Thrifting for Trends: Spring/Summer 2012 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 spring and summer that you can easily track down at your local thrift and consignment shops:

20s glam

OK, this is likely the most challenging of the group. With the upcoming release of Leo DiCaprio’s version of “The Great Gatsby,” designers were all over fringed flapper dresses and embellished gowns. Thriftable pieces that will capture this trend include drop waist dresses, mid-calf skirts, skullcap style hats (especially with flowers and embellishments), white/tennis-reminiscent items, and silky blouses.


As always, color-centric trends are the easiest to thrift. Do take a peek at a few contemporary photos before heading out to shop, as this particular batch of pastels is a bit more deep/saturated than some. But you’ll find all the shades from a bag of Jordan almonds at virtually every used clothing store in the land.

Graphic florals

Ditsy florals are classic, but this trend calls for a more abstract iteration. Or if not abstract, bold, big, and eye-catching. And believe me, such prints abound at thrift stores. Keep your eyes peeled for bright and primary colors, large prints, and anything that looks a bit graphic-designy.

Printed pants

This one comes with a warning: I prowled my local thrift haunts in search of printed pants for more than a year, and eventually bought these instead. But floral, paisley, and other fun printed pants abounded … they just weren’t available in styles I loved. If you find a pair that works but they’re not quite right, consider altering them or having them tailored. In this iteration of the trend, printed pants should either feature exaggerated wide legs or very slim ones. (See last night’s sale picks for non-thrift options.)


What could be easier! Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to run out and purchase the perfect tangerine frock. Orange is orange, and even neon versions are hot right now. Cruise the aisles looking for cuts and fabrics that suit your taste, and nab yourself some bold, orange items.

Will you thrift for trends this season? Which ones are you excited to try?

Images via

Originally posted 2012-04-06 06:02:36.

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7 Responses to “Thrifting for Trends: Spring/Summer 2012 Edition”

  1. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    Thanks, Sal. I did just pick up an 80’s floral dress that looks right on-trend. It’s a muted floral, and I did have to remove the shoulder pads (!) but I think it works.

  2. Lisa W.

    Having enjoyed the 80s when it WAS the 1980s— some of these reminiscent shapes and colors just do not do it for me! The shapes and colors are recognize-able and fun and I get why it’s coming back around, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m wearing any of the same clothes I wore 20 years ago! I’m an avid thrifter and can surely find items from back in the day that fit these trends, but may likely look silly on me. I suspect it’s all in the styling to pull it off. If you, Sally, or any of your brilliant readers has any guidance or tips to help me style these looks for someone at the upper end of their 40s, I’d love suggestions!

  3. Gracey at Fashion for Giants

    Of course I’ll thrift trends this season! I thrifted a pair of printed pants – I do need to skinnify them, but they are otherwise perfect. And although I’m not a big pastel wearer, I did find a pale yellow sweater the other day. I’d love to find something appropriately 20s if only because I’m so frickin’ excited for The Great Gatsby, but I agree that it will be hard.

  4. Cheryl

    Of course I’ll be thrifting this season–but I make a point of avoiding trends. I enjoy thumbing my nose at the fashion industry by intentionally wearing items that were trendy a few years ago. Works perfectly with thrifting!

  5. Terri

    I’ve found plenty of tangerine tango in the thrifts and I’m experimenting with dropped waists, but just as you said, the printed britches are eluding me…

  6. sarah

    of course! I’ve embraced the floral trend, big-time, because I’m feeling the 50s, and a Vianne Rocher look and I think florals, plaids, and fun colour combos really fit the look I want. I’ve also been snapping up things on ebay. I use thrifts as my major source of clothing, though; so I don’t necessarily only go for trends. I keep track of trends only to know what I like, and what I want in my wardrobe. At the thrifts, I just paw and paw and paw and see what I turn up. For example, today I found a bustier with a cute tie detail on the bust in a neutral linen colour with a 60s-feel palm print in soft green by Charles Chang Lima – talk about a score! (plus, the palm print feels like a variation on floral to me – maybe I’ll call it the vegetal trend?)