The Levi’s guide – Vintage, New and Re/Done

After years of the stretchy skinny reigning supreme, some other styles have been making a huge comeback over the last couple of years- A breath of fresh air for an avid jeans wearer like me. I was getting so bored of my skinny jeans uniform but I am a jeans girl at heart so anything that makes my favourite item of clothing (ever) a bit more interesting get a thumbs up from me.

Image cred; @adenorah

Depending on your shape and size anything goes in the world of denim at the moment. Boyfriend fit, girlfriend fit, flares, cropped flares, straight leg, wide leg whatever your thing is, it’s in right now and importantly it’s easy to get hold of. Skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere either. They’re a comfort zone  for so many people and they look really good too but there is a shift away from the really stretchy fabric ( jeggings anyone??), with more and more brands going back to basics with proper cotton denim that has little or no stretch.

Levi’s are probably the most iconic ‘real’ denim brand and there has been a huge resurgence in their popularity in recent years with celebrities and fashion types leading the way, wearing levi’s cut offs at festivals or Vintage jeans shopping. Finding the perfect pair is not as easy as it sounds though. Before Levi’s capitalised on this new trend and brought out some more modern shapes (more on that later), finding a good Vintage pair was the only option. So I’ll begin there.

Vintage Levi’s

Charity shop– If rummaging through thrifts shops and charity stores in the hopes of finding a pair of 90’s 501’s that fit you like a dream seems like a long shot then that’s because it is. Even if you have the time it would take and vintage shopping is something you enjoy, hitting the vintage jean jackpot requires a lot of luck and committment to the cause. A good pair of thrifted Levis’ that costs next to nothing (but everyone online seems to have) is like the holy grail- amazing quality, looks better as it ages and is cheap as chips. Finding your perfect pair might be difficult but if you have the time and patience imagine the satisfaction! The power of demand in this area is summed up perfectly in this article

levis vintage clothing logo

Shopping online– The biggest selection of vintage levi’s is of course available online. The problem is Levis’ sizing has changed so much over the years that a 501 in size 27 might fit you in one pair and be way too big or small in another pair depending on the year they were made. So in my experience shopping for them blind is a lottery. You never know what you’re actually going to get. In my opinion Etsy have the best selection, with loads of shops on there selling a huge range of vintage Levi’s for pretty reasonable prices. Ebay is a good place to start (and probably where you can find the best bargains) or Asos marketplace. Again though you just can’t rely on the sizing on the label. They can vary wildly. I have a pair of vintage Levi’s that says waist size 34 on the label that fit me perfectly when my usualL size is a 27/28. So if you are buying online ask the seller to take measurements to give you a better idea. Many Etsy shops will specify both the label size and the actual size. Ideally though trying them on is best.

vintage levis denim thrift store shopping

In stores– Some shops have started to source and stock one off pieces and I recently spent hours in Urban Outfitters trying on their range of vintage Levis (and put the not very flattering results on Instagram stories).They had loads of shapes and sizes in different washes and their condition and price varied. I didn’t find the perfect pair but most of them were nearly nice. I did pick up some vintage cut offs in Topshop for €30. Again I tried on 7 or 8 pairs and chose my favourite from there. I’ve added some that caught my eye on Etsy so you can see some of the sellers there and what they have to offer. Otherwise larger Topshops and Urban Outfitters are good places to try them on.

Shop Vintage Levi’s

Re/Done Levi’s

So we’ve established the dream would be to walk into a shop, find some vintage 501’s that fit perfectly, buy them and live happily ever after in your perfect jeans. Supply and Demand being what it is, it was only a matter of time before someone recognised the huge demand for Vintage denim (particularly Levi’s), the hassle it is to find  ‘the perfect ones’ and decided to come up with a way of supplying the goods. Enter Re/Done the brain child of Jamie Mazur (partner of Alessandra Ambrosia) and Sean Barron. In basic terms they take Vintage Levi’s, in all their worn, characterful, individual, aged denim goodness and recut them to fit in a more modern, flattering way. Each pair is ‘handpicked, handcut and disctinctly one of a kind’ and with that comes a pretty hefty pricetag. I was reluctant to even try these because of the fact you can buy a pair of levi’s on eBay for a tenner and get them altered to fit better. How could they possibly be worth the money? I have brought jeans to be altered and I have bought Re/Dones and unfortunately (for the bank balance) the jeans I love more than any other in my whole wardrobe are my Re/Dones. Keeping in mind I have a LOT of jeans and I didn’t want to love them I just dooo! For me they’ve been totally worth the money. Cost per wear and all that, they were practically free :/. A bit about the sizing and shape of the ones I own.

