Thrifting 101, Part 22: A love-fest for pleated skirts

On Tuesday I decided to take a little road trip to Sherman, Texas for a bit of thrifting. Sherman is a small, quiet city located north of Dallas, the kind of place famous for it's high school football team. In Sherman you're likely to see an abundance of the following: Ford F150 pickup trucks, discount tobacco shops, barbecue joints, and grizzled old men in Wranglers and dusty cowboy hats. Accents are thick, food is chicken-fried, and country music is pumped in at the gas station. It isn't exactly the fashion capitol of the world, but what it lacks in sophistication it makes up for in charm.

In my experience, it is exactly this kind of town that offers the best thrifting. Why? Well, the shops aren't picked over, store employees are exceedingly polite, and the merchandise is extremely representative of the town. In Sherman's Salvation Army, for example, you'll find fringed Western shirts, snap-front denim jackets, well-worn cowboy boots, Aztec and Indian print blouses, and a wide array of belt buckles, roper boots and high-waisted jeans. Sherman is where Western wear comes to die, and I swoop in to revive it.

It is also in Sherman that I've discovered my love for pleated skirts. These polyester, chiffon, or silk beauties, often made by Espirit, The Limited or Jordache, are the kind worn by teenage girls in the 1980's, high school princesses who kept their homework in Trapper Keepers and collected Lisa Frank stickers. Every time I thrift one of these pleated skirt I imagine the life these girls led, with their teased Aqua Net hairdos and licit Camel Lights. They had part-time jobs at the Piggly Wiggly (yes, there's one left in Sherman) and decorated their bedroom walls with posters of Kirk Cameron. They attended church every Sunday morning and watched Who's The Boss and had boyfriends named Justin and Bart. They read romance novels and held parties in their basements, where they drank warm beer provided by some friend's brother. They were young and carefree.

My pleated skirts are knee length or just above, all with elastic waists. They are comfortable and versatile and extremely easy to care for. I bought all of my pleated skirts for under $6 at The Goodwill and Salvation Army, and am certain that your favorite thrift stores has them too. Here are some tips for finding your perfect pleated skirt:

  • Skirts with pleats that begin at the waist are much more flattering than those that flow from the hip. If you have any kind of booty, a drop-waisted pleated skirt will only emphasis it.
  • Thin pleats are easier to work with than thick ones. A knife-pleated skirt is slimming and elegant, and looks great paired with a flowing blouse or casual tank.
  • When caring for pleated skirts, wash them in cold water and hang them to dry. Throwing them in the dryer could ruin the crispness of the pleats.
  • If you're petite like I am, look for shorter silhouettes. A pleated maxi skirt will likely overwhelm your figure and made you look wider.
  • If you see a pleated skirt while thrifting, and it isn't in your size, try it on. The elastic waist allows for a more forgiving fit.

My favorite thrifted pleated skirt. Price? $3

(Missed any previous parts of my Thrifting 101 series? Up to this point, the series has focused on tips for newbies and those dealing with the squick factor, advice regarding how to shop at a thrift store, thrifting for the clothing snob, recommendations for finding the best thrift and consignment stores, tips for determining what days are the best for thrifting, a post where I explained my love for thrifting, advice regarding thrift store etiquette, tips for cleaning vintage leather, a post of my favorite thrifting and vintage blogs, tips for identifying and cleaning thrifted jewelry, advice for storing vintage and thrifted garments, and tips for shopping for vintage online. I also discussed influential periods in fashion - the 1920's through the 1950's; the 1960's; the 1970's; the 1980's; and the 1990's.)


  1. What a great find! Pleated skirts are trending on the style blogs so much right now, and to find one for $6 would be a great way to participate in the trend!

  2. My husband's family lives in Sherman and I LOVE to go thrifting there when we fact we are going there this weekend so I hope you didn't get all the good stuff! : ) There is an awesome consignment store on Texoma Pkwy, can't think of the name. Have you checked it out?

  3. I love that black pleated skirt on you, with the hot pink to punch it up. I wish we could go thrifting together, you've really got it nailed.

  4. $3 for that great skirt? Girl, I need to go shopping with you. Fun to follow you on Twitter. I'm still learning it all. You are going to laugh but the Retweet business has me slightly confused. Must read more on the help page! I just joined last week and have so far figured out #FF, yay! Thanks for the return shout-out!

  5. Just popped over here from Already Pretty. I'm enjoying reading these posts. We lived in Van Alstyne for 6 years, and I never thrifted in Sherman. Bummer ....

  6. Love the outfit--and great skirt.

    I am 43 (HS class of '86!), and I would submit that what you've got there is an "adult" skirt from the 1980s. My mom wore the chiffon knife-pleated skirts to church and for evening events. We teenagers wore high-waisted skinny jeans and A-line mid-calf skirts to the basement parties. :-)

  7. lol. This is crazy, I just did a guest post over at The House in the Clouds about thrifting pleated skirts. I absolutely love them and I'm happy to find another blogger who loves them as much as I do!


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