How to Thrift for Jeans

Posted On Thursday, March 17th, 2011
Filed Under: How To, Looking FLY on a Dime, shopping, Thrift Stores

I’ve offered up thrift shopping tips before {here and here} but thrifting for jeans can be a particularly difficult. Even a thriftaholic like myself gets a bit skittish when it comes to purchasing denim if the store doesn’t have a fitting room. Most people can look at a top or dress and make a fair guesstimate as to whether it’ll fit. But denim isn’t always so easy. Is there stretch? Are they true to fit? The waist looks fine but what about the thigh room? These are all the questions that can make you want to avoid the rack of jeans.

Luckily, here are a few tips I’ve used to fairly gauge if a pair of jeans will work.

Come prepared

If you know you’re on the hunt for another pair of your favorite brand of jeans, have your sizes on hand. You may be a 26 in Joe’s but a 30 in 7 for All Mankind, so know what sizes work for you with specific brands. Or just dip in to a clothing store before you go thrifting and try on some jeans. Make a note of what sizes fit best. If you’re in NYC, the Salvation Army on 46th St. {between 10th and 11th} has a great selection of designer denim. Everything from Siwy to Citizens of Humanity to True Religion.

It’s not all about the waist

Most people look at the waist of the jeans to determine if they’ll fit properly, but this shouldn’t be your only concern. As a general rule, go for the jeans that will fit your hips and thighs. If the waist is a bit big, you can easily get that taken in by your tailor. But if they don’t fit in the thigh region, you’re screwed.

If all else fails…

There are bound to be times when you purchase a pair of jeans you swear will fit, but alas…they don’t. I’ve had this happen more than I care to admit. If you run in to this problem, there’s a solution and it’s actually a quite lucrative one. Start taking pics and post them on eBay, denim sells amazingly well on the site. Don’t waste your money by throwing the jeans in the back of your closet. You can actually make money off of them.

Do you guys have any other tips for thrifting jeans?

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8 thoughts on “How to Thrift for Jeans

  1. I’m pretty tall. I can pretty much eyeball the rack and pick out the jeans that I know will fit as far as length. So before I start sorting through I look at the bottom of the jeans to see how close they are to the ground! Usually, I don’t have any success with pants in the thrift store. It’s about the only thing I can’t thrift for. Thanks for sharing!

    • I can totally feel you. I’m 6 feet tall with a 35 inch inseam, thrifted jeans in my size and length… near impossible. Every so often I find a pair… OR THANK God for the rolled up boyfriend trend, lol. Rolled up slouchy jeans with a CUTE pair of shoes… who knows they are too short??? Fly girls always find a way to make it work….or head to the men’s section 😉

  2. Yes, great tips. I don’t thrift shop for jeans alot but when I do I know what brands fit me best/the sizes (and hopefully I find them). I’ve also sold some thrift store stuff on ebay 🙂

  3. this is what i learned for thrifting pants skirts jeans, take the waist of the garment and wrap it aroubd your neck. if it goes around tour neck and meets perfecting around your neck then it will fit your waist line. I line to have about 1 – 2 inches past of the waist band around my neck. This will allow for you to not have to try them on if you don’t have the time or energy.

  4. sorry for typos…typing with long nails…take the waist band of the garment -jeans, skirts, slacks and put it around your neck. if it goes around and meets perfectly then the pants should fit.

  5. You could also bring a tape measure with you, I have done this when thrifting jeans or pants for my husband or kids. (The ones I go to do have fitting rooms so I can try on for myself.) If you know your/their measurements, you can check fit that way.

    I agree with you about ebay though. I’ve bought clothes/shoes I know won’t fit me or anyone else in my family, but they were in such good condition and great brands that I knew they would be money makers on ebay!

  6. Pingback: How To Find Cheap Jeans At A Thrift Store | Cheap Jeans HQ

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