Vintage jeans are everywhere and we love it.
While the look itself seems effortless, finding the perfect pair can be challenging. Premium denim almost always costs upwards of $200. Buying online seems risky and vintage sizing is a whole other scale to master. If you collect old-school Levi’s, you know they are the only way to go if you want to save time and money.
So here's some tips for buying vintage denim (this really means Levi's) online.
Expect to go 2 or 3 sizes up. The trickiest part about buying vintage denim online is that the sizing is crazy different than modern sizing. On average, I would say that you should go 2-3 sizes up from your current jean size. So if you’re usually a size 28 in Rag and Bone skinny jeans, expect to be a 30 or 31 waist in vintage Levi’s, depending on if you want more of a boyfriend jean or a ’70s-style high cut. All Levi's have a length size too so measure your inseam on a pair of jeans you already own.
When in doubt, size up. For one, vintage denim does not have the kind of stretch we’re used to. They are usually button-fly and stiff so if you order them too small, you’re going to be uncomfortable all day. Besides, if they’re too big you can always wear them as baggy boyfriend jeans or cut them into cute cutoffs.
Size and fit varies by decade. As a rule of thumb, the older the jean, the smaller (and less stretchy) they run. How tapered and high-waisted a pair will also depend on when it was made. Levi’s has a handy general guide on their website.
Last thought: If you want the perfect pair, go the extra step and visit a higher end, curated boutique and try on a bunch of different pairs. Take note of the brand, size, and decade of the pair that fits you best, we suggest 501, the creme de la creme of vintage Levi's. It may cost more but this is a look you want to get right so it's worth it.