Thrift Store Jeans: How to Score Big on Name Brand Jeans

I saved over $200 by scoring designer thrift store jeans. Yes, you can find the deals! Of course nothing is guaranteed, but I’m here to share some tips to help you find the best deals, and quality items when looking for high end pieces at your thrift store. Happy shopping!

***Affiliate links are used in this post. I make a small commission when you shop through my links, at no extra cost to you. I am truly grateful every time someone uses my links, as it helps me fund and bring even better content to you!***

Find the Best Thrift Stores in Your Area

Not every thrift store is likely to have high end items. To have the best chance of finding quality deals and name brand thrift store jeans and items, you may have to do a little digging. Look for thrift stores that are in close proximity to wealthy areas of town. Research your different Goodwill’s and Salvation Army’s and other local thrift stores to find which ones may be in closer proximity to people who will donate high end stuff.

Know What Brands You are Looking For

Sometimes it feels like looking for a needle in a haystack – although to me that’s part of the fun! Not all thrift store jeans are created equal. Knowing specific brands to look for (even better if you’ve tried them on in a different store and know what fits you well!) can make it even easier to find a great pair of high end thrift store jeans.

Here are some brands I like to look for (these include some higher end name brands that produce quality denim):

  • Adriano Goldschmied (AG)
  • DL1961
  • Madewell
  • Ann Taylor
  • Rag and Bone
  • Levi’s
  • Agolde
  • Good American

If you don’t know specific brands to look for when shopping for thrift store jeans, that’s ok too. I’m going to show you some other tips and tricks to look for to find quality denim at a fraction of the price!

Mindset While Thrift Shopping: Time vs. Money

Ok, this is important to talk about, even though it isn’t necessarily specific to finding denim.

Your mindset going into thrift shopping is so important.

You have to be open, and curious. See it as an exploration and an adventure. You may not find anything. You may find something amazing!

Remember that your time is valuable too. For some of you, the time spent searching for thrift store jeans won’t be worth it and you may be better off just buying a pair from the store, or waiting until a good sale. There are definitely times to invest in your wardrobe and times to look for cheaper items!

It may take time to recognize brands, to recognize what items are worth looking at, to learn the details, how different denims feel. If you don’t have the time for this and don’t want to learn, that’s totally ok too!

But, if you’re like me and you enjoy the hunt, then keep reading!

Name Brand Details to Look For

Now we will get into more of the details.

There is something to be said for practicing this as well. You have to go to stores and feel the different denims. Get familiar with the weight, stretch, look of the different fabrics. Just like you aren’t born knowing how to read or write, the more you practice and learn, the better you will get!

Details to look for:

  • Heavy weight denims, no stretch
  • Very stretch/soft denims. Soft worn in feel.
  • Details like carefully placed distressing, sanded distressing details, special embroidery/embellishment.
  • Pocket placement, makes the booty look good!
  • Labels, tags, SKU numbers to help identify items
  • On-trend cuts (although this is ever changing and older styles are coming back!)

Things to Stay Away From

There are some no-no’s in my book that I will automatically put back if I see them in a used or pre-owned pair of denim, even if it is higher end denim.

Things to stay away from:

  • Stretched out or pulled fabric near the inner thigh area
  • Fading or worn spots that are outside the normal design of the jeans
  • Fabric that is pilled or threadbare (especially check the inner thigh where chaffing is common!)
  • Jeans that are too small or too big for you
  • Styles that you know you won’t wear/don’t love.

Other Places to Shop for Used Items

If you don’t like going to thrift stores and having to sort through a bunch of stuff, but still want to find good deals, there are lots of places online that you can find pre-owned items as well. Bonus – you can search for specific terms, which make it easy to find exactly what you are looking for quickly.

Here are some of my favorites:

Name Brand Options For Inspiration, or if You’re Not Into Thrifting

Here are some great denim to familiarize yourself with, or shop if you don’t want to spend time thrifting and would rather just splurge on an investment pair of denim.

(Please note, these are affiliate links – I make a small commission when you purchase through my link, at no additional cost to you!)

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I hope this has given you some great ideas and inspired to look for your own thrift finds! If you have a favorite thrift find, or tip, please share in the comments!

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