5 Budget-Friendly Classics For Your Spring-Summer Essential Wardrobe

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Sponsored by Gap and ShopStyle Collective

I strive each season to own a few REALLY good core wardrobe pieces that seamlessly work into my go-to casual outfit formulas.

You guys have seen me wearing these classics (think cardigans, gray jeans, black dresses) over and over and (yes) over again. I wear these dependable pieces (and these effortless outfit formulas) on repeat because I know they work. They feel like “me”, and they’re SUPER easy.

Airy easy black dress…check. Fabulous flares…check. Cute printed tank…check. Good gray denim…check. Beige super-soft cardi…check. The pieces of almost all of my go-to spring & summer outfits...check. Budget-friendly...BONUS check!

Gray Denim | Cardigan (or similar) | Cami | Bag

5 Affordable Outfit Essentials For Your Spring & Summer Wardrobe

This season, however, I came across a fun little surprise in searching for some new wardrobe classic essentials. I’m frequently asked here at TME about budget-friendly options (especially since I often gravitate toward the pricier designer pieces), and this season FINALLY I actually have a really good answer to this request!

Gap! 

Seriously, you guys. When I took a look at Gap’s spring and early summer line, I was completely blown away by how perfectly their selection works for my personal style (in addition to the really good price points). Completely blown away! Gap takes classic pieces and modernizes them with reinvented silhouettes – Perfect for refreshing your closet essentials.

No surprises here, gang. Many of you know what I like to wear each spring and early summer on repeat. They’re all here. Perfect for refreshing your closet essentials.

Airy easy black dress…check. Fabulous flares…check. Cute printed tank…check. Good gray denim…check. Beige super-soft cardi (or this similar cardi)…check.  The pieces that build almost all of my most-worn spring and summer outfits…check. Budget-friendly…BONUS check!

PS: Flash sale alert! Now through 3/16, take 40% off your purchase with code: “TREAT” (plus an extra 10% off with code: “MORE”)!

1. Curvy Girl Fabulous Flares

These flares are available in several different lengths 29 inches to 35.5 inches inseam (petite, short, regular, long and tall) and sizing from 24-35.  They're also part of Gap's Washwell Line that focuses on sustainability, saving water through better washing methods.
I always like to have a good pair of flares in my go-to outfit rotations. Paired with wedges or clogs and a pretty top...they're an easy win. And these high-rise flares are GOOD!

Flares | Top | Bag

I always like to have a good pair of flares in my go-to outfit rotations. Paired with wedges or clogs and a pretty top…they’re an easy win. And these high-rise flares are GOOD! Super soft, nice and stretchy, and fit curvier figures really well. I often have to get the waist taken in for high-rise jeans, but these fit perfectly.

I’m wearing a 28R (5’2, 135 lbs, pear-shaped) and could have used a shorter length (or a quick hacking off with scissors). These flares are available in several different lengths 29 inches to 35.5 inches inseam (petite, short, regular, long and tall) and sizing from 24-35. They’re also part of Gap’s Washwell Line that focuses on sustainability, saving water through better washing methods. Now that I know these particular flares fit well and are soft and comfy, I want to try the ones with the cute front pockets and these in a lighter wash.


2. A Breezy Black Dress

This particular dress is truly a budget-friendly, effortlessly stylish FIND! 100% cotton, light, airy, and cute, cute, cute! It is shown on Gap's site tied on the shoulders, but I like to take these types of ties & pull them behind my neck and tie them halter style.

Dress | Bag

I wear a breezy black dress all.summer.long! To the playground with walkable sandals, out to dinner with wedges, and to the beach with flip flops. Even though black breezy dresses are perfect for summer, I usually can’t wait that long and break them out late spring with clogs and a cropped jacket or cardigan over top. SUCH a good piece to have in the closet for an effortless go-to.

