Some Ways to Save Money on Your Wardrobe

Being on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut new clothing out of your life for good. Follow these simple tips to save—while you shop.

1 Do Shop Slightly Out of Season

Most retailers get new deliveries of clothing at least every two weeks (if not more often), and are under constant pressure to turn over their merchandise. This means that season-specific items—summer shorts and sandals, winter hats and gloves—hit the shelves a month or so early and are likely to be deeply discounted halfway through the season, despite still being the latest trends (making right now, for example, a great time to shop for swimwear). Resist the urge to stock up on the new pieces you want for the coming season—snag them when they’re marked down, but still wearable for months instead.

2
Do Buy Better Basics
When it comes to wardrobe staples (a white buttoned shirt, black trousers, a go-to tee), the options are endless, seemingly similar, and available at every price point, from Forever 21 to Fendi. But when it comes to these pieces—the ones you’ll wear over and over again, year after year—it makes more sense to invest in quality items. The cheap black pencil skirt and the more expensive one might not look so different on the rack, but paying a little more now will prevent you from having to constantly replace the lower-priced version (which will show telltale signs of wearing and washing much sooner), saving you money in the long run.

3
Don’t Get Sucked in By Sales
Do you have Black Friday marked on your calendar? What about Cyber Monday? Super Saturday? Amazon Prime Day? Are you on the mailing list for all of your favorite stores because they offer insider deals and discounts? You may think you’re being a savvy consumer by always scoring new things at lower-than-retail value, but you’re really just playing into well-known consumer psychology retailers use to get their customers to buy more—and more often. Do yourself a favor and unsubscribe from all of those email lists. The next time you’re tempted by a sale item, first ask yourself, “Is this something I would pay full value for? Or am I just tempted to buy it because it’s on sale?”

4
Don’t Dry Clean
Prevent your laundry bills from racking up by checking care tags before you walk out of the store. If you have any items that are “dry clean only,” keep in mind that the purchase price of that item isn’t the final amount that it will ultimately cost your bank account—you need to factor in the cost of dry cleaning for every wear. Keeping your closet stocked with pieces you can launder yourself will keep the cost of caring for your wardrobe down considerably.

5
Do Pay Attention to Care Tags
If avoiding “dry clean only” items is a maxim you already live by, take it one step further and ensure you’re taking proper care of the clothing you have—just because you don’t need to dry clean a piece doesn’t mean it won’t need special care. Check the care tag and always launder according to the manufacturers specifications, whether that’s with cold water only, laying flat to dry, or handwashing. It will greatly extend the lives of your clothes.

6
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for a Discount
Have you ever spotted a could-be perfect piece in store, reached for it, and realized, sadly, that it’s been damaged? Usually, the issue is minor—a small (removable) stain, a ripped seam, or a missing button—nothing you can’t fix at home for the cost of a small emergency sewing kit. Instead of putting the item back on the rack in defeat, recognize it as an opportunity to inquire about the retailer’s damage discount policy; they usually have one in place that will knock about 10 percent off of the price, even if it’s already on sale.

7
Do Try Alternative Ways to Shop
Mass retailers aren’t the only options out there to keep your closet well-stocked. Try hosting a clothing swap with friends, scouring eBay for coveted investment pieces, and keeping an eye on the offerings at your local thrift, consignment, and off-price stores.

Tips to Care for All Your Favorite Summer Items

Maybe it’s because we actually want to spend time outside, but our summer clothing and accessories seem to take more of a beating then those we don during cooler months. To that end, below is your go-to guide (from the most expert of experts) on how to keep each treasured piece of warm-weather-wear looking good as new for next year—and the one after that.

1 Leather Sandals

Comfortable, effortless, and chic. How could you not want to wear these every single day that the sun is shining and the temp is over 70 degrees? To make sure your favorite pair is around for the long haul, follow the wisdom of shoe designer-extraordinaire, Stuart Weitzman:

After each wearing, clean leather sandals with a damp, soft sponge to remove the dirt and oil residue. This will help prevent buildup or discoloration.
Keep the packaging sandals come with—those plastic inserts and supports from the box—and tuck them back into sandals when storing them to help them retain their shape.

2 Straw Beach Bags and Totes

Nothing says summer quite like a pretty woven beach tote (and for style’s sake, they definitely beat out their canvas competition), but they do take a little extra love and care. Laurel Brandstetter, whose brand Mar y Sol has gone from an insider cult obsession to selling at nationwide retailers, like J.Crew, has a couple of tricks up her sleeve:

Throughout beach season, give straw bags a good shake to knock any sand out after each use. Then, spot-clean with a damp cloth.
If you’ve overstuffed or accidentally created a bulge in the straw, a good spritz with clean water from a spray bottle will dampen the fibers just enough to help you reshape a misshapen bag.
Store basket style totes upright—and make them multitask. They can be filled with towels, magazines, knitting supplies or anything else during the off-season.

