Why I Paid $250 for a Pair of Used Jeans

Cady Lang
Image: Re/Done

Photo: Re/Done

I’m not going to lie: I am and always have been a fan of fast fashion. There’s nothing more satisfying than running to Zara and being able to pick up a Saint Laurent–esque mini dress for a decidedly un–Saint Laurent price.

However, in recent years, thanks to my tiny apartment (and even tinier closet) as well as a burgeoning sense of guilt over my very active consumption, I’ve been trying to rely less on fast fashion and instead have started investing in clothing that’s more memorable—statement pieces, if you will—with a strong focus on my cost per wear for whatever I buy. My rationale is that if I’m buying less, I can spend a little more, especially if it’s a piece that I’ll want to keep forever. “Quality not quantity” is my new shopping mantra.

In keeping with my effort to consume less, most of my statement pieces have been wonderful vintage finds with quirky histories. Some favorites to date? The marching band bomber jacket that belonged to a clarinet player in the ’90s, a men’s mechanic boiler suit with a million pockets, and a beaded cocktail sheath that looks like it’s straight off the set of Dynasty. (Fun fact: Its previous owner wore the dress to the opening night of Phantom of the Opera.)

However, my favorite “investment piece” by far has been my Re/Done jeans—a pair of high-rise, reworked vintage Levi’s covered in patches that I bought during an impulsive midnight online-shopping moment of weakness (although, in my defense, I had been stalking the jeans for months, debating whether they were worth the whopping $250 I ended up forking over).

$250? For used jeans? I can feel my mother cringing. (Mom, if you’re reading this right now, please know that this was the best lapse of judgment I’ve ever exercised as a shopper.) I know it sounds crazy, but these jeans were worth every penny and definitely have the lowest cost per wear of any piece of clothing I own. Part of this stems from guilt over how much I paid, but mostly the reason why I practically live in these jeans is because they’re insanely comfortable, and they make my butt look amazing (if you know anything about me, you know that I have J. Lo aspirations when it comes to my posterior).

Image: Re/Done

Photo: Re/Done

What sets the Re/Dones apart from their source Levi’s is the modern fit. My pair of high-rise jeans has a tapered leg and slightly looser waist, which gives me a little more wiggle room and a much more flattering silhouette while still staying true to the “mom jean” style.

I also love that Re/Done tells you the history of your denim—for example, mine were reconstructed from blue jeans that came from Tennessee in the ’60s, and they maintain elements from the original owners, like natural rips and tears, paint spatters, and whiskering. Each pair is one of a kind, which means that once a pair is sold, it’s gone for good (and these jeans go fast—I’ve seen pairs that I’d bookmarked in the morning disappear by the afternoon).

Suffice it to say, these are my favorite jeans and the best $250 I’ve ever spent on a single piece of clothing. You can bet I’ll be saving all my pennies for the next pair that I’m sure is in my future.