Thrifting: Summer on a Budget

Emily McMahon | May 21st 2013

Living in the city with summer only a month away there is definitely some preparing to do—but where to start? Here are some easy ways to update your summer wardrobe and agenda without a huge price tag.

Ride a bike! It’s no secret that most college students don’t have cars but biking around the city is more convenient then you would think. With bike racks scattered around Chicago you can get exactly where you need to go faster then most public transportation. Thrifting for bikes is a less expensive and often high quality alternative to buying one new. I recently found a 1973 orange Schwinn Continental. The frame is alloy making it more durable and the tires are thin making it a perfect city bike at $120.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 12.19.27 PM

Old clothes or thrifted pants can also be remade for summer. For those not equipped with a sewing machine pants can always be made into cutoffs. Using basic scissors pants can be cut and frayed to any length. I found the shorts below when they were knee length and cut off about 6 inches. I made a small hem, rolled them twice, and added stiches on the sides of the rolls to finish a pair of fabulous high waisted cuffed shorts.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 12.21.29 PM

You can also rework button ups or formal shirts to be more versatile for summer. Oversized shirts can be tucked in or tied and worn with tank tops or swimsuits. This layering allows for a variety of outfits with only a few items of clothing. The button up below is a mens large with the sleeves sewed into cuffs and the front tied twice.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 12.22.59 PM

Another benefit of thrifting is discovering unique items that couldn’t be found in a typical department store. I’m always on the lookout for alternative fabrics and patterns to stand out against solids. The button up below is a more unusual design of many multi-colored horses. Patterns like this are statements and attention grabbers for shoppers looking for something with a little more dimension.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 12.24.49 PM

A light weight maxi skirt is always a great piece to have for spring and summer. Intertwined with tinsel, this floor length pink skirt can be worn with a variety of tops. The silver embedded in the fabric will also compliment a range of jewelry. It can always be helpful to match the more discrete tones in an outfit with your accessories.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 12.26.24 PM

Thrifting can also help provide some essentials for days at the beach and summer travel. Leather has recently become more popular and it never fails to up the style of any outfit. The urban leather backpack, wallets, and shoes below are perfect examples of chic leather accessories to be used any day of the week.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 12.27.07 PM

Leave a Reply