Thrifting for spring: 7 thrifted spring outfit ideas 

I’m not sure where time has gone, but it’s somehow mid-April already! Gray skies and mild breezes are still afoot, but those dreadful downpours are finally behind us – I hope. The unpredictable weather has posed a sartorial challenge for sure. But it’s also been a fun creative challenge to assemble thrifted spring outfits for those warm, beautiful days, which are starting to outnumber the dreary cold snaps. 

I love blog posts that showcase all the fun outfits that you can create from thrifted clothes. But I usually shy away from creating them – there are lots of fashion bloggers in this niche already, and it feels strange to stare at photos of my body for too long. Still, nothing gives me greater pleasure than sharing funky outfits from my eclectic thrifted wardrobe. I’m a devotee of the thrift store aesthetic, which consists of many mismatched secondhand pieces that somehow manage to tell a cohesive story about me. 

I firmly believe that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to exude effortless style. By the same measure, I’m a huge proponent of thrifting for clothes instead of buying cheap fast fashion – you save money on high-quality pieces and keep clothes out of landfills. Plus, you can blissfully ignore fashion microtrends and develop a singular sense of style. I also find that secondhand shopping teaches me a lot about restraint since I’m perfectly fine with leaving the thrift store empty-handed. 

For this blog, I wanted to share some styling inspiration with secondhand pieces from my personal wardrobe. I really can’t put together a buying guide for clothes thrifting, but I can sure share tips and classic outfit combos to give my readers spring thrifting ideas. 

Anyway, here’s a thrifted spring style edit with very high fashion photos taken by my dad, who kindly agreed to help me whenever he took the dogs out to poo. 

A layerable, everyday outfit for spring: Thrifted casual knit + relaxed denim

Woman in purple sleeveless knit with straight-leg denim trousers and yellow bag

Woman in denim jacket and purple sleeveless knit with straight-leg denim trousers and yellow bag

  • Lauren Hansen purple sleeveless knit ($5 from Twice Is Nice)
  • Vintage Lee jeans ($2 from Twice Is Nice)

Realistically, this versatile thrifted outfit is what I wear every day when I’m navigating that stressful period between the first and second work quarters. It’s simple but chic, featuring my favorite everyday basics. The easy-to-layer sleeveless knit (which is 100% cotton) adds a pretty pop of spring color to an otherwise understated outfit. I love thrifting for vintage fashion pieces and discovering defunct brands — I’m definitely going to be thrifting online for more Lauren Hansen cotton knits. 

My favorite part about this look is the pair of vintage Lee jeans, which was only $2 at the thrift store! It’s actually a pair of men’s jeans and a few sizes bigger than my regular size, but I find that it holds up well with a chunky belt and creative cinching. It’s comfy and relaxed, and I don’t have to worry about getting it dirty. 

Admittedly, the accessories do some heavy lifting here, but they’re technically not thrifted. The Nike Air Maxes were a splurge for my 29th birthday, and I found the Marc Tetro tote bag for around $35 last summer at TJ Maxx. This yellow weenie dog bag is especially a crowd-pleaser that garners compliments from a wide range of demographics — think everyone from grandmas to e-boys! While it’s not thrifted, the bag is a testament to how you don’t have to spend a boatload of money to pull together a statement look.

A sporty chic dress for spring: Thrifted dress + crisp white sneakers 

Person in tennis dress with white sneakers and white cat eye sunglasses making a peace sign

Tennis dress with white sneakers and white cat eye sunglasses

  • Diane von Furstenberg tennis dress ($6 from Goodwill Milpitas)
  • Burgundy Italian leather crossbody bag ($10 from a garage sale)
  • Jade pendant necklace ($5 from Twice Is Nice) 
  • A New Day white tennis shoes ($5 from Twice Is Nice)

I call this my garbage bag dress because it drapes on me like a haute couture Glad bag. It’s the kind of sporty spring dress that looks casual but put together —  perfect for a brisk dog walk around the neighborhood! The inner material (similar to gym short jersey) is breathable and comfy, ideal for the climbing temps of late spring. 

