It’s often assumed that money is the ticket to great style. However, you only need to look at Jeremy Clarkson, Donald Trump, John Travolta, Quentin Tarantino, Dennis Rodman and every member of NSYNC circa 2000 (so. much. hair gel.) to see that really, really, isn’t the case.
In fact, with the right know-how, the opposite can actually be true. So, to prove that you don’t need to dine in a gold-plated banquet hall or summer in a picturesque shanty on Lake Winnibigoshish to look good, the FashionBeans team set themselves the task of doing style on a shoestring.
The result? Five summer outfits for less than £100 that’ll have you covered for every occasion from now until winter. Credit cards loose change at the ready.
5 Easy Summer Outfits On A Budget
Summer Shorts 2.0
One hundred pounds (roughly $125, for those across the pond) seems like a decent amount of money, but when it comes to constructing an entire outfit, it’s surprisingly difficult. The trick is in knowing what bits you should spend money on, and where you can save.
Given that they’ll be riding solo down south, when wearing shorts it’s your shoes that require the most attention. Generally, canvas plimsoles cost far less than leather sneakers, which means you can afford to buy a pair from a quality brand that’ll look premium.
As for everything else, ‘tailored’ chino shorts have been the go-to choice for too long. Instead, look for pleated options, or a pair with a drawstring waist. Complete the look with a simple cotton T-shirt in a size for a boxier fit that won’t cling to your body when the heat picks up.
Total Price: £98.79
– Charlie Thomas, senior editor
Luxury holidays on the continent may be for the seriously wadded, but you don’t have to have a super yacht moored in the area to riff on the style of the area’s famously well-dressed men. Whisper it, Riviera style can be done on the cheap.
It may sound counterintuitive in summer, but the key to cracking this dress code without breaking the bank is to steer towards darker colours. Muted hues will emit a more sophisticated vibe, and will enable you to look like walking money, even if you haven’t got two pennies to rub together.
For starters, look for a short-sleeve shirt in black or navy. This should be worn layered over a grey or white T-shirt or vest (tucked in) and with tailored trousers in a similarly (if not slightly darker) shade. Add some black leather sandals or penny loafers, a pair of classic sunglasses and boom, you’re probably well-dressed enough to try to blag it onto some euro playboy’s offensively expensive boat.
Total Price: £88.89
– Luke Sampson, associate editor
You can be yourself at the beach – much more than you can at the office or anywhere else with a dress code. Which means that the next time you’re going coastal, your outfit can be as colourful or as strait-laced as you are, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get hard-working gear, like quick-drying fabrics.
If you’re bold enough to clash patterns or wear lots of block colour, it’s a lot easier to pull off at the beach. A check or patterned pair of swim shorts look good with a vertical-stripe shirt, just remember to play with proportions and make sure the patterns are of different sizes.
Not that you have to go crazy. Neutral colours always look classic in the sun, so wear a dark pair of shorts with a light tee or shirt (or vice versa), and you’re good for a reservation at a smarter beachside restaurant, too.
Total Price: £92.49
– Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief
‘Cheap’ and ‘suit’ aren’t words that often that sit comfortably together in the same sentence. But then, not every occasion calls for tailoring that requires you to skip rent. Whether it’s a one-off for a summer wedding or a slightly smarter night out, there is a knack to finding something that fits your wallet as well as your inside leg.
When shopping, get a handle on fabrics. You’ll be lucky to find a pure cotton, linen or seersucker suit on a budget, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to 100 per cent polyester. A poly-viscose mix, for example, is one of the better man-made materials because it’s more breathable.
Then consider colour. While a well-fitting navy suit is one style investment worth splashing out on, opting for a something in a lighter shade such as pink or green not only helps deflects heat but also signals that this is a two-piece designed to have fun in. It’s the sartorial equivalent of a ‘my other car’s a Lamborghini’ sticker.
Total Price: £84.40
– Luke Todd, deputy editor
Stranger Things, Furbies, err, Brexit – it’s no secret that nostalgia sells. And you only need to look at this season’s biggest trends (rugby tops, bum bags, light-wash denim et al.) to see that it’s also big business in fashion.
Retro sportswear doesn’t have to break the bank, mind. But it can put a dent in your style if done wrong, especially when working on a budget. The revival heavily references the 1980s and ’90s, two decades not exactly famed for their subtlety, and some of the more garish designs can look cheap when bought on the, well, cheap.
To stay on the right side of history, look for pieces with simple retro accents, like track tops with multi-coloured trims or old-school logos. Keep your fabrics dark or matte to avoid any unwanted shiny shell suit vibes. And whatever you do, leave the cassette boombox at home.
Total Price: £100.46
– Richard Jones, staff writer