10 Tips for Shopping Vintage Jeans

10 Tips for Shopping Vintage Jeans


To continue with the Denim Series, I wanted to talk about a question I get all the time: how do you find all these great jeans thrifting? I know it seems like the easiest thing to go pick up a pair of vintage Levi’s or Rider’s, especially since it seems like everyone on Instagram has a pair or three. The truth is, it’s a lot more work than you’d expect. Jeans in particular are much more strenuous to find because it’s such a gem to find a pair that actually fits you properly and has the wash you’re looking for AND is a combination of everything you’ve been wanting in one well-worn pair. Although it’s a lot of work, vintage shopping is just like treasure hunting. It can be tiring, long, and frustrating, but when you score that piece you’ve been dreaming of, it makes the hunt absolutely worth it. So, how do I find such great jeans while thrifting? Keep reading for my top 10 tips.

  1. Go several times a week

Above anything else, I say you need to go thrifting several times a week. I myself go about twice a week. Not for long, maybe just an hour on my way home from work and a few hours Saturday morning. The more often you go, the better chance you have of finding something you like. Many businesses go sourcing for denim from the same thrift stores the public goes to, so making sure you beat them to it during a time when most people wouldn’t go (like 7PM on a Tuesday) is your best bet of scoring a pair.

  1. Do a pre-scan of the rack10-tips-for-shopping-vintage-jeans

Before the denim-packed rack scares you away, do a pre-screening of the labels. Most stores hang their denims by one of the pant legs, leaving the top of the jeans with the labels peeking out. Scan the rack and see if you automatically see any brands that you love. A Levi’s label is synonymous with a good fit and good quality, so those are obviously the first ones I go for. Other labels like Calvin Klein, Rider’s, Lee and Tommy Hilfiger are some favorites of mine as well. Through this process, you’ll learn to spot the ones that work best for your needs.

  1. Learn your sizing before you shop

Although in pants you might be either a Medium or a size 8, jeans are labeled differently. They use the measurement in inches to dictate the sizing and will usually include the waist size and the pant length in the same label. A good cheat sheet for knowing your waist size is adding 20 to your usual size. For example, if you’re a 9 in other pants/dresses, then add 20, becoming 29 in jeans. The pant length usually depends on what you’re going for, but I would suggest to start at around 29, regardless of your waist size. So, if you’re usually a 7, start looking for 27 x 29 and experiment from there.


      4. Don’t pay attention to sizing

Now that you know your size, ignore it. Sometimes your measured size is a good indicator for your fit, but most times with vintage jeans, it’s completely off. Remember that bodies and sizing have changed dramatically since the 80’s and 90’s. What used to be size 30 could now fit more like a size 28 or 26, I see it all the time. Also, some designers put a smaller size number on the label that actually fit larger women so it could make the shopper feel better and in turn, encourage them to buy the jeans. The psychology behind clothes goes deep, people. Be open to trying on a few pairs at a time to gauge just how different certain brands fit on you.

  1. Shop around

If you’re serious about finding some of your favorite denim pieces from vintage stores, then you’re going to have to shop around. Places like Goodwill and The Salvation Army are solid choices and will usually have several stores per city. Take some time, go to a different one each week and soon you’ll start to get a sense of how each store usually stocks their supply. TIP: Salvation Army and Goodwill will be your cheapest options to find vintage goods because the clothes are donated for free. Other vintage shops usually have their merchandise on consignment or will markup the price to make up for the lack of traffic places like Goodwill commonly gets.

  1. DIY is your best friend

Most of the jeans I find have such an awkward length or are those bootleg cuts from the early 90’s that don’t really flatter the majority of women. In most cases, as long as the pants fit well around your waist, you can DIY (do it yourself) the rest of the look. Cut raw hems are HUGE right now, especially step hems (crooked hems)-so no excuses for not trying yourself! Also, ripped knees and distressed denim is always a great look. Add patchwork to cover stains, trimming to widen seams, and just go crazy with making them the best jeans for you. Let me know if you want to see how I cut and distress my jeans.

  1. Take your time

After all the shortcuts, this is the true key to finding what you want: patience. I know, it sucks hearing that word, but it’s true. Just like any great thing earned in life, patience will get you there. While you’re browsing the racks, take time and go one by one through each pair, paying close attention to the wash, the possible fit, and even the details like the stitching and the buttons. Once you start trying on pairs, you’ll learn to start searching for characteristics like a high waisted fit and what those look like on the rack so you don’t waist time trying it on. It’s better to take your time and walk out the store with three good pairs than rushing through it all and walking out frustrated, tired, and empty-handed.

  1. Focus on wash, not cut

This one took some time for me to grasp, but it can drastically change the look you’re going for. The wash, or the color and fade of the denim, is the key to a good looking pair of jeans. Notice on the example below how slight the difference is in the wash but what a difference it makes to the vibe of the outfit. Find a wash that speaks to you, anything else like tapering the ankle or cropping the hem can all be fixed by a tailor.


