Sunday is National Thrift Shop Day! Thrifting is easily one of our favorite hobbies here at ThriftyBelow and we’ve been partaking since, well, as long as we can remember! (Suck it, Macklemore!) In fact, thrifting together in high school was one of the activities that truly cemented our friendship. In honor of National Thrift Shop Day, we decided to use this Free For All Friday to share a few of our favorite thrift store finds, along with some of the best reasons to thrift shop. Enjoy!
PARTIES AND HOLIDAYS
Thrift shops are great for finding costumes and holiday garb that can be worn as-is or altered to suit your needs.
We’ve been to dozens of ugly holiday sweater parties, and finding these kind of sweaters at the thrift store near our childhood homes was always a real treat. Check out the awesome block patterned vest Alex is wearing, or the sweet ski-bunny reindeer one Caitlynn has on with a faux-fur collar. Excuse the blurriness of the photo, as it was taken probably around 2005 before camera phones were anything like they are today.
Also, thrift stores act as instant access to many costuming needs! Take a look at these two quick and simple Halloween costumes by Caitlynn and our friend Josh. Caitlynn is Betty Boop, and Josh is Waldo of the Where’s Waldo series. These costumes were cute, cheap, easy to make, and brought to you by our local thrift stores. Caitlynn’s dress was originally a floor length bridesmaid dress she cut into a mini (and added large gold hoop earrings, black pumps, and a black garter) and Josh’s hat and sweater were both thrift finds as-is, which he paired with a pair of jeans and some old red converse (though he’s missing the key accessory, Waldo’s hipster/Buddy Holly glasses!)
For a Movie Character theme party in college, Alex and her husband hit the thrift store and found a horrible orange puffy coat that was dying to be chopped up and turned into a vest for Mark’s Marty McFly costume! Perfection!
EVERY DAY ATTIRE
Thrift stores are also a great place to find every day clothes for cheap. Jeans, blazers, button downs, lightly used shoes — it takes some digging but you can find some real gems, often gently used name brand items!
These are not name brand, but in high school, Alex was obsessed with these kid-sized shirts from camps and little leagues. She accumulated a ton from frequent trips to local thrift shops. Since they were children’s sizes and she was 17, they were all too short and had to be layered. These are just a few of the many pictures of her wearing them. We’d be lying if we said she didn’t hang on to a couple, despite being a married adult.
Often times, Alex paired her kid-sized tees with hippie skirts, another high school obsession. On the left is one of her favorites from high school, a red number made of bandanas. On the right is five-ish years later, with Alex wearing the same skirt as a belted dress at an outdoor concert. Don’t be surprised if a refashion of the bandana skirt appears on Thrifty Below sometime!
CRAZY CLOTHES AND FUN FINDS
One of our favorite parts of thrifting is the crazy and unexpected clothing you can find. Hidden between the rows of 1980s bridesmaids dresses and kindergarten teacher denim were some of these beauties:
This, ladies and gentleman, is The Disco Dress! Please excuse the shameless bathroom selfie (there’s actually a whole selfie photoshoot, but we’ll skip the rest!), Alex was in high school. Caitlynn picked this bad boy up at the thrift shop and promptly chopped off the bottom tier of glittery disco fabric. Everyone tried it on, but sadly, it never made it out into the real world. Alex wanted to wear it to senior homecoming, but it was way too short.
Here’s another classic! You might be able to guess from the Vulcan salute, but we refer to it as The Space Suit! We can only guess as to what it’s original purpose was (Disco clubs? Men’s ice skating?), but it’s spandex, it’s glittery, and it’s apparently one-size-fits-all. I wish I were joking, but it’s been worn by five foot tall Caitlynn, over six foot Joshy, and everyone in between.
Here’s The Space Suit on Halloween! Alex ended up pairing it with a high pony and a medal from cross country for a glittery Olympic gymnast look. She stuck the landing, right?
Check out this beauty Kim is modeling! Lace, shoulder pads, sequins, rouching – need we say more? It’s just screaming for a refashion!
REFASHIONS AND SEWING PROJECTS
Sometimes thrifted clothes need a quick update for a perfect fit (like taking in the sides or a shorter hem), and sometimes they’re screaming for a full-out refashion!
This was one of Caitlynn’s favorite dresses for a very long time, one Alex and our friend Kim adoringly named “The Naked Lady Dress.” It was chosen primarily for its pattern: abstract images of naked women in stretching poses with pink and teal accents over a beige background. It was originally a size 18, it was floor length, had short sleeves, and had a collared neck. Caitlynn purchased it anyway for around $3. She cut and hemmed the length to make it a reach just above the knees, took in the sides to shrink the size, cut off and hemmed the sleeves to make it a tank, and cut the collar off and hemmed the front and back of the top to offer it a plunging neckline and 1.5 inch straps. Although it was a lot of editing, it was fairly easy, and she eyeballed most if it rather than using measurements and patterns. The beauty of a thrift store dress is that you already have a certain structure to work with/build around. For instance, the buttons down the front acted as a great main feature to work around.
Want to see another thrift shop refashion? Check out what Alex’s tutorial on how to create this sundress from a thrifted hippie skirt!
Sometimes thrift stores have furniture that’s in great shape, but just need a little bit of an update or a new coat of paint.
Caitlynn’s dining room table and chairs are a perfect example! Though they were separate finds from separate stores, a unifying coat of black paint gave her a complete, matching set for her apartment!
Caitlynn found this wine rack for $4 at her local thrift store. It was in perfect condition, but was originally black with gold paint accents on the leaves and vine work. Gold is not always the easiest color to work with, and it proved hard to match with her kitchen. Sometimes, though, a coat of spray paint can give something an entirely new life! A few coats of beautiful sky blue spray paint and taadaa! It acts as a great wine rack and adds a beautiful pop of color to the kitchen.
Sometimes, you’ll have a great find, but its originally intended use is not something you need. For instance, take a look this CD rack Caitlynn found at her local thrift store while scouring the racks for something to help organize her kitchen. Although she doesn’t have CDs (does anyone anymore?), this T-Rex was too cute to pass up! She decided to use it for something else and it instantly became the coolest pot lid holder ever!
Do you guys remember these window shutters from Caitlynn’s vertical organization post? She spray painted them pink and added hooks to make a utensil organizer that doubles as a water heater cover-up!
Thanks for checking out our favorite thrift store finds from over the years! Though not pictured, thrift stores are also great places to find dishes, knick knacks, linens, books, and movies! It’s true what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you’re cleaning out your closet, consider donating to Goodwill or your local charity thrift shop. You can get a tax write up and the proceeds from your gently used items will benefit others in your community. While you’re there, be sure to check out the goodies others have donated!
Do you ever go thrift shopping? What are your favorite finds? Let us know in the comments below!