Three Summer Outfits Under $200

Or $193.81 if you’re a real stickler.


Getting dressed is expensive and summer is hot. It’s around the end of June that these two realities marry in a most unfavorable way. Like, maybe you wouldn’t invite this particular couple to your dinner party, know what I mean? And if you’re of the ilk that has to do stuff like “watch your spending,” this couple is even more of a party-ruiner. And by “of the ilk” I guess I just mean you’re not Kim Kardashian.

Welcome, everyone.

But you know what? Looking cool and staying cool and maybe buying a house one day don’t have to be mutually exclusive. A lot of inexpensive brands are making great stuff that will enable you to make shapes on your body that express your insides and also stow away a few for a less sunny day (like a rainy one).

I brought in an extremely gorgeous human by the name of Imena (you’ll be meeting her soon!) to model for me and we’re going to show you how to assume three different identities and do summer on a budget. Each outfit — clothes and shoes, that is, we cheated with accessories because we’re rebels — is under 200 big ones.

Let’s go.

The Ice Cream Cone = $189.90


Style Mafia shirt ($69), Topshop skirt ($95), Zara shoes ($25.90) (styled with Gucci sunglasses)

What better way to celebrate summer than by making ice cream on your body via a denim midi and a voluminous going out top? The slides are the sprinkles hidden at the bottom. Luckily for you this recipe is homemade and cage-free and won’t make you question your lactose tolerance. Plus? You’ll look great tossing a few into your 401k.

The Summer Witch = $193.80

Free People shirt ($68), Zara shorts ($35.90), Zara shoes ($89.90) (styled with Adam Selman x Le Specs sunglasses and Aurélie Bidermann necklace) = $193.80

Free People shirt ($68), Zara shorts ($35.90), Zara shoes ($89.90) (styled with Adam Selman x Le Specs sunglasses and Aurélie Bidermann necklace)

Sometimes it’s really muggy and you’re wearing denim cutoffs and a whatever tank top would appease your body temperature requirements but offend your sartorial day dreams. You know what you need? A cape in crop top form that says, “I’m a good summer witch,” and lace-up sandals that say, “My feet are hostesses to the coolest party in town.”

The Hourglass = $152

Pixie Market shirt ($42), Topshop skirt ($35), Topshop shoes ($75) (styled with Alexis Bittar earrings) = $152

Pixie Market shirt ($42), Topshop skirt ($35), Topshop shoes ($75) (styled with Alexis Bittar earrings)

Magazines say you need an hourglass figure but I say you need a body, period, underneath an off-the-shoulder top and an A-line mini. Maybe the overpopulation of off-the-shoulder tops is deterring your contrarian spirit but think of the vitamin-D opportunities for your shoulders. Please don’t deny them this summer experience!!!

See? Not so hard. Not so expensive. Not so hot except figuratively.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; styled by Haley Nahman and Elizabeth Tamkin.


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  • Summer only came today to my neck of hitherto rainy woods. Am perplexed. Painted my toenails nervously. Do I dare to eat a peach?

    • Aydan


      • Leandra Medine

        EAT THE PEACH!

        • Errr … it was a SWF peach. Yes, I am that old. 🙂

      • Peach: eaten.

  • Laney

    THANK YOU for this. I love MR, but sometimes I’m bummed out by the cost of the clothes featured here.

    The ethos of MR is so relatable–real women! real voices! real experiences!–but then much of the fashion featured here is so not relatable, i.e. completely out of reach. I think sometimes that juxtaposition–friendly writers whose experiences feel familiar wearing $$$ outfits with un-real costs–is hard for me to negotiate.

    Here on MR the exclusive nature of high fashion becomes suddenly jarring–the exclusion more acute–because I get lured in by the real-talk, the personal essays, the familiar voices. It’s like I’m forced to remember that high fashion is a financial fantasy for me, instead of the context being fantasy all along.

    But maybe this says more about me as a reader that the site. Anyway: thanks for featuring these looks! I love the first one. **heart eyes**

    • Summer

      I am so here for this! Love MR, the writing, and the perspective but my wallet cries whenever I see the accompanying price tags. I LOVE the outfits in this article and I’d love to see more features like this! Or maybe some musings about developing personal style on a limited budget??

    • You managed to put into words something I’ve been feeling for years as a reader! Love this foray into something a little more affordable.

  • omg that Style Mafia top just moved to the top of my wishlist — It’s so Rosie Assoulin-esque and i need it in my life!
    xo, coco |

  • JB

    Love the first look.. This is random but now I’m wondering if Style Mafia is the same company as Loeil, because some styles are identical! haha

    • chouette

      All those weird stores probably buy from the same third-party private label companies, I’ve seen Need Supply and Nasty Gal have the same item.

      • Elisabeth

        I’ve seen bangles both at h&m and in a tiny asian shop in Sydney… everything’s produced in asia and it’s sometimes sold to more than one store (even though most shops want exclusivity for items, it still happens, and for example with the h&m bangle in Sydney, there used to be no h&m in Australia so it was less obvious to most people that it’s simple mass production in asia and an identical item is sold at different stores)

  • snakehissken

    My giant bra-needing boobs are so sad about how cool these outfits look… I’m going to comfort myself with those Zara sandals.

    • Emac

      Don’t do it! I sent mine back. They are narrower than the space between your nostrils.

  • Monika

    świetne bluzki

  • I’m so down to be a witch this summer. I love this post because it can be disheartening developing your own style on a limited budget. I need to get on Zara more often…

  • It’s been so cold here in Seattle (high in the upper 60s to mid 70s) that I’ve started busting out some of my sweaters! Not sure why anyone here ever owns shorts – you only get to wear them for like, a week each year!

    Thanks for the inspiration for whenever it decides to start looking more like summer around here!

  • A. Carnevale

    Love the Alexis Bittar hoops!

  • Love be these, the off the shoulder crop is my favourite
    livinginaboxx | bloglovin

  • Ah I love all three outfits!

  • Emma