Vintage (premium) Levis are easily my favorite kind of denim even though finding the right pair can be a total pain in the ass.
The sizing on each pair is a nightmare and it definitely took me a few tries to get it right.
There are several different styles such as the 501, Icon Wedgie, Mile High Skinny, Ribcage jean and so much more. My two personal faves are the 501 & the Icon Wedgie Fit because they make your behind look so grrrrreat.
What’s tricky about finding the perfect size is that you may be a 26 in the 501’s “Can’t touch this” shade but then a size 27 in the 501’s “Lovefool” color because there are different types of each style (if that makes sense?)
Tip #1: Your best bet is to try them on in person rather then buying them online.
I find that the only two stores that have these nicer styles are Urban Outfitters and Free People. I’ve even made the long trip to the Levi outlet and have found nothing but disappointment.
The first thing when deciding what kind of vintage style denim you want is to consider that you may have to splurge a bit. You (sadly) can’t expect to find these vintage gems for under $95 unless you get them at a thrift shop or something.
My personal style preference is a high-waisted, "mom jean” that gives off a very laid back look that you can either dress up or down.
Tip #2 Pay attention to the labels. There’s 501 and then 501 S (which stands for skinny jean). You can find the style type on the back of the pants where the brown Levi logo is located (sometimes). I have the 501 S in the color “Day Dreams” and the Icon Wedgie fit in the color “Shut up.” They both fit like a mom jean since it is technically a straight leg fit. Note that these aren’t like your typical skinny jeans from Forever 21 or Zara because they aren’t tight below the knee.
Tip #3 Don’t expect a stretchy, comfortable fit. I’m not saying these are the most uncomfortable pants I own, but keep in mind that because these are vintage style, the denim is made from stiffer material unlike other jeans most of us wear. The denim being non-stretchy (vintage) is what makes the sizing difficult because they have to really fit your body. You may find that these are totally true to size but again, it all just depends on your body type. Unfortunately for me, I can’t say these are easy to size.
Tip #4 Consider getting them tailored. By this point you’re probably thinking “If I have to go through all this trouble, are these jeans really worth it?” the answer is….yes.
The quality on Levi’s denim is crazy good and I can’t think of another brand sold in stores that shares this same type of high quality. I’ll spot a Levi jean from a mile away when I see one!
Tip #5 Avoid getting them in the dryer once you’ve got a pair. I air dry all my denim because the dryer only destroys and shrinks your jeans. I will say that when you air dry vintage material, the denim tends to get a little stiffer. I use a steamer to smooth it out or just put them on until they eventually get back to their normal form.
and that sums up my five tips on finding the perfect pair of vintage Levis.
Happy Denim Shopping! Where do you get your favorite jeans from?