Why Now Is The Perfect Time to Thrift Denim
Contrary to popular belief, working moms wear more than blazers by day and yoga pants by night. I may not drag myself out of my yoga pants all that often, primarily because most of what I wear at home ends up getting covered in chocolate, boogers, and whatever else my boys are eating and wiping on my clothes. But I do get fancy once in a while, even if it’s only a pair of jeans.
On a side note, I wore this Tommy Bahama summer dress to a casual wedding reception picnic last weekend. As expected, a look at my dress after the party gave a pretty clear indication of the entire menu, including the Capri Sun that ended up all over my legs and the BBQ sauce on my chest. #timetoshower
That image exemplifies why moms don’t ditch the yoga pants as often as we might like. Nonetheless, I do appreciate looking nice, on occasion, when it’s not required by office dress code. Cue a pair of cute jeans or denim shorts!
With an ever-changing post baby body (at least I like to think it’s still changing as I await bidding farewall to the last bit of baby weight), I have been reluctant to invest in that perfect pair of “over-priced but we buy them anyway because they’re supposed to be perfect” jeans. Instead, I’ve purchased four pairs of jeans from thrift shops which hit up my bank account for a total of approximately $52. Not too shabby, right?
Depending on current styles, finding a great pair of jeans at a thrift store can be a chore. But right now, I actually think it’s is a perfect time to peruse a thrift store in search of some new denim.
Here’s my rationale:
Distressed Denim is Hot
With distressed denim currently hotter than NKOTB at their prime, a couple of my “new-to-me” jeans were actually a bit shabby on purpose. To be entirely honest, I only bought one with the intention of cutting it up. But when I realized another pair had some slightly worn out knees, I knew I needed to finish the distressing job myself and make that worn look appear fashionable.
Since everyone’s paying a boat load for jeans that look worn out and overused, why not pay $6 for a pair of jeans that actually is worn out and overused?! I took a razor, some scissors and a seam ripper to a couple pairs to finish the job that the former owner wasn’t kind enough to finish for me.
For my little DIY, I started by checking out Merrick’s video on distressing jeans. It’s really pretty simple with a bit of patience.
These jeans were originally straight leg, full length jeans. I played around with the length a bit and chose this length. I’m not sure it’s perfect (but it’s too late now…).
While the knees have some larger holes, I kept the distressed spots pretty small. I may make them larger later, but I knew they would grow on their own. Thus, I wanted to feel out how I liked these ones first and decide to enlarge later as needed.
In most jeans, the blue threads are vertical (or diagonally vertical) and the white threads are horizontal. To keep the white threads, which I think looks nicer, try to keep any cuts horizontal to prevent from cutting as many white threads as you can. Then gently pull on the white threads without breaking them.
I used the scissors to start the knee holes. The small distressed patches I started with a razor (the cheapest one I could find at the store). I scratched at the denim with the razor just enough to have some threads to begin picking away with the seam ripper. Too much razor action and you’ll have giant holes everywhere.
For now, I added two distressed spots on the front and two on the back.
Flared Jeans are Back (But Didn’t Leave That Long Ago)
Although inspired by style from the 70’s, flared jeans are having a renewed life after being relegated to the backs of our closets not that long ago. Right now, people are clearing out their late 90’s and early 2000’s closets, getting rid of the flared jeans that don’t work anymore. But all too soon, those buggers are back. Capitalize on that!
One tip: Be sure you opt for a pair of flares that’s a bit longer and will nearly touch the ground when wearing heels. Short flared jeans are NOT all the rage. With heels or heeled boots, the look will elongate your legs, something nearly everyone will appreciate. Be wary of the “it’s cheap so I’ll buy it” mentality. A cheap pair of on style jeans that don’t actually fit you well wreak havoc on a great closet.
Skinny Jeans Are On the Fence
The fashion world is dying to get women out of their skinny jeans in order to put something new on the shelves. They need a reason for us to swipe that plastic! But those skinny jeans can be really tough to take off (literally and figuratively).
As Fashion races toward something new and leaves the rest of us in its fabric scraps and lint, some savvy stylish ladies ripped those skinny jeans off like an old band-aid. Their skinnies are sitting in thrift stores waiting for a new set of legs to hang out with. But the trend hasn’t totally died in the real-life style world. So if you’re still stuck on skinnies (or they’re still stuck on you), try the thrift shop. I found this great pair of thrifted jeans recently. You never know what stylish lady paid an arm and leg for her skinny jeans that she’s since sent to thrift store heaven.
Totally Unrelated Note: Have you seen Inside Out? If not, I loved it (and I don’t love a lot of movies), so check it out. For those who have, that old Band-Aid jingle ‘Cuz I’m stuck on Band-Aid brand and Band-Aid’s stuck on me’ is ringing in my head right now. I’m definitely blaming the little guys patrolling the halls of my long-term memory for dumping that memory marble down the funnel and into my brain. This completely irrelevant tangent is also their fault.
From Jeans to Shorts
Back to denim chat, I wanted a new pair of denim shorts that stopped a bit above my knee. These ended up being a bit shorter than I’d planned, but not matter. I still really like the final product.
Instead of patrolling a host of stores for a new pair, I popped into a thrift store a few weeks ago between work and an after-work networking event.
I knew I intended to make shorts, so I only had to focus on how the top half of the pants fit me. The pants could be way too short, way too long, or just plain ugly from the knee down. Have no fear, the ones I ultimately purchased were plain ugly below the knee. No matter though, because I cut the crap right off. Then I added a few little spots of fake wear and tear (which totally sounds like a stupid thing to do, but I did it anyway). Now I have a brand new pair of black denim shorts.
It took me a long time to garner enough bravery to even attempt to shop for denim in a thrift shop. I never thought I’d find the right fit given the elusive nature of a pair of perfect jeans. Eventually though, I gave it a shot and ultimately decided that now is the perfect time to buy thrifted denim.
What do you think? Are you brave enough to buy a pair secondhand and work your DIY magic? If you do, I’d love to see them. Be sure to share a link to your blog post, Instagram photo, Facebook post (or wherever) in the comments!
Great idea to distress your own jeans. It’s hard mentally to buy something with holes in it….at least at my age!! Of course it might be just as hard to make holes in it on purpose. I haven’t succumbed yet but I’ve learned to never say never! jodie
Haha. Seriously, it’s tough to buy something that already looks like it’s falling apart (even though I love how it looks on everyone else). 🙂