Let’s be honest: Summer is right around the corner and the itch to buy something new is just as intense as the mosquito bites we’re already anticipating. Before you add everything in sight to your cart, let us remind you that those summer fashion pieces you picked up last year are probably just as good now as they were a year ago. That doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a little something-something, but it’s savvier to be smart about where—and what—you put your money in for the summertime.
With mood boards full of linens, breezy dresses, natural prints, and comfy sets, your summer fashion shopping list can pile up quickly. We’re never ones to stray you away from treating ourselves, but knowing how to strategize your spending is a necessity. This is where our editors are spending and splurging on summer fashion this year.
Save: Maxi skirts
While our editors are wearing our denim maxis on repeat this year, we also know that there’s a pretty good chance we won’t be styling them a couple years from now. Since the trend is so widespread, there are plenty of inexpensive options to choose from that are just as chic as pricey ones.
Splurge: Denim shorts
All you really need is one pair of good denim shorts, and once you find your favorites, you can wear them for years on end. Rather than getting fast-fashion ones that don’t hold up well, investing a little extra into a pair that’ll last is your best bet.
If you’re in the market for a new and reliable button-up, places like Old Navy, H&M, and thrift stores will be your absolute best friend. The quality is usually just as good as higher end ones; just pay attention to the material of the ones you’re looking at (cotton ones tend to wrinkle the most). If you have your sights set on a high-end button-down, peruse your local thrift stores—odds are, you’ll find a pre-loved one that fits the bill.
It’s important that your swimsuit meets all the requirements for you to feel comfortable and at your best in. That being said, a cheap bikini is not going to stand the test of time (or be worth your $$$ in the long run). Opting for a higher quality suit will have your future self thanking you.
Linen is a summer mainstay, but doesn’t tend to be something you need to spend a lot of money to find a great piece. Speaking from experience, my favorite linen pants are from Target, and although I’ve had them for three years now, they don’t show any signs of wear. Just pay attention to wash and dry instructions, and you can keep an inexpensive pair looking good as new.
When the heat is at its highest, all I want to wear is biker shorts or something to move around easily in. High-quality activewear tends to have better sweat-wicking ability, which you need on extra-hot days when you can’t be bothered to put on real clothes.
Save: Raffia bags
Nothing screams summer more like a wicker or raffia bag. Since these materials don’t tend to be the most durable in the world (even if you get a more expensive option), we don’t recommend breaking the bank on one—especially since they’re likely to be dragged to the beach and be put on patio floors during summer happy hours.
While you can get inexpensive summer sandals, getting ones that will last you should be a bigger priority. Invest in a pair or two that you love and that are comfortable, and you won’t have to worry about buying a new pair next year (or the year after that).