Distressed Jeans and Saying No to Frayed Hems

So you know how “distressed” jeans are a thing?  Very much in vogue amongst style bloggers.

As my friend Sheena likes to say, this might be controversial, but…ripped jeans ain’t my cup of tea.  Let me rephrase: intentionally ripped jeans ain’t my cup of tea.  I have a pair of Gap jeans I bought 8 years ago at a consignment shop in Mississippi already cut off and rolled at the knee, and they have unravelled quite a bit more and are starting to thread on the pockets and side seams because I have worn them so. dang. much.  I wore them through Katrina rebuilding and took engagement pictures in them and made long, comfy road trips with them and they were roomy enough to be the first jeans I wore after I had my child.  The distress on these jeans tell a story–my story.  Jeans shipped to the store “pre-” distressed?  Jeans I artfully cut with scissors to give them that “authentic” distressed look?  Not so much.



Exhibit A, from Denim Therapy – which has tips on denim care and actually repairs your busted jeans, too


BUT, I get that the distressed element can de-formalize what might otherwise come off as a “fussy” ensemble, keeping it from looking too put together.  I get that deconstructed jeans bring texture and interest to an outfit.  Stylistically speaking, I could probably even pull them off.  But since I work in a business casual environment and spend the weekends it’s not too hot for jeans in the one pair I love*–a pair which I also use for casual Fridays–I’m going to stay content with jeans that look a bit more polished.  You don’t have to chase every trend just because it shows up at the thrift store or it’s popular amongst people whose style you admire.


And now on to the difference between intentionally distressed denim and neglected denim.

When my spouse and I stopped by the thrift store on the way home from work last week (other thrifted finds: $18 quality subwoofer, handpainted photoframe, 3-hole-punch for work, and shoes for the kiddo), he went looking for men’s clothes and came out of the dressing room with a sweet-fitting pair of Gap jeans…with frayed hems.  The kind you get when your hems are too long and the fray slowly eats up the back of your pants like your dog’s been mouthing them on the sly.  My spouse is not really a distressed-on-purpose kind of guy–his is more an “I’ve owned this Phish shirt since 1998 so it has holes in it” kind of distressed.  Not to mention that having only raggedy hems made these jeans look more sad and neglected than intentionally trendy.


Like this, but on steroids.


I pulled out my best Nancy Reagan and told him to “just say no” to the frayage.  It made me sad to do it because he so rarely finds things he wants to buy at the thrift store –I take that back, he rarely finds clothes he wants to buy; he often finds electronic stuff he wants to bring home!

He replied they’d be good jeans to bum around in–to which I responded with a (what I hope was gentle) reminder that he already has jeans with other strategically placed rips at home for bumming around.  With a sigh he put them back.

Y’all, it ain’t easy to say no to things that alllllmost work.  But I could already hear the disappointment in his voice when, tired of wearing khakis, he looks hopefully to these jeans, only to decide they just aren’t polished enough to wear to work or to a family event.  And I’m all about avoiding thrift store purchases that leave you feeling less than satisfied.


What do you think about deconstructed jeans?  Do you agree that fraying hems on otherwise undistressed jeans look tacky, or do you think they can add a little insouciance to your look?
More importantly, should you ever weigh in on your significant other’s (or family or friend’s) thrift choices??

Comment below!

*Yes I only own one pair of jeans.  Well three if you count jeans for maternity wear.


Thrifting Pitfalls

A thrift store pitfall is any clothing item that for some compelling reason calls your name but which, after the first trial wear, will molder away in the back of your closet/bureau, never to see the light of day until you have mercy on it and finally donate it back to the same store from whence it came.

How do you avoid thrift pitfalls?  By listening to what I like to call your Style Conscience.

Style Conscience

It has a sort of minty, magical gleam


Continue reading “Thrifting Pitfalls”

In the Beginning: How I Started Thrifting

I began thrifting probably in late junior high or early high school…the exact chronological origins are shrouded in a foggy mystique.   But I remember oh-so-clearly the twin geographical Edens, if you will, where my passion saw its genesis: Millie’s Treasure Chest and St. Vincent DePaul’s, both tucked away on the unassuming main streets of the tiny rural towns where my grandparents lived.

treasure chest

Pretty much like this.

Continue reading “In the Beginning: How I Started Thrifting”

Thrifted Finds: Travel Wardrobe Edition

Just wanted to show y’all a couple things I picked up last-minute at the thrift store before we head out!

You may not think of the thrift shop as the best place to do some last-minute travel shopping, but if you’re in need of a placeholder–something to fill a hole on short notice.  This can be great for those moments the day before a trip where you realize you don’t have some common yet necessary item and you don’t particularly want to spend a bundle to get one: a beach towel, a bag to hold things, even clothes.  With clothes, thrift stores are a great place to buy an item you’ll need just for that trip and won’t wear again–inexpensive and easy to donate.  In preparation for a trip to Africa a few years ago I nabbed some long-sleeved, thin cotton shirts, pants, and long skirt to ward off mosquitoes and jive with local modesty standards.

