In the past, my summers could be described with various indulgent captions such as “raspberry-soaked,” “languidly hazy,” or “vibrantly precarious” (the last of which referring largely to an incident involving bridge-jumping in Minneapolis). This summer, however, as an intern in New York City making less than minimum wage—I know, I thought that was illegal, too—I’ve had to step it up a little bit; no more long, lazy seasons for me. My days may be less carefree and my disposable income may be virtually non-existent, but that certainly doesn’t mean that my style has to suffer. Thanks to these five summer staples, broke has never looked so chic (if I do say so, myself).
1. Denim cutoffs
I’m one of those people who is helplessly devoted to DIY, a hobby of which my favorite denim cutoffs are a product. They had a past life as a pair of Levi’s bootcut jeans until I swiped them from the rack at Savers for a cool $5.99, took a pair of sewing scissors and a razor to them, and proceeded to wear them basically every day. Denim cutoffs have the tendency to be way overpriced if you buy them off the rack, so my advice is to follow this article to create a pair in the comfort of your own home. They’re the perfect summer go-to because they basically go with anything and keep you cool when it's uncomfortably hot outside.
2. Pretty sundress
The trick to finding the perfect summer sundress is to focus on the cut of the dress. Once you find one that fits your body type perfectly, then congratulations! You’ve hit a home run. My personal home run came in the form of a birthday present from Madewell (according to the website they don’t carry the exact dress anymore, but this one is a pretty close alternative). It’s magenta, which I can dress down with a denim jacket or dress up with wedges. It doesn’t show too much cleavage but makes my waist look smaller than it actually is, and I throw it into my outfit rotation at least once a week.
3. Ray-Ban Sunnies
After years of losing or breaking ill-fitting sunglasses from Target, when I got to college I decided to become a big girl and buy a pair of Ray-Bans. My aviators are perfect for hiding a face without makeup, making me look way more legit than I actually am, and, obviously, keeping the sun as far away from my eyes as possible. I never leave my apartment without them.
4. White Converse low tops
Running around New York City is not for the stiletto-heeled. On my way to the subway, I wear my Converse, and then slip into heels once I get to the office. They’re one of the top-selling shoes of all time for a reason, and are so comfortable that some days I forego heels all together in favor of these little pieces of canvas sneaker heaven. I have the inclination to buy a new pair every eighteen months or so because mine get so trashed, although my boyfriend makes a point of telling me that you can throw them in the washing machine if you need to. They’re a summer staple because they’re lightweight enough to wear anywhere, go with almost everything in my closet, and prove that basics are probably the coolest things you can wear.
5. Heeled sandals
The perfect pair of heeled sandals will take you a long way. Mine are nude, with a stacked heel and ankle strap. They are actually comfortable enough to wear all day at my internship, even when I’m running around and doing intern-y things like putting together baby strollers (true story). After hours, they’re perfect for going out, and, as a true staple should, jazz up any outfit to make it party-appropriate. I’m not going to lie and say I got them at some super chic boutique in SoHo because, in reality, I got them on sale at Old Navy and have no regrets. They’re currently on sale for $28, so if you want to snatch some up, do it now! If you want a staple that will last you longer than the summer (I admit, mine probably won’t make it past August), I’m obsessed with J.Crew’s version, which will run you $228 but will definitely give you years upon years of pure chic.
What are your summer style must-haves? Tweet at @HerCampus to let us know!