vintage jeans and denimwear

Forget your drainpipes, guys, and go search a generous cut of denim for today’s ultimate vintage vibe! What we are looking for here in a pair of vintage jeans, is an item of pre-loved denim bottomwear that is anything but a slim, skinny tight or sculpted fit.

A vintage pair of jeans can be unearthed in any number of shapes, including the trad straight fit but also veering towards the range of baggy, oversized, wide-leg or flared style. For the purpose of this blog, there are really only two key types of jeans we’d recommend for you to rep in your very own amazing vintage outfit – straight cut and baggy.

vintage cahartt jeans and denimwear hanging

Gotta be honest with you here, so please bear in mind that vintage jeans are not going to fit as perfectly as a fresh standardised pair directly out of the factory, but then, neither are they going to wreak fresh damage to the environment, as they’ve already been manufactured and worn by another keen wearer or two before reaching you. You just need to establish your perfect size with a lil bit of effort, aided and abetted by a trusty tape measure!

Your two go-to dimensions are your inside leg length (from your crotch seam to your ankle hem) and your waist measurement. Simples! Once you’re good to go, you can search the vintage sites, Best Places to Buy Vintage Fashion, remembering all the time that the quality and sustainability of any pair of pre-worn jeans is defo worth it.

* The term ‘guys’ is used here as non-gender specific – we are sure all guys, guyzers, guyzettes, guyzinos and every denomination of ‘guy’ will love to join us in celebrating the vintage jean and we certainly do not wish to exclude anybody.

It has been a while now since our last Guys’ Edition, where we looked in on the joys and versatility involved with the wonder that is the Oversized T-Shirt, and now you can sit back and discover just how best to style the lower half of your outfit – with a stunning pair of vintage jeans! We’re all aiming here to get you looking super cool and comfy with your very own you style, top and bottom, to fit your look, your size and your budget.

Straight Legged Fit

Straight-leg jeans are the ultimate classic fit – think Levi’s 501 and you’ll never go wrong. The trend is for the jeans to sit nearer to the waist rather than lower to the hips (no wide expanse of designer underpant required here!), while maintaining a fair amount of room all around the leg and calf, ensuring this area has more room than the thighs by default, as the cut is straight all the way down.

The length is entirely your choice, based on the shoe which will be accompanying your outfit, but on or slightly above the ankle looks gucci. A cunning trick is to cuff your vintage jeans by rolling them up slightly to reach your perfect bespoke ankle length. This also gives that much-loved vintage look and helps considerably with the overall shape of the trouser, by finishing off the length perfectly.

straight legged jeans fit at shoe

Styling Straight Legged Vintage Jeans

  1. Classic white tee, also tucked in for added effect
  2. Pairing with an oversized T-Shirt
  3. Adding a baggy hoodie/sweatshirt to match the oversized look
  4. Chucking a collared shirt under the sweatshirt with a pair of straight legged

Where to Find The Best Vintage Straight Legged Jeans

The classic straight legged vintage jeans to cop really come down to a few central players: Levi’s 501 and Levi’s 550. OK, so just one brand, two cuts then! But no, there are also other vintage heaters worth tracking down, including many cool designs from the house of Carhartt, Dickies, Wrangler, Lee and others, who all used to make exceptional straight legged blue jeans back in the 90s.

Here is our selection of stores to start your straight legged jean search:

vintage carhartt jeans laid out

    Baggy/Oversized Fit

    As we discussed in Where to Buy Baggy Clothes, roomy vintage jeans win hands down when it comes to choosing an item to have in your oversized bottoms (literally!) drawer! Even if you cannot track down an authentic Y2K pair of wide-legged denims, the vintage sites will not disappoint, with numerous options of 90s relaxed style Carhartt and Levi’s leading the way. Wear the baggy fit with a belt so as not to completely sacrifice form to bagginess, and make sure you don’t trip yourself up by ignoring the footwear at the end, which can neatly serve to hold up any excess length where turn-ups don’t suffice. Best to experiment to see which style shoe, trainer or boot works best for you in baggy vintage jeans mode, though we have to say bulky works every time. Just make sure your choice of footwear + vintage jeans  complements each other, rather than jars.

    Quick note here: a baggy look demands ankles to be generously covered, and a surprising twist we are adding in here to the outfit is to substitute the denim bottom altogether for a pair of relaxed cargos, if that is the pant style you prefer. Not everybody loves a jean!

    wide legged jeans style

    Styling Wide Legged Vintage Jeans

    Wide-legged jeans had their moment in our blog, 2000s Aesthetic Clothes and, as back then, we are urging you to park your drainpipe and skinny versions of the noble jean, as what we are after for the vintage aesthetic is none other than baggy or wide-leg denimwear.

    1. Classic vintage baggy sweat
    2. Oversized hoodie
    3. Pairing with a sweater vest + tee underneath
    4. Short sleeved oversized shirt
    5. Long sleeved oversized shirt
    6. Oversized Jacket

      Where to Find The Best Vintage Wide Legged Jeans  

      Dickies and Carhartt carpenter jeans are great examples of baggy/oversized vintage jeans and well worth searching for. Also, just simply increasing the waist size on your favourite pair would do the trick as an instant homemade solution! Again, Levi’s have some great options for looser fit jeans, specifically with their Silver Tab collection.

      Here is our selection of stores to start your baggy jean search:

      vintage wide-legged carhartt jeans


        Sooo, guys, just before we finish … if we were to tell you now, after all this exciting discussion on the vintage jean, that it takes about 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pair of new blue jeans, would you stop to appreciate still further the choice you are making to hunt down vintage denims? Take a look at Cons of Fast Fashion where we debate New v Vintage in detail. It may be a battle of the big corporations v the indies, but as a way to do your bit to help maintain the 1.5 pledge, going vintage for your jeans is a winning choice every time. Coupled with this, of course, is the fact you are able to create a unique look for yourself from top to bottom, based entirely on pre-loved clothes. Surely, this is too good a deal to miss out on.

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        HF Lanzer
        Tagged: Style Vintage