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Thrifting Right: All Your Summer Essentials For Under $200

by Lisa Sails


Lisa Sails in a brown overalls dress and print top -- all Goodwill thrift purchases. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

Thrift shopping used to just be a pit stop before going to the grocery store, but it has evolved into one of my biggest passions. Don’t get me wrong, I have coveted for a pair of Chanel espadrilles, but dropping thousands of dollars on clothing is just not an option for everyone. That’s why thrift shopping is on the rise — not only because of the popular song by Macklemore, but because everyone can afford it.

There is something about walking into my local Goodwill that just gets my heart fluttering. My parents think I have a shopping addiction, but I call it being “Fabulously Frugal”. Though, I can admit having two walk-in closets and a separate room packed with clothing is a little excessive (just a little). Finding a fashion blogger to relate to can sometimes be a challenge since they shop designer and right off the runway, which can be incredibly pricey, especially for a college student on a budget.


So here are 5 tips to remember before making a thrift shop haul.

1. You have to be very meticulous. To find the best pieces, you need to check all the racks. I find the best way to look is to push all the hangers forward and look one by one. Sure, your arms will start to hurt, but you can miss out on a lot if you aren’t thorough.

2. Ladies, don’t be afraid of the Men’s section! I find so many shirts that I cut up into crop tops! Oversized sweaters are dresses in my eyes; plus, get inspired by Rihanna and wear a sports jersey as a dress.

3. Inspect for imperfections. You don’t know how many times I have left with pieces that have broken zippers, missing buttons, or stains. Take a few seconds to scan the piece. If you are handy, a missing button can easily be replaced. Avoid any mysterious stains or big rips. Also, it’s imperative that you check how to clean it and add in the expense of dry cleaning.

4. Pay attention to discounts. Showing your college ID will get you 10% off at Goodwill and on Wednesdays, everything at Salvation Army is half off! If you aren’t sure, just ask!

5. Try everything on. Seriously, if there is one lesson to follow, it’s this one. Everything fits differently. I’m usually a size 4, but I own dresses that are x-large or even maternity. Throwing on a belt fixes everything. You can always turn it into a DIY and revamp the piece.

6. Not everything is used. Goodwill receives surplus from Target. I have found brand new 2014 Peter Pilotto x Target pieces for under $4. Amazing, I know.


With these tips (including the bonus one), I launched my summer season haul. I was surprised to see the wide range of styles I could create for under $200. I’d be lucky to find 5 pieces at the mall for that price. Any fashionista can gain inspiration, including you.


Fun In The Sun


Lisa Sails models a golden one-piece halter swimsuit and print skirt. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

Two-piece bikinis are cute, but there’s something so classy about a one-piece bathing suit I can’t help but be drawn to, and I’m definitely giving off serious Bo Derek vibes in this gold halter top swimsuit. When I discovered this colorful skirt, I couldn’t help but compare the style of the knit skirt to vintage Mossoni pieces I drool over. I knew I had to get it!

Lisa Sails' golden swimsuit and print skirt ensemble in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


The Perfect Pullover Sweater


Lisa Sails models a Peter Pilotto print sweater over a blue swimsuit. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

Summer nights are known for being cool and laid back. After a long day at the beach or lounging at the pool, It’s nice to slip into a light sweater, and one with an awesome vibrant print on the front is always a plus. Peter Pilotto’s collection for Target is the definition of summer/resort wear. I’ve racked up a handful of his pieces at Goodwill, and all brand new! It’s always a good day when you find 2014 pieces for more than half the price.

Lisa Sails' Peter Pilotto print sweater and blue swimsuit ensemble in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


Prepare for Spontaneous Rain!


Lisa Sails models a pink summer raincoat purchased at Goodwill. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

You may be surprised that I added a coat into my summer must-have list, but in Florida, you have to be prepared for spontaneous rain. I found this pale pink summer coat for under $6.00! Plus it’s super lightweight, so I won’t get too hot while wearing it. I threw it over a polka dot top and cream colored shorts. I tied the top for a flirty vintage look, which complimented the white smoke loafers I scored for just $4.99.

