Fashion, How To

How To: Thrift Jeans


I’ve always found shopping for jeans to be the most overwhelming shopping experience; both at thrift and department stores. Because of this, I’ve developed a strategy over the years that seems to make thrifting jeans a little easier. Follow these tips to score a great deal on quality denim:

1. Take your time:  Similar to a department store, thrift shopping jeans can be time consuming.  If you set aside a little extra time for jeans, you are bound to score a deal on a great pair. Taking your time is probably the most important tip of all. When I’m in need of new denim, I set aside a special trip just for jeans. Try going on a day where you know you will have time to look around and try on.

2. Figure out where you need to be. Figure out how your thrift store organizes denim. Some do it by size and others don’t. Goodwill Akron sorts jeans by “small / medium / large” sections. Check the racks to make sure you’re in the right aisle. If you’re not sure, simply ask an employee to point you in the right direction.

3. Touch. You can feel the difference between quality denim and cheap denim by touching the jeans. Doing this while you browse will help you cut back on time and effort. That’s exactly how I found these J.Crew wide leg jeans. Although I couldn’t really see the jeans entirely on the rack, I instantly noticed how soft the jeans felt on my hands. Because of that, I was drawn to pull them off the rack only to find out they retailed for over $100.

4. Look at the hems rather than waist. This saves me so much time! I’m usually on the hunt for a particular style of jeans so looking at the cuffs or hems helps narrow it down to the styles I perter.   For example, I can hone in on skinny cut jeans by browsing the cuff because I won’t pull a bunch of boot cut jeans off the rack.

5. Try on. There’s a possibility that thrifted denim has shrunk, been hemmed or just isn’t true to size. Unless it’s clearly evident that the jeans are not going to fit you, take your time and try them on. Plus, you don’t want to buy a pair of jeans if they don’t fit even if they only cost $4. That’s how I found these jeans at the Goodwill in Medina. They size on the tag wasn’t my usual size but they looked like the could fit, and voila! They did.