How to dress classy and in budget in the summer heat

July 9, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time finding the perfect summer clothes. I always end up over or under doing it. The tales of shopping stupidly/impulsiveness are legendary around my mom’s house. I bought my car, my laptop, and took trips to Cuba by myself on impulse. I was/am as the impulsive one who is willing to see how far she can take an idea. While I don’t regret the trips, my car (maybe I do) and my laptop, I do regret the random illogical patterns that are now apparent when it came to my summer clothes shopping.  As we know already, this summer is going to be a scorcher, and dressing appropriately, and on budget is going to be tough. Because I split my time working from home and meeting clients, I have to find that delicate balance of not looking under dressed and being comfortable and professional.  There is nothing worse than showing up at a meeting and looking sweaty and dishevelled. Gentlemen, I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it must be to wear a suit in 100 degree weather.

I was the girl who would go shopping for a tank top, spot a “deal” and buy the same tank in all the colours. Instead of thinking about my cost per wear, I would just stuff everything in my dressers and promptly forget about them. This cycle would occur over and over each summer until I would get to a point where I would run out of room and start throwing things, and donating items out with tags still on them. Yeah, I was that girl.

The last 2 years I’ve started to focus on quality vs quantity, and the fact that I travel so much now makes me look for items that can pull double duty. My fabric of choice is silk. It comes in an assortment of styles and can save your butt on a hot day.  Its a pain to wash, however,  and I refuse to buy items that require dry cleaning. With a little practise, it is possible to wash these delicate items at home. If you aren’t willing to splurge on silk, there are tons of options that easily transition from day to night and in both casual and professional settings.

How to dress for the summer

Each year, I have seem to have a few must have items that go everywhere with me and are almost in every picture. This year’s tops come from the lovely Audrey at Conversation Pieces.  She sent over the first 2 tops, and I am over the moon about them.  They are the perfect things to toss in my carry-on and head away for the weekend, or toss on with a cardigan, and pair them with a linen pants or a skirt and head out to see a client.  The best part is that I don’t have to distinguish between casual and professional attire. I am able to stay within my summer clothing budget, and still dress cooly and survive this intense heat wave. Most of the pieces are between $25-$40 and certainly worth when I look at the cost per wear.

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  • Michelle July 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Cute clothes! And it’s been so hot here, but I still dress nearly the same. It’s FREEZING in my office and I tend to have to put on my jacket. But it does stink when I finally have to walk outside and get blasted by the heat.

    • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Its like that here, too. I have to plan for 2 different places if I have out of an office for the day.

  • Jason @ WorkSaveLive July 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Not going to lie…glad I’m a dude. I have 2 pairs of casual shorts and 4 pairs of gym shorts that I wear throughout the summer. Add that to my 8 t-shirts that I rotate and boom…you have my summer wardrobe.

    • Kurt @ Money Counselor July 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Jason–that’s a lot of clothes, you need to pare it down a bit! 🙂

      • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm

        Hahha. I second Kurt’s comment.

  • Shovellicious July 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I have always the same problem during summer time. Even now, when I’m on a tight budget, it’s more difficult because summer sales have already started and I can see some nice clothes which would be perfect in this weather. Instead of spending money ,I try to figure out something from all that stuff I have in my wardrobe and mix some “must-have” I have bought before. It works but I have to admit I fall in love with this top and dress. I’m afraid when I’ll get my job finally, I’ll go for a wild shopping. In a frugal way, of course 😉

    • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      I think its about finding a few pcs that you love and can get the most wear out of.

  • AverageJoe July 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I think the key is the “double duty” idea. Any time you can find wardrobe pieces that fit in multiple looks you’re winning both the fashion and money game at the same time! I try to do this with suits.

    • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Suits confuse me. My brother tried to explain the difference between casual and dressy and I got lost.

  • Whitney July 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I am starting to learn how to spend more on quality than just considering the price. I like that you said that. It’s hard for me not to focus on the money, but my 6-year-old goes through shoes like crazy. It feels like such a waste of money to keep buying more cheaply made shoes instead of just investing in good ones.

    • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Exactly. I also think that grown-up clothes need to be made of better quality than kids. They grow like weeds.

  • Daisy @ Add Vodka July 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I absolutely love that dress. I think I even tweeted about it one time, haha. Very cute. I also refuse to buy items that require dry cleaning – far too much work!

    • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      That, and I am cheap.

  • Kaylan July 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I loved this post! Lately, I’ve begun to notice that I wear more business-y clothes than casual clothes — even on weekends! Something about those delicate silk tops or nearly sleeveless button-ups just pair perfectly with a pencil skirt or jeans. As a result, I’ve really begun to reevaluate my wardrobe and spending habits. $20-$30 on a shirt doesn’t seem so outrageous when I’m wearing it multiple times per week.

    Now, if only I could have that same mentality with dresses. My dresses are clearly business OR casual and I don’t know how to find pieces that blur those lines and fit in both categories.

    • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      You can always pair semi pro dresses with a cute blazer and get away with it.

  • Michelle July 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I’ve been managing to dress pretty well on my nothing budget this summer. I’ve got a few dresses that are easy (and breezy!), some colorful twill shorts that I pair with silky trapeze tops or a light tank and t-straps, or a tank top and knee-length A-line and espedrilles. It’s been so hot here lately that I’ve not been wearing a lot of jewelry even. This heat is disgusting, but thankfully it’s a bit cooler this week….you know, in the 90’s, not the triple digits! lol

    • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      We have the same weather!

  • From Shopping to Saving July 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Love these clothes! I love that tank top with the black collar… beautiful for summer or can be worn in winter under a blazer. I have been doing well this summer, but my problem is splurging on Lululemon. I wear it for everything – gym, home, errands, traveling, vacation. They are really investment pieces for me and I wear them all the time. Sometimes I feel a bit ridiculous wearing head to toe Lulu at times, but I’m glad I haven’t bought anything at the trendier stores this season. With that said, I’m off to check out this website 😛

    • Marissa July 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      I never got into the lululemon craze. Thank god!

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses July 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I think summer is different depending on where you live. I haven’t bought new summer clothes for over 2 years just because it hasn’t been hot enough in Vancouver, but I do love to splurge on a couple new pairs of tops and sandals each summer.

    • Marissa July 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      I have such a hard time finding comfy sandals. I try to take good care so they last longer than a season.