Top Tips for Thrifting Jeans

One of the most difficult categories for many women (or men) to shop for is jeans (and pants) which is why I decided to give you a few tips for finding that perfect pair of thrifted jeans! The pandemic has also added to this challenge as some stores' fitting rooms have not reopened yet. Keep reading for a few suggestions for how you can eliminate the risk of disappointment when that amazing pair of jeans you brought home doesn’t fit correctly.

1. Finding the right fit

The first thing that I suggest doing is going through the jeans that you already own and finding a pair that fits well. Take measurements of the waist, rise, inseam, and across the thigh. Note these measurements down in your phone and keep them handy for when you are at the store.

2. Fabric Content is important

I would suggest taking note of the fabric content of these jeans as this can affect how they fit. Rigid denim jeans (100% cotton with no stretch) will fit differently than a pair of jeans with more stretch in them (usually has a higher percentage of elastane or spandex).

3. Bring your tape measure with you to the store

When you go to the thrift store, bring your tape measure with you and measure any jeans that you find that you like. Compare these measurements against the ones you have noted down from the jeans you already own and this will give you a better idea if they will fit you properly. It is also important to double-check and compare the fabric contents as mentioned above as this will affect the fit! If the jeans have more stretch to them, you may be able to get away with slightly smaller measurements. If the jeans have no stretch to them you may need to get them slightly larger.

4. Check the sections above and below your size

As with any store, items may get out of place so I recommend checking the sections for the size above and below your normal size. Don’t rule out jeans in different sizes either as every brand has a different size chart and sizing has changed drastically over the years. A vintage size 8 is not the same as a modern-day size 8!

Pro tip: Check at the end of the aisle as well as thrifters may have put jeans back here instead of with the correct size!

5. Time crunch tip

If you are in a time crunch, rather than flipping through every pair of jeans, scan the rack for the wash, colour, or cut that you had in mind. If you are searching for a wider leg, boot cut, skinny, or raw hem jeans, scan the bottom of the rack (along the bottom of the jeans) for these features.


Once you have found that perfect pair (or pairs), put them in your cart and hold onto them! If the fitting rooms are open it’s always a good idea to try them on before leaving the store. If the fitting rooms are not open, make sure to find out what the store's return/exchange policy is in case they do not fit.

Best of luck and happy thrifting!

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