Easy Summer Wardrobe On A Budget

Easy Summer Wardrobe On A Budget Now that summer is here, we need an easy, versatile summer wardrobe. With more casual days ahead, we can easily do this on a budget. I actually prefer a simple, minimal wardrobe for summer. With a simple, basic system, I can get dressed quickly and move on to fun summer activities. Besides, this will free up money for other things like that summer vacation you’re about to take. This minimal, summer wardrobe will save you time, save you money, and still give you lots of outfit options all summer long, for any occasion. Are you ready to put together this fun, simple wardrobe? Let’s get started!

     First, you need to think about the categories of clothes that you need. These will depend, somewhat, on your lifestyle, but most of us have similar categories of clothes that we need and I’ll cover each of these in this summer wardrobe system. The categories of clothes you will need are:

BASIC CASUAL –  Basic, very casual clothes for weekdays at home or quick errands.

  • 4-5 bottoms, in neutral colors
  • 5-7 tops, in colors to mix and match with neutral bottoms
  • Basic, everyday walking shoes and sandals
  • Basic earrings and necklace for everyday wear

NICE CASUAL –  Semi-casual clothes for social or shopping outings.

  • 3 complete outfits, consisting of bottoms and tops to match, or casual dresses
  • Nice, flat sandals
  • Wedge heel espadrilles
  • Summery purse or tote
  • Trendy earrings, necklaces, and bracelets to mix and match with all three outfits

WORK CLOTHES – Depends on your type of job. Buy key, quality items and mix and match for versatility.

  • 5 pants
  • 8 tops
  • 1 dress or skirt outfit
  • Good quality shoes and handbag
  • Good quality, classic accessories

DRESSY CLOTHES – Clothes for Sunday church, special occasions, and events.

  • 1 or 2 dresses or skirt outfits
  • 2 or 3 pants with tops to match
  • Dressy pumps and/or sandals
  • 1 or 2 good, quality handbags, and 1 clutch
  • Jewelry

     For a complete list of items to include in your wardrobe, see my printable, Lifetime Minimal Summer Wardrobe.

     This list might sound like a lot to buy, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is how to get your wardrobe together on a budget:

  1.  Print out the list and go to your closet. Always organize and plan with what you already have before you even think about heading out to shop.
  2. Organize your clothes into the categories I mentioned above.
  3. Take out things that are no longer useful, such as things that are worn out, stained, don’t fit right, or just don’t fit your lifestyle.
  4. Count how many keepers you have left in each category. I’ve listed my recommended amounts for each, but determine how many items you think you need to add for each category. You could probably get by with a little less, or add a little more, depending on your budget.
  5. Check off items that you have in your closet that are still good to wear and on the list. Then, write down items in each category that you need to shop for.
  6. Now, make a final plan by looking at your monthly clothing budget.
  7. Prioritize your shopping list and plan what you will buy each month to add to your wardrobe.
  8. Decide where you will shop for your items.
  9. Start searching for sales and collecting store coupons. You might have to rearrange your priority list to buy things when they go on sale, but thats ok. Thats a smart way to get more for your money.
  10. Start writing down ideas for how to mix and match items in your wardrobe and how to add accessories. This is a lot of fun and will make you look like you have a ton of clothes, even if you don’t!




  • Know when to save and when to splurge. Save on basic, casual clothes for everyday wear, but splurge (a little) on nice, casual clothes for social outings, and even a little more for special event clothes. If you do this, nobody will even know you’re on a tight clothing budget. You’ll be spending your money on clothes that really matter.
  • Make your wardrobe look like more by spending money on accessories, such as jewelry. Jewelry is usually cheaper than clothing and you can use jewelry to make more interesting outfits without overspending. Even if you let yourself spend $10. a month on jewelry, you could add about 4 or 5 trendy accessories to your wardrobe and make it look more fun.
  • Know what stores to shop at. For everyday casual clothes, try discount stores for basic T-shirts and basic bottoms. Department stores sometimes have good sales and even have their own clothing brands that are nice but less expensive. These are great for your nice, casual clothes. I also love outlet stores. Some of the stores are good for basics and some are better for dressier clothes. They also have good sales.
  • Look for sales, use coupons, get preferred customer reward cards (not credit cards), and get on mailing lists. You’ll know when a sale is starting, and then you can check your list to see if there’s anything you could get on your list. Don’t let yourself get tempted to buy items not on your list, unless it really is a great price and could really add versatility to your wardrobe.


  1. Really try to stick to the plan. Remember your budget and why you want to save on clothing. You really can save money and still have plenty to wear!
  2. Get creative with your wardrobe. The key is learning to mix and match items in different ways. You can even mix and match items in different categories for more ideas. For example, you could wear a very basic top with a nicer pair of pants, and then dress it up with accessories. This will give you even more options. This brings me to my next important point.
  3. Use accessories to make more outfit options. This includes shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves, and even jackets and cardigans for layering. The possibilities are endless!
  4. When you start feeling totally bored with your summer wardrobe, try this: Take one item in your closet that you haven’t had much opportunity to wear. This could be a cute top, nice pair of crop pants, or a maxi skirt, or whatever. Then, look at other items in your closet that you’ve never worn it with. Try both pieces together and see how it looks. Then try adding some different shoes and jewelry. All of a sudden, you’ve got a new outfit! It will at least feel like new.

Summer Wardrobe On A Budget

     This is how you make your summer wardrobe work on a budget. Be creative. Make it fun. An added bonus is the extra cash you’ll have available for other things. For more great tips, be sure to read some of my previous posts, such as How To Organize Spring/Summer Wardrobes and 10 Steps To A Great Outfit.

      In case I didn’t mention this before, I have a degree in fashion and retail and I could go on and on about this topic, so I apologize for the lengthy post. I’m also on a “saving money” kick and I’m trying to follow this system. I hope you find it helpful. Please leave more clothing and money saving tips in the comments below.

Have a great summer day!

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