Thrift Shop Your Spring Wardrobe Refresh

Spring has sprung, and while I’m dreaming about warm days and finally not having to dress like a marshmallow for the cold, I’ve turned a critical eye on my current wardrobe to see what I have that’s spring-ready. And I don’t know about you, but I’m a teensy bit (okay, very) obsessed with thrift shopping. However, it can be quite overwhelming when you walk into a store and have to dig through a bunch of (admittedly sometimes sketchy) clothing. Here’s some tips for what to look for and how to upcycle a few finds!

Need a new pair of shorts? Try making your own!

The perfect shorts are difficult to find, at least for me. It might fit in the waist, but the inseam could be too short (I don’t particularly like having to peel my entire thigh off of a seat—ouch) or too long (I cut off my love affair with bermuda shorts during middle school). The solution: find a pair of jeans and cut them into shorts! You could go for the cut-off denim look and leave the edges frayed, or you could cut the jeans a little longer than you’d like them to be and simply roll up the edges. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you could always hem the edges to prevent fraying. Just remember that sometimes cutting the jeans off at a straight angle makes the cut look weird, so to prevent that, fold each pant leg in half (so that the seams aren't on the outside) and start cutting in the middle. You might even want to angle your cut a bit so that the back legs aren’t shorter than the front when you tug them on.

Say goodbye shapeless t-shirts: make a crop top!

Another option involving cutting: get a cute t-shirt and cut it into a crop top! Make sure to try the top on first and mark where you want to cut so that you don’t accidentally cut it too high. Even if you aren’t into crop tops, cutting off the hem of a too-long tee can make it more flattering by showing off your hips, and cutting some length off of a long tee will make it easier to tuck into jeans. Try stretching out the hem a bit after you cut it to make it feel more natural and worn-in. 

Skirts, skirts, and more skirts. Oh, and did I mention skirts?

Hoo boy. I love a good skirt, and thrift stores have some gems. Maxi skirts are great for the weird in-between spring days because if it’s chilly you can wear leggings or tights underneath, and as a bonus you don’t have to shave your legs. A classic, shorter a-line or swing skirt is perfect for ruffling in the wind. Skirts are so versatile—easy to dress up with jewelry and heels for when you want a little extra *pizzaz* and easy to dress down with a tee and sneakers. And here’s a tip: every dress is also a skirt if you layer something over it—maybe even a cute tee from above!

Don’t skip the bag section.

A new purse is the perfect way to spruce up any outfit. You can pick up a new statement bag for cheap while thrifting, and if it stops getting use after a few seasons and it’s still in good shape, you can always donate it back and continue the thrift cycle.

Silk scarves are chic and easier to wear than you’d think.

I adore a good silk scarf because there’s so many ways to accessorize with them: tied around a ponytail, used as a headband, knotted around a purse handle, used as a belt, tied in a bow around your neck...the possibilities are endless. Also, a delicate, floral scarf would be perfect for bringing in some color to your spring wardrobe.

In thrifting, size and gender don’t really matter.

Some of my best thrifting gems were discovered in the mens section or the boys section. In thrifting, there truly are no rules. Even if you find a shirt that’s too big, you can style it as oversized (which is having a moment right now) or do a few quick alterations like tying it in the front, rolling up the sleeves, or belting it around the waist. If you can fit into kids' or men's jeans, don't pass up that section either—you might be surprised what looks cute on you!

If digging through thrift shops isn't your thing, you can still find secondhand, affordable, and sustainable clothing online! Try places like Depop, Etsy and ThredUp. Happy shopping!

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