Outfits STYLE // Winter

Vintage Levi’s, a Few Tips on How to Find Them

February 16, 2017

If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.

True story. Especially when it comes to thrifting. Last night I hit up a handful of thrift stores on the hunt for a particular item. I even ended up at the ‘bins’ by accident. Have you ever been there? Oh my! I wasn’t prepared! Overwhelming is an understatement. After a few hours of popping in and out of stores I dragged my tired bones home, empty handed. It was a good reminder that the hard work of thrifting doesn’t always net results. I felt myself wanting to buy something, anything just so my time spent Goodwill hunting didn’t end up fruitless.

Thankfully I’m learning a lot on this road to contentment, and I remembered it’s better to walk away with nothing than to take home something just for the sake of getting something new. It’s worth it for the day when you find do find what you’re looking for.

Speaking of….. these jeans!

[ sweater (similar) / vintage denim, thrifted / bag / shoes ]

I have been looking for vintage Levi’s for a long, long time. I remember being a young teenager admiring a (very cool) upperclassmen after swim practice who had some awesomely broken-in old Levi’s. Seeing her jeans lit a little fire in my heart that smoldered for years. I toured thrift shops and boutiques for months and never ever found what I was looking for.

As vintage Levi’s have come back in vogue in recent years, I’ve again returned to my hunt, though it still felt impossible. I can’t tell you how many jean racks I have looked through. (And why do all the thrift stores smell the same?) Mercifully, I landed on these lucky ladies about three weeks ago at a local boutique that specializes in new and vintage items.

If you’re looking, hopefully you’ll find yours sooner than I did. Here are a few tips that I hope might speed up the process for you:

Search the thrift stores and Goodwills in less ‘trendy’ parts of town, or drive to a smaller town/suburb altogether. All the cool kids are doing it (looking for your vintage Levi’s, or at least all the ebayers are), head where there is less competition.

Look in the men’s section. A lot more 501’s live there. Plus men’s jeans have great wear marks like wallet spots and faded knees.

Try on anything that looks close to fitting. A few reasons: vanity sizing and shrinkage.

Check boutiques, which have sometimes done the culling for you. (In Portland: Vintalier, West End Select Shop, Animal Traffic in NE)

When you see someone with an awesome pair, ask where they got them. That’s the first clue that lead me to the local shops in town. I saw the coolest pair of jeans on a gal working at a flower shop and had to ask.

And don’t give up!

Do you have any tips? I’d love to hear your experiences.


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  • Bobbiejean Garcia February 17, 2017 at 3:13 am

    The jeans look great!

    • Andrea February 19, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks girl, it’s almost silly how much I wear them.

  • Rebecca N February 17, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Those look perfect on you! I need to get back to going to the goodwill regularly. I am SO much the same….. I feel I need to buy something when my goodwill search comes up empty. I need to learn it’s ok to walk out if I don’t find anything.

    • Andrea February 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Agreed! As soon as I recognized that feeling, it made it a little easier to leave empty handed.

  • Andrea April 19, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    How is sizing on them. I found a pair and they fit me perfectly, I am kind of afraid they are going to stretch out. Should I size down?

    • Andrea April 19, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      It’s so hard to say because there are so many generations of vintage Levi’s out there, and it also depends on how much your pair has been washed and dried over the years. Mine stretch out a bit, but not a ton because they’re 100% cotton. They also look good even when they’re a little slouchy. Good luck!

  • Alexis May 7, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I was down in Portland visiting a friend this week me and we went to House of Vintage. Racks and racks of vintage Levi’s. Reminded me of this post. Have you been there?? Oh. My. Word. Heaven.

    • Andrea May 7, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      I have never been in there! I’ve seen it, but never stopped. I totally will next time. Thanks for the tip! Hope you came away with something good. :)