11 Affordable Essentials for the Perfect Summer Wardrobe

Quote of the Post:
“You have to be odd to be number one” – Dr. Seuss


Can you tell how excited I am about summer? I cannot stop thinking about sunny weather, relaxing, and actually having motivation to get out from under my blankets. When there’s a change in weather then there’s got to be a change in wardrobe, am I right?

I know, from experience, that money can be a struggle for some people. Not all of us have a ton of money available to spend on clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against wealthier people. I’m just saying that there are plenty of clothing items that are cheaper but just as cute as their high-end sisters.

If you’re trying to save a little money like me, there’s one trick that I swear by. It makes shopping much much simpler: buy items that can be worn in multiple different combinations. For example, look for a simple t-shirt that can be worn with a pair of denim shorts, flowy shorts, tucked into a skirt, anything!

Now that I’ve just revealed the key to the universe (lol), let’s get to the essentials, shall we?

1. A simple t-shirt that goes with any pair of bottoms

What’s summer without short sleeve shirts? When I say that the t-shirt should go with any type of bottoms, I mean the perfect length and tightness to go with denim shorts, flowy shorts, or any pair of bottoms that you’d want to wear in summer. Also keep in mind the color of the shirt. Choose a neutral color that’s easy to pair.

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Soft & Sexy T-Shirt from American Eagle – on sale for $14.96 – available in white or gray

2. A light and airy tank top

For those days when the weather is just too hot to handle, a tank top is a great option to help you stay cool. I tend to go for muscle tanks, but I do love a good high neck spaghetti strap tank, too. Remember to choose a fabric that isn’t too thick, or otherwise, you won’t really cool down that much. My personal favorite tank top that I own:

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Soft & Sexy Side Tie Tank from American Eagle – on sale for $12.47 – available in lilac or blue

3. A classic pair of denim shorts

High waisted or low rise, light wash or dark wash, whatever combination suits your preference and will go with the tops already in your wardrobe. My favorite pair of shorts are a dark wash, medium rise pair of cutoff shorts. They’re also super stretchy and mobile. Their dark wash allows them to be easily paired with the many light colored tops in my closet.

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Super Stretch High Rise Denim Shorts in Medium Indigo from PacSun – $39.95 – available for BOGO 50% off

4. A flowy pair of shorts

Flowy shorts are perfect for when you just don’t feel like having thick denim stuck to your bum. Tip: when you’re trying on a pair of these in the dressing room, lift your knees up and see if your underwear gets exposed. No one wants to flash the public, right? Also, since the fabric tends to be thinner, ensure the material isn’t see through. I personally wouldn’t buy a pair from Forever 21 because while their clothes are great for being cheap, the material can be pretty low quality.

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Shorts with Lace Details from H&M – $19.99 – available in powder pink, light blue, and floral

5. A versatile romper or dress

Dresses/rompers are a must-have for when you’re just too lazy to pair a top with shorts. Try searching for one that can be worn to a formal event, such as graduation, and that can also be worn casually, like to a bonfire. This way, you can save money and won’t need to buy two separate dresses. Floral prints are a great option, but solid colors also work.

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Floral Square-Neck Dress from Forever 21 – $12.90

6. A bralette for layering

Halter, racerback, lace, whatever you think will go with the majority of tops/dresses in your closet. I like to think of bralettes as an upgrade from a regular old bra. Great for muscle tanks or something that requires a little bit of your bra to be shown, bralettes are meant to be put on display! Try to purchase one that has padding underneath.

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Padded Lace Racerback Bralette from Aerie – on sale for $13.47 – available in white, black, fall mint, alpha turquoise, and navy

7. A comfy pair of flip flops or slides

Some people may hate flip flops, but I think we all need a pair that we can slide on whenever we don’t feel like wearing a fancy pair of sandals. They’re perfect for chillaxing days at the beach.

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Classic Flip-Flops from Old Navy – on sale for $3.50 – available in 10 other colors

8. A chic pair of sandals

Sandals are perfect when you’re wearing an outfit that’s more on the fancy side. They can dress up any item, and there are so many different styles of sandals out there. Gladiator, thong, lace up, or maybe even a fancier pair of flip flops. Honestly, I’d never get sick of buying sandals. For an affordable but cute pair, hit up Marshall’s or Nordstrom Rack for amazingly discounted items.

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Gibson Lace-Up Sandal by Sam Edelman from Nordstrom Rack – on sale for $27

9. A swimsuit for tanning and swimming

What’s summer without a swimsuit? Everybody has to have one for going to the beach or for cooling off by the pool on hot summer days. Again, buy one that’s versatile, meaning, suitable (haha, get it?) for swimming and tanning. No one wants awkward tan lines! Bikini or one piece, the choice is yours.

For swimsuits, I would invest a little more money into them. A lot of the cheaper ones can become see-through and start sagging after a few wears and washes.

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Binding Tropical Print One Piece from PacSun – $45.95

10. An eye-catching pair of sunglasses

These. Are. A. Must! I don’t care if you’ve survived summer without a pair of sunglasses before, go buy a pair right now! Whenever I put on a pair, I feel so much cooler and as if I’m actually blocking out everybody. Plus, there are so many different styles at affordable prices out there to suit anyone’s situation.

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Reflective Brow Bar Sunglasses from Charlotte Russe – on sale for $6

11. A tote or backpack to fit all your belongings

For day trips with your friends or night-outs, a girl’s got to keep her must-haves close to her! Guys may have it better with their bottomless pockets, but we get the opportunity to carry around a stylish bag. Backpack, cross-body, bucket, there are an endless amount of options.

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Pebbled Crossbody Satchel from Forever 21 – $27.90


Alright, this wraps up the 11 essential items you absolutely need for summer! To reiterate all my tips and tricks:

  • Buy items that work in multiple different combinations
  • Make sure they can be dressed up or down
  • Buy items in neutral-isa colors that can be paired with anything
  • Ask yourself which items are worth splurging on
  • Especially when buying cheap, make sure the item isn’t too low-quality

Love you all and happy shopping!

❀ Anissa ❀

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