My first job straight out of college was working as a fashion assistant in New York. Between dealing with student loans, navigating the sky-high rent in one of the most populated cities in the world, and just trying to find my footing in a new sophisticated world, I had to be very careful about how I spent my money. The ultimate goal was to look the part of a fashion editor on my small assistant salary. In other words, I wanted to look expensive without actually going broke. And for that, H&M came in clutch.
Since then, even years later, H&M has been a staple brand in my closet. It's my go-to for outfits that look like money but cost considerably less than you'd expect. Another point I can't overlook as a fashion editor: You'll find a lot of emerging and dominant trends at H&M before they hit mainstream and trickle down to other big-name stores. Recently, I noticed that the brand's new arrivals are particularly amazing, so I thought I'd assemble a few cute (and affordable) outfits that come just in time for all those outdoor picnics and summery dinner dates ahead. Trust me—you'll want to keep scrolling to see all of the on-point looks I put together. Read below to get your next week's worth of looks in order.
1. A Day at the Beach
From personal experience, I can vouch for H&M's incredible selection of swimsuits. Here, I paired this scalloped black bikini with a cool retro-looking swim dress for an eye-catching combo. To play up the '60s vibe, feel free to add a silky headscarf to top it off.
3. A Summery Dinner Date
Even if the person you're meeting is less than thrilling, there's still something exciting about a date in the summer. This lacy satin skirt is just the right amount of flirty and is totally easy to repurpose later for going out with friends.
4. The Weekend Brunch Catch-Up
One of the things I cherish about right now is being able to catch up with friends over a big plate of pancakes. This breezy floral dress is chic but roomy enough to discretely hide a food baby. Hot-pink satin slide sandals are a fun, colorful juxtaposition.
5. A (Bougie) Picnic at the Park
There are two kinds of picnics: those that are completely impromptu, where a proper 'fit is of little importance, and those that are slightly more bougie, where a planned lewk is key. A currently trendy shorts set is an ideal option for the latter. Wear it with a simple tank or a bikini top for added interest.
6. After-Work Drinks
I'm sure you, too, have more work-related events on the horizon, so a polished outer layer like this vest is a piece you'll want to keep in your rotation. From there, it's easy to create a simple look—just add loose trousers or a midi skirt.