Just try and tell me there's a sexier pair of jeans than Levi's 501s. Seriously, just try. I assure you, the minute you slide into a pre-loved pair, hike them up nice and fit around your natural waist and that zipper (or button fly) that seems to go on and on, you'll be forever changed. You will have a new (old) denim allegiance. Now, I'm officially a pusher. After a full year's worth of frustrating trips to Value Village and the Goodwill in search of denim perfection, I finally succumbed to the fact that they've been pillaged from thrift stores to be flipped out of bigger outlets. Fine, I have to pay $30 at a vintage boutique instead of $7, I can live with that. Since adding a couple pairs to my wardrobe, every "What the heck do I put on today?" dilemma has been solved. They have become my fashion salvation. Now go forth in search of denim bliss.
A few things to keep in mind while searching for the perfect pair of vintage 501s:
- Accept that these jeans have had a life before you, you're just their next incarnation. Embrace the fact that each of them will look and feel different and the imperfections are what make them amazing. In my experience the faded, light blue denim is the easiest to find, and in my not-so-humble opinion are also part of the quintessential look and vibe.
- After you've scoured the rack, try on a variation of sizes. In other words, don't trust the size label. Inseam is inseam and can easily be altered if need be. Getting the waist just right is the real mission here. Go for it though, where them low and baggy, wear them high and tight, they'll look bomb either way. There's that old tried and true trick for sizing out denim where you take the waist of the denim and wrap it around your neck, if the denim meets or overlaps at the back of your neck, they should fit, if the denim doesn't touch, they're likely too small.
- Prices will range. In vintage boutiques I've seen them anywhere from $29 to $163. I've looked on Etsy.com but have had a hard time committing to buying vintage jeans without being able to try them on. Ultimately, they'll end up choosing you.
Once you've landed your perfect pair, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few amazing looks to inspire...