This particular dress is truly a budget-friendly, effortlessly stylish FIND! 100% cotton, light, airy, and cute, cute, cute! It is shown on Gap’s site tied on the shoulders, but I like to take these types of ties and pull them behind my neck and tie them halter style. I’m wearing an XS regular length. Nice and roomy, so I would size down unless you want it very oversized. Note: It’s not lined, but not too thin or see-through for me in the black and the lightweight 100% cotton will feel amazing on super-hot summer days.


3. Good Gray Wash Denim

Gap is known for their great budget-friendly denim, but this gray wash in their high-rise cheeky straight jean style is particularly good. Soft, comfortable and modern, with its relaxed straight cut...without being too trendy.

Gray Denim | Sweater | Cami

Gray wash jeans have been on my closet essentials list FOREVER! I love them in spring for something light and different from my usual blues. Gap is known for their great budget-friendly denim, but this gray wash in their high-rise cheeky straight jean style is particularly good. Soft, comfortable and modern, with its relaxed straight cut…without being too trendy.

I’m wearing a 28R (5’2, 135 lbs, pear-shaped) but will likely cut the jeans a bit shorter. I like them just at the top of my ankle bone for spring and summer. They come in petite, short, regular, long and tall lengths (that’s 29-35.5 inch inseam) and come in sizing 24-35. They’re 99% cotton, 1% spandex, so they have a more rigid look than the flares, but are still plenty comfy for me. The cheeky denim is also part of Gap’s Washwell Line that focuses on sustainably, saving water through better washing methods.


4. A Super-Soft Beige Cardigan

The name of this sweater is "Supersoft Shaker Stitch Cardigan", & they named it very appropriately. Super soft for sure. It comes in a lighter cloud beige, fig pink & true black, but I'm a fan of this stone beige for spring.

Cardigan (or similar) | Gray Denim | Cami | Bag

The name of this sweater is “Supersoft Shaker Stitch Cardigan“, and they named it very appropriately. Super soft for sure. It comes in a lighter cloud beige, fig pink and true black, but I’m a fan of this stone beige for spring. Cozy enough to throw over loungewear on cooler spring days around the house, but cute enough to wear out in the world over everything. I really like it with gray jeans, but it looks good with blue denim and black pants too.


5. A Pretty Print Top

Airy easy black dress…check. Fabulous flares…check. Cute printed tank…check. Good gray denim…check. Beige super-soft cardi…check. The pieces of almost all of my go-to spring & summer outfits...check. Budget-friendly...BONUS check!

This top also comes comes in a pretty blue floral if animal print isn't your thing, as well as a gorgeous solid textured red and classic black. ring a size S and it blouses nicely when tucked in, but could have probably done an XS for a bit more fitted look untucked.

Top | Flares

This top, you guys….it’s so good! It’s 100% cotton, nice and airy and cool for summer, but great for spring under a cardigan or jacket. Designed to be tied at the shoulder, but like the black dress, I prefer it on me tied as a halter behind my neck. I grab all four ties, divide them in two behind my neck, and then tie the two sets in a bow or knot. It sometimes takes a bit of adjusting to figure out which strap to tighten if there’s unwanted slack, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy.

Wearing a size S and it blouses nicely when tucked in, but could have probably done an XS for a bit more fitted look untucked. This top also comes comes in a pretty blue floral if animal print isn’t your thing, as well as a gorgeous solid textured red and classic black.

Gap really does have a fantastic selection of modern classics for your spring and early summer closet, so I rounded up some more budget-friendly options below.

More Affordable Flare Jeans & Pretty Tops

More Affordable Easy Breezy Dresses

More Affordable Jeans & Cardis

Thank you so much to ShopStyle Collective and Gap for sponsoring this post! I appreciate your focus on great budget-friendly modern classics and all the ways you simplify the Gap shopping experience (buy on line-pick up in-store, easy to use mobile site, Gap app, and AfterPay).  

And as always…thank you to our loyal TME readers as well. We sincerely appreciate your time and support.

-Linzi

photo credits: Redfield Photography