Denim HQ – Buying And Selling, Triumphs And Pitfalls

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A huge part of the denim and work wear scene is the buying, selling and trading of worn items, whether this is true vintage wear through eBay or specialised dealers, or in the Buying/ Selling section of forums and online communities. For many of us this is a great way to raise quick cash for an essential purchase or to bargain hunt for that illusive “grail” item, but sometimes it goes wrong. Sometimes we end up buying a dud or selling something which we later regret, here I’m going to talk about some of my greatest second hand purchases, some purchase errors and some of my deepest regrets.

Triumphs

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My first pair of high end Japanese denim was a pair of Samurai 710’s which I picked up through the Supermarket section of Superfuture. I bought these prior to the conception of the HWDC and at a time when I was struggling to rationalise paying so much money for a pair of jeans, they were in great condition and as soon as I wore them I was hooked on the denim scene. Even today I recommend that buying used is perhaps the way for people who are on the fence as to whether the higher end of the denim scene is for them. The Samurai’s stayed with me for about 18 months until I started the HWDC and will remain etched in my memory as the jeans which started my obsession.

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Likewise my first pair of high end boots, counting Red Wings as mid range, was a pair of White’s Semi Dress again through SUFU. The boots were total game changers for me as I realised that there is quite a gap in quality between mid range and top range and I haven’t bought anything but White’s since (I was given a pair of Alden’s which are also great). The boots stayed on my feet for almost 2 years until a local cobbler ruined them with a shoddy resole job, and even after that I managed to sell them for more than I had paid for them through eBay, which allowed me to buy a new pair of White’s, fantastic.

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The vintage Belstaff Trialmaster which I bought for £41 earlier this year and did not fit me may be a strange inclusion as a second hand triumph, until you consider that I sold in one week later for £360 after starting it at 99p on an eBay auction. It was a beautifully aged vintage jacket, and no doubt that if it had fit me I would have kept it.

Purchasing Pitfalls

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In my early days on denim experimentation I read a lot about the brand Oni and how much character their denim had, so imagine my joy when I found 2 pairs (Oni Red and Oni Blue) listed on eBay for $50 a pair in what looked like new condition, and in my size, unfortunately what I did not do in my rush to secure both pairs was ask for the missing length measurement. I am 6ft 1″ tall, and depending on the way the top block is cut I need either a 33″ or 34″ inseam to allow me modest stacking or a small cuff, these Oni’s both had a 29″ inseam and were completely unwearable unfortunately. Even at $50 a pair I struggled to move them on with such a short inseam, definite lesson learned to check all measurements prior to purchase.

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A second appearance for the Belstaff Trialmaster on this list, this was a newer version made in collaboration with Australian brand Dryzabone and it was exactly the type I wanted, heavy waxed with cross stitch shoulder and elbow padding, unfortunately it was about 3 sizes too big. I felt really guilty about this one as a really nice dude I know through the forums shipped it to me to try out from the US and then I had to ship it back to him, of course I paid the shipping but I felt bad for wasting the guys time and effort. Lesson here, know your measurements and don’t take chances.

Sellers Remorse

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In terms of denim, my greatest regret is the sale of my SExIH01OD jeans, they were the over dyed version of the first collaboration between Self Edge and Iron Heart and were dubbed the “Dior cut” due to the similarity in fit with Japanese Dior jeans of the time, which proved extremely popular due to this fit. These jeans were literally my perfect fit but I sold them to fund a purchase which I deemed urgent at the time and now I can’t even remember, as I had several pairs of other jeans at the time I managed to convince myself that they were surplus. Not a great idea.

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The boots which I lovingly referred to as my “Apocalypse Boots” were a definite selling regret. I mean, sure they were ridiculously heavy, sure they looked like they had been designed by a lunatic on drugs and sure they made me 2″ taller than I needed to be, but they had that all important quality, character. They were made with a triple thickness leather midsole placed on top of a full Vibram lug sole and were made fully from tough as nails bull hide, if they were a vehicle they would have been a monster truck. To add insult to injury I was badly misquoted by the postal service on the shipping cost and actually lost a further £40 on them. Not my finest moment as a seller.

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Just like me I am sure that most people have their own stories of triumph and tragedy, and I would love to hear about them in the comments section below, or maybe in your own piece.

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5 thoughts on “Denim HQ – Buying And Selling, Triumphs And Pitfalls”

  1. My worst purchase was a pair of levis 201 selvedge denim I got on ebay a few years back. I ordered them size 34×34 which is what I usually wear in levis unless they are STF. I was so excited to have denim fit for braces, and even got myself a nice pair of vintage braces to match. At the time I ordered them, I didn’t realize how much larger the 201 cut is to a modern 501 cut. I was literally swimming in these jeans (they fit me like a 38). It’s been going on 2 years now, and I’ve never worn them. Worst Benjamin I ever spent, and I don’t think I will ever get back what I paid for them…so they sit at the bottom of the pile.

    The best purchase is much more difficult. I’ve found several Levis, Lee, and Wrangler goodies over the years. Blue bell, Storm Rider, 101’s…you can still find them at thrift stores in the midwest. I flipped them all for a nice profit on ebay. But the item I regret flipping the most was a vintage Banana Republic A2 bomber jacket. I know it’s not what some people find sexy, but this jacket fit me like it was made just for me. The smell, and the aged condition of the leather was perfect. I dropped it to the post on my way to the airport when I left the states for Europe in an effort to downsize and build up a little extra cash. I promised myself I would get another one, but I just wish I had kept the one i found myself.

  2. Sorry Gav, but the more I look at those boots the more I think they have to be your best sale ever – at any price! I wonder what they’re doing now…

    1. They were completely monstrous, but I loved them for their total disregard of all convention. Unfortunately in all weathers other than 6 inches of snow they were pretty useless.

      These days I suspect they are climbing mountains somewhere, I sold them to German forestry ranger of all things, ha ha.

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