There's something so cool about responding, "Oh these? Oh yeah, they're vintage," when someone asks where your jeans are from. With so many vintage-style denim shapes around at the moment, there's an increased desire to go back in time and find the originals.
We asked Grace Corby, stylist and owner of online vintage store FLUFFSHOPP, to share her denim-sourcing secrets.
Keep scrolling to read Corby's tips.
WHO: Grace Corby modelling her vintage denim.
WHO WHAT WEAR AUSTRALIA: What are your top three tips for buying vintage denim?
Grace Corby:1. Always use measurements and compare to a well-fitted pair of pants at home. International sizing charts are frustratingly varied, so measurements are a solid bet.
2. Look for modelled pairs with multiple angles shown. It's risky to buy off a hanger or mannequin, but it can be done if point #1 is heeded.
3. Know what cuts suit you. Trial and error is required here, but it's worth it when you find your perfect cut. My kryptonite is high-waisted and slim, not spray-on tight, but tight enough to make your tush look nice 'n' pert.
WWW: What do you look for?
GC: Firstly the wash, you can tell great vintage denim just by glancing at a rack and honing in on the quality colours and gradients. Then I'll check the cut, size and any special details it may have. Some special features are deal-breakers, like homemade slashes and late '00s faux fading, and whiskering (remember whiskering?). Some special features are deal-sweeteners, like genuine wear and tear, paint speckles, pockets made of cow fur, or little 3D flower patches all over.
WWW: Do you have any secret tips or tricks for making sure they fit?
GC: Online, the only way is measurements or being a psychic wizard. IRL, always try on! I used to just hold jeans up to my waist and go, "yep!" The amount of times I have gone home thinking, "These are the Holy Grail of mum jeans, my bum is going to look so pert in these," only to find they won't go over my thighs, is absolutely depressing. It's almost why I started my own shop, to sell on all of the Holy Grail items I purchased without trying on first.
WWW: How would you customise them to make them "modern"?
GC: The great thing about denim is that although it's evolved over time, modern denim borrows so heavily from past styles that vintage looks just as fresh, if not more cutting edge than modern styles. The cuts are virtually the same, but you get the added bonuses of character and uniqueness / having them softened and worn in for you / higher-quality denim (no elasticity for me, please).
If you do find a great pair that just looks a little "off", getting them professionally altered could be the go. Tucking at the waist or taking in the legs could bring them right up to date.
WWW: Are there certain brands that you would look out for?
GC: Vintage Levi's—you're pretty much always guaranteed a great cut and fit, and their denim gets better with age. Calvin Klein circa '90s is a super-high quality, minimal affair, and you cannot go wrong there.
Printed '80s and '90s Versace and Moschino are loud and fun treats also, if you can find them at a non-collectors' price.
WWW: Are there certain styles that you would look out for?
GC: I only have eyes for high-waisted! I've been getting vintage high-waisted jeans altered to fit me since I was 14. I've tried mid-waisted and hip-huggers, but I'm too loyal to a ultra-flattering high waist. I particularly love "mum" style and slim fit but I think '70s bell bottoms are also becoming an essential. I've recently found the perfect bum-rounding, tummy-flattening, waist-cinching pair, and I’ve just been waiting for the right moment to break them out. Exciting times ahead.