  1. Shop from stores that curate vintage jeans

Now a days, many vintage shop owners understand the demand for great vintage jeans, so they do the work for you and source jeans from across the country to sell to you in lieu of a stress-free hunt. While these will cost more than finding your own pair for next to nothing, the hassle-free ease of shopping a clear and concise selection makes it absolutely worth while. One of my favorite places in Miami to find vintage distressed jeans is a shop in Wynwood called Spin Gallery, but the best shops online are Shop Redone, Shopbop, and Denim Refinery.

  1. The Power of Negotiating

The great thing about shopping vintage is that most of these pieces cost the shop owner much less than retail. If you found something you love, don’t be afraid to bargain a bit with the price. Some places are more inclined to, others not so much, but it’s always worth a shot. You never know what a deal you could be making unless you ask, so go for it.

Any tips I should know about? Leave them in the comments below!

Xx, Kat B

I Hate Sock Booties, So I Bought a Pair.

I Hate Sock Booties, So I Bought a Pair.

I hate those trends that make their way onto our radars one random season yet are such a slight variation to what you already own, that it seems unnecessary to buy into it. But then it starts popping up all over your news feed but even then, nothing sparks your interest with them. Then you browse the Chrome tabs you have open from all your perpetually restocked carts and there they are again, popping up on the side bar ads that hunt you down with all your recent clicks (I SEE YOU SEEING ME). And theeeeeen, all the publications you follow start posting about “that IT item of the season” and all you want to do is roll your eyes and cross your arms and sit patiently until we start craving the next IT thing. That’s been me this entire year with sock booties. I had a sincere disdain towards those boots. I mean, the name alone…SOCK booties?!? Gah, pass. Plus, I never really liked the look of the Yeezy versions so I didn’t see any purpose in trying to fall for a similar pair.

But then it happens. You’re aimlessly strolling through one of your favorite shops and you spot them, mannequined on the display table, appropriately styled next to the double buckle belts and cropped black flares. A pair of blue velvet sock booties that look just gloriously delicious to slip into. I’ve passed by them before but today, they struck me hard-the silky sapphire color waiting to grip my ankles. It takes me no less than a quick breath to try them on and agree to take them home. I don’t even know how I cracked that quick, but I did and I couldn’t be happier.


c/o: Spin Gallery

I found these babies at Spin Gallery, a cool little shop in Miami’s own cultural haven Wynwood. This store has quickly become one of my absolute favorites (stay tuned for something special coming up with them) for their desert downtown vibes and beautifully curated selection. I definitely recommend them if you’re in the South Florida area! The boots are the perfect fall pick me up and the color can easily act as a balance against many neutral wardrobes and pairs perfectly with many autumnal tones (sooo much rust and midnight blue). It’s the things you wouldn’t have expected to like at all that you tend to fall in love with the most. Take a look at how I styled the boots 3 different ways-and get ready to see many more looks on my Instagram @katblanco !

Xx, Kat Blanco




Men’s closets have long been the source of lazy girls’ quick morning fixes for decades now. We’ve taken their jeans, their blazers, their bomber jackets, even their cologne and balanced it with our own fitted-everything because dammit, we too like to feel our bodies breathe in our clothes once in a while. Button downs just happen to be my favorite of the borrowed-from-the-boys bit and although they’re somewhat mundane to style, I think I’ve found some creative ways we can work with these 9-5ers and make button downs great again (cautionary disclaimer: not a Trump sponsored post #MBDGA). So, I give you three new ways to style a button down.

1. As a One Shoulder Statement Top

This one’s pretty simple and still fiends off the cold shoulder/statement tops vibe everyone is having right now. Keep one arm out and unbutton the bottom 2-3 buttons on the shirt. Cross over the loose sleeve and tie a knot with the opposite end front tail. After the knot, simply tuck the excess sleeve under the shirt and voila! You just made shoulders look sexy in a button down.




Top: Joseph & Feiss | Jeans: Zara | Heels: Jessica Simpson


2. As a Peekaboo Tube Top


This one is more for my friends out there with smaller chests; this one’s for us. Button the shirt up to right below your chest, keeping both arms out. Cross over the sleeves and knot them so they cover the twins. Tuck the loose sleeves in the shirt, throw on some encrusted cross earrings and leopard mules and proceed to dish out any bit of Italian you picked up over the summer in Capri for that dinner small talk.



Top: same | Pants: vintage Calvin Klein I cropped myself | Heels: vintage mules | Cross Earrings: H&M


3. As a Halter


I’m all about the shoulders right now and this one was just too obvious an option of a shirt-turned-party-top. Like the previous look, button up the shirt but this time covering your chest, leaving both arms out. Cross over the sleeves and try not to strangle yourself into tying them around your neck. Because it’s a larger shirt, the bottom looks better tucked into something so go for anything high waisted and bam, you’re all set for the derby.




