If you like being thrifty with your fashion choices, then I'm fairly certain summer is your favourite season. It's tricky to find affordable, expensive-looking pieces that look luxe throughout the winter—cheap knitwear, for example, can be spotted a mile off, in my opinion. But reasonably priced, designer-worthy pieces for this time of year? Well, they're far easier to come by. There's something about the comparative simplification of summer dressing that allows it: Cheeky, irreverent trends are created by high-fashion houses and high-street megaliths alike—who can really tell apart a pom-pom–clad £1500 basket bag from a £35 one?
Some extensive trawling has resulted in two things: Firstly, I just dropped a whole heap of cash in Zara (what's new?), and secondly, I could start pulling together the common threads that run between the high-streets chicest items. There are certain trends you can get away with pretending you spent a fortune on, like black-and-white gingham (red and blue can give their price tags away, for some completely unscientific reason) or the wave of ultra-plain swimsuits in stores like COS and Uniqlo.
Keep scrolling to see the seven key affordable summer trends you can invest in now.
Ruffled Wrap Skirts
Style Notes: It's flattering on every body type, so is it any wonder this joyful skirt trend has infiltrated each and every store we can think of? Of course, the ruffles (and their potential for stiffly holding in place) improve the more money you spend, but there are still plenty of options for micro-budgets.
Style Notes: Remember when Mango experienced a roaring success with the tan sculptural heels Lucy Williams is wearing above? Well, prepare for round two. And the penchant for "ugly" minimalistic summer shoes has invaded more than this one store. Here are our current favourites…
Style Notes: For all of the more adventurous bikini trends in the world, the Instagram set cannot get enough of these pared-back, monochrome one-pieces. Elegant and never likely to date, this is a highly useful piece you can pick up for a bargain.
Style Notes: Can you resist the cult power of a basket bag? The trend has been bubbling up for a while now, but it was hard to locate one unless you could invest time into seeking out a unique vintage buy. Not anymore, friends. Now they're all over the high street and full of personality.
Style Notes: It's the summer print to end all summer prints. Gingham has literally washed the high street in checks since February, and we still can't get enough of it. We've learnt there's a technical name for it, seen a particular skirt fly out of stores, and even noticed Bella Hadid use the below Zara gingham shoes to pep up a simple jeans-and-jumper ensemble.
Style Notes: It's the trend that keeps on giving. Not satisfied with cold-shoulder silhouettes alone, the high street is now moving into jumbo frills, clever peekaboo cutouts and plenty of one-shoulder iterations instead. Consider this your chief erogenous zone for the foreseeable future.
Style Notes: Nothing says summer quite like a new pair of frames, but there's something particularly good about white ones. They suit each and every skin tone, and we're certain that you cannot tell expensive and affordable ones apart. Also, oval frames really point to the Kurt Cobain–inspired designer shades many arbiters of taste are into right now.