I accessorized this thrifted tennis dress with my prescription cat eye sunglasses (obviously not thrifted), an Italian leather crossbody bag from a garage sale, a thrifted jade necklace, and thrifted white sneakers. I definitely committed to an elevated sporty chic look here (potentially gauche Apple Watch included). Let’s be real, though: I’d normally just slip into stretchy Yogalicious leggings and a ratty old tee when I work out. 

Florals for spring: Thrifted floral maxi dress + matching crossbody purse

Woman with red purse in floral print maxi

Woman in flower print maxi dress with red purse

  • Rachel Comey x Target floral maxi dress (<$1 from Twice Is Nice)
  • Vintage Liz Claiborne red leather purse ($8 from Hope Chest Thrift Store) 
  • Statement brass bangle (<$5 from Twice Is Nice)

Call me basic, but I adore a maxi dress — as someone who leans a bit tall, they really work well with my height! This Rachel Comey x Target dress (as well as several other iterations of it) had been sitting at my favorite thrift store for months until I decided to pick it up one day. And it was $1 and on sale since it had been around for so long. I generally don’t buy clothes directly from Target anymore, but I occasionally pick up its liquidated stuff at thrift stores. 

I’m not sure if I am a dark winter (or if I really believe in color analysis), but the cooler, darker tones on the impressionist floral print really complement my complexion. My vintage Liz Claiborne red leather purse was the perfect handbag for this look because it matches with the red anemone flowers in the dress pattern. I also love how low maintenance a crossbody purse is for my spring adventures — I never have to worry about setting it aside or losing it. 

For some wrist candy, I added my thrifted brass bangle bracelet. I think my red agate bracelet from the flea market would have worked better here, but I’m not mad at this look. It’s pretty and unfussy, a versatile outfit for running errands or browsing a bookstore. 

Pretty pastels for spring: Thrifted floral mini dress + dress shirt

Woman in neckerchief with blue polka dot dress shirt underneath pink floral dress with black and white shih tzu

Woman in neckerchief with blue polka dot dress shirt underneath pink floral dress with black and white shih tzu

  • Dizzy Lizzy floral mini dress with puff sleeves ($5 from Goodwill Modesto) 
  • Talbots dress shirt ($6 from Hope Chest Thrift Store)
  • Floral neck scarf (Free from Mom) 
  • Purple crystal earrings (Free from Mom)

I realized, minutes after slipping into this twee thrifted ‘fit, that I looked like the creepy robot doll from M3GAN. It has a bit of a Lolita vibe, except more toned down. For a fresh spring look, I wanted to play with pastel blue and pink, so I layered my thrifted blue dress shirt beneath a more conventional spring puff sleeve mini dress. For added panache, I added a cute dark blue neckerchief with a rose pattern. 

This getup is a bit more feminine than my personal style usually leans, but the shoes give it a bit of an edgy Disney Channel punk chick kind of feel, no? To be honest, I have a huge, wide feet and need to wear comfy sneakers with everything. 

Animal prints for spring: Thrifted animal print dress + statement bag

Woman in cow print dress holding dog and yellow purse

Woman in cow print dress holding dog and yellow purse

  • Sandy Liang x Target poplin cotton cow print dress ($5 from Twice Is Nice)
  • Pearl (glass?) necklace ($5 from Twice Is Nice)

Can you wear animal prints in the spring? I personally think so! While they can work great as neutrals (they consist of black and brown, basically), animal prints are usually an autumn pattern since they lean warm. I really wanted to wear this for my thrifted spring outfits blog, though, so I made it work. 