3 White Denim

‘Tis the season! White jeans, ubiquitous during the summer months, pose one of the trickiest “keep it clean” conundrums. Mary Ellen Moschetti, the CEO of the fit-obsessed, trend-focused denim line Parker Smith, comes to the rescue:

If you’ve spilled something on your white jeans, treat the spot with a stain-remover, then turn it inside out and machine-wash in cold water.
For whites that are starting to look dingy, use a non-chlorine, oxygen-based bleach detergent when washing to help restore the brightness. No matter what, only wash them with other whites.
If your jeans contain stretch and have gotten baggy, throw them in the dryer. The heat will help stretch fibers bounce back to their original shape.

4 Sunglasses

Whether your pair is a statement accessory or more low-key, you probably wear your sunnies every day. And even if you’re careful with them, they’ll start to show signs of wear over time. Kristen McCabe, Sunglass Hut’s Vice President of Product, offers these tips for keeping your frames in good shape:

Clean your lenses regularly, even if they aren’t prescription. Always use a sunglass cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth. As tempting as it is to just fog the lens with your breath and swipe your shirt over it, resist—this can actually compound dust and dirt on the lens and cause scratches.
Don’t push your sunglasses up onto the top of your head like a headband. This will cause them to warp and stretch out over time.
Be conscientious about carrying your sunglasses in a case, so your keys or anything else in your handbag doesn’t scratch the lenses. If the box they came in is too bulky, opt for a space-saving microfiber pouch.

5 Flip-Flops

Maybe even more than your leather sandals, trusty flip-flops get the most abuse during summer. They’re everyone’s favorite footwear for the beach, the pool, running errands, and getting a pedicure—and over the course of all of this they acquire quite a bit of grime. Tara Wessells, Senior Merchandising Manager for Havaianas (a.k.a. the flip-flop), has the dirt on getting them squeaky clean again:

Using a soft-bristle nail brush and gentle dish soap, scrub the flip-flops gently under running warm water. Let them air dry, and they’ll be good as new.
Store brightly colored pairs in a dark place or stow them in shoe bags, as the rubber can fade easily in the sun.

Shirts for Hot Weather

Just because temperatures are skyrocketing and humidity is at an all time high doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself away in an air conditioned space. It’s summer after all, the time to get out there and spend some quality time with your friends—from weekend jaunts to the beach to road trips, start making your bucket list and crossing things off.

But summer does bring along it’s own set of wardrobe challenges—first and foremost, what to wear when the thought of pulling on clothing sounds like the least appealing task possible. Before you can start planning your next summer getaway, you’ll want to invest in some lightweight tops that won’t leave you sticking to the person next to you (trust us—they’ll appreciate the gesture). Think breezy cottons, airy linens, and blouses cut with plenty of room and spacious armholes. Shop our favorite lightweight shirts to help you stay cool, comfortable, and chic all summer long.

1 Uniqlo Cotton Linen ¾ Sleeve T Blouse

Looking for a top you can wear day in, day out without overheating? Made from an ultra cool, ultra soft cotton fabric, this airy T-shirt blouse is the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe. Plus, the box-cut shape and billowy sleeves give you extra room (for days that are extra hot). No clinging here. Also available in olive and navy.

To buy: $20; uniqlo.com.

2 Calypso St. Barth Anthea Mix Printed Silk Top

Make a statement in this sweet silk style. Perfect for your next girl’s night out, the bright botanical print offers a tropical vibe and is the perfect match for your everyday blue jeans and a pair of sneakers or a white midi skirt and a pair of wedges.

To buy: $250; calypsostbarth.com.

3 Ann Taylor Short Sleeve Tie-Waist Poplin Top

This peachy poplin top is finished with an ultra figure-friendly tie waist that flatteringly accents every body shape. Pair it with a white trouser and printed sandal, and you’re good to go. Swap in a pair of heels and some gold accessories to elevate the look. Also available in navy and white.

To buy: $70; anntaylor.com.

4 J. Crew Collection Thomas Mason
A top that can you can wear in more than one way is always a smart wardrobe addition, and this off-the-shoulder striped number is just that. With buttons along each wrist, wear them down or cuff them up. Not a fan of the bare-shoulder look? Pull the adjustable neckline up to create a fetching square look instead. With endless styling options, you really get the most for your money with this one.

To buy: $98; jcrew.com.

5 COS Tie-Back Check Top

Add some color to your usual rotation of blacks and whites with this bright yellow gingham option. Pair the cotton top with a light pink pant for an unexpected, bright look, or opt for blue or white denim for a more classic summer look.

To buy: $89; cosstores.com.

6 Cooper & Ella Ana Tassel Cami

As things get warmer, it’s natural to gravitate toward your collection of tanks. But instead of wearing that well-worn wide-strapped number, look for one with a little something extra. The brocade-like print and crossed straps on this cami give you the lightweight comfort you need and all the style you could want.

Lightweight Pieces for Extremely Hot Weather

Though we look forward to the never-ending summer days all winter long, one thing we could honestly live without is the humidity. Navigating a city—or anywhere, for that matter—on a sweltering summer day is no easy feat. With early morning temperatures starting at 90 degrees and making their way up and over 100, one has to do anything they can to stay cool. From avoiding over-packed subway cars to drinking iced coffees, we’re willing to try everything and anything to cool off, even just a little. But, when all else fails, the one easy thing you can always do to stay cool is dress in the perfect pieces for hot weather—think cool cotton blouses and light linen pants. Here, some of our favorites.

