How to Create the Perfect Pool Party Outfit On a Budget 


Sun, beach balls, a few cold drinks: it doesn’t take much to put a pool party together. Whether at someone’s home or at the community pool, there are so many directions you can go. Pool parties can be elaborate shindigs with plenty of gourmet food or informal get-togethers with a few of your favorite friends. After a year of being cooped up, now is the time to get out in the open, splash around and test your skills on the diving board.

Now that you’ve accepted the invite (or sent invites of your own), the question becomes: what should you wear? If you’re on a budget, it may initially look like your options are limited. In reality though, you might be surprised at just how far you can get with just a few bucks if you know where to go. We’ll look at how women and men can approach this equation and find the perfect solution.

Pool Parties and Thrift Stores

Thrift stores like Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona are great for nearly any ensemble combination, from professional to casual, and everything in between. This is particularly handy to know when you’re planning ahead for this summer fête.

When you’re at a pool party, your clothes are liable to get soaked. You might get pushed in when you’re least expecting it, or splashed when you’re still on dry land. Not only will you need something that you don’t mind getting wet, but you’ll also likely need a change of clothes by the time the sun goes down.

Pool parties are designed to be free-for-alls in many ways, and the whole point is to cut loose and get a little wild. It helps to keep that in mind when you’re getting ready. If you can stretch your budget with some very reasonably priced pieces, it’ll be that much better to come prepared.

Pool Party Ideas for Women

Whether you’re in a one- or two-piece, the suit is going to be right up against your skin. To add a little contrast (and comfort), why not add something a little flowy to the top or bottom? Summer skirts with fringe, see-through overlay and oversized overalls are all great options if you’re going for a breezy look.

Of course, you can always go with the old standards too. Cut-off shorts are always a classic and can be either purchased as-is or made by you using an old pair of jeans and some scissors. And don’t forget your pool party accessories, like oversized tote bags, sunglasses and bucket hats. At Goodwill, you can find an array of accessories that are perfect for keeping you cool in the hot sun.

pool party thrift store outfit ideas

The benefit of a pool party is that you can throw out a lot of the conventional rules when it comes to how to dress and what to wear. It depends on your group of friends to some extent, but most people are open to whatever. While you wouldn’t normally pair an old heavy metal concert t-shirt with bikini bottoms to a party, you can absolutely get away with it when you’re at the pool.

With that said, this can also be a great excuse to bring back some of the more retro styles. Anything from flower-child sheer tops to short shorts can wind up infusing color and fun into your outfit. Putting on your duds with confidence starts with being original. Why risk showing up somewhere wearing the same thing when you can have something that’s all your own?

Pool Party Ideas For Men

Men don’t have to buy the latest from the top designers to look great at their next pool party. It could be as simple as throwing a loose-fitted button-down shirt over some khakis or swim trunks. Or try a light-colored plaid for a relaxed vibe (essentially required for a day near the water).

This classic style has a lot going for it, and there are very few guys who wouldn’t get a style upgrade if they go this route. Of course, you can also step it up with a solid-colored polo shirt and colorful board shorts or a bright Hawaiin shirt paired with white jean shorts. There are also times when you might be better off wearing nothing but a plain white t-shirt and your swimsuit.

When you’re shopping at Goodwill, try thinking past what something is and see it for what it could be. Pants can be turned into shorts, shirts can be dyed a different color, and shoes can get some upgrades with a new leather strap.

pool party thrift store outfit ideas at Goodwill

Men should also plan to bring a sweater or jacket for when the sun goes down. Even if you’re planning a bonfire after the pool, you’ll still want something available when the temperature drops. Having a few layers stuffed in your bag will keep you feeling comfortable, whether you end up digging them out or not.

More Tips for Dressing for the Pool

There are so many body types out there, and everyone can be confident at the pool when they have an outfit that makes them feel good. It helps to go somewhere with a large selection if you’re just getting started on your quest.

Thrift stores like Goodwill may not always have exactly what you’re looking for, but they will certainly have plenty of options on hand. Sometimes you may need to hem a seam or trim some fabric, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the right pieces for you.

When you’re looking, remember that both petite and plus-size swimwear should show off your curves and work in your favorite colors. If you want to wear a black swimsuit with a bright French-striped t-shirt and some cut-offs, feel free. Or if you’re not into bright colors, dark blue and purple look particularly nice next to a sparkling blue pool.

What to Wear on Your Feet

You might not have your shoes on for very long at the party, but you’ll definitely be arriving in them and likely lounging around later. At Goodwill, we recommend getting open-toed shoes to start. If you need something with more support for when it gets colder, you can always pack socks and a change of shoes.

From basic flip-flops for guys to comfort slide sandals for women, just make sure you’re able to walk around slick surfaces. Those heeled sandals might look great, but they could increase your odds of a stumble or a slip on the way back and forth from the pool (especially if there’ll be a few drinks at this pool party).

Finding the Perfect Outfit for You

Creating the perfect outfit for you starts with having a few ideas and then matching them to what you have on hand. Even people with all the money in the world will find it difficult to find the perfect outfit if their ideas are too specific!

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we make it possible to switch up your outfits whenever you’d like, turning your wardrobe into the perfect smorgasbord for summer.

Friends partying in the pool

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