Thrifting for Trends: Spring/Summer 2014 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. (Note that all of the on-trend items I’m wearing below have been thrifted. Already.)



About as groundbreaking for spring as florals, I know. It merits mentioning that just about every fashion magazine highlighted actual florals as a trend for this season. Will there ever be a time when florals aren’t appropriate for spring and summer wear? Probably not. And although pastels are a classic palette for warm weather, especially around Easter time, they fell out of favor for a good long time. They’re back now, though, and extremely hot for the coming season. If pastels don’t suit your complexion, wear them away from your face in pants, skirts, shoes, belts, or bags. As is the case with all color trends, this one will be incredibly easy to thrift! Pastels have been around for many decades, which means they’ll be readily available at your local thrift shop.

Tea-length skirts

tea length skirt

So you’ve got your mini, your knee-length, your midi, and your maxi … where exactly does “tea length” fall? By most definitions, it hits near the bottom of the calf. A little nitpicky since most midi skirts hit mid-calf, but this longer-than-midi, shorter-than-maxi length does give a distinctly different feel and look than its skirty counterparts. Tea-length skirts are quite common in thrift stores, though many will be in very 90s prints. Mix your thrifted skirt with some edgy items for an updated look. (Mine is leather, so it’s plenty edgy on its own.)

Geometric prints

geometric prints

Most broad print categories are readily thriftable, and geometrics are no exception. Anything graphic and regular will qualify, and stripes and polka dots will be plentiful, searching for windowpane, tiled prints, basketweave, chevron, or other less common prints will up your style ante. Even a pin dot print like the one on my thrifted shirt here may feel more trendy than simple spots or stripes.



Pleats took many forms on the runways, but were most prominently featured in skirts and dresses (as you might expect). Although smaller knife pleats were common, you can cash in on the trend with pleats of just about any shape, size, and configuration. Pleats are far from new, so they will be wonderfully thrift-able. As with tea-length skirts, they can read a bit stodgy at times, so be sure to pair with updated color schemes, shapes, and layers.

Romantic rocker

romantic rocker

More of an overall aesthetic than a single trend, this look showed up at the Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Moschino, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, and Saint Laurent shows in various incarnations. Lots of black and loads of leather, but paired with drapey, flirty, and feminine fabrics and silhouettes. For this look, thrift up leather pencil skirts, silky blouses, tuxedo pants and jackets, metallic fabrics, and moto style jackets – all of which can be found at most well-stocked secondhand stores.

What trendy items will YOU thrift for this season?

Runway images all courtesy Style.comPrabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Fendi, Michael Kors, Saint Laurent.

(This post first appeared on the Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota blog.)

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5 Responses to “Thrifting for Trends: Spring/Summer 2014 Edition”

  1. Kimberly Gomez

    Great ideas and outfits Sally! You look fab in each one. I agree you can find many good things in thrift shops but it’s not a given every time you walk in the door. Sometimes you find an arm full, other times there’s nothing. Of course you know this, but newbie thrifters may not. 🙂 Thanks for your great ideas!

  2. Shawna McComber

    I do most of my shopping at thrift shops and have definitely found it easy to add florals to my wardrobe that way. I confess I am not big on pastels, though I will wear a bit of pale pink. I don’t expect to add much pastel to my wardrobe this year. I am also not big on geometric prints so ditto to that. I do like pleats, so if the right pleated skirt came along I would go for it. These are great looks and great examples. I like your outfits better than the ones on the models.

  3. fashionforgiants

    Great post, Sally. I will probably look to thrift some tea length skirts and maybe some peach as it’s one of the few pastels I wear.

  4. Texas Aggie Mom

    These are all great ideas, but I couldn’t help noticing that I greatly prefer your looks to the runway versions in each example! I’ve been considering starting to sew again so I can replicate looks like your black and white skirt, or the dress in your last photo. The thrift stores I depended on so heavily for years seem to be going out of business or stocking items I wouldn’t put in a garage sale. If any Fort Worth/Dallas area readers have suggestions, I would welcome them!