Animal prints are easily one of my all-time favorite patterns, but I loathe that they usually appear on uncomfortable and scratchy polyester materials. What I love about this billowy Sandy Liang x Target dress is that it’s made out of crisp poplin cotton fabric. It’s breathable, lightweight, and, best of all, wrinkle resistant! Oh, and it comes with pockets! 

The pearl necklace adds an elevated touch to the playful print (and the very cheeky yellow bag). I will spare myself the indignity of showing you the peeling slide sandals that I wore this fit with, but this dress silhouette would look adorable with classic Mary Jane heels. 

Denim layers for spring: Thrifted denim dress + striped turtleneck 

Woman in striped turtleneck underneath denim dress with white sneakers and red purse

  • Level 99 denim dress ($5 from Goodwill Manteca) 
  • Liz Claiborne striped turtleneck ($3 from Twice Is Nice)
  • A New Day white sneakers ($5 from Twice Is Nice)
  • Vintage Liz Claiborne red leather purse ($8 from Hope Chest Thrift Store)

I received so many compliments for this look, which a lovely Trader Joe’s employee deemed artsy! There’s just something so special about a layerable denim dress. I found this snug midi denim dress at Goodwill during early pandemic days but still reach for it from time to time. While I prefer a billowy dress silhouette, I do enjoy the sexy, fitted vibe here. I also like how the metallic black buttons complement the dark denim wash. 

Not only will (quality) denim last forever, but it’s also versatile on a sartorial level. It’s pretty easy to match different textures and colors with denim. Since spring weather has been oscillating between heavy downpours and mild breezes in my corner of California, I like to keep warm with a base layer, which, in this case, is a colorful striped turtleneck that would give Ernie from Sesame Street a run for his money.

Garden casual chic for spring: Thrifted oversized button down + stretchy denim capris

Woman in straw hat with blue jean capris and half tucked rainbow striped dress shirt

  • Karen Kane Rainbow Striped Button Down ($5 from Twice Is Nice)
  • Faded Glory Elastic Denim Capris ($1 from the West Wind Capitol Flea Market) 
  • Jade pendant necklace ($5 from Twice Is Nice)
  • Straw hat (Free from Mom)

This relaxed look is the epitome of Ina Garten chic, and it’s honestly my favorite getup from this set. It’s not necessarily very glamorous, but it feels authentic to my personal style — it’s easy-going and comfortable, featuring a vibrant dash of color from the relaxed cotton dress shirt, which I tried to half tuck. I paired it with extra comfy dark elastic capri jeans that I picked up at a flea market for a $1. (I love a snug Levi jean, but you can’t beat a comfy elastic grandma jean.)   

This look is fun but practical, perfect for puttering around the kitchen and garden. Plus, all of the pieces here are cotton, so the pieces are forgiving when it comes to tough food and yard stains. For gardening, I added a thrifted straw hat from my mom. You’ve got to have sun protection! 

How to thrift for spring clothes

Consider light, breathable pieces

With summer right around the corner, thrift for light layers instead of thick coats or jackets. Think tees, jeans, denim jackets, cotton dresses, and overshirts. For those unexpected cold snaps, pair thrifted spring clothes with winter outerwear that you hopefully already have on hand. 

Thrift for patterns and colors that you love

If you love traditional florals and bright colors, that’s great! But you don’t have to shop seasonal trends if you don’t vibe with them. If you’re partial to nautical chic stripes or all-black ensembles, go ahead and thrift for spring clothes that you’ll get the most wear out of instead of jumping at whatever’s trendy.

Keep an eye out for clothes that complement your existing wardrobe

Bear in mind your existing closet when you go about your spring thrift trips. It’s tempting to thrift for an entire spring wardrobe and change your look dramatically, but I find that a more balanced approach works best. You get more use out of the pieces that you already have with a few new and fun additions! 

If you’re thrifting for clothes this spring, I hope you found a bit of inspiration from this style edit. With a bit of patience and a discerning eye, you can assemble polished and creative spring outfits from secondhand clothes.