Lisa Sails' pale pink thrift summer raincoat in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


Time for Date Night


Lisa Sails models a Peter Pilotto print top pushed in a white skirt and black-and-brown heeled sandals, all bought at Goodwill. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

Us girls should always have a go-to date night outfit on standby. This look shows off my girly side while staying comfortable in these strappy sandals, and another Peter Pilotto x Target piece found for under $3.00 tucked into a fitted white skirt. I’m not usually into mixing brown and black together, but these sandals are an exception. Having the two colors in one shoe opens up a whole new range of looks to come up with. This skirt is the perfect backdrop for my bead-embellished purse. It stands out and ties the whole look together.

Lisa Sails' black-and-brown heeled sandals and date night ensemble in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


Cool in Cargos


Lisa Sails models cargo shorts and a tie-side striped top purchased at Goodwill. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

Cargo shorts are a timeless piece in my summer wardrobe. Olive green is one of my favorite colors to wear; it goes with just about everything. What really sold me on these shorts was the snap-buckle belt. It brought me back to camp time and taking long hikes. I knew I needed to add them to my growing shorts collection. As for the top, I showed off a little more skin. The tied-up sides are such unique and sexy detail; they bring out my sassy side while still being subtle and appropriate.

Lisa Sails' cargo shorts andtie-side print top ensemble in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


Crank Up The Funky Prints!


Lisa Sails models a purple Peter Pilotto print dress and white slide-on sneakers purchased at Goodwill. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

I firmly believe that outfits have their own voice, it’s our way to communicate to the world without saying anything. This outfit says, “I’m chic and effortless.” This purple printed Peter Pilotto dress can be dressed up or down. I’ve worn this dress to work and to run errands, so it’s all about how you style it. I went with a more casual, easy approach adding slide-on sneakers. This style is really trending right now — Leandra Medine of Man Repeller just came out with a collaboration with Superga with the same look. I was eager to find this white pair, and I keep them right by the door just in case I’m running out. They’re the perfect everyday shoe.

Lisa Sails' purple Peter Pilotto print dress ensemble in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


Being Girly With Sneakers


Lisa Sails models a floral skirt with a tube top and denim jacket with oxfords, all purchased at Goodwill. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

This outfit was heavily influenced by bad gal Rihanna. She wore a nude lace/mesh bandeau with a pink skirt and Converse. It was such a perfect combination of feminine with a touch of sporty, I couldn’t help but do my own rendition of the look.

I own a couple of denim jackets, but this one in particular just screams “fun“. I found it at a community garage sale. It was personalized with gold studs, which fascinated me even more, the owner even gave it to me for half off. That’s what I call a steal!

Lisa Sails' floral skirt ensemble in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


Slide Them On


Lisa Sails models Urban Renewal vintage print shorts with a print top, purchased at Goodwill. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

Simplicity is always key. It’s refreshing to put on an easy outfit you can wear all day. This look is great for being out and about running errands. These Urban Renewal vintage shorts have a fun pattern on them, and adding another pattern on top breaks all the rules. It’s fun to mix prints! It’s a huge runway trend now.

Lisa Sails' Urban Renewal vintage prit shorts ensemble in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


90’s Kid for Life


Lisa Sails models a brown overalls dress with a print shirt, purchased at Goodwill. Photo by Soncha Rodriguez.

Overalls always get me feeling nostalgic. I lived in overalls growing up, so the fact that the whole 90’s look is repeating makes me immensely happy. I didn’t want to stray away from using earth tones, and the mountain printed t-shirt really complimented the dress. The bucket bag is another 2014 essential. The drawstring really makes me love the style, and the bag’s big enough to fit everything you need without overpowering the ensemble. To complete the look, I buckled up these ankle boots. These will be practical all year long and I found them brand new for $6.99. Similar boots range from $20.00 to $100.00.

Lisa Sails' overalls dress and print shirt ensemble in a photo collage. Photos by Soncha Rodriguez. Collage by Lisa Sails.


It was so fun to style looks that are not only extremely affordable, but super stylish! Fashion shouldn’t have to break the bank. With a pinch of patience and creativity, you can produce all of your fabulous summer outfits using secondhand pieces.

With my keen eye, I have started buying for my own resale project. I have racks of clothing I’m preparing to sell at a lovely little backyard sale. I’ll have Women’s and Men’s apparel and shoes. I’ll have everything from vintage to name brand and designer at great prices, you cannot miss out. I’m constantly updating my website, so to find out more information on this event, keep track of my posts!


All photos taken by Soncha Rodriguez.


For more looks, check out my website: www.LisaSails.com
Follow me on Instagram @_LisaSails
Follow my thoughts on Twitter @SailsLisa
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Love Always,
Lisa Sails



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