Shopping at thrift stores and buying pre-owned isn’t just about being frugal; it’s about being fashionable too! We posted a comprehensive guide to finding thrift store fashion, so we figured it was time to offer up some tips on how to look your best by repurposing thrift store finds.
You could wear what you find as is, like the fabulous and fashionable blogger Lindsay Turner does at Thrift & Shout—we featured her before. But you could take your look to the next level and make your thrift shop scores into your own custom creations with a little creativity and know-how! The following are 10 fabulous ideas for repurposing thrift store fashion that could inspire you to turn frumpy frocks into fantastic fashions.
Are you a complete novice or sloppy when it comes to sewing? If so, these first few ideas for repurposing thrift store style are right up your alley.
Not repurposing exactly, but this is good for absolute beginners. You can tie-dye t-shirts, tote bags, shoes, dresses, and just about anything else white, off-white, cream, or light grey that you get from the thrift store. Easy to do, follow the directions in this t-shirt tie-dying tutorial from Spoonful to turn anything into a colorful tie-dyed masterpiece.
2. T-Shirt Necklace
If you spend any time on the web looking at craft blogs, old t-shirts are being turned into dresses and halter tops with varying degrees of success. Instead of turning an old thrift store t-shirt into a different piece of clothing, you could transform it into a necklace, Martha Stewart style. The instructions are on Whole Living.
3. No Sew Cardigan
The step-by-step instructions at Easily Dunn are incredibly easy to follow for this simple and stylish project. Grab a cute top from the thrift store that may be a little too small and give it a go! The instructions do recommend sewing a button on, but if you are totally sew-phobic, you could skip that step and simply have a cute shrug.
4. Sweater Sleeve Boot Socks
Technically these are legwarmers, but unless you take your boots off, no one has to know! There is a great DIY tutorial at Infarrantly Creative that shows you how to upcycle pre-owned sweaters into boot socks. All that is involved is a bit of cutting and some simple stitching to add a flashy, fun cuff.
5. Lacy Tank Top
Take a thrift store t-shirt in fab condition and turn it into a very fashionable lacy tank top with a little bit of work. This one requires some sewing, but Mackenzie at We Heart This posts a tank top tutorial that makes this seem like something just about anyone can do with the right materials and a sewing machine. You could also use a lightweight blouse from the thrift store instead of lace for the side panels.
Are you savvy seamstress or an accomplished tailor? If you are confident at the sewing machine, these ideas for repurposing thrift store clothing could be perfect for you.
6. Ruffle Necktie Tee
A two-for when it comes to repurposing thrift store fashion, a thrifted tie and a v-neck shirt can come together to make something unique, hip, and super stylish. This idea from McKell’s Closet has a step-by-step guide that’s too tough for me to follow, but it might be a breeze for someone a bit more experienced.
7. Bathing Suit Bra
If you have sewn before, you can turn a thrifted bra into a beautiful bathing suit top or one of those tiny tops celebs like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus have been rocking. Tasha Delrae’s instructions are thorough enough that even a less experienced seamstress could pull this one off.
8. Summer Sweater Dress
The projects found at Refashionista are absolutely amazing transformations! Jillian, who blogs there, is very talented and creative, and while I envy her outfits, my sewing skills need a lot of work before I could pull some of these projects off. If you know your way around a sewing machine, you may be inspired by seeing the step-by-step guide on how she turned a long, unflattering dress into a cute, fun frock.
9. Hip House Dress
I think my favorite blog for seeing brilliant ideas for repurposing thrift store clothing is New Dress a Day, a blog by Marisa Lynch that was spurred by a dedication to fashion and frugality. Her projects have varying degrees of difficulty, but this house dress turned into a fun and flirty casual outfit is particularly inspiring, and it seems like something anyone who knows how to sew can do if they study the steps.
10. 9-Shirt Maxi Dress
Holy moly! This project is amazing. If you fall in love with the prints on some super cheap thrift store shirts that just won’t fit, you may want to bring them home anyway and turn them into this amazing dress. Definitely not something for an amateur, someone experienced may want to take a go at this interesting and ambitious project tutorial by Katja at of Dreams and Seams.
How do you rock thrift store fashion?
Do you repurpose thrift store finds or wear them off the rack? Share your ideas for repurposing thrift store fashion or putting together an awesome pre-owned ensemble in the comments. We would love to see how you rock it!
Want to learn more about fashion, thrift store shopping, and being a DIY diva? You might want to read: 10 DIY Household Repairs That Could Save You Thousands, 7 Beautiful DIY Wedding Favors, or The eBay Deals Blog Guide to Finding Thrift Store Fashion.