Thrifting 101: Tips for thrifting your summer wardrobe

Ah, summer. It's the scent of honeysuckle blooming in my backyard. It's the sharp sweetness of a ice pop bought from the ice cream truck. Summer is the cute guy you had a crush on in camp, the one who always wore Ray-Bans and oxford shirts with chino shorts. Summer is the tropical smell of suntan lotion and the flip-flop of flip flops. It's chlorine wafting from a pool, and the salt spray of the ocean, and a bone-chilling dip in the lake.

Summer is also shorts. And tee shirts. And tank tops. And sundresses. Like the arrival of seasons preceding it, summer brings the urge for new pieces to add to my wardrobe. However, if you're like me, you'd rather spend money on a vacation than another pair of denim cutoffs. Thankfully, thrifting can satisfy your cravings for new summer clothes while saving you a considerable amount of cash.

If you'd like to try to thrift your summer wardrobe, here are a few tips:
  • Go soon: It's likely that most shoppers at thrift stores are stocking up on their own summer wardrobes right now. While stores such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army process thousands of pieces a week, generating new inventory daily, smaller stores do not. 
  • Search by material: Lightweight fabrics such as linen, cotton, chambray, voile, batiste, eyelet, and silk are more preferable in warm weather than wool and polyester. Other summer-appropriate accessories, such as straw clutches and white leather purses and belts, should be considered too.
  • Be thorough: Think you found the perfect sleeveless blouse? Check carefully for perspiration stains, especially around the armholes, collar and lower back. This type of stain is particularly hard, if not impossible, to remove.
  • Consider the men's section: I've found amazing vintage concert tees in the men's department, along with lightweight oversized shirts and woven belts.
  • Set limits: Would you consider wearing a thrifted swim suit? What about sandals? If not, don't waste time lingering in those sections while thrifting.
  • Think beyond clothes and accessories: Planning a picnic, barbecue, graduation party, camping trip or other outdoor activity? Thrift stores are great places to find supplies. Vintage quilts and picnic baskets; bicycles and roller skates; glassware and cookbooks; and tablecloths and linens are among the items you can thrift.
  • Get crafty: Turn vintage Levis into cutoff shorts and long sleeved dresses into sleeveless versions. A bit of altering can also bring up a hem, turning a maxi dress into a mini or pants into capris.
Do you have tips for thrifting during warm months? Have you started thrifting for your summer wardrobe?


  1. Some very good advice for stocking up until your wardrobe doors burst with cheap items. As long as your willing to put in the effort you can find some real bargains!

  2. A woman after my own heart! I live to thrift! It is one of my most favorite things to do, and my whole closet is has been nearly derived from the Goodwill :D I think you made great points! I have a few things I will not purchase from thrift stores, and undergarments are high on my list. However, Target donates directly to the Goodwill and I have purchased over 5 brand new swim suits :)

    Thank you for sharing!!

  3. I'm so jealous i wish i could thrift like this too!!!
    Where i live there is no thrifting;there are a few stores selling second hand and vintage stuff but they are too expensive;like a vintage dress cost 70-300Euro...well i can buy a new one with 50!LOL
    Anyway even thogh i don't thrift i enjoy reading everything you whrite so keep whriting :)

  4. This is perfect! I'm going to goodwill tonight :)

  5. Love to thrift! Summer blouses and dresses are my favorites. Since I sew, sleeves and hems can be cut off, darts, tucks and pleats can be added, necklines altered and embellished,etc. Those long shifts and denim dresses can be done over in endless design ideas. Don't know if you have seen Altered Couture magazine but just one issue (pricey at $15) will get your creative juices flowing for several projects. Pants are the hardest item for me. Hard to fit and frustrating sometimes to find the size labels. Thanks for such great ideas!


I love my readers! Comments are welcomed and appreciated.