Thrifting Chronicles – $5 Wool Skirt, Before

thriftedskirtI want to gush again about how much I like Savers thrift store, where items are sorted by size. I only go once every few months, and have “finds” just half the time, but those finds usually become cherished pieces. Even after factoring in dry cleaning and possible alteration costs, you can’t beat the value of quality thrifted pieces (look for materials like wool and silk) that no one else will have!

I picked up this wool skirt (nice texture, fully lined with generous pockets) for just $5, and it’s on it’s way to becoming a chic little Fall mini. Move over, $80 mainstream J.Crew minis that require a small fortune in alterations! I couldn’t believe the waist was on this size 4 skirt. Can you picture the “after” yet? Or are you too distracted by my Amish semblance : )

Past faves from Savers:
Petite Sophisticate red skirt sz 2P, taken-in and hemmed
Ann Taylor purple skirt sz 2, taken-in
Banana Republic olive skirt sz 4, taken-in and hemmed
gold chain necklace and bronze chain necklace

Readers – Are you a fan of thrifting? Share your favorite finds!
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  1. Phoebe wrote:

    I'm not fat (5' 4" usually wear sz 2/4) but my mom's skirts from college had tiny tiny waists. I couldn't wear them without having to suck in my gut. After seeing your DIY I wish I had kept those skirts and learned how to sew…they really had nice material. Looks great on you!

    Posted 4.17.12 Reply
  2. I saw the final product of this skirt – great DIY! For my thrift finds, I'd love it if you checked out my blog too.

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  3. Justine wrote:

    I love this skirt on you! It's amazing. I"m guessing you snipped it yourself? Btw, Did you tuck in your sweater? and how?

    Posted 9.18.11 Reply
  4. This is going to look so cute! I love wool minis and I love Jcrew minis but don't own any because of the ridiculously high price BEFORE alterations, like you said. Can't wait to see the final result;)

    Posted 9.16.11 Reply
  5. jkyw wrote:

    I can't wait to see it as a mini-skirt. Now I feel motivated to go thrift-hunting for some gems of my own!

    Posted 9.16.11 Reply
  6. Wendy wrote:

    can't wait to see the final product!

    Posted 9.16.11 Reply
  7. tiffyama wrote:

    Awesome find! Looking forward to seeing the after results!

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  8. J-ezzy wrote:

    i can't wait to see the after! Your smiles are so adorable here, btw 🙂

    i remember my mom telling me she was a size 4 after her four kids and by you showing me the size of that skirt, I realize she was a teeny weeny lady!

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  9. Vanessa wrote:

    Does anyone have suggestions for good thrift stores in the LA area? There's so many over here it's hard to know which ones are actually good.

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  10. i really cant wait to see the after pix! i can never find anything cool when i do thrift shopping.

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  11. Carla Krae wrote:

    Since you're cutting off a lot of fabric, I'd think about repurposing it somehow. Lamp shade, pillow cover, maybe a little bag….

    I worked at a fabric store years ago and can't bear to see nice stuff thrown out. 🙂

    Posted 9.15.11 Reply
  12. Gracie wrote:

    @myhanh, there's boomerang over by central square. It's pretty decent there.

    I love thrifting! I think pieces I thrift have a lot more "character" to them. Sadly though ever since coming to bean town, I've been severely disappointed with thrift shops (not consignment stores) because the quality of items and general store just isn't very pleasing. The one I go to in CT is goodwill, usually with the sister. She recently scored a gorgeous white AX mesh tea dress for less than 30 dollars! Needless to say, I was envious.

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  13. Yulia wrote:

    What's amusing is you are throwing out more of the skirt than you are keeping =P. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  14. newpetite wrote:

    cant wait to see how it turns out!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  15. Well, you know how I feel about thrifting, and Savers. I have not been going much lately and have actually been shopping in real stores like LOFT, Ann Taylor, Gap, and Old Navy. However, today I wore a cute little size 0 rust colored corduroy mini that I picked up at Savers for $5. It is from Gap, limited edition, Fall 2006. It looks a lot like the H&M; mini that you posted the other day (similar cut, style, color, etc) and despite being 5 years old still had the "Remove Tag Before Washing" tag. It's on trend for fall 2011 and fits OK with the right belt.

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  16. I love how you found this and can't wait to see what the "after look" will be. Thrift store finds are great esp when you find something that you love! There are always going to be unique pieces 🙂

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  17. Justine wrote:


    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  18. hha. interesting!
    my blog♥mfashionfreak

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  19. skippysays wrote:

    What a find! Thrift stores are always hit or miss but when you find something it's awesome…just gotta have the patience to sort through it all. I wish more stores did what you described and organized by size- that would be so much easier!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  20. Samantha wrote:

    Can't wait to see what that cute wool mini will look like! I can see it fitted or flared!

    I am DEFINITELY a fan of thrifting! You never know what gems you are going to find. I have some vintage pieces that were pricier because they are designer, but well worth it! Escada blazer -$18, Escada silk shirt and wool pants – $18, and my favorite is a YSL jacket for $30 (but it needed alterations so total cost = $60). And it really seems like the quality is a little better – for example your lined wool skirt. So, it's all good for me!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  21. jamie wrote:

    Yes I love thrifting and buying vintage because it always runs smaller. I have a 24 inch waist and vintage size *8* yes, EIGHT, fits me perfect. LOL! I also have a vintage size 4 button up shirt that fits like a 00P !

