Sarah Stepanek sits on the ground in front of a blooming hydrangea bush. She is wearing a thrifted black hat from ThredUp, thrifted pink print Drew T-shirt from ThredUp, pleated pale yellow pants with black dots, UGGs shoes, socks from hop Mad Cool and a flower bead ring from Planet Solana
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Thrifted Rainbow – Sarah Stepanek

Sarah Stepanek is a tireless thrifter, creator of the hashtag #ThriftColorfully, and known for her rainbow-like outfits on Instagram. Here are some of her favorite thrifted finds and outfits.

  • Liisa Jokinen

  • Dec 27, 2022

“I usually describe my style as a secondhand and small shop-focused walking rainbow.

I don’t have any styling rules that I follow. If it makes me happy, then I wear it!

I’m definitely more of a rule breaker than a rule follower.

I have been into thrift and secondhand as far back as I can remember. My first memories of shopping secondhand were going to garage sales and community flea markets when I was really little.

There is not one decade that I am exclusively drawn to because, for me, it depends on the pieces. I’ve become a secondhand collector of Susan Alexandra’s beaded bags. I’m up to 7 so far.

I’ve also been drawn to the recent collections from Gucci, so hopefully, I can find some of those pieces secondhand someday! I would love to find a Gucci x Disney piece. That would be a dream.

When shopping IRL, I’m definitely a Goodwill girl. I have become a convert in the last year or so to the Goodwill Outlet (aka “The Bins") where you pay by the pound and that has become my favorite.

The Darn Good Yarn skirt is one of my Goodwill Outlet rescues. I had received a couple of gifted items from them in the past so I was familiar with their fabrics, so when I saw the skirt in the bins, I was shocked and happy to give it a good home. The Kenzo shirt was a score from the Designer section on ThredUp.

The top hat is also from Goodwill. I added my own vintage brooches. The vintage pants are from Sorry Sister Shop and are one of my favorite pairs in my wardrobe. They fit like they were made for me and they have pockets!

I can honestly spend an entire afternoon digging. I love the thrill of the hunt and finding those hidden gems.

My best tips for the bins are to go on a weekday and give yourself several hours of time. Wear a mask and gloves. Start at one side of the bin and make your way across looking through each item. Consider bringing your own reusable bag such as an IKEA bag to bag your items after you check out in case there are none available (or in case there are no carts).

Online I shop a lot on ThredUp and eBay. I scored the Stine Goya dress for about $4 on ThredUp after it being discounted, applying credit, and point discount. Originally $440!

On ThredUp, my favorite category to start with is Designer. I usually check at least once a day to see and favorite things from what’s new.

When online shopping, I recommend filtering as much as possible to narrow down what you are looking for. Save your search to be notified if a new item is listed that meets your criteria.

Both Christopher John Rogers for Target dress and Susan Alexandra bag are saved searches on my ThredUp.

I found the suit in the men’s section of the thrift store and since I was wearing tights and a dress, tried it on right there. The swirl top is from Plato’s Closet, shoes from Goodwill bins, earrings by Kodes Accessories, and bracelet Le Concept.

Something people may not realize about thrifting is how often you will find things new with tags.

I know many people’s aversion to shopping secondhand is not wanting to wear things that other people have worn and there are so many pieces that are brand new.

I came up with the concept Thrift Colorfully just over three years ago because secondhand is a big part of my life and I love color so I wanted to combine the two. The hashtag #ThriftColorfully is up to almost 16k posts now! I have expanded it also to be the name of my eBay shop.

I would also like to add that thrifting doesn’t have just to be clothes and fashion. You can basically get anything secondhand. Need kitchenware? They got that. Doing a craft project? Check thrift stores first.”

Follow Sarah on Instagram @imsarahstepanek