The timeworn appearance of vintage denim is a reminder of an era when jeans were considered work clothes for craftsmen, artists, and farmers. The heavy-duty fabric could withstand frequent laundering that made the jeans more comfortable as the fibers softened. As the color faded, clues were revealed about the type of work the owner did and whether he was left or right-handed.
A faded imprint on the left back pocket might have been where a tool was kept, or an overstretched belt loop above the right front pocket probably held a key ring. Nowadays, a frayed hem and crease marks are desirable characteristics that increase the value of vintage jeans and premium reproductions.
Before dryers were commonplace, jeans acquired a weathered finish from hanging on a clothesline to dry in the sun and wind. A ripped knee was patched to extend the life of work pants, and the hem was let out to accommodate a teenager’s rapid growth. Replicating the wear and tear of vintage jeans has grown into a fashion genre that specializes in accelerating years of work, play, and laundering.
If you’re not motivated to search through thrift stores for vintage clothes, slip on a pair of jeans by AG Goldschmied or Frame. These modern jeans have been carefully treated to resemble the look of past decades with a little stretchiness woven in for good measure. You'll also find a style to satisfy every generation. The fit of baggy boyfriend blues contrasts well with a snug tank top or a defiant leather jacket, and the sweet sentimentality of slouchy straight leg jeans is enhanced by a frilly crepe blouse. For a nostalgic look with youthful energy, top your faded jeans with a soft white t-shirt.
Your favorite jeans have earned the lived-in comfort that feels so good--kind of like the laugh lines you’ve earned from living a good life.