Thriftable Fall Trends

We all know that most of the season’s hottest can be found for pennies on the dollar at the local thrift store, right? I mean, RIGHT?

Good. Then let’s take a peek at some of fall’s trends that are ripe for the picking down at the charity shops and consignment boutiques:


I’ve thrifted animal print dresses, knit shirts, and skirts over the past five years. That’s right, five years. Here’s an example of yet another trend with an extended shelf-life! And easily thriftable in my opinion. Zebra, leopard, snake … pick your poison, ladies. It’s all for sale, if you’re willing to look.


Not a huge fan of velvet myself, but I’ve thrifted at least two velvet blazers in my lifetime. Once within the past two years. And I’ve certainly seen velvet pants, skirts, dresses, vests, and more on my thrift outings.


Before these top layers became trendy, thrift stores were the ONLY place you could find capes and ponchos! And they’re still there, if you are willing to scour the racks. Especially since this is more of a fringe trend …


Hmmm, yet another trend that’s been making the rounds for several years. Lucky for you, if you’re a fan, since lacy goods are fairly easy to thrift. I’ve seen lace camis, dresses, and blouses mainly. Can’t say I’ve seen many skirts, but I bet they’re out there!



Color trends are always the easiest to thrift, since … well, ALL colors are ALWAYS represented on the racks. My gorgeous camel coat was bought on consignment, and I always see tons of similar ones at the thrift emporia. Khaki and tan clothes are also available in abundance, for non-outerwear applications.



Of all the trends I’m looking at today, sequins are the most difficult to track down. But I’ve thrifted a pristine sequined Banana Republic tank in the past two years, and see loads of sequined dresses and sequin-embellished items every time I hit the shops. Keep your eyes peeled for the sparkly, and you’ll score.

Images via Refinery 29, becomegorgeous, and Shine.

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29 Responses to “Thriftable Fall Trends”

  1. LAP

    I saw two gorgeous lace skirts (with labels from Daytons) at Savers on Lake St last week, but in size 6. And there are adorable vintage capes galore in thrift stores right now, exactly on trend.

  2. Frankincensy

    Cable sweaters! …at least, I think they're a trend. I'm going to be hunting for them in thrift shops, at any rate. Lace-up boots (either military-style or more elegant, Victorian-type boots) and brogues might be found anywhere with a good assortment of vintage or retro items, too.

  3. ashe mischief

    With ponchos and capes big this season, I'm glad I didn't get rid of mine from high school (that was purchased by Miss Malaprop in London for me, because I couldn't find what I wanted state side).

    No thrifting needed now!

  4. Associate Girl

    And if there is one trend that is going to be so obviously "last year" at this time next year, it's all the leopard stuff. Leopard stuff is a thrift or Forever 21 item for sure. No investment pieces in leopard. Unless you are running a zoo.

  5. Sal

    Associate Girl: Oh, I beg to differ! I think leopard print can be worn tastefully anytime at all. It's a classic.

  6. Soho500

    It is always an adventure going to the vintage shops…great fun, fabulous finds!

  7. Kristen

    Finding these trends in toddler size for cheap is also great! My daughter has two ponchos and a pair of camel-colored corduroys for about $4 total.

    I love thrift. Plaid pants and blazers are a good find, too. 🙂

  8. The Barely Tattoo'd Artist

    For me, it's plaid and ruffles…in fact, I purchased a plaid shirt with ruffles from goodwill 10 months ago for a quarter…I am now on trend without meaning to…

  9. Rosie Unknown

    Hmm, I don't really pay attention to trends, so I'm not sure if what I thrift is on trend, but about five years ago I got a sleeveless top with a pattern super similar to the prints seen in Alexander McQueen's S/S 2010 collection.

  10. myedit

    Never was there a truer story… I have thrifted all those trends… Not because they were trends at the time, they are just in my collection now.
    I love thrifting, if I wasn't so darn busy I would go right now..

  11. Charlotte

    Right you are, Sal–but you've let the cat out of the bag now, so this means I'll be having to look harder for all these trends that I've found at my local thrift store.

  12. leah

    Another couple of colour trends: Olive green and bright red. Red is always super easy to thrift cause people buy it but then are too scared to wear it, so it gets donated!
    Also, I see a resurgence of boat necks, which are very easy to thrift. Footwear wise, loafers can be found pretty regularly, even though the last pair I bought tore my feet to shreds, they obviously were donated for a reason.
    Also, if you are a woman and your feet are on the larger size, I have seen many lovely mens tan brogues that were perfectly worn in Mens size 7 or 8.

  13. Emily

    I can't believe how thrift stores still get such a bad rap as places where shoppers can't find trendy items. As demonstrated here and elsewhere on your blog, Sal: not true!

    I would add the following to "easily thriftable" Fall 2010 trends:

    Fifties-inspired silhouettes – full skirts, short cropped sweaters, cigarette pants, and cardigans, vintage or not, are usually pretty easy to find. However, these sorts of pieces require scanning with a different eye (one attuned
    to shape) than we use in thrift stores (one attuned to color, and texture).

