Blame it on being a Millennial or too many years of working retail, but I love online shopping and very rarely go into a brick-and-mortar store. Buying straight from my computer or phone enables me to do tons of market research before I purchase something and allows me filter all the options before I click “buy”—a godsend for an indecisive shopper like me.
While lots of my favorite stores have their wares online, the website that I’ve bookmarked the most frequently is Etsy. When I first started using the site, it was a marketplace for twee DIY projects, hand-knit caps, and the like. However, in recent years, I’ve found that it’s a treasure trove of vintage finds, especially vintage denim.
And unlike conventional vintage denim shopping, where the store might not have exactly what you’re looking for in stock or you might have to sift through racks and racks of subpar finds, Etsy offers tons of styles that can be filtered according to your tastes—often at a fraction of the price.
For example, after seeing my friend wear a shrunken vintage Calvin Klein jean jacket as a shirt this spring, I was determined to get my hands on my own perfect CK denim jacket. A quick survey of Etsy provided me with tons of beautiful options that I proceeded to select according to style, era, and price. After some deliberation, I became the proud owner of a boxy cut, stone-washed CK jean jacket from the early ’90s.
Along the way, I’ve found a few more stores that always stock the best selection, and lucky for you, I’m willing to disclose this valuable intel. From the shop that serves up pristine, perfectly curated vintage jeans to the one that sources the best distressed denim, these are the five best shops to find vintage denim on Etsy.
Colony has one of the biggest collections of vintage denim I’ve seen on Etsy. At this shop, however, the large quantity doesn’t affect the high quality and nearly perfect condition of the pieces. Highly detailed descriptions of each item ensures that what you order is what you get.
Consider Jewvenchy your go-to spot for cool-girl finds like overalls and cult label jeans (think perfectly preserved Armani, Guess, and of course, Levi’s). Also important: This shop denotes the actual waistband size of the jeans, which is useful since a size 26 from the ’80s doesn’t always translate to a size 26 in 2015.
If you’re looking for the perfect jean jacket, Shop Exile has got you covered. With everything from embellished denim bombers to oversize trucker jackets, this spot guarantees you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for—and you’ll probably end up copping some of the perfectly curated ’90s grunge finds (think band t-shirts, flannels, and cool-as-fuck leather jackets).
Northwest Vintage Co.
If you’re looking for vintage with a quirky twist, you’ll fall in love with Northwest Vintage Co.’s “upcycled” goods. This shop takes vintage denim (jeans, cutoff shorts, and even overalls!) and adds calico patches and pockets for a pop of color. They bear a striking similarity to Junya Watanabe’s patch jeans—at a decidedly un-Junya price.
If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, head over to Sprightly Vogue. The denim selection is fair, and with most pairs of vintage jeans going for under $30 a pop, why not snap up two?