Friday, April 13, 2012

Jeans Shopping at Goodwill

I am extremely attached to my Petite Ann Taylor Loft Jeans.

They were the first jeans to fit me perfectly.  When I moved to Tennessee for a mission, I left them behind and craved wearing them for 18 months.  When I returned, they were just as wonderful as I had remembered.  However, 5 years have come and gone and the problem is, they just don't fit anymore.  I have since bought a couple other pairs that fit decently well, but I just haven't been able to part with these ATL beauts.  Now that I'm married to a student, I can't very well expect to buy $50 jeans every time I wear out a pair (or grow out of it...).  Jeans shopping now takes place at the local Goodwill.  There is a pretty sweet one on Broadway that holds the cast offs from a more affluent neighborhood, so I can usually find trendy and less-worn replacements.

My philosophy on jeans shopping is this:
If you like name brand jeans, you will either need to sacrifice a lot of money or a lot of time.  I have more time than money, so I choose to subject myself to the endless thrift store racks of jeandom.


Tip #1: Be Flexible With Sizes.  It is easy to get frustrated with the inconsistency of sizes from one brand to another.  If, say, you think you are a 5/6, you may also want to check 3/4 section or the 7/8 section.  You might get lucky!  If you know your size in a few different brands, it may be easier to narrow down the search.

Tip #2: Know your waist size.  Measure the waist of a pair of jeans you like and compare that to the jeans you want to try on.  This will save you a lot of time.  It will spare you the frustration of trying on size after size that doesn't fit.

**Womens' pants, unlike mens', are sized by a system of non-standard numbers instead of waist/inseam measurements.  Annoying, right?  This is so that companies can size their clothes larger to make women feel good for fitting into a 'smaller size.'  Another reason is that stores want you to spend MORE TIME trying their clothes on.  The more time you spend with an item, the likelier you are to purchase it.  Forget about what the tag says, and focus on finding something that actually fits!**

Tip #3: Know your desired inseam length.  You can use this measurement to determine if jeans are the right length.  I usually disregard this advice because 90% of the jeans I try on are too long.  I just plan on hemming them later.  (In the event that a petite pair fits around the waist, and the length is correct, there is much rejoicing!)

Tip #4: Pay attention to the cut and wash you desire.  I like my jeans 1-2 inches below the waist.  I refuse to try on low riders and at-the-waist jeans.  I like stonewashed jeans but will not try on jeans with huge holes in them.  

Tip #5: In the Fitting Room.  Collect a pile of jeans to try on.  When I'm trying on I start a 'maybe pile' and a 'no pile'.  I return all of the no's and try on the remaining pairs again until I narrow it down completely.  Remember to check the fit sitting and standing for comfort and coverage.  Always inspect for holes or stains.


Take your winners to the register!  If a pair has an unexpected hole, you may be able to get the associate to lower the price a few dollars, like I did.  Yay!  Check their return policy, so if a pair doesn't work out you can return it in time.

I ended up with three fabulous pairs of jeans:

American Rag, Curvy Boot, 3-Short, $6
Just the right length!  No alterations needed!

X2 (Express) Denim Laboratory, Straight, Size 4, $6

Tilt, Bootcut, 5 Reg, $4
These had a small hole in the inner thigh so they lowered the price.  It took me 2 minutes to fix the hole when I returned home. 

Total, I spent $16 for three pairs of jeans that fit just right.  If I had walked into Express today, I probably couldn't find one pair of jeans for under $30.   I hope this information has been helpful.  I'd love to hear about your successful thrift store experiences!

Have a great day!


  1. Great shopping! How'd you fix the hole in the jeans?

  2. This made me think of an unusual practice we have here in Haïti. A lot of used clothes are sold on the streets (almost all from the US and CA). Since it's a public venue, people don't try on pants or jeans. Instead, they drape the zippered pants around their necks! Seriously, it works! It's the same weird science that makes your foot be the length of your forearm. Well, your waistline is 2x your neck size, LOL!

  3. I need to go get more jeans at that Goodwill! You should accompany me sometime.

  4. Way to go, thanks for the tips!


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