Stylin' summer

Associate fashion editor Ingrie Williams tells you where to put your money this season

When the temperature starts to heat up, so does my social calendar. With only four months of sunny, warm days to enjoy, I don’t worry about what to do. But I do worry about what to wear.

During this short season, I try to balance blowouts with bargains. Here are 10 must-haves to splurge and save on, guaranteed to get you through your blazing social life.

Splurge on: A bathing suit
Save on: A cover-up
Why? When it comes to buying a bathing suit, you need to choose one that makes you feel absolutely fabulous. Limiting yourself to a certain price range will only make your search more difficult. You will never regret spending a little more than expected on a suit that makes you feel confident, but you will regret buying one that doesn’t quite fit but was on sale. As for the cover-up, there are so many inexpensive options out there, and since you’ll probably just be throwing it on over a wet swimsuit, why go overboard?

Splurge on: An embellished camisole
Save on: A handful of tank tops
Why? Camisoles are for every season, tanks…not so much. I spend most of the summer in a rainbow of tank tops, but since they’re cotton and get washed frequently, they don’t look that great by the end of August. But since I only spend $50 on a handful of them, it’s no big deal. An embellished camisole, on the other hand, works on a hot day or night, and can be worn under a jacket or blazer in the fall – well worth the extra cash.

Splurge on: A printed skirt
Save on: Linen cropped pants
Why? A classic printed skirt in a quality fabric, such as silk, will last more than one season and can be paired with tights in the colder weather. Spending a bit more on a skirt will also yield a better fit and nicely finished details such as seams and hems. Linen cropped pants are perfect for lounging on the patio, but don’t transition to fall. There’s also the wrinkle factor to consider: wrinkling equals ironing, which can cause wear and tear on the fabric.

Splurge on: Leather thongs
Save on: Flip-flops
Why? Both are summer footwear must-haves, but you should put more money into a fabulous pair of leather thongs. Flip-flops are a necessity for puttering around the house or strolling with the kids, but they have to be replaced seasonally because they’re not always built to last. A non-rubber thong will endure for a few years and will add instant grown-up sophistication to any look – whether paired with shorts at the local grocery store or with a full skirt at a friend’s place for dinner.

Splurge on: A pretty dress
Save on: A cover-up and jewelry
Why? Dresses are like bathing suits: fit is essential. So spend a little more; you won’t be disappointed. A classic dress in a neutral or timeless floral print is a wardrobe staple you can turn to again and again for a more formal function such as a wedding, an anniversary dinner or a vacation in a cosmopolitan city. Use affordable accessories such as a shrug, fitted cardigan, earrings and a small clutch in different styles and colours to change the look of the dress and get you through any summer.