Thrifted Gold: dreaming of denim


Photo by Bethany Morris.

I can’t think of anything more classic that screams Americana style than denim. Denim has been a fashion staple since it was first designed as laborers’ workwear on the farms and mines of America’s Western states in the late 19th-century. 

Cowboys may wear denim, but so do supermodels, farmers, presidents, housewives and everyone in between. Fashion trends come and go, but denim jeans will always be a staple in many closets. Denim has had multiple styles and cuts over the years, but the classic “mom jean” style and cut, the eclectic 60s look and the baggie 90s grunge look constantly make reappearances in fashion.

Finding the perfect retro jeans at thrift stores and Goodwill can be a struggle if you don’t know where to start. Looking in the women’s section for mom jeans isn’t always your best bet. Instead, check out the men’s section for classic Levi’s and Wranglers that have a high waist and the bagginess for the perfect mom jean. aesthetic.

For groovy 60s inspired jeans, I would still look in the men’s section to find some worn jeans to which you can add embellishments, such as patches and scrap fabric. A lot of the jeans in the 60s were just worn out denim with simple embellishments that gave new life to a pair of jeans.

In the 1990s, big and baggy jeans were a popular trend; this style and cut of jeans is still popular today. Again, it would be great to look at the men’s section of thrift stores if you’re going for a more grunge-esque vibe in your jeans. 

I’ve found a 90s GAP denim jacket at Goodwill for $1, so it’s definitely not impossible to find the perfect piece that screams “blue jean baby!” Aside from shopping Goodwill and local thrift stores, it would also be in your interest to also explore estate sales. An estate sale could be the pot of thrifted gold for denim. Just think of the decades of denim you would be able to find at any given sale!

 I’m a stickler for shopping local and at thrift stores, but there are also some nice online thrifting spots that my friends and I frequently browse.

  1. can be tricky, because their jean pieces cost anything from $40 to over $1000. However, you can always get inspiration for a cheap jean DIY from the high dollar pieces at Ragstock. 
  2. Thredup is an online thrift store that also has online codes to grab additional savings on your favorite finds. 
  3. Depop hosts many individually owned thrift stores, but it does not offer online codes. It would still be worth your while to browse the site since you can barter with the sellers.

Be sure to look for denim inspiration everywhere and find your perfect pair of blue jean thrifted gold.