Top: same | Skirt: Forever 21 | Earrings: H&M | Heels: Schutz


Xx, Kat

Cap’n X KITH Launch Miami Pop-Up Shop With The Best Cereal Bar Ever

Cap’n X KITH Launch Miami Pop-Up Shop With The Best Cereal Bar Ever

As of 10AM this morning, New York-based street wear brand and retail shop Kith launched a Miami pop-up shop unveiling their recent Cap’n Crunch Cereal x KITH collaboration, including a fully stocked Kith Treats Bar. Known for his constant collaborations with footwear giants New Balance, Asics, and now Nike, Ronnie Fieg, owner and chief creative of Kith, partnered up for the first time with Captain Crunch cereal to bring us a lifestyle-driven collection of fitted hats, hoodies, stationary, keychains, dish ware and the most sought after sleeping kit including a robe and slippers all emblazoned with a Kith-decked Captain character, limited edition Asics and all. But obviously, the sweeeeeeetest thing about the CC x Kith collab are the treats. As part of Kith Treats, the retailer’s very own cereal and soft serve bar, they have added new flavor combinations including the most bomb option, The End Zone (Cap’n Kith cereal churned with Touchdown Crunch, toffee and vanilla ice cream aka childhood in a cup) as well as created a limited edition cereal pack with only 500 available for sale on a first come-first served basis, priced at $20. The t-shirts start at $50 and up while the ice cream and cereal bar are priced between $5-$7.50.






Fieg is most known for all the detail he puts into his collaboration projects and Cap’n x Kith is no exception. From the cartoon character’s garbs to the milk-straw spoon (a necessity for all kitchens, really) the collaboration was a nostalgic yet relevant experience with its own cartoon reel playing at the back of the shop.

This pop-up is giving the city the perfect taste test for Kith’s new Miami location opening up on Collins Ave. later this year. The pop up will be going on for the whole month of November (while supplies last) at 721 Lincoln Road. The hype is real with this one, guys!!! So don’t slack, pay the shop a visit and get ready to have the best post-Halloween sugar high yet.



5 Last Minute DIY Halloween Costumes You Low Key Want to Wear, But Better

5 Last Minute DIY Halloween Costumes You Low Key Want to Wear, But Better

So you just debuted the one big Halloween costume you ACTUALLY prepared for this year and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself because it was a hit, right? The only thing is now you have two more days of Halloween celebrations left and you either a.) don’t feel like spending money on another costume, b.) don’t feel like spending the mental energy thinking up of another costume, and/or c.) you low key want to do the least amount of work possible but high key still participate in the holiday so you don’t get any slack from your friends. If this is you right now, then SAME. So for all of my procrastinators out there, grab some inspiration from these last minute costume upgrades that you can pull together in less than an hour (no really, all of these costumes I came up with in one hour just by shopping my closet) and can still successfully garner a few compliments for being “soooooo cuuuuuute.”


FOR THE GIRL THAT STILL WANTS TO LOOK GLAM: Skip the flapper dress and go for a Studio 54 Vibe

This look is my favorite simply because most of my wardrobe is already 70’s inspired and I’ll most likely be wearing this entire outfit out again, no shame in my white flares.

last minute_diy_halloween_costume_studio_54

Sunglasses: Spin Gallery | Bodysuit: Zara | Pants: Zara

FOR THE GIRL THAT ONLY WEARS BLACK: Skip the kitty face and go for a Jack-O-Lantern

Since you only wear all black and there is no other more appropriate holiday to wear all black, stick to your staples and let the makeup do the talking. I personally hate gory and scary makeup looks, so I went with a more subdued jack-o-lantern inspired beat. Also, considering it’s fall and we’ve been building our collections of warm, bronzy-orange tone eye shadows for a few months now, all you really need is some white face paint for the teeth (a 24 hour Walgreens can help you with that) and some black eyeliner and you’re set.


Top: Zara | Skirt: Urban outfitters | Shoes: Schutz

FOR ALL MY TAN GIRLS: Skip the homemade Indian and go for a classic, vintage Selena or JLo

It’s 2016, so I’d like to think that we can all agree that cultural appropriation isn’t a good look anymore. Plus, I’d MUCH rather dress as Selena every day with all those bustiers and jumpsuits <3 FYI: if you have no time to do your hair, don’t. In this look specifically, she has her natural curls out so even better if you’re seriously holding out till the last minute for a costume idea.


Earrings: H&M | Top: Zara | Jeans: Vintage Levis

FOR THOSE THAT WANT A CELEB COSTUME: Skip the Kim K After Her Robbery look and go as Kourtney K After Her Split from Scott

Apparently, some company came out with an incredibly distasteful costume replicating Kim Kardashian after her infamous Paris robbery. Tacky. Let the Kim K vibes rest for a night and instead go for Kourtney Kardashian post-Disick look.


Earrings: H&M | Top: Zara | Jeans: vintage Levis

Hope this helps any of you out there still scrambling for a costume! Stay safe this weekend!


Xx, Kat Blanco