1 Uniqlo Linen Cotton Striped Shirt Dress

For a day in the office—or a day at the beach or the pool—a linen cotton shirtdress is just the thing you need. Pair this number with structured pumps and statement earrings or fun sandals and a straw tote—this is one dress that can go the extra mile.

To buy: $20; uniqlo.com.

 

2 Topshop Washed D-Ring Shorts

A lightweight short is a summertime must-have. Whether heading to Sunday brunch with friends or the pool with your family, a pair of updated shorts is the perfect addition to any look. Plus, the ultra feminine pink color will keep you looking cool, even if you’re over-heating.

To buy: $65; topshop.com.

3 Calypso St. Barth Blandy Tassel Trim Linen Pant

On days that are so hot you can’t think straight (let along put together an outfit), an all white linen pant is a reliable go-to. From errands to dinner, they are super versatile. Plus, the fun pom-poms give your look that little something extra. Also available in grey and natural.

To buy: $195, calypsostbarth.com.

 

4 River Island Floral Wrap Frill Sleeve Crop Top

With three-quarter frill sleeves, this shirt leaves plenty of room so the fabric doesn’t stick, even if you start to sweat. The floral print is super playful and the cropped style looks best (and doesn’t show too much skin) when paired with a high-waisted skirt. Available in two other colors.

To buy: For a similar product: $40; topshop.com.

5 J. Crew Ruffle Wrap Skirt in Cotton Poplin

A wrap skirt is that just-right, warm-weather item—it gives you plenty of room for moving, without feeling constrained or overly covered up. Plus the ruffled hem will catch the wind as you walk by, making it look as airy as it feels. Also available in khaki.

To buy: For a similar product: $95; shopbop.com.

6 COS Shoulder-Strap Dress

Heading out for a night with friends, but don’t want to find yourself sticking to everything you come in contact with? Switch out your well-worn LBD for something a bit more eye-catching. This easy, breezy cotton dress will ensure all eyes are on you—for all the right reasons.

Some Summer Heels to Add to Your Wardrobe Now

Summer heels are a tricky part of every wardrobe. Finding a shoe that is an appropriately comfortable height, has enough breathability, and pairs nicely with all of your warm weather ensembles is no easy feat (pardon the pun).

But don’t worry—we searched high and low to source the cream of this summer’s footwear crop, so you can put your best foot forward. And while heeled sandals are certainly a summer mainstay, they’re not the only style appropriate for the sweltering temperatures—there are plenty of easy, breezy pumps you’ll want to keep on rotation all the way through fall (great news for all the ladies out there who have office dress codes that bar open-toed shoes). If you’re looking to spice up your summer wardrobe and add a little pep to your step, there’s something for you here.

1 Kate Spade Piedra Heels

We bet you have a pair of black sandals in your closet already—but not a pair like this! Bright rickrack trim will add a fun pop of color without overwhelming the rest of your outfit. A short, chunky heel ensures you can dance the night away, too.

To buy: $250; katespade.com.

 

2 Ann Taylor Carson Tassel Suede Pumps

Jewelry isn’t the only place we’re seeing the tassel trend this summer—it’s popping up on footwear too, putting the “fun” in even the most functional pair of pumps. Pop these into your work-week rotation—your feet will thank you (they have an ultra padded foot bed for maximum comfort!). Also available in black and grey.

To buy: $80; anntaylor.com.

3 Target x Who What Wear Ally Printed Pumps

Gingham is the biggest print of the season, but in large doses it can be a little overwhelming. Why not try it south of your ankles instead? These statement heels will dress up a monochromatic outfit, and go well with distressed jeans and a white tee.

To buy: $35; target.com.

4 Badgley Mischka Lizbeth Ankle Strap Pump

A crystal-encrusted ankle strap adds a little glam to your look without being overly obvious. The pointy toe is a classic shape, so consider these shoes an investment piece—you’ll be wearing them to weddings and other events for years to come. Also available in red.

To buy: $110; nordstrom.com.

5 Cole Haan Gabby Sandal

Elvis must have been on to something when he sang about blue suede shoes—this pair is as eye-catching as it is versatile. Crisscross straps give these sandals an of-the-moment feel without being too trendy, and the light blue hue works surprisingly well as a neutral. Also available in black and mocha.

To buy: $100; colehaan.com.

6 Aldo Lolla Heels

Stacked block heels allow for maximum comfort while walking, because they create a wider base for your heel than a standard stiletto. These simple sandals are perfect for everyday wear and can be easily dressed up for a summer wedding. Also available in black, gold, and white.

To buy: $70; aldoshoes.com.

 

7 White House Black Market Chambray Cork Heels

Two trends in one (chambray and cork) make looking put-together a snap. This pair is guaranteed to be lightweight, thanks to the cork heel, and, just like your jeans, the chambray will match everything in your closet.