Welcome to Cost Per Wear, a series in which we break down how much value really lies in certain items so you can make well-informed shopping choices. Given the many outfit ideas we have saved for each item, we've calculated the cost per wear for every time we'll step out in the piece (assuming we copy each of the following outfit ideas, of course).
While there are plenty of bold, eye-catching trends to choose from this summer, it's actually the plain old wardrobe basics that we end up wearing more than anything else. Sure, maybe these pieces aren't the most exciting to think about shopping for, but they're the ones that I guarantee you'll be reaching for quite a lot this summer. To prove just how useful the following staple pieces really are, I calculated the cost per wear for each one, and the results nearly totaled zero.
Think about it: The one pair of sandals you can wear from the beach to the office and back again? Come August, you'll be so glad you added a pair to your closet. From these simple sandals to white tanks and denim cutoffs, keep reading to see all the outfit possibilities, and shop the five cheap summer clothes we recommend most.
1. Flat Slides
Why it's worth it: A solid pair of sandals are the base to every single summer outfit, so a simple pair that's both elevated and easy to wear is a must. Choose a neutral color that you'll wear with dresses, shorts, and swimsuits alike.
The cost breakdown: $70 sandals ÷ 9 wears (3 outfit ideas x 3 outfit repeats) = $7.77 per wear
2. Plain Tank Tops
Why it's worth it: The ribbed white tank top is having a fashion renaissance at the moment, and it also happens to be one of the best things to ground your other statement pieces. Trust us: You'll want to stock up on these.
The cost breakdown: $18 tank top ÷ 18 wears (6 outfit ideas x 3 outfit repeats) = $1 per wear
3. Denim Shorts
Why it's worth it: We don't need to spell out why denim shorts are a summertime style staple, but it doesn't hurt to remind you of just how frequently you're about to wear them. Dress them up with sandals and a cute top or throw on a tee and call it a day. They'll never fail you.
The cost breakdown: $80 shorts ÷ 12 wears (4 outfit ideas x 3 outfit repeats) = $6.66 per wear
4. Easy Printed Dresses
Why it's worth it: A breezy dress? For summer? Groundbreaking. With so many summer dress shapes to choose from, don't overlook an easy midi-length style in a colorful print that you can just as easily wear as a swim cover-up as you can to a summer wedding.
The cost breakdown: $189 dress ÷ 15 wears (5 outfit ideas x 3 outfit repeats) = $12.60 per wear
5. White Pants
Why it's worth it: There comes a point in the season when jeans just feel too heavy. This is when white pants will save you and your wardrobe. Wear them as the base to all your cute tops, shoes, and bags in place of your go-to denim.
The cost breakdown: $37 pants ÷ 15 wears (5 outfit ideas x 3 outfit repeats) = $2.46 per wear