5 Summer Essentials Under $100

I am finally swapping my winter wardrobe out for the summer season. About 8 years ago, I bought inexpensive cardboard storage boxes from Ikea and decorated them with fabric and old jewelry. These boxes have little cards in them that I wrote “Winter” on one side and “Summer” on the other. As I switch out my wardrobe, I flip the card and put my winter clothes back in the box. Although the Midwest should have four distinct seasons, I just call it cold and not cold and plan my wardrobe accordingly. I take stock of what I have when the weather starts to turn, and find a few pieces where the “holes” are that will complete a bunch of different looks.

There are SO many hot trends this summer, but I try to invest in pieces that will stick around for more than a season and won’t have me investing a bunch of money in something ridiculous. Here are my top five summer essentials for a stylish season, and yes- you can just purchase these rather than buy a whole new wardrobe and mix them in! Add to what you have, invest in some classic pieces and do it on the cheap for a fun trend or two.

Gingham Shirt Dress

I purchased one from Banana Republic at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago early this spring, and have worn it on countless occasions. From meetings to days at the beach, this workhorse is a veritable chameleon for your wardrobe. I wore the same dress to a meeting at Rent the Runway AND to a casual Mother’s Day dinner with my friends. Just changing out accessories and shoes made all the difference!

Lace Up Sandals

Toss those flip flops in favor of footwear that is a little more formal but still comfy. I am not one for the Gladiator- it is a bit too trendy for my taste. I just tried a pair on to give them a chance and quickly nixed them for my world:

(and yes, I texted this photo to my fashion review crew, and they came back with a unanimous NO. My friend S is the best- she knows that all I needed was a YES or NO, but we did laugh about the fact that we don’t have to sugarcoat things anymore).

PS- if you don’t have a fashion review crew and shop by yourself frequently, I am always available for texts!! Fitting room selfies are a surefire way to get quick feedback, since most girlfriends know that if you are in the fitting room, you have about 15 minutes max left in the store to make that decision.

Off The Shoulder Dress

Don’t let this trend scare you away! It is definitely wearable, even if you want to put a cami on underneath. If you aren’t ready to strut your shoulders for a night out, opt for an off the shoulder beach cover up to dip your toe into the trend at the pool. Want to see how this trend is worn in real life? Check out my post here!

Round Sunglasses

There are a few sunglass shapes that are on trend, but theses are just FUN! Aviators are always in style so if you aren’t prone to losing sunnies or have kids who will destroy your Ray-Ban investment within a day, grab a decent pair. Otherwise, if you are like me and only spend max $20 on sunglasses, go for the whimsical, round oversize ones! I grabbed these faux Prada beauties at The Mexican Shop in Evanston for under $20. If these don’t scream FUN I don’t know what does!

You can also do a round cat eye, which is a step below full on circles yet still fantastically fun.


Move over LBD, there is a new seasonal staple in town! The Little White Dress will work at almost every occasion (do not, I repeat DO NOT, wear this to a wedding), and comes in all shapes and sizes. I attend an event called Diner en Blanc, and have come to love the goddess-y feeling that only a white dress can bestow. If you aren’t a dress fan?

Go for an all white outfit with some fabulous detail like I did for the rooftop opening of Joy District! My gal pal April of Knocked Up Fabulous and I did a classic black and white ensemble for this event…you can never go wrong in either of these colors head to toe!

What are the hot must-have items on your list this summer? How do you update your wardrobe from season to season? Cheers and find a patio to cocktail it up!!!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links…which doesn’t change the price of what consumers pay for an item, I just may make a super small commission to keep this fabulous site afloat if you purchase through my blog. Gracias!


1 Comment

  1. June 8, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    Such a fun post! You look fabulous in all white! And I seriously need all the lace up shoes in America!