Posts Categorized: thrifting

Thrifting for Trends: Fall/Winter 2015 Edition

It’s time, once again, to examine the hot “new” trends for the season, and remind ourselves that fashion recycles EVERYTHING! Here are just a few of the garments, colors, and styles that are trending for fall and winter that you can easily track down at your local thrift and consignment shops. (Note that all of the on-trend items I’m wearing below have been thrifted. Already.)

Chunky knits

chunky knits fall trend

Now is the PERFECT time to hit your local thrift stores in search of some cozy, chunky knit sweaters and sweater dresses. The winter stock is already out, and you’ll be able to score some heavy-duty knitwear. As you can see, pastels and light colors hit the runways, but thick knits in just about any palette will do the trick.

Dark florals

dark florals fall trend

This one has certainly made the rounds several years running, but that makes it all the easier to thrift. What you want here is a print that has a dark color as the background. Floral prints in which the blooms themselves are done in dark prints will look lovely, but a black, eggplant, burgundy, or navy background with botanicals of all kinds will capture the somber mood you want here. Dark florals will be mixed in among the brighter and lighter ones at your local Goodwill. When you can, opt for large-scale florals over ditsy styles.


turtlenecks fall trend

I find turtlenecks to be pragmatic, but a little tricky to style. Designers showed them as stand-alone tops – my preference – and also layered under sleeveless dresses, which I feel can get a little schoolgirl-y. But this style of sweater is certainly pragmatic, and can be very elegant when worn simply or with a statement necklace. Turtlenecks are eternal, so you’ll find them in a rainbow of colors and array of sizes on the thrift store racks.

Mini skirts

mini skirts fall trend

Mini skirts are marvelous for fall and winter since tights are typically part of the equation. Even if you feel a little too exposed in this style of skirt with bare legs, add a nice pair of opaques and some boots to the mix, and you’re good to go. Leather is also big this season, and if you love the look of a leather mini, by all means go for it – I’ve seen many in my thrifting excursions. But more sedate materials – wool, rayon, ponte – will all be available in secondhand abundance, too.

Layered crop tops

crop tops fall trend

So this is a two-parter, but it’s the crop top that’s the essential piece. And although crops are a fairly recently revived trend, they are definitely thrift-able. You can also consider thrifting and cropping yourself or with the help of a tailor. Designers showed crops layered over button-front shirts, but they also layer beautifully over dresses, creating fun proportions in the process.

Why buy new when you can update your wardrobe with a handful of affordable secondhand pieces? Now get out there and thrift!

Image credits all, Altuzarra, Burberry Prorsum, Thakoon, Saint Laurent, Rosie Assoulin

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Thrifting for Trends: Spring/Summer 2015 Edition

It’s time, once again, to examine the hot “new” trends for the season, and remind ourselves that fashion recycles EVERYTHING! Here are just a few of the garments, colors, and styles that are trending for fall and winter that you can easily track down at your local thrift and consignment shops. (Note that all of the on-trend items I’m wearing below have been thrifted. Already.)

Leather and suede


This one might sound familiar because designers have been showing leather and suede for spring and summer several years running now. And not just jackets – we’ve got dresses, skirts, pants, even tops sauntering down the runway. Thrifting for leather is a piece of cake, and you’re likely to find tons of leather pencil skirts and moto jackets. Many thrift stores will also have leather pants, but some will be in outdated cuts and styles, so choose carefully.

Wide leg pants


Both of these pairs are exaggerated wide legs with high waists, but really any flowy style will do. Various iterations of wide legged pants have appeared each and every decade, so you’re bound to find some options on the thrift racks. If the volume makes you hesitate, pick a dark color that won’t be as attention-grabbing. Balancing out the pants with a fitted or structured top works for many figures and styles.



Pantone’s color of the year for 2015 is marsala, a variant of burgundy (and of oxblood which was a recent color of the year, too). This is a classic and incredibly versatile color, so if you don’t already have some in your closet head to your local Goodwill and pore over the racks. As is the case with all color trends, these ones will be among the easiest to thrift!

Bold stripes


Another classic, though these stripes aren’t your typical French sailor shirt stripes. Think broader strokes, high contrast, unusual placement … and items besides long-sleeved tees. Thrift stores will have an abundance of striped shirts and sweaters – which are always a good buy – but peek around for striped blazers, pants, skirts, and dresses, too.



This is the surprising one, if you ask me. Gingham has been a preppy staple for ages, but seeing it done up on the runways was unexpected and fun. You’re unlikely to find floaty gingham wrap dresses or other high-fashion-esque iterations, but a simple gingham shirt or skirt will help you cash in on this trend. And since this print is far from new, you should be able to find many options at your favorite secondhand haunts.

What trendy items will YOU thrift for this season?

Runway image sources: Derek Lam | Balmain | Victoria Beckham | Tibi | Diane Von Furstenberg

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Lessons From the Dressing Room: Try On EVERYTHING


I’ve been thrifting since I was 13. Back then, I didn’t have a defined style and didn’t know much about my body so if I saw something that looked cool, I’d try it on. And I learned over time that clothing sizes are totally arbitrary, and sometimes a piece that says it’s three sizes too small or big will fit perfectly.

I’ve been shopping mall stores since high school. Early on I just went for the styles I saw my friends and peers wearing, but eventually I branched out. I played it safe for a while, but eventually started hauling unusual styles and cuts into the fitting room with me. Which yielded lots of duds and the occasional gem. I learned that some things look funky on the rack, and others may be designed far outside my comfort zone, but I’ll never really know how they look until I get them onto my actual body.

I’ve been shopping online since about six seconds after Zappos launched. The arbitrary sizing issue actually worked against me in this realm, especially initially when online clothing vendors were working out the kinks and didn’t always list garment measurements. But through gobs of trial and error, I learned how certain brands cut and fit, which materials felt best, which shapes and style suited me.

And now? Now I can look at a dress online and tell if the Designated Boob Room is too big, if the collar is gonna bug me, if the waistline is too low. (Usually.) Now I can grab a blouse from a thrift store rack and gauge whether or not it will fit, even if I can’t be 100% certain it will look good. Now I know which styles work for my figure, so when I’m out shopping I reach for styles that I’m not sure will work for my figure. And I learn.

The surface lesson here is simple: Try it on. Whatever it is, if you like it try it on. Trying on is free and you will occasionally find a brand or style that is unexpectedly amazing. When it comes to online shopping, stick to vendors that offer free shipping and returns at first so you can play around with sizing and cuts at low risk and with relatively little hassle. Be bold, make educated guesses, try on EVERYTHING. Because when you stick to what you know forever, you run the risk of stagnation. And because an understanding of your figure and its specific shape will help you make more informed shopping choices. And because every so often, you’ll unearth a style that you thought would look horrendous on you, but ends up making you feel like a goddess.

The deeper lesson here is this: You can learn some things about your body by looking at it in the mirror, using it for exercise or sex, listening to its needs and wants. But you can learn other things about your body by seeing how it interacts with clothes. You can learn about how your specific curves work and relate to each other, and which garments show them off or tone them down. You can learn where your waist is, whether you want to highlight it, and how to create illusions that move it up or down on your torso. You can learn what feels comfortable to you in fibers, structures, and designs and please your body by wearing comfortable clothes as often as you can. You can learn about your unique proportions, your distinct scale, you can learn about your body as it relates to itself instead of as it relates to the bodies of others. You can move away from generalities like big, petite, and curvy to hone in on a set of highly specific facts that apply to your body only.

Try on everything. See what you learn.

Image courtesy Orin Zebest

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