10 summertime basics for women under $50
All the summer wardrobe essentials.
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Every year as we approach summer, people all over partake in the sacred ritual that is transitioning one’s closet from sweater season to sandal season. This year is no different, even though we are still in the midst of a pandemic.
While people can’t expect to attend concerts or baseball games any time soon, there are still plenty of reasons to get dressed and go outside—especially as states start to reopen. Whether you’re heading to the beach, gathering for a picnic in the park, or going for a walk outside, you need the right outfit for the weather.
If you’ve been living in your pajamas the past couple months and feel as though your wardrobe could use a refresh, perhaps it’s time to invest in some new, quality summer basics. If you’re looking to grow your capsule wardrobe collection so you can have more pieces to mix and match all summer long, we can help. Below are 10 summertime basics for women—with suggestions for what to buy. Including things we personally own and love and items that come highly recommended by reviewers, here are some top-rated options for dresses, shorts, plain t-shirts, and more—all under $50.
T-shirts are an essential part of a summer wardrobe. You can wear them with practically anything, and they can be dressed up or down. Our Shopping Director, Sam, recommends Madewell’s classic t-shirts, which are also loved by thousands of reviewers. They come in tons of different colors and are stylish while still being simple. These t-shirts are very lightweight though, so if you’re looking for a t-shirt with more coverage, Amazon has a 2-pack that comes in a variety of colors that has garnered 5,000 solid reviews.
- Get the Madewell Whisper Cotton V-Neck Pocket Tee at Nordstrom for $19.50
- Get the 2-pack Classic-Fit Short-Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt at Amazon starting at $16
2. Tank Tops
The t-shirt’s “cooler” cousin, the tank top, is also a summer staple. Whether they be loose and casual, or fitted and tight, tank tops are perfect for layering when the weather is expected to change throughout the day. Madewell sells a tank top version of their popular t-shirt that our Shopping Director also swears by. J.Crew also brought back one of it’s classic tanks and updated it for those looking for a slinky and stretchy fit. For a more affordable option, Old Navy sells great tank tops that have over 4,500 positive reviews.
- Get the Madewell Whisper Cotton V-neck Pocket Tank at Nordstrom for $18.50
- Get the Women's 1993 favorite tank at J. Crew for $19.50
- Get the First-Layer Fitted Tank at Old Navy for $9.99
3. Midi Skirts
Midi skirts always seem to pull an outfit together, even if you wear it with just a t-shirt or tank. The best part? Not only are they great for summer, but they work well as a transition piece for spring and fall. Amazon carries a pleated midi skirt that has over 2,000 great reviews. It comes in 24 colors and patterns (yes, 24!) and according to reviewers, you’ll want them all. Another option is this skirt from Old Navy. Perfect for the hottest summer days, it will keep you from sweating due to its ultra-lightweight material. You also don’t need to worry about it clinging to your body since it’s not form-fitting.
- Get the High Waist Pleated A-Line Swing Skirt at Amazon starting at $19.99
- Get the Lightweight Midi Slip Skirt at Old Navy for $20
Once it hits 70 degrees, dresses become my summer uniform. A midi dress is probably the easiest and most important type to have in your closet, as it can easily go from day to night and be dressed up or down. Shoppers love this midi dress from Target, with many claiming that it looks more expensive than it really is. A maxi dress is another great staple to have. This one from Amazon has over 10,000 great reviews and works well for lounging or the beach. Another winner from Amazon is this sundress that is flowy, but not frumpy, making it great to wear for any occasion.
If you’re looking for something to hug your body, try this top-rated bodycon dress on Amazon. Looking for something dressier? This slip dress from Target is a great option.
- Get the Women’s Sleeveless Dress at Target for $16
- Get the Short Sleeve Maxi Dress at Amazon for $26.99
- Get the Casual Sundress with Pockets at Amazon starting at $19.99
- Get the Ruched Bodycon Dress at Amazon for $27.99
- Get the Women's Sleeveless Satin Slip Dress at Target for $19.99
Shorts are important to have for days when it’s too hot for pants and you want to look casual. Madewell fans rave about the brand’s pull-on shorts due to their soft material, elastic waistband, and useful pockets. If you love the look of jean shorts, but hate the discomfort that can come along with some pairs, these shorts from Target are also a good option. They are one of the store’s highest-rated shorts for their broken-in and relaxed feel, which means you can wear them all day.
- Get the Pull-on Shorts at Madewell for $39.50
- Get the Women's High-Rise Distressed Jean Shorts at Target for $17.99
6. White Pants
For days and nights when you feel like wearing pants, white ones are quite the summer staple. These wide-leg white pants from Old Navy will keep you cool and comfortable, as they’re made from a linen and rayon blend, and they’re soft enough to lounge in and dressy enough for a casual gathering. If skinny jeans are more your style, these white pants from Old Navy have over 1,800 great reviews and are loved for their stretch and comfort.
- Get the Mid-Rise Wide-Leg Linen-Blend Pull-On Pants at Old Navy for $35
- Get the Mid-Rise Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans at Old Navy for $25
7. Athletic Shorts
Whether you wear athletic shorts for working out or to lounge around, it’s always nice to have a pair or two on hand. The Nike Tempo shorts will keep you cool with the side mesh panels and many of the 800 reviewers claim to love them for both running or lounging. Another option are the Zella Live In Bike Shorts, which are the shorter version of the Zella Live In leggings, which we love. Not to mention, bike shorts are quite trendy for summer 2020.
- Get the Tempo Shorts at Nike for $30
- Get the Zella Live In High Waist Pocket Bike Shorts at Nordstrom for $49
8. Athletic Tank Tops
With most gyms still closed, many of us have moved our workouts outside. To have a comfortable exercise session in summer’s hot temperatures, athletic tank tops are important to own. Reviewed editor and fitness enthusiast, Amy Roberts, recommends the Under Armour Victory tank, as it is very comfortable and stays in place. If you need a loose-fitting lightweight tank, try this $12 one from Old Navy.
- Get the Women’s UA Victory Tank at Under Armour for $19.99
- Get the Lightweight Racerback Performance Tank at Old Navy for $12
9. Denim jackets
While trends like crimped hair and low-rise jeans have come and gone, the denim jacket has remained here to stay—and for good reason. They are easy to layer and give any outfit an understated cool vibe. Old Navy sells affordable denim jackets that have amassed a cult-following with nearly 2,000 reviews, and they come in both dark and lighter colors.
- Get the Jean Jacket in Dark at Old Navy for $35
- Get the Jean Jacket in Medium Authentic at Old Navy for $35
10. Sandals and Flip-Flops
No closet would be complete during summer without sandals and flip flops. Tory Burch flip flops are a great option, as they come highly rated by reviewers and are stylish. If you’re looking for flip flops that will give your outfit a pop of color, Havaianas are another solid option with a cult-following. Looking for sandals? These faux-leather slide sandals from Target are loved by customers and look good for any occasion.
- Get the Tory Burch Thin Flip Flop in Black at Nordstrom for $48
- Get the Tory Burch Thin Flip Flop in Poppy Red at Nordstrom for $48
- Get the Havaianas Slim Flip Flop at Nordstrom for $26
- Get the Women's Jenny Slide Sandals at Target for $19.99
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.