Our love affair with denim will probably never end, and lately, I’ve become a little obsessed with vintage denim again. While there are some intriguing eco-friendly denim companies that have come online recently (which hope to write about soon), from an environmental perspective, wearing vintage clothing instead of buying new stuff is always a great way to go. Plus, you can find some really special pieces that you’ll never find on the new clothing rack.
I’ve organized this post by clothing item type. And throughout, I try to highlight some great vintage shops on Etsy. But if you’re partial to styles from a specific era, one of the coolest things I’ve discovered about shopping for vintage denim on eBay and Etsy is that both sites make it easy to search by decade. Below are some links for your convenience.
In this post:
Vintage Denim Jeans
1. Vintage Levi’s Jeans
When I’ve sold things on eBay, what struck me is that brands really sell. People love vintage clothes with a strong brand attached. Sometimes you can find some awesome vintage pieces from an unknown brand, but I know a lot of you are partial to certain brands. So, I thought I’d kick off this post with the most iconic denim brand of all time: Levi’s.
Levi Strauss & Co. was founded in 1853, and they’ve been producing their signature denim jeans since the 1890s. Aside from some used clothing stores near home, my top places to search for vintage Levi’s are eBay and Etsy. But if you want to shop local, check out Yelp to find thrift stores and flea markets in your neck of the woods.
2. Levi’s Dark Wash
If you love the look of dark denim, check out the dark wash selection on eBay.
3. Black Levi’s Jeans
And for those of you who believe black will always be the new black, you need to own at least one pair of black Levi’s jeans. (I’m one of you. :o)
4. Levi’s Bell Bottoms
It wasn’t until writing this post that I had the powerful urge to wear some bell bottom jeans again. Suddenly, I feel like my wardrobe is incomplete. And vintage Levi’s bell bottoms are in the upper echelons of hip.
5. More Cool Denim Bell Bottoms
But there are other cool denim bell bottoms! This pair is so badass, I envy the person who makes them her own.
6. Vintage Wrangler Jeans
Wrangler jeans fit slim on the hips, and with their notable “W” embroidered on the pockets, Wranglers are definitely western wear denim. I always liked Wrangler because when I’d drive through Wyoming and Utah while traveling back and forth from California to visit my family in Colorado, it always seemed like the real cowboys wore Wranglers. While they’re not as easy to find as vintage Levi’s, you can definitely find some great used Wrangler jeans on eBay or Etsy.
7. Tall Cuff, High Waisted Jeans
This looks is super cute, and the subtle crease in these jeans makes them even cooler.
8. Vintage Lee Jeans
Like Levi’s, I salute Lee for creating different cuts of jeans to fit a variety of body types. If you like a higher waist, and the mom jeans look, you’ll be able to find it in vintage Lees.
9. Calvin Klein Vintage Jeans
I sold some stuff for my mom on eBay when she was downsizing and it was her vintage Calvin Klein that got snatched up in no time. A Rocky Mountain Girl at heart, my mom had a ton of really cool western wear, including a sweet Calvin Klein denim jacket and jeans. If you like the sexy, slightly high-waisted look, you can find it in a pair of Calvins.
10. Baggy Jeans
Baggy jeans dominated the 80s, and they’ve never gone out of style. This pair is by Calvin Klein.
11. Bedazzled Jeans
These remind me of childhood. They put joy into my heart.
12. Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans
Another iconic brand from the era of disco and designer jeans, Gloria Vanderbilt jeans are a little harder to come by, but with a bit of searching, you’ll find the perfect pair. Gloria always focused on creating styles to fit different body shapes, and this is one of the reasons women loved her jeans. Etsy is one of the best sources I found for vintage Glorias, but you can also find some on eBay.
13. Vintage Jordache Jeans
Started in 1969, Jordache is another brand that dominated the disco era with its sexy designer jeans. My friends and I would wear our Jordaches so tight that we had to lay down on the bed to zip them up. This was the time before designers started to mercifully add a little spandex to the denim. Both eBay and Etsy have a great selection of vintage Jordache, and if you like a higher waist, this brand will fit the bill.
14. Denim Knickers and Capris
I really like this look! Whether you find some vintage denim knickers or capris, or you make your own, this is a great denim look for spring and summer.
15. High Waisted Jeans
Surf and the City is one of the best shops I found on Etsy for great vintage denim. You’ll find a lot of cute high-waisted style, cutoffs, and more.
Vintage Denim Shorts
16. Denim Shorts
Whether you like to wear ‘em Daisy Duke’s-style short and split up the sides or knee-length like a hillbilly, everyone should own at least one pair of denim shorts.
One of the best parts about vintage cutoffs is that they’re easy to find. Either buy them pre-cut or make your own. Los Angeles, California-based Valley Denim is a great source.
