How to Make a Cheap Summer Wardrobe

how to make a cheap summer wardrobe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please visit my disclaimer page for more info.

One of my goals this year was to put some pep back into my wardrobe. Having 3 kids in 4 1/2 years had put my body through so many changes! Last Summer I decided it was time to shed that baby weight once and for all...so I did...over 20 lbs. of it! I was ecstatic, the only problem was that now I pretty much needed a whole new Summer Wardrobe! Can any of my mommas relate?

My goals with this new wardrobe were to look stylish, be comfortable, and not spend a fortune!

If you're a mom to small kids you know that we sometimes don't prioritize things like our self-care and our own clothes as much as we used to. ...and if you live on a tight spending budget, then self care happens even less often! I firmly believe that you should feel and look great always...even if you're paying off debt or saving for an awesome goal.

So how did I completely rebuild my whole Summer Wardrobe for a super cheap $268?

I'll give you my whole 5 step process for
How to Make a Cheap Summer Wardrobe below...

1. Get intentional with your current wardrobe

For starters...you need to go through all of the clothes you already own for the upcoming season. Think about what you're excited to wear. I believe you should be excited about getting dressed, even if it's just into a clean pair of yoga pants, you should still feel good in your clothes. Being on a budget sometimes limits that, but it doesn't have to completely stop you from enjoying your clothes...you just have to learn how to be a little more intentional with what you let take up the space in your closet.

A few years ago I started my journey to Minimalism through the Your Uncluttered Home Course. Before I went through the course I used to hang on to clothes that I didn't love because I was never sure if I'd be able to afford new clothes when the next season came around. However, I learned in the course that I wasn't loving my closet full of clothes because I wasn't being intentional with what I owned!

So, you'll want to go through your closet and look for things you truly love, as well as staple items...these are must-have items that you can build your new wardrobe around. For me those staples were things like last year's brown sandals, a black maxi skirt, and a denim button down to throw over a tank top. I also kept a few shirts, some workout clothes, a couple of dresses, and two pairs of jeans from my Fall/Winter Wardrobe. The rest went into my donation pile! Oh sweet freedom!

To effectively purge your clothes ask yourself...

  • Does it have a stain?
  • Is it damaged?
  • Does it still fit well?
  • Do I love it/look forward to wearing it?

Then take inventory on what you kept and also on what gaps you'll need to fill in with your new clothes.

2. Make a Pinterest Board

I don't consider myself a super stylish person...even though I wanted to be a fashion designer back in Jr. High...I'm severely lacking in the fashion department in my mom days! And, if you're anything like me, not knowing where to start can cause so much overwhelm that I stop looking before I even start.

So my second step is to head over to Pinterest for some much needed inspiration! Check out my Summer Wardrobe board here!

Once I was on Pinterest...
I searched phrases like "summer fashion mom" + "summer style" to just get started.

Then I started looking for ways to improve the staple items that I decided to keep. So I searched things like "how to style a black maxi skirt for summer".

I also tried to be realistic with my wardrobe. I'm a mom of 3 active girls, so heals and silk shirts just aren't for my current season of life. With that in mind I searched phrases like "summer outfits with sneakers" + "comfy summer style".

Purchased

Inspiration 

Photo cred: personalfashionhub.com
H&M $5.99

H&M $5.99

Old Navy $22.94

Old Navy $22.94

Inspiration

Purchased

Photo cred: polyvore.com

Photo cred: polyvore.com

H&M $9.99

H&M $9.99

Old Navy $22.00 

Old Navy $22.00 

H&M $34.98

H&M $34.98

3. Make a shopping list

Next, I browsed back through my Pinterest Board and looked for common themes. I realized I needed some distressed jeans with the perfect fit to be cuffed and worn with sneakers...and speaking of sneakers, I realized I had tons of pins with simple white sneakers also. I added a few notes on the kinds of tops I should look for; and I even forced my overly-frugal self to write down at least 3 accessories to complete my looks.

As I worked through my list I had to keep my $300 budget in mind, so a few things did get deleted from my final list, but I also kept my secret weapons in mind through this whole process (I'll tell you more about my discounts in a minute).

My Shopping List 

TOPS

1. Tee with cuffed sleeves (gray)           
2. Light pink (v-neck or loose neck)        
3. Stripped  (black + white)                        
4. White tee or tank                                 
5. Simple Tank (dark gray)  
6. Simple Tee                                            
7. Semi-fancy                                            

BOTTOMS

1. Distressed Jeans                                    
2. Black Jeans
3. Cute Sweatpants                                         
4. Comfy Shorts (army green)
5. Comfy Shorts (black)                         
6. Denim Shorts                                              

DRESS

1. Black Tee Shirt Style                              

SHOES

1. White Sneakers                                          
2. Brown Wedges
3. Black Sandals

ACCESSORIES

1. Sunglasses  
2. Necklace (short)
3. Necklace (long) 

4. Shop your favorite online stores

You might notice I said "online" stores. This is a super important part of my tips!

Why do I prefer to shop online?

1. You're not limited by where you live
I personally live about 40 minutes from the closest major shopping, and there still isn't much to choose from in that city. #countrylivingprobs ...So I started shopping online to take advantage of the selection available!

2. You're not rushed
Ever tried going shopping with your kids? ...enough said!

When you shop online  you're actually shopping at your convenience! This way you can actually think straight, make sure things match, consult your shopping list, and focus enough to stay on budget.

