Without a doubt the biggest staple in my wardrobe is denim. I am very much a jeans and tee kind of girl and I love the sense of effortlessness a well fitting denim piece gives to an outfit. In terms of building a sustainable wardrobe these are the items that are worth consciously curating, taking the time to find your perfect fit and sourcing staple pieces that you will wear forever. Over the years I have certainly grown to appreciate classic cuts and simple detailing as these are always timeless, and the higher quality denim you buy the more it will improve with age.
Read on to hear my favourite ways to buy Denim.
Classic denim certainly got it right so my first choice for shopping denim is vintage or second hand. I love denim that has a bit of life to it and vintage has those worn in characteristics that new just can’t replicate. Not only this, but it means that you are also giving new life to an existing garment rather than buying new.
It does take trial and error to find your fit, keep in mind you will simply have to try as sizes will vary greatly as will shapes. My ideal for jeans is a button fly, semi high waist and straight leg fit, although if I find a pair that is 90% of the way there you can always take this to the tailor or adjust it yourself. There’s no need to let that perfect pieces of denim slip away, if it ticks most of your boxes and the material itself is a nice heavy cotton and the wash is the night colour for you it’s worth a touch of tailoring to make it your perfect fit.
If you’re in Sydney I found my favourite pair of Vintage Levi’s at Bondi Markets for around $50. Miss Brown Vintage has a few stores around Australia and what is supposed to be a good selection. You can always turn to your local Salvo’s or Vinnies although be prepared to dig, unfortunately these racks tend to be filled with a lot of crap so I would recommend aiming a little higher at specialised stores.
If I am not after a truly vintage I also like to source modern brands on Ebay as the fits are more reliable. Whilst there is still a bit of risk involved size-wise if you generally know your size specific to their brand it’s a start but keep yourself open to making adjustments (or simply reselling and starting over if the fit is completely off). You would be surprised by how many great pairs are up for grabs, the secret it just to be patient and keep an eye out for your ideal pair.
As more and more of us are on the search for that illusive-perfectly fitting vintage pair some denim brands have taken notice and are sourcing old pairs that they then reshape into more modern fits.
Re/Done is my favourite brand who does this as their fits are beautiful and they have an amazing selection. Based and made entirely in LA they source Vintage Levis and their ‘denim tailors’ go to work on them to translate them into more current shapes. Each piece has character so you know yours is unique and I love how they give a little nod to the story that each piece holds by the markings on the inside pockets.
The denim guru’s themselves, Levis also have an initiative like this in their Authorised Vintage line where they re-source old designs and revive them to resell. These are available at selected stores that can be found here.
Can’t find the perfect pre-loved pair? Then turn your attention to these brands who are making beautiful denim sustainably. Mass produced denim can be one of the biggest culprits for environmental disruption, using masses of water throughout the process as well as releasing harmful chemical dyes into waterways.
I much prefer to support brands that are mindful of their manufacturing process but also who produce pairs that you’ll wear until they themselves become ‘vintage’.
I may be biased but Melbourne based Nobody Denim have great, timeless and well fitting pieces backed up with an emphasis on sustainability. All pieces are made in Melbourne under carefully ensured fair working conditions and they also have a re-purposed line crafted from excess stock items reassembled into new pieces. The fits give a nod to classic styles and their denim is always of excellent quality, made to stand the test of time.
Outland Denim is another that I more recently came across, an Australian company manufacturing their pairs in Cambodia to support women recovering from the sex trafficking industry and provide them with career prospects and a living wage. Made with natural indigo dyes and organic cotton their designs are your go-to-staples, based on simple tailored fits and no-fuss styles. The pairs that you reach for again and again in your wardrobe.
I’d love to hear how you buy your denim and if you have any recommendations.