redone levis chunk brogueHigh rise ankle crop from Shop Re/done

My first foray into the world of Re/Done denim was actually a bit of a disaster. I’m a size 28 or 27 sometimes and because there was a pair of the high waisted crop in 27 on sale I went for them even though I had read that they are tight fitting.  I can usually squeeze myself into a 27 but these were different. There is no stretch whatsoever. I could barely get them up my legs which did little for my confidence. I stretched and contorted my body in all directions before finally ripping holes in both knees while squatting in an attempt to make them more comfy. Although when I did manage to get them up they fit perfectly at the waist, but I could barely bend my knees and they gave me the flattest arse. Not a good look. In the end I brought them to my alterations got the knees sewed up and sold them!

zara check blazer redone jeans bucket bagRe/Done originals high rise

redone jeans snake print boots chloe fayeUltra high rise straight leg

At the same time I bought two pairs of their originals because they were on sale and I didn’t love them so I sold those too (These are brand New from Re/Done not Vintage Levi’s so not really relevant to this post and I won’t elaborate but  they weren’t for me). Finally I bought a pair of Ultra high rise straight leg which weren’t on sale. They are super high rise which I love, skim over my hips and thighs but are pretty tight around my waist. As a slight pear shape that is not a combination that is easy to come by. I don’t know if they are the most flattering jeans in the world but I feel so comfortable in them and I barely took them off after I got them. So from there I was hooked.

louise Byrne a simple style levis redone lilac jumper asosHigh rise crop flare

I decided I wanted to give the  high rise ankle crop another go (their most popular style) but this time in a size that actually fit. I decided to get them from  FarFetch this time so that if there was a repeat disaster I’d be able to return them easily. I found a pair on sale in my size and went for it. Again I love the wash and fit around the waist and bum but the legs were pretty tight. I persevered and wore them in for a few days and they did give a bit and fit perfectly now. Although the waist is a little big on me and I need a belt. If the waist was really tight they’d actually be my perfect jeans and I might actually get them taken in. Seems crazy after spending so much on already recut jeans but it might be worth it!

Finally I bought my favourite style ever in washed black- The cropped flare. I’m actually in love with these jeans! They fit totally true to size on me. The waist is not too big, the legs fit, they’re the dream and I really want them in another wash now. Also on my wishlist is another pair of the high waist ankle crop in a darker wash blue/indigo. So I am well and truly hooked.

In summary re the fit. All of mine are my normal size and fit really well although the high rise ankle crop requires a bit of breaking in to fit the way I want them to but that may just be my shape. They’re the perfect style if you’re a skinny jeans girl and don’t want to stray too far from that.


Alessandra Ambrosio

Image Cred- Lucy Williams ( Fashion me Now)

simple style redone high rise

Image cred- MVB

Shop Re/Done Jeans


Brand new Levi’s

Levi’s themselves have recently been capitalising on their brand popularity by bringing  out some new styles that are  vintage inspired but a bit more modern. I first bought their CT fit 501’s which are basically the original 501 with a more fitted tapered leg. These are nice mid rise girlfriend jeans that I like to wear with flats and a cami during the summer or dressed up with heels.They’re not my favourite though mainly because I just prefer a higher rise.

I don’t think Levi’s jeans lend themselves well to stretch tight styles. The whole attraction (for me anyway) is the vintage, full cotton proper denim look. So when I’m looking for new ones I pretty much discount most of them bar a few styles. I’m a huge fan of 501’s and I think they’ve done an amazing job with the 501 skinny. It’s a stiff denim and contrary to what the name would suggest they aren’t totally skinny. I would say they’re the most like the he Re/Done high rise ankle crop. They’re not quite as high waisted but they are proper denim with a skinnier straight leg.

levis jeans with denim shirt gucci bagNo idea what style these are, I picked them up in Kildare Village

ripped-vintage-levis-zara-blazer-rattan-bag-links-bracelet501 CT fit


tan-coat-jeans-boots-blogger-styleLevi’s x Chiara Ferragni collaboration (501’s)

neckerchief-levis-ripped-jeans-gucci-bag-simple-styleAnother pair of 501 CT fit

Lot’s of people love the wedgie fit. These are really similar to the skinny (although they come in a straight leg too) with a flattering bum lifting shape. I’d probably go for these before any of their other new styles.

There has also been the altered 501 which again is a new modern take on an original 501.  So there are loads of new Levi’s out at the moment that give the look and feel of a vintage pair without the hassle of trying to find them second hand or the pricetag of (the perfect fit) ReDones. It’s by far the easiest option but for me, they don’t make them like they used to!

If there’s anything I’ve left out that you’re interested in just ask!

Shop New Levi’s



1 Comment

  1. Angelina
    March 9, 2018 / 10:22 pm

    Hi Louise!

    May I ask if you are the same size in the Levis 501 skinny jeans as the Re/Done High Waist Ankle Crop?

    Love your blog! X