8 items to thrift ASAP for the perfect summer wardrobe

If you’re like us, you’re always on the search for the cutest clothes. However, all that shopping can get heavy on the wallet, not to mention the planet. The solution? Thrifting! Not only do you get the perfect summer wardrobe filled with vintage flair, but you can do it while helping the environment at the same time.

If you’re intimidated by the heaps of clothing and competition with fellow thrifters, not to worry! We’ve got the ultimate guide on how to guarantee the *best* finds. Just a note that prices may range based on your location. Big cities might have pricier clothes, while rural areas might have smaller selections. P.S.—these tips work for online shops like Depop too.  

Mini skirts

A cuter alternative to the two pairs of shorts we’re all wearing! Channel your inner Cher Horowitz with a retro plaid, your Y2K barbie for denim minis or your dark academia princess with a private school uniform copycat. $5-10.

Breezy button-downs

We’ve all seen the cool and effortless flannel looks of fall, but who says you can’t wear button-downs in the summer too? This clothing option comes in all patterns and is a layering *dream*—throw it over a tight-fitting top or dress for a casual cover-up from the sun. Check out the men’s section to find the best ones with super sturdy fabric. $3-10.

Strappy dresses

The strappy dress is the staple to an adorable summer wardrobe. This effortless look works for *any* event, from a picnic with friends to a night out. Try layering a tee shirt under your dress or tucking it into some loose shorts for a new look. Girls donate their last-season (but still chic) F21, H&M and Urban Outfitters dresses all the time—you can wear cute clothes while boycotting the businesses’ unethical practices. $5-12.

Funky sneakers

We *love* a funky sneaker moment. Thrift stores are overflowing with cool shoes from reputable brands for cheap. No more spending $100 on a new pair of sneakers! Thrifted shoes are often a bit scuffed, but you can easily clean them with some baking powder solution and a washing machine (or rock the worn-in look). Jordans, Reeboks, Vans, Converse and Nikes are all popular brands to find in thrift stores. $10-30.

Trendy tank tops

Similar to the strappy dresses, trendy tank tops sold at stores like Brandy Melville, even if they are super cute, are fast fashion. A great way to reap the trendiness of the tops *all* while being sustainable is to buy them at your local thrift store. Try looking for plain black and white, pastels, gingham, stripes, and other timeless patterns. Bonus tip: find tops you genuinely love and that fit your wardrobe, rather than just because they're a part of a trend. After all, trends come and go by the day, so it’s important to find items you’ll want to keep around for a long time. $5-10.

Graphic tees

You know it, you love it—graphic tees are so versatile and timelessly cool. Whether it’s a spirited astrology design or a vintage band tee, you’ll be able to find one that suits your taste at the thrift store. In fact, it’s way more likely you’ll find a good vintage tee at a thrift store than from an online retailer because vintage is what thrifting is *all* about anyway. $10-30.

Patterned flares

There are a surprising number of cool flares at thrift stores now that 60s and 70s-inspired fashion is back in style. Target brand pants populate most shops, though you can occasionally find a *true vintage* pair. Get your groove on and strut your new (old) bell bottoms! $10-20.

Denim shorts

Out of everything, denim shorts are *the* summer clothing item. An absolute warm-weather necessity, you can find these in whatever fit and style you want at the thrift store. Bonus sustainability fact: denim is super water-intensive and often rinsed in chemicals, making the water consumption needed to produce one pair of jeans surprisingly high. Switch to a thrifted option, and the planet (plus your wardrobe) will thank you. $5-15. 

Happy thrifting!

What are your best thrifted finds? Show us on Instagram @girlslifemag!

All GIFs via GIPHY. Slider image via @withlovelinh.


by Julieanne Larick and Sophia Zhang | 6/28/2021