I Ditched My “Standing” Jeans After Finding These Vintage Levi’s

I Ditched My “Standing” Jeans After Finding These Vintage Levi’s

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Yerin Kim

Just as it is for many people, my relationship with denim is complicated. I’ve found jeans I loved, but none without flaws. I resonated deeply with the recent conversation around standing jeans on TikTok. I’ve always accepted that I have standing jeans that look great on, but are too tight for all-day sitting. And then oppositely, I have sitting jeans that I’m not obsessed with style-wise, but that are actually comfortable enough to sit in for hours on end. However, a new pair of jeans from The Consistency Project (TCP) completely reframed my thinking around the two categories. In short, sitting jeans can be just as fashion-forward while still maintaining their comfort levels. (Also, I now simply call them jeans.)

“Sitting jeans can be just as fashion-forward while still maintaining their comfort levels.”

Described as “an experiment in new American workwear and lifestyle through secondhand, rework, and design,” TCP is part design studio, part shop, bringing new life to pre-existing materials. Natasha Halesworth, who initially launched TCP as a passion project, launched the Asian American–owned business in 2017. While the small brand also develops and sells reworked pieces of its own, it specializes in fitting customers for vintage workwear and denim pants, namely deadstock Stan Rays and Levi’s via in-person and virtual shopping appointments. I recently visited TCP’s studio in New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood, where I was fitted for my own pair of vintage Levi’s. These became the very pair that made me forget about all my pairs of so-called standing jeans.

After measuring my waist and inseam, Maddy, the studio assistant, pulled a number of jeans ranging in rise, wash, and style. TCP carries a huge variety of styles that work for different dimensions and body shapes. During the hour-long appointment, she provided a comfortable, inclusive experience, paying attention to my preferences as I, a very picky shopper, tried out several styles.

TCP sources secondhand pants, then tags each pair based on its flat-waist measurements. According to the brand, this approach is more reliable than modern-day pants sizes because of the natural fiber of the material. While vintage Levi’s are made with 100 percent cotton, thus maintaining its same measurements over time, most newly produced Levi’s are made of elastic and other stretchy materials. That explains the discrepancy in sizing when it comes to modern denim, leading to the very existence of standing jeans. Maddy encouraged me not to look at the numbers and to simply think about how the jeans felt when wearing them. Aside from dealing with the displeasing, restrictive feel on your stomach area that standing jeans can cause, consumers are often unaware of their actual sizing in denim, which leads to purchasing and squeezing into jeans they think should fit.

Eventually, I landed on a pair of vintage 550 Levi’s jeans in a classic light-blue wash. My first-ever pair of mid-rise denim, the jeans came with a straight leg and relaxed fit that still hugged my curves. Once I made my decision, Maddy and the design lead, Nikki, fitted me and hemmed the pants to my preferred length on the spot. Though I fell in love with the fit and comfort immediately, it was only after a few weeks of constantly reaching for these jeans that I realized I felt good in them both while sitting and standing. Now I have a better understanding of how jeans can and should feel.

What I Like About The Consistency Project’s Fitting Experience

I’ve owned a handful of Levi’s jeans, but this is my first vintage pair. Once putting them on, I immediately noticed the difference in the quality of the denim. It was thicker and weightier than that of regular contemporary jeans, with little to no stretch. But because they fit so comfortably, the rigid fabric didn’t feel uncomfortable and tight. Though TCP generously gifted me the pair I went home with, the jeans were priced at the moderate price point of $165, which includes the complementary shopping appointment and alterations.

I also love that I was introduced to a style I normally wouldn’t reach for at a regular store. These jeans have now become an absolute wardrobe staple — I pair them with baby tees, slouchy knits, hoodies, and more.

What’s Worth Noting About The Consistency Project’s Fitting Experience

If you’re local or in the NYC area, I highly recommend an in-person appointment. During my experience, the TCP employees really took their time to help me find the right fit and didn’t rush me into making any decisions. In fact, there’s no pressure to leave your appointment with an item to purchase; you can always come back after they’ve had a restock. By going in person, you also get a closer look at the cool patchwork jackets, workwear, and accessories and see all the work in action.

Who The Consistency Project Is Best For

If you’re not quite satisfied with even your most favorite pair of jeans, I definitely suggest paying a visit to the store. In addition to vintage Levi’s jeans, TCP also fits shoppers in Stan Ray painter pants. The brand also sells reworked denim, jackets, patchwork pants, tote bags, and more that are developed in-house. Those are sold online and at its studio in NYC.

Where Is The Consistency Project Available?

Made-to-order custom items, in-house pieces, and found vintage are available both in-store and online. The TCP Wavy Pant in Olive/Yellow ($225, originally $385), TCP Classic Checker Patchwork Pants in Coral Pink ($225, originally $315), TCP (Re)Workwear Chore Jacket ($215, originally $300), and TCP Mini Tote ($138, originally $225) are some of the one-of-a-kind items available for purchase.