Patches Placement: What Kind of Tattoo Would You Get?

How to place your patches | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Mylena Matos

Ah, patches. Love the trend, but like many things, I am super picky about how they are placed. Patches are like tattoos for clothes. Where to put them is as individual as the wearer. Little embroidered details can make or break a garment, so here are a few tips to help you along. I’d hate for you to massacre a perfectly good jacket or pair of pants.

Moda Operandi Intarsia Fur Collar Waistcoat | Patches guide | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Moda Operandi

Best Patch Placement for Jeans

I did mostly jackets here for a reason. Patches are not my favorite on jeans and I like them barely on front pockets of shorts. You do what you like though, the image of the jeans above and below finally sold me on that look. Down the side of the leg only. Legs looks weird with splotches of embroidery on the front and they also ruin a perfectly good bum. I feel the same way about tattoos however. There are plenty of girls who can rock that look, so I’m not firm in my opinion. Just be sure to look at a few ideas before you get out your needle and thread!

Patches look best on the sides of jeans | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Raina Anjari

Girly Denim Jacket

If your jacket already has interesting details, like items in our deconstructed denim article, go lean. Adding a few little patches gives distressed denim a little character without upstaging the details. You want to keep the color differences exposed and let any embroidery take center stage. Add a patch or two just to personalize the item a little more. Think ankle or wrist tattoos and go small.

Best patches for a denim jacket | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Feed Proxy

Sayings of the 70s

For all patches, get vintage if you can. Nothing looks works than fresh ink off the block. Rookie mistake! If you get a new patch or five, at least wash them or something. They look best worn in and beat up a little. For the girly denim jacket, I love old hippie designs and sayings from the 70s. Check out Backbite’s rad 70’s collection available online.

Sayings of the 70s vintage patches | Backbite | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Backbite

Punk Denim Vest

For the denim vest, I love the extreme opposite. Cut off the sleeves of a vintage denim jacket and go to town with studs, pins, and patches. Maximalism looks amazing in small spaces. Paired with a tank top or tee, this is the equivalent of a girl with an upper back or full sleeve tattoo – coverable for work and for mom.

Patches, pins, studs on denim vest | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: HardTeethApparel via Etsy
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Punk Bands

I start salivating when I search for punk jackets. Those go back to my college day roots when I was most likely found in the basement of a dive bar checking out some underground punk band with the boys. Bleached out hair, wallet chain, and all! The best place to find legit back patches, cloth patches, embroidered/sewn patches, studs and spikes, and more is at Angry, Young, and Poor. “Selling everything PUNK since 1995”, they had me at hello. Whew! This is taking some restraint on my part.

Punk embroidered patches | Angry, Young, and Poor | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Angry, Young, and Poor

Army Jacket

For the hippie chick, or any supporter of our armed forces, the green army jacket is an oldie, but goodie. These jackets I also prefer in vintage form, but there are a lot of cute new styles available I like too. For the green army jacket, patches look best down the sleeve, above the pocket, or across the back. Keep them closer together and feel free to mix in embroidery and a few pins, too.  If you’re the kind of girl that would do a half-sleeve, lower back, or front-waist tattoo, then this is the best style for you. So pretty! Our friends at SaddleClub got the look dead on with their amazing Seabees War Horse Jacket. On a limited run, so get yours while you can!

Patches on green army jacket | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Vero Atienza

Be All That You Can Be

The best place to get your green gear is at an army surplus store near you. For you savvy online shoppers, VintagePatchesUS has over 130 different vintage military patches to choose from. Vintage! They are all in great condition and have that perfect, worn-in character. Get ’em on and then head on down to your local picket line.

Vintage military patches | VintagePatchesUS via Etsy | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Etsy

Camping Jacket

A close friend of the military jacket is the green camping jacket. A little more loosely structured and generally sporting a hood, the camping jacket also takes the less is more mantra. Camping jackets look great with back patches and a circle patch here or there just for fun. People with ankle tattoos, leg tattoos, and arm bands might like this style best.

Patches for camping jackets | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Thirty Seconds to Mars Store

Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires

For the camping jacket, scour your local thrift shop for old Boy or Girl Scout uniforms. Merit badges, pins, and patches found on Scout uniforms are perfect for the outdoors vibe. Use troop numbers and council badges and place them in the same way you would find them on an actual uniform shirt. If one goes stray on a cuff or sleeve, we won’t tell. Here’s a cool set from the 60s offered by myvintagewhimsy via Etsy. Collector’s items for sure!

Vintage Boy Scout patches from the 60s | myvintagewhimsy via Etsy | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: myvintagewhimsy via Etsy


Here’s one we haven’t seen much of lately – the Nascar jacket. King of the patches! Gas station patches, name patches, and anything automotive are perfect on bomber jackets. Place these across trucker hats and on the chest and shoulder areas of your jacket. Think Steve McQueen and do some racing stripes down the front. Perfect for an all-American girl who likes a good old-fashioned half-sleeve. Va-va-voom!

Patches on racing and bomber jackets | Britney Spears Nascar 400 in 2001 | Girlfriend is Better
Girlfriend: Britney Spears | Photo courtesy: Breathe Heavy

Gas Station Patches

For these patches, simply go to your back woods thrift store and start scouring. Trucker hats, gas station attendant shirts, and mechanic gear are the prime targets for Nascar-esque patches. I found an Ebay store that sells a grab bag of 5 racing patches for $14.99. Alternatively, PicksByBear on Etsy has a cool collection of vintage trucker cap goodies that would work as well. Just stick with the theme and then rock it!

Vintage trucker patches | PicksByBear via Etsy | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: PicksByBear

Have Fun!

Unlike tattoos, patches aren’t permanent! You can always modify them or move them whenever you like. Don’t be afraid to mess things up, because there is always the opportunity for change. In fact, that’s a little recipe for life. Enjoy the rest of your week and get more articles directly to your inbox by sending us your email address below 🙂

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