When the heavy wool and fur in store windows make way for beautiful flashes of tangerine, fuchsia and floral prints, and winter boots are replaced with sexy espadrille wedges, my fashionista heart swells and I start to mentally plan out how I’m going to update my summer wardrobe — and, in the process, max out my credit card. For those of us who are trying to stay on budget, summer can be a very dangerous time of year. That said, warmer temperatures bring lighter-weight clothes and playful, bright colors, making it easy to look chic without breaking the bank. Here are 6 budget-friendly summer style tips that will keep your wardrobe and wallet happy.
Update your wardrobe with accessories
There are probably a lot of pieces from last year’s summer wardrobe that you still really love. Instead of running up your credit card to buy new clothes, update some of your favorites with fashion-forward accessories. Pair your favorite dress with a trendy tribal-inspired statement necklace, or adorn your wrists with a couple of brightly colored enamel bracelets.
Sell or swap clothes that you no longer wear
Consignment stores offer great options for freshening up your closet and making some change. Clothing resale stores, like Kind Exchange in Toronto, allow you to sell your old favorites for cash, swap them for new favorites or even donate a portion of your clothing sale to charity. If this kind of service doesn’t exist in your city, organize a clothing swap with your friends: get together to eat, drink and talk, and swap clothing and accessories that you no longer wear. What may one woman’s wardrobe reject could be your next favorite piece for summer 2012.
Get your hair done at a professional training salon
Craving ombre highlights or a new ’do for summer? Get your hair done at a professional training school like the Aveda Institute (with locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria). Having your hair done by a closely supervised student means you’ll get a quality salon experience for a lot le$$.
Do your own pedicures
Indulging in a professional pedicure at the beginning of sandal season is always money well spent. Regular visits to the salon throughout the summer? A huge, hard-to-justify drain on your wallet. Instead, hit the drugstore for a few high quality nail polishes, such as OPI or Essie ($8-$10 each), and some pedicure tools. For the $35-$40 you’d spend on one pedicure session, you can have pretty, colorful toes all summer.
Save on wardrobe basics
The summer months can be really hard on clothing, especially the tees and tanks you wear all the time. Sure, that $100 James Perse T-Shirt looks great now, but most likely won’t come September. Instead, buy your basics — the stuff that most likely will have to be replaced next year anyways — at a wallet-friendly store like Joe Fresh or H&M and save your change for one or two “investment pieces,” like a gorgeous summer dress that you’ll wear for several seasons to come.
Looking for the perfect outfit for a Mad Men–themed cocktail party or a unique music festival–ready boho piece? Check out your local vintage stores. You’ll very likely find pieces that are cheaper, better quality and way more unique than what you’d find at mall.
Did I miss anything? What are some of your budget friendly summer style tips? Let us know in the Comments!
Simone Paget is a freelance writer and the author of Skinny Dip, a cheeky blog about love, sex, relationships and everything in between. When she’s not writing her heart out, she loves wandering around her city, large cup of coffee in hand, in search of the next great story.