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Stretch your summer wardrobe budget

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Spend less to look stylish

With every season comes a new temptation to shop for the latest styles, and summer is no exception. We’re filled with the desire to run out and replace last year’s crop of shorts, T-shirts, dresses, sandals and skirts with brand-new versions of summer’s latest must-haves. Rather than break the bank, try our simple ways to stretch your summer style budget.

Stretch summer fashion

1Escape the wardrobe rut.

Now is your chance to show off your creative side and find innovative ways to wear what you already own. It's so easy to get used to wearing certain items together -- that top with those pants -- that you miss out on other style opportunities. Change things up and stop seeing everything in your closet as part of an outfit. Pre-arranged pairings make sense (and save time), but see what else goes with what to breathe new life into your summer styles.

2Rediscover your closet.

Set aside a weekend afternoon to pull everything out of your closet -- that's right, everything. We guarantee there are items you have forgotten you own or thought you'd lost. Once you can actually see everything you have, you should end up with some new (old) favorites or at least have a few moments of glee at rediscovering a dress or T-shirt you haven't seen for the better part of a year. We suggest committing to one closet rediscovery expedition at least twice a year, preferably once every season. You never know what you might find!

3Build on the classics.

You don't have to avoid shopping altogether, but when you do go, build on the classic, timeless items you own rather than just grabbing anything that catches your eye. Think about what you have and what can complement those items versus shopping for one-offs that don't end up fitting into your wardrobe as a whole. Shopping like this is not only more economical but ensures that anything you buy will last for more than a season.

4Add accessories.

Transform an A-line sundress or slouchy sweater dress by adding a belt. Similarly, a long cardigan takes on a new, elegant look when adorned with an oversize vintage-inspired broach. A great pair of wedge sandals can take your capri cargos from day to night, and a strategically placed sarong can update tired swimwear. The point is to use accessories creatively -- as a way to update what you own so old items feel and look new.

5Make a list.

If you can't resist sneaking in at least one summer shopping spree, you can avoid overspending by making a list before you leave. Think about what you really need or want, and write them down. This will help you skip impulse buys for the items that really matter. Your money is much better spent on those statement shades you've coveted for months rather than five flimsy T-shirts that will probably fall apart after a few washes. Bypass the things that won't make it past one summer.

More summer fashion tips

H&M's Spring/Summer 20011 Look Book

Check out H&M's spring and summer trends for women.

More style advice

How to dress yourself thinner
How to update your look
Denim do's & don'ts for 2011

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