The sustainable denim inventory
Over the past year, my denim collection has gone through an overhaul. At first, I was determined to wear the jeans I already owned to the ground. But as I started to shop consciously, I realized that the reason I was having such a hard time creating a more versatile wardrobe, was that my jeans didn’t do anything for me!
Low-rise skinny jeans had seen their day. They were my wardrobe staple from college to career. But somehow, they weren’t cutting it anymore. I didn’t make the switch quickly—it took time and thought—but 1 year later, I find myself with almost every pair of pants being high-waisted.
Do I worry that it’s a trend? Of course! Who wouldn’t? I saw a trend report for 2019 that said low rise is coming back in, but you know what? I still have one or two pairs of jeans I love that are low-rise. So an overhauled denim collection doesn’t mean new everything—it means welcoming in a few key pairs that make a huge difference to how I look at my clothes.
So, the big question: how many do I actually own? We’ll get to that in a sec – but first, let’s look at why I choose Levi’s.
There are 3 reasons I chose to buy Levi’s: quality, accessibility, sustainability. You can’t beat the longevity of vintage Levi’s. They really hold their own. If you’re looking for a new pair, you don’t have to go further than your local mall, which can be a huge bonus if you find it difficult to shop online. Lastly, while Levi’s is a huge corporation with room for improvement, they’ve been doing a lot to move the needle to sustainability.
The GoodOnYou app ranks Levi’s “good” . With recycling programs and water reduction techniques, they’re becoming a leader for other big brands. Levi’s also discovered that most of the environmental waste generated by denim happens after a consumer purchases it. This led to producing higher-quality garments that are meant to last: all to make slow fashion a reality.
Here’s a working inventory.
Also fondly known as my “mom jeans,” “weekend jeans,” “camping jeans,” or “just-about-anything” jeans. I love how relaxed they are – a few sizes too big, their wide legs and oversized look are wonderful for feeling comfy when camping or around the house, and when belted can polish them off enough for a casual day at the office. They’re the classic blue jean tone.
New Levi’s light wash 501
Similar style here.
When my favourite AGOLDE jeans disintegrated (I wore them hundreds of times until they fell apart!) I knew I needed a pair that was a little hardier, but still the same style. Afraid to order online and not be able to try, I found these gems at Aritzia. While they’re a little more distressed than I’d intended to buy, I don’t find it takes away from the look at all! They’re a teensy bit big around the waist, but fit my bum perfectly – so if you have very different hip/waist measurements, you may have to take them in a touch, or belt them!
I would probably wear these every day if people wouldn’t notice. I’ve never had a pair of jeans fit me so snugly in every area. Hip, waist, everything. If you’re looking for a pair to hug all bits of ya, these are it. Their dark blue tone is great for the office, and skinnier leg is more polished, especially with heels.
Old Gap duo-tone jeans
Back when I was still jumping on the bandwagon of trends, I found these on sale at the Gap and grabbed them! Believe it or not, they still spark joy when I see them. While they’re low-waisted, I’ve still found ways to wear them every once-in-a-while. I don’t wear them as much as I used to, but I have a feeling that they’ll make their way back into my outfits soon!
Classic black raw hem jeans
A fast fashion purchase from about two years ago, but this raw hem is to die for! They’re low waisted skinnies, and my instant go-to for office-appropriate pants. Plus, they’re around for whenever I want to wear one of my non-tuck-in shirts.
Old knee-rip black jeans
Ok, some of you may know this story: years ago when I was new to my career, I would run to catch my bus from downtown back to my parents’ place (where I lived at the time) after work, often late at night because there was such a huge workload. One night, I had grabbed a pizza to eat on the way back and ran as fast as I could to catch the bus—and then my foot caught something and I flew across the platform, arms outstretched, shoes flying off my feet—and landed no the pavement in front of hundreds of flabbergasted commuters. Luckily, my pizza was saved, a kind girl handed me my shoes, and my jeans had some great new rips in each knee. To this day, I always get asked where I got my jeans that have the perfect knee-rip. I laugh and tell them they just need to trip and fall.
So that’s it! 6 pairs of jeans, and I feel like it’s enough to make endless outfits! I do have 2 pants that aren’t jeans (natural wide-leg linen trousers, and black culottes), which round out the collection.
So, want some tips on how & where to find vintage jeans?
- Try your local thrift store (you’ll have to look more than one time. You’ll have to come back many times)
- Simply Suzette (she finds and stocks vintage for you, online!)
- Etsy (vintage shops on there have a ton of great finds – just make sure you aren’t overpaying! $30-60 is a respectable range)
- TIP: try on, or compare sizing so you have a sense of how vintage fits. The numbers can vary drastically from what we’re used to now, so if you’re looking for Levi’s, look up comparisons or check out what the sizes look like at your local thrift shop.
- TIP: patience is key. It took me over a year to find a vintage pair that I really loved!
- TIP: don’t be afraid to get them tailored. If it’s off by a little bit, you can get it taken in! Alterations often don’t cost an arm and a leg, and can be a quicker solution if you’re in the need of jeans, pronto.
- POST-PURCHASE TIP: Of course, wash your jeans when you first buy them. But after that? Let them be! Over-washing (and throwing jeans in the dryer) are the biggest culprits for destroying denim. Made for cowboys and working folk, denim is meant to be worn long and hard. Let it work for you!
Any questions? Pop them in the comments section below 🙂 Happy denim hunting!