selling the strongest. And I would add that when it comes to vintage (and with everything, wardrobe-wise, really), buy what you love rather than worrying about what’s in.

  4. 100% cotton only

    It’s non-negotiable.

  5. Have fun!!

    Don’t stress. Bring a friend and have fun digging through denim history.

[Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash]


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