Home » DIY: How To Customize Your Denim Jacket With Pins

DIY: How To Customize Your Denim Jacket With Pins


Unlike Christian Grey, no one has ever referred to my interests as “singular.” I love Tupac Shakur, The Muppets, Ta-Nehisi Coates and 80’s kitsch in equal measure. I’m fairly well read. I can quote Foucault and the movie Wayne’s World – sometimes in the same sentence. My dream Jeopardy category would be “obscure R&B groups from the 90’s” and I’ve read a shocking number of Eric Jerome Dickey novels, considering I’m a white lady.

My interests have definitely confused some of the people I’ve dated. I can’t count how many times a dude has said, “huh, I just don’t really get you.” I used to feel insecure about all of this, but as I got older I realized that there’s no glory in hiding from the world who you really are. My dating philosophy is now “take me as I am” – Joe the Intern, 90’s hip hop references, incessant quoting of Mike Myers & Liz Lemon and all.

A few years ago I promised myself that I would ‘do more of what makes me awesome,’ so lately I’ve been looking for ways to embrace my diverse interests. That’s how I ended up falling into the offbeat accessory vortex that is pin-culture.

It started with a plain vintage denim jacket and a single Prince pin that I purchased a year ago from Georgia Perry (after seeing a bunch of her pins in LA.) After receiving that first pin, I quickly discovered a whole online community of independent artists and pin-makers. My love for pins has since blossomed into a full-on obsession.

You guys, there’s a pin for everything! From 90’s hip hop and tacos to politics and feminism, I’ve finally found a way to wear my interests. Plus, I love that my pin obsession allows me to support small businesses, artists and social justice causes. Along with making gorgeous, timely pins, companies like Radical Dreams donate a portion of their sales to community organizations.


Here’s what’s currently on my jacket (clockwise)

1. Madonna (vintage – Ebay) – Although I’m not really into current Madonna, 80’s and 90’s Madonna has been my jam since childhood. This vintage pin I found on Ebay looks like the kind of thing middle-school aged Simone would have envied on older, cooler teenagers.

2. Prince (Georgia Perry) – My very first pin! I love, love, love Georgia Perry’s playful artwork.

3. TacoBelle (Hannah Nance for Yesterdays) – Well, this is just fitting.

4.  Please Adopt! Cat Pin (Studio Coup via Vancouver Cat Cafe) – Black cats are the least likely to be adopted. As a black cat owner, this makes me sad because they’re great. Let’s change this.

5. Mars Investigations (Good Good Pins) – Who’s a huge Veronica Mars fangirl? *Waves Hand*

6. Leopard Pin (Charlotte Farmer) – I love Farmer’s illustrations & this cat-centric pin charmed me.

7. Selena (Mi Vida) – I discovered Selena Quintanilla-Pérez while listening the radio during my first trip to California as a teen & was hooked instantly. I thought this pin was such a great tribute to her. RIP.

8. Prince (Pin Jong Ill) – Fun fact: I bought my Mom a matching pin for her leather jacket.

9. Princess Carolyn (Alleycat Graphics) – A huge BoJack Horseman fan, I was tickled pink when I discovered a pin of my cartoon alter ego. This one is perfect for those days when you need a pep talk.

10. Double Double (Fair Goods) – Canadians get this one. The “double double” at Tim Hortons isn’t just a coffee order, it’s a way of life.

11. Peeno Noir (Lady No Brow) – Are you a fan of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Me too. Pinot Noir Caviar, Myanmar, Mid-sized car. 

12. Horsey pin (Lisa Hanawalt for Big Bud Press) – Lisa Hanawalt is the lead art director of BoJack Horseman and she designed this pin.

11. Wayne & Garth (Fair Goods) – See above. This feels… essential.

12. Madonna (vintage) – This is actually a pin I bought & wore as a tween/teen. I’m so glad I kept it!

13. Black Lives Matter (Radical Dreams) – Because the world needs a reminder.

14. Sade (Pintrill x Deerdana) – I adore Sade. She’s one of my all time favourites. This artist collaboration pin is gorgeous.

enamel pins

Here’s some of the pins I’m hoping to add to my collection in the near future:

1. “None of my business” Kermit – My favourite amphibian and my favourite meme…together at last!

2. Laughing Obama – On the outside I’m laughing Obama, on the inside I’m crying.

3. Aaliyah (& her 4 page letter) –  another one of my high school favourites immortalized in pin form.

4. Amy Winehouse – Yes, I have a lot of pins of dead celebrities. No, I’m not sorry.

5. Taco Truck – This one also seems self-explanatory.

6. 2 Pac – #NECCESSARY

7. Liz Lemon – It’s true, Liz Lemon really is my spirit animal. There’s also an adorable Mindy Kaling pin.

8. Jem – Before my Madonna obsession, there was Jem.

9. “Pancakes” – Yes, that’s Dave Chapelle as Prince. This pin combines two of my favourite famous dudes in a hilarious ode to one of my favourite Chapelle show sketches.

10. Living Single – I was obsessed with this show in high school. It stared Queen Latifah & was like Friends but better. Considering I’m actually living single, it seems more relevant than ever.

11. George Michael – My family are also big George Michael fans. I’m really saddened that I’ll never be able to take my Mom to one of his concerts.

12. The Golden Girls – I have a theory that if they keep making Sex & The City movies, it will eventually just turn into The Golden Girls, but not as good. Hashtag Squad Goals.

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13. The cast of The Wire – Because, reasons. Sadly, Omar is not included in this set.


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14. Yo! MTV Raps – the perfect accessory to my Yo! MTV Raps collector cards.


15. Bluth Banana Stand –  There’s always money in the banana stand.


16. Because having two Prince pins is not enough & this pin is epic.


My goal is to get to the point where I can just point to my jacket whenever someone I’m on a date with asks,”so, tell me about yourself.” That’s the dream, my friends. I think we’re almost there. 


PS. If anyone ever buys me one of these, my heart will be theirs forever.


For more Pin-spiration, make sure to check out my Pinterest board devoted to pins and follow me on Pinterest.

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