9 Cheap Summer Basics That Are Extremely Versatile

Lauren Eggertsen

Although it might not feel like it due to the circumstances surrounding coronavirus, summer and all the cute clothing that comes along with it is right around the corner. If you've been keeping up with any of my articles throughout this pandemic, you know that I am taking a stance of optimism and complete hopefulness as it relates to this crisis. That includes my continuation of all sartorial content, including what clothing I am considering buying for summer—whether I will be spending it at the beach or in my home. Since budgeting is definitely a priority for me at this time, I wanted to curate a list of summer basics that anyone can score on the cheap.

The best thing about basics is that they are versatile pretty much by definition. So buying basics on the cheap means you really are getting the most for your money. Including tank tops starting at just $8 and stunning summer dresses you can wear with anything, the below assortment of summertime basics are truly the best and are honestly getting me excited for outdoor days ahead, whenever that may be.

Tank Tops

Summer without tank tops would be like winter without a coat. It just doesn't make sense. Luckily, since this will probably be one of your most-worn basic of the bunch, they are also the most affordable. 

H&M Ribbed Jersey Tank Top ($8)

Reformation Minka Tank Top ($38)

Intimately Top Notch Crop ($20)

Simple Slides

Whether you're quickly stepping outside to run errands (whatever those may be right now) or need a pair of shoes to walk around your backyard in (let's hope our circumstances change soon), an affordable pair of slides that still look polished will be beneficial time and time again. 

Jeffrey Campbell Amarra Sandals ($55)

Who What Wear Whitney Slide Sandal ($90)

Madewell Boardwalk 2 Strap Randa Slides ($60)

Flowy Midi Dress

If you ask me, the flowier the midi dress, the better. This way, no matter what the temperature, you won't be constricted by the garment on your back. This dress style also doubles as a great swimsuit coverup. 

Endless Summer Sweet Sunday Midi Dress ($108)

Who What Wear Long Sleeve Tiered Flowy Dress ($40)

& Other Stories Square Neck Puff Sleeve Midi Dress ($119)


Jean shorts are basically the leggings of summer… just not as comfortable (you get the idea). No matter which length you prefer, this summertime basic is one you can get on the cheap, and the selection below proves it. 

Urban Renewal Recycled Levi’s Longline Denim Short ($59)

Rolla's Original Shorts ($69)

Levi's 501 Original Denim Shorts ($42)

Black One-Piece

Hot summertime tip: Buy a black one-piece that you love and wear it not only as a swimsuit, but also as a bodysuit with all of your jeans, skirts, and more. 

Mango V-Neck Swimsuit ($60)

Topshop Crinkle Cami One-Piece Swimsuit ($28)

Madewell Second Wave Structured One-Piece Swimsuit ($45)

Strappy Heeled Sandals

In case you find yourself itching for footwear that's a tad more formal-feeling, a simple strappy heeled sandal will do just the trick. From block heels to kitten, this shoe style will be another major go-to.

H&M Leather Sandals ($60)

Dolce Vita Kayden Slides ($100)

Who What Wear Freya Sandal ($99)


If you're anything like me, you lose sunglasses left and right. This means buying cheap pairs is probably your best bet. Here are some of my favorites right now: 

Le Specs Outta Love Sunglasses ($59)

& Other Stories Angular Cat Eye Sunglasses ($29)

Quay Link Up Sunglasses ($65)

Woven Bag

My fingers are crossed so hard that we will be able to go to the beach at some point this summer, and if that is the case, a large woven tote bag is in order. This way, you'll be able to tote all of your beach and picnic goodies (again, fingers crossed) in style.

Topshop Rio Braided Handle Woven Tote ($40)

Urban Outfitters Laurel Large Woven Tote Bag ($79)

Tribe Azure Straw Shoulder ($25)

Breezy Shirts

Last but not least is a personal favorite summertime basic of mine: the oversize button-down. I usually wear these untucked with my jorts or open over a swimsuit, and I think you should too.

H&M+ Linen Shirt ($35)

Rolla's Slouch Sailor Stripe Shirt in Sailor Blue ($89)

J. Crew Classic Fit Cotton Poplin Boy Shirt ($42)

Next up, shop the seven wardrobe classics our editors have been wearing on repeat

This post was previously published and has since been updated. 

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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