Vintage Denim Jackets
18. Levi’s Vintage Denim Jackets
Whether you’re looking for a light stonewashed Levi’s jacket or a dark wash, you can find some great vintage Levi’s denim jackets on both eBay and Etsy. I like eBay’s search functionality in particular because you can filter by size, which might be the most frustrating part about buying vintage clothing online. Also, the most reputable sellers will accept returns, which is always a plus when you’re buying anything online, especially vintage clothing.
19. Retro Levi’s Sherpa Jackets
20. Wrangler Denim Jackets
Both Etsy and have a great selection of recycled Wrangler denim jackets. If you like the Western look, Wrangler is the brand for you.
21. Dark Wash Wrangler Denim Jackets
Nashville, Tennessee-based Freakshow Rodeo is a vintage shop that specializes in all things cowboy and western wear. In addition to some special denim pieces, you can find cowboy shirts, cowboy boots, belt buckles, Kenny Rogers t-shirts, and the like.
22. Black Denim Jackets
Black denim will always be cool. Even when stonewashed and acid washed dominated the scene, I do believe that black denim was still cooler. Check out the vintage shop Masval Vintage for black denim and other special pieces.
23. Stonewashed Denim Jackets
Shop Exile has a bunch of pre-0wned jeans and jackets, plus some other cute pieces, including vintage rompers, overalls, and more.
24. Denim Wide Lapel Blazers
It’s not easy to find the perfect one, but if you can find a pre-owned denim blazer with a cool cut and a good fit, you’ve got it made.
25. Denim Suit Blazers
26. Carhartt Oversized Denim Jackets
Carhartt has hip hop to thank for a total resurgence in their traditional workwear brand. If you love a big boxy denim jacket, Carhartt is your brand. Carhartt also has some really cool vintage denim vests, carpenter pants, and overalls.
27. Carhartt Hooded Denim Jackets
28. Denim Motorcycle Jackets
Specializing in 70s vintage clothing, Junk Deluxe Retro is a great used clothing shop I found on Etsy. You’ll find a good selection of pre-owned jackets and other vintage items here.
Vintage Denim Shirts
I have to give a ton of credit for my rediscovery of vintage denim to the band Blackberry Smoke. Maybe it’s my Texas and Colorado roots, but at the end of the day, I’m a twangy music gal at heart – loving country, folk, and Southern rock, and this band has it all. They’re just so cool and so sincere, and yep, these boys know how to wear vintage denim.
Check Charlie Starr’s denim shirt in this vid:
Once again, Etsy and eBay are great sources for really cool vintage denim shirts. And occasionally you can find some real gems in your local thrift store.
29. Denim Cowboy Shirts
30. Denim Western Shirts
31. Denim Work Shirts
If you love the 90s, Repeat Fashion Store is the shop for you. They specialize in use 90s apparel and have some cool blue work shirts and other denim threads.
Vintage Denim Vests
32. Denim Vests
Can you wear too much denim? I don’t think so. The perfect addition to your denim jacket and jeans or blue work skirt is a denim vest. But if you don’t want to go three-piece denim, vests look great with skirts and dark colored pants as well.
33. Cropped Denim Vests
Vintage Denim Overalls
I’m not sure if overalls ever went out of style (or if they were ever really in style either), though the 80s band Dexy’s Midnight Runners definitely brought them into the spotlight.
Loose and baggie so you look like you’re wearing a blue potato sack with straps? Never mind! That’s what belts are for!
Here are vintage denim overalls in action in Dexy’s epic “Come on Eileen” video – harkening to the days before YouTube when MTV was all the rage.
34. Vintage Oshkosh Overalls
Oshkosh is to overalls is what Levi’s is to jeans: If aliens came down and asked you what overalls are, you would have to show them a pair of Oshkoshes.
35. Overall Shorts
Vintage Denim Skirts
36. A-Line Denim Skirts
Legend has it that the first denim skirts were made by hippie chicks of the ‘70s who cut open the legs of their bell bottom jeans and added a denim triangle to create a perfect A-line skirt. Whether it’s a vintage denim maxi skirt, a mini, or something knee-length and flowy, you can’t go wrong with a denim skirt.
37. Short Denim Skirts
Vintage Denim Dresses
38. Denim Sundresses
Paperdoll Vintage is a great used clothing shop on Etsy that has a variety of dresses.
39. Long Denim Dresses
I’m partial to halter dresses, so I think I’m going to run now and see if this beauty is still available. See ya’ll in blue! :o)
Offline Vintage Denim
Sometimes the best place to find vintage denim is in your own neighborhood. And supporting local merchants in your own hood or on your travels is always a noble pursuit. So, be sure to check Yelp or Google to find your local Goodwill and thrift stores. Here’s to finding your perfect form of self-expression in denim!