Break it in: Denim

I am a huge thrifter. I love everything from Goodwill to high end vintage shops. Looking for hidden gems in places I am new to helps me get a feel for the historic culture of the city. Talking to store owners about their buying process often leads to stories about their trips to the local flea market or to other countries to find merchandise.


Photo by: Allison Sowle

I found this Levi’s 1980’s denim jacket at a vintage shopping event in my home state of Wisconsin. It is from So Passé based in Milwaukee, WI. Brown Cow Vintage is another one of my favorite stores located in Milwaukee, and the owners just recently confirmed that the two stores are joining forces! Their combined store is called Plume. Double the history and the beauty! Plume is just opening, so get there early for first dibs. The owners are good friends of mine, and trust me they find the best pieces.

My two favorite ways to wear this jacket is with something oversized like you see in these images with booties and a simple pant or with a simple form fitting tank-top. The sweater featured is actually a Goodwill find. I find so much pride in finding amazing things that have been worn before. They have a story behind them, unique construction was used in making the garment for the time period, and you got it for a lot less money!

What did I feel when I purchased this jacket? Nostalgia. My dad has always worn Levi’s around the house and to work. I remember as a child laying on his lap and smelling a mixture of old, worn in denim, outdoors, and a hint of the factory he worked in. Levi’s is an American made brand that was created to help men work hard, labored days in protective clothing that would last. This denim was worn until it could be worn no more. That is the epitome of my dad. Clothing can hold the most fascinating travel and lifestyle stories.

I interviewed the owner of Brown Cow Vintage, Maggie Solveson about owning a vintage business. Maggie reiterates that history plays a serious role in fashion in her comment about the strength of these clothes and the vintage culture: “It signifies the styles of the time and the unique materials and construction of its era.  Each garment is pre-loved to have a new life and purpose for today.”Speaking about the thrill of the whole industry she said, “My favorite part is helping my customers find something unique and beautiful that no one else has and reminding them how well made each piece is to has survived X amount of years.” 

Having an attachment to your clothes is important. That’s what makes you feel good in them. My favorite element that fashion holds is nostalgia, what is yours?

More vintage looks from these shops and from shops in the Bay Area are on the way, so stay tuned for styling advice and what to look for in a vintage shop and garment.

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All products are modern versions of the vintage items in images.



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