5 Types of Vintage Jeans to Thrift

Vintage jeans are the holy grail of thrifting. You’ll be amazed at how much collectors will pay for them. If you can find an undervalued pair that’s hiding on the racks in a thrift store or garage sale, you’re super lucky. 

Here are some of the most coveted types of jeans that collectors search for. We wish you luck on your journey to find a pair of classic vintage jeans. 

Vintage Levi Jeans



Levi’s jeans have a long history linked to the Gold Rush in the 19th Century in California. Levi Strauss designed the work pants made of heavy canvas and reinforced with rivets. He patented the design in 1873, and jeans were born. 

As one of the first companies to ever produce jeans, vintage Levi’s are an important part of fashion history. They’re also an in-demand item to find at thrift stores and in the reselling market. Levi’s 501s are the most sought-after design, because the shape looks great on almost everyone. 

How to identify: 

These tips are directly from Levi’s official site: 

  • Look for a red tab on the back right hand pocket. This little fabric flap will show the LEVI’S® brand name. This word will have all caps for jeans made before 1971, and a lower-case ‘e’ for jeans made after that date. However, Levi’s made before 1936 did not have the red tab. 
  • Levi’s started including care tags in the 1970s. 
  • The inseam of Levi’s in the 1980s is a single-felled stitch on the inner thigh.  

Other suggestions include: 

  • Engraved inner button stub with the style number. 
  • Rivets engraved with the branding. 
  • Soft leather label on the back waistband.  
  • Text alignment on the red and black font on the soft leather label. 

Vintage Wrangler Jeans


Wrangler jeans were first created in 1947 and they became popular as western-style straight-legged jeans. They’re very durable and great for riding a horse or a bucking bronco in a rodeo.  

How to identify:  

  • Wrangler buttons and rivets engraved with the brand name Wrangler. 
  • The care instructions tag will be made of a smooth and strong material. 
  • You’ll find a cream-colored Wrangler label on the inner waistband with strong stitching. 
  • Wrangler jeans have a leather patch on the back outer waistband with strong stitching. 
  • Older Wrangler jeans have a signature blue bell on the label. 

 Vintage Lee Jeans


As another one of America’s oldest jeans manufacturers, Lee jeans were launched in Kansas in 1889. Vintage Lee Jeans exhibit important branding decisions the company made to distinguish itself from the competition.  

How to identify: 

  • Heavy-duty rust-proof buttons
  • Branded rivets in the shape of a bull’s eye
  • Lee jeans have a signature curvy “s” shape seam on the back pocket. 
  • Lee jeans used “cross tack” stitching rather than rivets on the back pocket corners.

If you’re in the market for the shape more than the brand label, look for classic mom jeans, high-waisted jeans, bell-bottom jeans, and boyfriend jeans at the thrift store. 

Vintage Tommy Jeans


In the 1990s, hip hop artists from TLC to Snoop Dogg endorsed Tommy Hilfiger brand clothing, which was known for its preppy style. Soon, the label started to produce a sportier offshoot and it grew in popularity: Tommy Jeans. 

How to identify:

  • Check the spelling of Tommy Hilfiger on the label. 
  • Make sure the materials aren’t synthetics, Tommy Hilfiger designed with 100% cotton. 
  • Most authentic Tommy Hilfiger pieces have a triangle of fabric sewn under the label. 

Vintage Guess Jeans

Guess is the jeans brand most commonly associated with the 1980s. The L.A. based jeans label was one of the first companies to make designer jeans. They were tight fitting and often had zippers at the ankles. Now, as part of its interest in promoting a circular economy, you can buy authenticated vintage products directly from Guess. 

How to identify:

  • Guess labels are inverted triangles with a question mark on the inside and U.S.A. printed under the brand name.



While you might keep these museum pieces enclosed in glass, you can wear our Goodfair denim pieces all day everyday. Shop our denim bomber jacket, unisex best friends jeans bundle, denim shirts bundle, and denim overalls bundle.

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