Vintage 101: Find the Perfect Pair of Pre-Owned Jeans
Want to shop vintage denim like a pro? Levi’s® tailor Jen Sharkey will show you how. She’ll cover the terms you need to know, the fits to look for, and a few key tips to finding just the right fabric, wear, and size for you.
The part of a jean that fits around your hips and waist.
The distance from the crotch point (where all four fabric panels meet) to the top of your waistband. Rise determines where the jeans sit on your body and can create or alter your perceived waistline.
Not as obvious as it sounds. A leg can be classic, relaxed, slim, straight or skinny.
The grandaddy of them all. The iconic 501® started out as a men’s fit, but lately has become more unisex. Look for our straight leg and signature button fly.
A mid-rise fit with a similar cut to the 501® . The key differences: a zippered fly and a more relaxed fit through your thigh.
The new tapered classic. Slim fit, mid rise, narrow at your ankle.
A slim-fitting boot-cut jean with a medium to high rise at the waist.
An athletic taper with extra room in your seat and thigh.
A high-rise, straight-leg, zip-fly women’s jean.
A range of stretch fits for women, with slim and boot-cut legs.
We love a stretchy jean, but not for vintage. Traditional fabrics just hold up better over time and wear into a beautiful fade.
Holes Are Your Friends
If you see a jean you love but the fabric has a hole in it, buy it anyway! Damaged denim is easily repaired or tailored. And some damage is even considered desirable.
Non-stretch vintage denim tends to fit more snugly than modern jeans. You may find yourself needing a size (or two) bigger than usual. This is totally normal. But it’s important to remember, since you can’t always try on vintage jeans before you buy.