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  22. I didn't see Amish at first glance, but I did see a new career as one of those Colonial Times actors. Add some black boots, a white, high-collared shirt, a bonnet, and learn to churn butter all day. 😉

    Wow! That waist is tiny! and I'm liking the little pleats at the front and back. Looking forward to the tailoring magic in your "after" post!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  23. DSK Steph wrote:

    During college, my friend and I once found a men's Burberry jacket for $7! It even had someone's name stitched inside the coat. lol Kind of creepy, but my friend didn't mind!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  24. Mary Ann wrote:

    I'm a thrifting fan! There's a great store in a groovy section of Atlanta I go to about twice a year. I love it because I always find something cool. Last Christmas, I found a 1940s jacket and a 1960s dress that needed a bit of TLC. Since I sew, they were easy fixes. A few months ago, I found a Betsey Johnson dress and a Milly dress at this same store for cheap!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  25. tinymum wrote:

    Lol! Looking at the picture, my first thought was, you look like a modern Amish girl (no pun intended!) and then read ur post and you mentioned Amish semblance!

    Imaginng the 'after' picture, i know it's gonna look great on you! Can't wait!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  26. E. wrote:

    I've had a lot of luck finding amazing skirts with a size 0 waist since I started volunteering at Antwerp's Oxfam Vintage Boutique. The skirts date from the 30s to the 70s and are always made of quality materials and they often have beautiful detailing (covered buttons, hand-embroidery, etc) Of course, as volunteers, we an always have our pick before our customers get to the clothes, which is a real bonus 🙂 I was never a thrifter before, and thought Oxfam would be really stuffy, but I've found some real gems there.

    x E.

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  27. and you'll have so much left over material to play with!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  28. Suziee wrote:

    I can't wait to see the transformation! I absolutely love how the Sophisticate red skirt turned out!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  29. Mars wrote:

    I actually have the same exact dress passed down from my grandmother but I haven't done anything with it. It would be exciting to see what it will come out to 🙂 Good Luck. I know it will look amazing!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  30. Vicky wrote:

    Great find, Jean. Totally can see it post-alteration as a fall mini. Wow the waist is perfect. With that kind of length, I'd probably consider having it altered to be a just above the knee length A-line skirt. I can see the quality of the wool! Fantastic!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  31. Karima wrote:

    Great find! Can't wait to see what you do with it.

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  32. Jackie wrote:

    Great find!!

    I LOVE thrift store shopping ^^ I can't wait to see what you do with this.

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  33. Great find! Awhile back- I went to Savers and scored too! I got 2 work skirts (Ann Taylor and Petite Sophisticate), still waiting to tailor my AT deep red wool one). And scored a necklace too! Love Savers- only store that won't make me welt up and have an allergy attack. LOL Can't wait to see the after!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  34. Belle Muse wrote:

    Ohhh I Definitely want to see the finished product!! Post with alterations and a cute outfit 🙂

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  35. What a great find! I can totally picture it as a cute J.Crew-esque wool mini!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  36. Pip wrote:

    Wow! You just gave me the inspiration to take an awesome wool thrifted skirt I bought a year and a half ago, and take it to get altered. Thanks! xx

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  37. Anne wrote:

    Can't wait to see the make over 😀

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  38. Nelah wrote:

    You always find treasures at the thrift store and that is such bargain. I am not into thrift shopping and probably never will. I made an attempt awhile back at a consignment shop just to browse around but I felt it was not for me. Not that I have all the money in the world to buy at full price all the time. I still enjoy seeing what you ladies find though.

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  39. Amish lol! Fantastic, you can't go wrong with a great wool skirt like that – I love pockets in everything! Can't wait to see the After post.

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  40. @myhanh Blocked on my end so I can't imagine what it was…removed!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  41. P wrote:

    Even though you mentioned no one else will have pieces from the thrift store, I can't help but notice your blog doppelganger found almost your exact thrifted skirts and jewelry!

    Can't wait to see this shortened! Textured skirts are so nice for fall.

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  42. myhanh wrote:

    jean, et al- don't click on "P" from 9:40am comment SCAM link!! (bleah!)

    i got a "thrifted" cropped, wool grey blazer at Oona's in Harvard Sq. unfortunately, i think i overpaid and it's NOT returnable.

    maybe i'm due for a trip to savers, myself!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  43. kileen wrote:

    wow, i can't believe this is a size 4 skirt! the waist fits you perfectly and i can't wait to see what it looks like as a mini!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  44. I can't believe this skirt was a size 4. I can't wait to see it post alterations =)

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply
  45. Lol. That is going to make a great mini! Love, love! I've been very curious about this find since you alluded to it on twitter! I also have a thrifted skirt that is 4P that is SUPER DUPER tight around the waist, isn't it crazy who much larger sizes have gotten?

    Can't wait to see this back from alterations!

    Posted 9.14.11 Reply

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