Yesterday I dropped off some items for donation and made a swing through the Goodwill and grabbed these goodies:

A new purse–bigger than my current one, and you know size is all important when traveling on those budget airlines!  IMG_1363

It will also be a good replacement for next summer since this summer’s bag has been beaten. to. a. pulp—see photogrpahic evidence:
IMG_1697 IMG_1696 IMG_1695 IMG_1694


A new swimsuit top that will go with my navy blue bottoms.  I had a brainwave yesterday that instead of taking 2 separate suits, grabbing a second tankini top and ditching the bikini would take up less space and still allow me to be dry, since the bra portion of the suit is what takes longest to air out.  Ralph Lauren halter top, $5.




Last but not least, I promised y’all a picture of my travel bag:



All of my clothes and my kiddo’s are in this sucker.  It’s a hefty Samsonite tote still going strong from the 60s? 70s? that my grandma owned; my mom has one just like it in camel and I have great memories of all the treasures she stored inside it to entertain us on family trips growing up.




Would you ever purposefully shop for a trip at the thrift store?  What have been your best travel finds?  Answer in the comments!

How to Pack for Spirit Airlines; or, a Capsule Travel Wardrobe

We’re leaving on a jet plane for back-to-back family reunions – one in the Midwest, one on the East Coast – and one leg of our flight is on Spirit Airlines.  You know what that means – NO LUGGAGE.  Well, no luggage if you are thrifty (err, cheap?) like we are and don’t want to pay upwards of $20/bag, since carry-ons and checked bags alike are considered “optional.”  But the ticket price was right…




…so now I’m packing into one “personal item” for a 10-day, 2-state trip that includes both the beach and family portraits.

Let the fun begin! Continue reading “How to Pack for Spirit Airlines; or, a Capsule Travel Wardrobe”

Thrifted Finds: the Near-Miss

This week I had to go to the Goodwill for work (lucky gal, I know!!) to drop off some items we were no longer using at the office and to look for a gag gift for a departing coworker.  I found the gag gift, along with a perfect little ramekin to keep the rubber bands that had been procreating like bunnies all over the inside of my desk drawer.  I had gone through the checkout line and was halfway between the cash register and the door when I spied a display area placed strategically near the entrance.  Normally these displays catch your eye as you enter with hand-selected merchandise–some stores go with the outfits-on-mannequins approach while others (this Goodwill included) go by theme: designer or upscale clothes, all denim items, all white shirts, etc.  But since I’d gone in on a mission and with a tight schedule, I had totally missed these racks.  Good thing they caught my eye on the way out, though, because what was the theme of these display racks but navy blue trousers, for which I had been thrifting at least a year!

Lesson learned: don’t let a great find pass you by just because you didn’t think to look somewhere unexpected.  More on that later–because sometimes your new favorite piece will be hidden in the kids’ section.

Continue reading “Thrifted Finds: the Near-Miss”

Thrifted Finds: Floral Sneaks

I’ve been looking for a pair of sneakers to replace my beloved brown and coral Pumas.  They were thrifted practically brand new at a Salvation Army store about 5 years ago and I have worn the crap* out of ’em–the paint’s coming off the leather, the stitching’s coming out of the suede, and it is time to retire them.

I happened upon these beauts by City Sneaks (a Payless brand) in a Goodwill a few months ago with not one, but two pairs of laces attached–white and fuchsia.  My first reaction was that the laces looked like garish Minnie Mouse bows and they had to go; only then could the shoes could become a casual, fuller-coverage alternative to the sandals I live in during the summer.



Continue reading “Thrifted Finds: Floral Sneaks”

Thriftshop Chic on Instagram!

Hey y’all–you can now follow me on Instagram! Hit up @thriftshopchic on weekdays for daily outfits made entirely out of thrift finds and on weekends for live instagramming from the thrift store (thriftsagramming?).  You can also check out recent updates to my feed on the sidebar and follow me by clicking the “Follow on Instagram” button at the bottom of the feed.


Because most days I don’t have time to take pics on one of these…

Happy thrifting!


Thrifting Finds: 4th of July edition


A classic 4th of July thrift window


This past Saturday on the 4th of July my friend and I went thrifting–the perfect activity when it’s raining out, especially on a day that’s supposed to be about outdoor activities.  Adhering to thrifting tactic “Know Before You Go”, I had 2 goals in mind:

  • try my hand at live Thriftstagramming for the first time, and
  • look for a neutral silk camisole to go underneath some sheer-ish tops I have.

Continue reading “Thrifting Finds: 4th of July edition”