Thrifting Trends: Pantone “Evergreen”

I’ve mentioned before that I like browsing my boss’s Talbots catalogue for inspiration – go ahead, judge me.  One of the colors they featured this fall caught my eye in this corduroy pant.  Talbots calls the color “Scotch Pine,” which is a great name – and I am a sucker for well-named colors. But basically it’s just their take on Pantone’s Evergreen, one of the colors they’ve selected for fall/winter 2016-17. (For the record I like Talbot’s version better, but it might just be the depth added by the corduroy.)

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Pantone Evergreen; Talbots Scotch Pine

As mentioned above, I really dug how luscious this color looked in corduroy; since there is nary a green in my wardrobe color palette, though, I had resigned myself to admiring it from afar. But when I tried out adding color to my wardrobe via pants, which didn’t require much matching elsewhere, I realized I wanted to do it more. And why shouldn’t I give Evergreen/Scotch Pine (or its thrifted equivalent) a try?

So last time I went thrifting I made a quick run down the pants racks to see if there were any evergreen-ish pants hanging around.  It can be a bit tricky to find Pantone colors of the year/season in the thrift store since retailers are still peddling the new hues in stores.  But even though Pantone likes to make us think they invented the color wheel, the truth is these colors (or ones very similar) have made the fashion rounds before, as evidenced by the kaleidoscope of colors at your local thrift shop.

I had already spotted two great blazers in a serviceable Scotch Pine on a previous trip:

I think Talbots called this “Hunter Green” last time it made the rounds.

Blazer with contrast lining by Merona; I own the same one in camel.

This time around I found an overcoat by Forecaster of Boston (Made in USA) – apologies for the blurry photos!

Wouldn’t a coat in this color make a smashing statement?

And in the pants section, I spotted these M Missoni pants (retail $300+ !!) whose color did not photograph well but was close to this:



The M Missoni were alas, too small – and also rather lightweight.

But then I found Jessica Simpson cords (retail $59) that were just the right color, weight, and cut – if a little low in rise.  Lowrise waists, you are so tiresome.

Love this slim leg that keeps from veering entirely into skinny territory (and Holy Mirror Smudges, Batman):


I’m bringing window cleaner and a rag to the Goodwill next trip.


Here are some eBay photos of the same pants if you wish to view sans mirror smudges.

For $6, they came home with me so I can experiment with this color. I don’t know if I’ll love it or leave it, but this will definitely be a fun, affordable way to find out!  And lesson learned – don’t be afraid to look for current trends at the thrift store!


What trends have you had success thrifting while they’re still in retail stores? Flares come to mind as another surefire find these days…


Beyond “It” Colors: Searching for Cerulean Chinos

I’ve added tapered chinos in this color to my thrifting list:

Not necessarily looking for Khakis by Gap, but I did love the fabric and fit…just a leetle too small

For blue pants I normally stick to navy, since it’s subtle and neutral, but this brighter, lighter hue will go with everything in my warm weather wardrobe (including navy) and liven things up a bit.   It’s almost summer, after all!

I’d call this color cerulean; it was definitely an “it” color a few (several?) seasons ago, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same as the cerulean featured in this clip from The Devil Wears Prada.  You won’t see it in most stores now.

Here’s what’s great about thrifting, though: you have everyone’s donated items from past seasons to help fill holes in your wardrobe, even if your preferred silhouette/color/fabric isn’t currently “in.”

Of course, that means you have to put in a little hard work to come up with your own style instead of chasing trends and the Pantone colors of the year.  But when you’ve figured out what you love (and it’s not just whatever happens to be hot in the mall nearest you), then you’re in charge instead of leaving your look up to fast fashion gurus.

And if you wear a color or cut that’s no longer “hip”?  Instead of seeming outdated,when you pair it with the rest of your purposely chosen clothes, it will read as “you” – part of your signature style.


Thrifting: you get to build a unique style, curating it with clothes from a much wider range than what’s currently in retail stores.

Win all around.


Do you have a favorite color or style that’s not “in” but that you snap up if you see it secondhand?


PS I’m seeing a lot of burgundy/oxblood pants currently in thrift stores…they were huge last year but if this color is YOU, don’t be afraid to get amongst it now!  Cobalt is also pretty prevalent.


Strategies for Thrifting Trends

The Friday re-blog a few weeks ago about thrifting runway trends got me thinking about thrifting trends in general.

In some ways, I like to think of thrifting as a second-run theater where all the movies show up 2 months late but the tickets are $1.50 so you don’t mind waiting; plus 2 months is enough time to hear from other moviegoers whether that new blockbuster is really worth your money. (This is how I ended up seeing Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 only last week.)

So it goes with clothing trends–there’s a definite delay in their arrival at your local thrift shop, but you get them for a lot cheaper AND there’s a buffer between you and any short-lived, ill-considered trends (personally I’m thinking of all things neon).  You have some time to let new trends, colors, etc. marinate and decide whether they really fit your style, instead of just succumbing to fashion peer pressure–“everybody’s wearing military parkas, so I must, too!”

Military parkas--a trend I've studiously avoided
Military parkas–a trend I’ve studiously avoided

Full disclosure: I tend to be a late adopter for the reasons stated above plus the fact that sometimes it just takes a while for something to grow on me (slim-cut pants come to mind…), so I’m biased.  You may not be as patient, or you may be more adventurous or spontaneous, or you may just want to be able to do the fashion equivalent of talking about The Martian in the staff lunchroom the Monday after it comes out.  No judgment here!

So if you want to enjoy trends but also shop secondhand, how quickly do trends cycle through the buy-donate-resell cycle–that is, when can you expect to find them in thrift stores?  Well, it varies.  A really popular trend can take awhile to show up on thrift racks because EVERYBODY is buying them and actually wearing them, and the greater the trend’s staying power, the less likely folks will want to donate their own pair (I’m looking at you again, slim-cut pants and skinny jeans–took forEVER for them to show up in thrift stores).  On the other hand, the more popular a certain style, the greater circulation and the greater chance you’ll see it come through eventually, and probably not before the trend has completely jumped the shark.  But it’s a guessing game.

My advice to navigating the trend/thrift rollercoaster?  First, since (almost) everything old is new again, look for donations from a few years (or decades) ago and repurpose those vintage items for today.  I guarantee you that chambray existed before J. Crew picked it up, and flared/wide-leg pants have definitely cycled in and out a few times just since I’ve been paying attention to clothes–which is not counting the bell bottoms of the 60s and 70s.  Thrift stores can be the best places to find those newly-repopularized items because it’s the first place they go after they’ve been evicted from someone’s grandma’s closet or childhood bedroom.  Maxi dresses, cross-body handbags, cashmere sweaters, sequins, velvet, palazzo pants, silk scarves, riding boots…this ain’t their first rodeo.

Second, if you’ve discerned what your style is really about and what colors/cuts/fabrics/detailing are your jam, you can determine, with a certain amount of cool-headedness, whether a trend is something you even care about at all.  If this year’s Pantone color doesn’t do it for you, but you’d buy one of everything in 2013’s color Emerald if given the chance, then avoid this year’s trend and snatch up all the donated Emerald merchandise you can find.  True style is knowing what’s you and wearing it with confidence; if you truly love something but it’s no longer “on trend,” it’ll stick in your wardrobe and become your signature; when people see you wearing it, they won’t think it’s behind the times but rather see it as part of your look.


What trends have you skipped–or wished you’d skipped?  What trends have you embraced because you know you’ll love them forever?  Or do you embrace new fashions, using thrifting to add some inexpensive trendiness to your closet?