I'll be honest, I hate spending money on myself...especially while we're saving for our house down payment...so I tend to procrastinate and drag this process out a little bit. This season I spent about a week here and there going through my whole process! ...mostly because I'm slow. The whole process could totally be done in a day or maybe even just a few hours! The point is...I like to take my time, and with shopping online I can!

3. The discounts + coupons available online are awesome!
Keep reading to learn my secrets...

My favorite online stores for clothes...

(for myself + my kids)

Surprisingly, I actually only bought one pair of shoes from Target this season. This season H&M and Old Navy were completely on point with what I had on my Pinterest inspiration board, so I stocked up on everything on my list from these sites!

Tips to remember when shopping online...

  • Always note the company's return policy. Most stores have great return policies, and I've personally never had a problem with returning clothes that I bought online. 
  • Allow plenty of time for shipping. This means don't choose the slowest shipping option if you need a new outfit to wear 2 days from now! Also, remember to plan ahead a couple of weeks for the seasons as well. 
  • Use the size chart. Not every store sizes their clothes the same, so don't be afraid to bust out with the measuring tape to be sure that your clothes will fit you correctly. 

My Shopping Cart

Click images to shop for yourself! 
*Prices listed are original prices...keep reading to see my discounts!

WANT TO BUDGET, BUT DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START?

START HERE!

In my FREE Take Control of Your Spending Course I'll show you how to be purposeful with your money so you can start living an abundant life full of financial freedom!

SIGN UP + GET STARTED WITH
LESSON 1 TODAY!

Powered by ConvertKit

5. Take advantage of discounts

This step is my secret weapon!

I added all of the pieces you see pictured above to my carts...but then I saw my total was at nearly $370! Way over my $300 budget...but I didn't delete anything from my cart! I simply added some discounts, coupons, and rebates....and I ended up saving over $88! (See My Shopping Receipts breakdown below.)

So how did I get these discounts?

  • I took advantage of free shipping. This is one of the main reasons I only shop for clothes twice a year. I only shop when I know I have enough items to qualify for free shipping, but note that I never over-buy just to save on shipping! Even though I didn't calculate this into my $88 savings total, it easily saved me $20-$30 or more.

  • I left the items in my cart overnight with H&M, and this triggered their automatic system that then emailed me a coupon. They do this because you're not very likely to purchase once you log out, and they want to be sure they can count on your business. I can't guarantee that this will happen every time, but it ended up saving me over $50...so it's worth a try.  

  • I looked for cash back on Ebates.comBy simply signing up and purchasing at least $25 through their links you can receive a $10 welcome bonus. Then you can build up cash back by searching for your store of choice and shopping through the Ebates links. On this season's clothes I saved $17.39 just from this site. It's super simple! They do have a minimum payout of $5 and a payout schedule of once every 3 months....which are good things to note, but still didn't deter me from loving this site. 

  • I purchased a discounted gift card from Raise.com. This site is all about offering egift + physical gift cards at a discounted rate from their face value. It's definitely a hidden gem in the bargain world! This saved me $18.75!
    Things to note on this site...

    • Pay attention to the "type" of card you're purchasing. Remember that a physical card will have to be delivered by mail (this is a great idea for a gift though). However, an egift card will be delivered soon after purchase to your inbox. 

    • Pay attention to the "value" compared to the "price". The price is what you pay at check out, and the value is the amount that the gift card actually has on it. 

    • Be sure to read "+ details" under the "price" just so you feel completely comfortable with the terms of your purchase. 

    • The site provides the percentage discount amount for you! Which is handy so you'll easily know how much you're saving!

    • When you purchase an egift card you'll receive the card ID number in your email so you can easily enter it at check out back in your chosen website's checkout cart. 

    • Save doubly by purchasing a Raise.com gift card by following Ebates.com cash back link! 

My Shopping Receipts 

H&M original price                                                                                           173.87
Free shipping (over $40)                                                                                    0.00
30% off coupon in email                                                                                  -52.50
Taxes                                                                                                                   +10.04    
                                                                                        H&M Total Cost    131.71

Old Navy original price                                                                                     151.88
Free shipping (over $50)                                                                                     0.00
Followed Ebates.com link to get 4% back                                                       -6.08
Followed  Ebates.com  link to get 1% back on Raise.com e-gift card         -1.31
Bought $150 egift card on Raise.com for $131.25 to save 12.5%              -18.75      
Ebates.com welcome bonus (spend over $25)                                             -10.00
Taxes                                                                                                                    +12.53

Returned 1 item that didn't fit                                                                        -30.31                  
                                                                            Old Navy Total Cost     97.96

Target original price                                                                                            15.99
Taxes                                                                                                                      +1.32          
                                                                           Target Total Cost             17.31

Shoe Department original price                                                                        19.99
Taxes                                                                                                                       +1.65            
                                                                            Shoe Dept. Total Cost    21.64


         Merchandise                      361.73
         Taxes                                  +25.54
         Discounts                           -88.64  
         Return                                -30.31
        Overall Total Cost     268.32

Overall, I'm very very pleased with every piece I chose for my Summer Wardrobe! I still can't believe I saved $88! I'm actually looking forward to getting dressed, and being one of those stylish Pinterest worthy moms...but on a budget! 

Pin this to save all of my tips for next time you're shopping on a budget! ;)

 cheap summer clothes | affordable wardrobe | mom style | comfy clothes | summer fashion | budget | budgeting | how to shop on a budget | capsule wardrobe | style with sneakers  

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links above, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used. Read our disclaimer here.