    Long skirts – these are back in a big way and because they have been "out" for over a decade or so, they are all over thrift stores. All of the Spring 2011 nineties inspired trends are in the same (secondhand) boat. You will find these in basically any color, pattern, or fabric. Black, neutral, or dark is probably most on trend.

    Furry outerwear – real fur (which I totally don't endorse purchased new), faux fur, and shearling are all over thrift stores in my neck of the woods and are Vogue-certified fall trends! Furry vests are my favorite … I am wearing my fuzzy faux shearling one from Savers for $0.99 right now and I love it.

    Finally, thrifting trends is not just for us women: case in point, I thrift for the men in my life, too, and one of the long-arc men's "trends" out there is American heritage. Classic "Made in the USA" clothing for men is all over thrift
    stores and looks really current. A Pendleton shirt may not
    be a F/W 2010 Dior Homme suit, but …

  14. The Waves

    Great list! Apart from the cable sweaters that Frankincensy mentioned, I would only add grungy floral dresses a la Ralph Lauren: they are everywhere in thrift shops! (it might not be a huge trend, but there it is anyway…)

  15. Anonymous

    Can I just say I found a turquoise velvet calvin klein blazer at my thrift shop for THREE dollars?
    Yup, I bought it.


  16. Elena

    Thrifting???!!!! Hm-m-m… I've never done it. I laways buy new…. any sugestions where to start??? Please????!!!! 🙂

  17. Elena

    Found many stores… I need to stop by and see for myself… Thank you for the link!!!!!

  18. Future Lint

    I think chambray/denim shirts will continue to be on trend this winter and next spring and those are easy to find! Oxford shoes too!

  19. JRose

    Funny you should mention lace skirts…I JUST found a floor length black lace skirt at goodwill this weekend. I was (am still) so happy.

  20. Frances Joy

    I'm searching for lace up boots at the thrift stores. I've also found fabulous plaid shirts there and always find nineties style dresses (which I'm seeing EVERYWHERE right now) though they're never in my size.

    Also, I found a poncho in my mom's closet that's from Argentina – I'm totally stealing that when I next go visit her. My mother's closet is one of the reasons I rarely thrift – she's got PILES of things she never wears.

  21. themagicsquarefoundation

    I think the best is when you previously have thrifted an item because you loved it…and then it came into fashion! Ready made awesome 🙂 I got a beautiful double breasted camel coat from Ebay for 99p; a denim and fake fur gilet for 99p; a (handknitted!) cable jumper for £3; I've found lace up Victorian black boots for next to nothing…the list goes on! I think Autumn/Winter seems easier to thrift for in the UK because of the climate: it's generally cold, often, and so there's more 'cold weather' clothing knocking about. I love everyone's thrift bargains too!

  22. text machine

    good tips. I actually find sequins all the time – 80s sequined blouses feel like they're everywhere and if you take out the shoulder pads (or leave them in if you're brave) and pair them with skinny jeans, they can look really modern.

  23. lyrebirdgully

    Hi Sal! the racks are groaning with sequins in the second-hand shops nearest to where I live, which is the "costume party" precinct of a broader thrift retail area. I expect there's least one or two of these specialty shops in the Twin Cities? round here the clue is to look where the Goths hang out. The crass lycra and party gear on the mannequins out the front of these shops can be a bit off-putting -but if you walk right on in, you are bound to see some absolutely gorgeous and stately evening wear, furs, corsetry, ballet tutus, dancewear, lingerie etc – and more sequined tops and frocks than you can poke a stick at. All of course for a tenth of the firsthand price, and most of it, like all evening wear, hardly even worn. Hope you can track a local party thrift shop down!

  24. The Cheap Chick

    For all you Twin Citians, there is an amazing estate sale going on right now at 71st and Knox in Richfield. Craft supplies, fabric, clothes you could totally do a New Dress A Day fix, HATS (all the hats in all the world are here), and so on. I got a pocket watch for ONE DOLLAR. So fabulous.

  25. The Seeker

    I'm so mad we haven't thrift stores here!!!
    I could have more for less… and don't feel guilty every time I buy something.
    And maybe I could style more interesting looks, if I had more pieces.
    Just a thought or an excuse for being so boring right now on my outfits 🙁


  26. poca

    Just found your blog and YES!! This post is right on the ball. Besides your standard forever 21 deals for trends, thrifting allows you to find the originals and totally unique!

    I write a blog dedicated to thrifting the runways and trends. It's amazing what you can find – and the price.

    I'd love for you to check out my blog

    You've definitely got yourself a new fan:-)

  27. Shannon

    Last week I thrifted a vintage Oscar de la Renta velvet jacket for $15!! Granted, one of the pockets is falling off, but that'll take about two seconds to fix.