My Summer Shopping Budget Is $250. Here’s Exactly What I’m Buying

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)

When a large part of your job is essentially shopping online and hunting for the best, trendiest and cutest clothes, jewelry and accessories, it can prove extremely difficult to stick to a budget. As a fashion editor, I frequently find myself adding way more to my digital shopping carts than I could ever actually afford. But this summer I’m committed to setting a shopping budget at $250 and actually sticking to it.

This involves much more planning and thinking honestly about the things I need (versus the things I simply want), but that’s just a part of the fun. Some pieces on this list were easy to settle on—like a new pair of bike shorts—while others were harder to pick, like whittling down which of the 40 summer frocks I’ve been lusting after are worth investing in. I knew I’d also want to throw in some bright statement accessories, but that shoes weren’t high on my priority list (where would I be wearing them anyway?).

After all that hemming and hawing, I managed to come up with a nine-piece summer shopping list that checks all those boxes. And even includes a few fun surprises. Here’s everything that made the cut.

RELATED: These Are the 6 Prints You Should Be Wearing This Summer

1. Aerie Move Mesh High-Waist Bike Shorts

Whether I’m headed out the door for a run or just can’t be bothered to put on “real” clothes for the day, I’ve found myself reaching for bike shorts more and more frequently. I love that these feature two side pockets where I can easily stow my phone, keys and ID and that they come in six colors to choose from. The only bad thing? Buying just one hue (I want them all!).

Buy it ($35; $20)

Available in sizes XXS to XXL

2. Wilfred Donna Dress

I blame Harry Styles and his Watermelon Sugar music video for my newfound love of fruit print clothing. This silky but tropical dress is way too fun to pass on and will look great with Birkenstocks and a straw tote, or sparkly statement earrings and strappy kitten heels for a summer wedding (in 2021, of course).

Buy it ($158; $79)

Available in sizes XXS to L

3. Goodr Pool Party Pregame Sunglasses

I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of running sunglasses since outdoor exercise became my only workout of choice. Most cost well over $100 and look far too sporty for me to wear outside of my usual runs. So, imagine my delight upon finding Goodr? The sunglass company offers super-fun, super-lightweight sunnies, all under $35 and all in styles I would happily wear with just about anything in my wardrobe.

Buy it ($25)

4. Blooming Beautiful ZA Beaded Sunglasses Chain

Hopefully one day soon I'll be able to use this cutie while on a socially-distanced picnic in Central Park. But for now, I'll be using it to keep track of my blue light glasses while I work from home.

Buy it ($18)

5. H&M Linen Wrapover Blouse

Linen is fabulous for keeping you cool and dry even on the hottest summer days. But that’s really just a bonus on top of the flattering wrap design and trendy toile print. I’m excited to pair this blouse with denim shorts, or a light blue slip skirt, if I’m feeling fancy.

Buy it ($25)

Available in sizes XS to XXL

6. Zaful Tie-Knot Front High-Cut Bikini

I love treating myself to a new swimsuit each summer, but this year my budget is a bit tighter than before. Enter Zaful, a super-affordable swimwear brand that makes some of Amazon’s best-selling bathing suits. I love that this one comes as a mixed set so I can wear both pieces with other solids and patterns from my swimwear drawer.

$27 at Amazon

Available in sizes S to L

7. Monki Sunnali Multi-Pack Bracelets

Nostalgic bead and lanyard bracelets have emerged as two of summer 2020’s biggest jewelry trends. I love how these simple chains add a pop of color to any outfit (including bike shorts and an old T-shirt) and help me feel more put together.

Buy it ($10 for set of four)

8. H&M A-Line Dress

Once summer temperatures in New York hit their peak around late July and early August, I exclusively wear flowy tent dresses. I prefer a shorter hem to ensure my legs are getting ample airflow and bright colors or prints, which add some cheer to an otherwise shapeless style.

Buy it ($25)

Available in sizes XS to XL

9. Old Navy Breathe ON Twist-Hem Cropped Tank Top

It might be TMI, but I am a very sweaty person. As the temperatures rise and I continue to live without A/C, cute sweat-wicking clothing is becomes a major wardrobe category for me. Even though it's made to wick moisture away from the body and keep you cool all day long, this top doesn't actually look like a workout tank so I won't feel underdressed on work-related video calls or running into the neighbors as I take out the trash.

Buy it ($23; $20)

Available in sizes XS to XXL

TOTAL: $249

And with one dollar to spare now I can treat myself to a bonus cup of coffee. Or, more realistically, some new bobby pins. Either way I'm in under budget with nine gorgeous new things to start styling ASAP.

RELATED: 20 Stylish and Flattering Swimsuits Under $100

PureWow may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from PureWow's editorial and sales departments.

More From

  • Casper’s Cooling Weighted Blanket is a Dream Come True for Hot Sleepers

    Unlike most weighted blankets, which are made from micro-fleece, polyester or cotton blends, this one has a 100 percent cotton outer shell, which gives it a cool-to-the-touch feeling. According to the brand, the breathable cotton also helps circulate air away from your body—which explains why it doesn’t turn my bed into an oven by 3 a.m. like some other brands. The rectangles are small enough to ensure that the blanket’s microbead fill never bunches or clumps up, even if I’m having a particularly restless night’s sleep (which is rare, thanks to this baby’s calming effect, BTW).

  • Um, H&M Has the Cutest Summer Dresses and They’re All Under $30

    How many times have you stared at your virtual shopping cart, trying to justify a $200 dress that you just have to have for summer? Yeah, it was a daily struggle for us, too. That is, until we realized H&M; is a...

  • This $10 Foot Peel Mask is a Total Dupe for Baby Foot (at Half the Price)

    I’ve had dry, cracked heels for as long as I can remember. And yes, I’ve tried creams, pumice stones, and regular pedicures, thank you very much. But none of them made a lasting impact. According to my dad,...

  • Versed Beauty Just Dropped a Clean Acne Line and Everything Is Under $17

    Of the many things we looked forward to in adulthood as preteens, a blemish-free complexion was certainly at the top of the list. But it turns out we were full of false hope. Nope, the acne didn’t disappear...