Thrifting for Trends: Fall/Winter 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 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.)



Can a classic like plaid really be considered trendy? When it shows up in on dozens upon dozens of runway shows and subsequently FLOODS the mall stores, I’m answering with a resounding, “Yes.” But! Since plaid never really goes out of style, that means it’ll be plentiful on the thrift store racks, too. Classic tartans featuring red, black, green, and blue are always a safe bet, but feel free to spring for more modern iterations. Just be sure to pick a plaid that is dark-color dominant: White-backed plaids can work for fall and winter, but sometimes seem a bit to light for truly cold weather.

Dark Florals


This trend took hold a few winters ago, and has swung back around once more. As with plaid. 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.



Pantone’s color report for fall is all about the jewel tones, but sangria – a rich magenta – is a standout. This color is incredibly versatile and can pair with neutrals, bold brights, and other jewel tones. It also works well with a wide variety of complexions and skin tones. Choose a version that has warm or cool undertones to complement your own coloring. As is the case with all color trends, these ones will be among the easiest to thrift! This cardigan is a secondhand find from last year. (More of a neutrals person? Gray is the big one for the season.)

Leather Everything


Another Autumn/Winter standby, but also a trend that showed up in virtually every ready-to-wear show. Leather jackets are always a great bet – I scored this pre-loved cropped cognac jacket last year – but feel free to splash out on leather skirts, pants, even dresses. All of which will turn up in most thrift stores.

Rich Embellishments


Another great thriftable trend since it’s incredibly broad and can be interpreted in a million ways. On the runways we saw sequins, embroidery, velvet burnouts, textures, applique, and lace insets. When shopping the thrift racks look for anything that goes beyond a basic print: Texture, sparkle, detailed necklines, metallics, anything that makes a garment or accessory look vaguely royal. When examining secondhand items with sewn-on embellishments like beads or sequins, look closely for any missing elements. Some can be easily replaced with a quick trip to the craft store, but others may be trickier and require mending work-arounds.

What trendy items will YOU thrift for this season?

Runway images courtesy Marc by Marc Jacobs | Erin Fetherston | Chanel | Louis Vuitton | Dolce & Gabbana

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15 Responses to “Thrifting for Trends: Fall/Winter 2014 Edition”

  1. Nada Manley

    I like all of these looks, but the floral jacket and mustard skirt is my favorite! So cute!

  2. Versatilestylebytracey

    A good point about thrifting trends. I recently picked up a high waisted, red plaid midi skirt.

  3. walkercreative

    This has nothing to do with clothing, but thank you for giving a name to that beautiful sangria color. I have been trying to find a dark rich color lipstick the color of your dress FOREVER. and I have a drawer full of misses. I finally googled SANGRIA and found some beautiful lip colors in MAC and Milani. THANK YOU!!! My lips will be fashion forward! 🙂

    • Sally McGraw

      Woohoo! So glad to hear it, my dear. Can’t take credit, as it is Pantone who did the naming, but always happy to help in any way!

  4. r.s.

    I suspect the mustard skirt did not survive the purge? Understandable if it did not, but I always loved how you styled that piece. Maybe it could be paired with an allover grey pallet and/or a moto jacket?

  5. bubu2

    Great ideas – thanks! I’m also thrilled that the red kilt I picked up in Scotland during college (now about 20 years ago) can make its perennial re-appearance and be fashion-forward this time (and even patriotic depending on how the vote goes today). Would love some thoughts on how to style a red kilt that does not look a) punk or b) like a little girl going to the Nutcracker. I always end up pairing it with all black — any other thoughts? White or green always feels a little too holiday-ish for my tastes.

  6. Anamarie

    I loved all your interpretations of the trends, especially the black lace skirt! I bought one at Marshall’s a few years ago – one of those “hope it fits someday” purchases. (I don’t do that anymore). IT FITS! 🙂

  7. Kelly

    I loved this post! I have recently gotten a bit of an addiction to thrifting and it’s helpful to know what are good pieces to look for. Thank you!

  8. marshacwp

    I’m laughing right now because I’m wearing a thrifted sangria blouse and shoes, with a thrifted dark floral cropped jacket. And I’ve got plenty of clothes in my closet that will fit right in with these trends, and 95% of them were thrifted! I just buy what I like, but it always amuses me how frequently I fit into the current trends.

  9. fashionforgiants

    Plaid and dark florals are always on my list to thrift. And I’d like to thrift something leather, but no luck so far… Maybe this year!

  10. tigerlounge

    I learned recently that the dark florals became a tradition during wartime, or anytime of national mourning. They allowed women to wear a floral print that was still appropriate and not too exuberant!

  11. Andrea Pound

    Sally, as others have already said … your interpretations of the trends are more inspiring than the runway versions! I sew far more than I thrift these days, so I’ll definitely be combing through my fabric stash for dark florals and that lovely sangria color.

  12. oohlookasquirrel

    I’m often tempted by leather jackets I see in thrift stores, but I am really wary of purchasing a clothing item that I can never properly wash. Am I missing some way to disinfect the lining of leather jackets? Smelling like someone else’s BO is the absolute worst.