Flip flops, shorts and bikinis - oh my! There's nothing better than summer clothes shopping, even if you haven't got a holiday booked. Just the thought of actually being able to wear shorts outside of the house is beyond thrilling. But alas all this excitement and shopping is really not a good mix, especially if you don't have a lot of money to throw around. Yes, it's great to splash out on some new, colourful clothing but there's no reason why you should waste the last bit of your maintenance loan on a pair of flip flops that won't even last you a two week holiday.
So, what do you need to know about summer clothes shopping? Well...
T-Shirts and Shorts
When it comes to investing in new t-shirts and shorts always go for cotton and denim, as anything made from over 70% polyester won't last you. Trust me. If you're unsure about what fabric your dream top is made out of just check the label (p.s. it's near the washing instructions). Although it's cheaper to go for the polyester t-shirts and stretchy 'fake denim' shorts, with the amount of times you're going to wear them within the next six weeks you can guarantee you'll have put a hole in your shorts and made your t-shirts bitty. Unless you're really gentle with your clothes, which let's face it, no one is in the summer because who can't resist running into the sea fully dressed, then it's worth spending a little bit more. If cotton is out of your price range, then go for poly-cotton. It's a lot cheaper and lighter, so you won't sweat as much when the hot weather hopefully kicks in.
If you've got your eye on lace or crocheted tops, then go for it. Statement lace/crocheted garments tend to be good quality anyway. The only thing I would say is watch how you wash them, because one undone zip could pull the lacing and ruin your brand new top. So just double check what you're washing it with.
As to bikinis or swimsuits, price doesn't really make a difference as you can get some really nice quality swimwear for ridiculously cheap prices - especially if you're smart and buy your swimwear for next year in the September sales. It's like your mum always says, it's cheaper to buy your Christmas wrapping paper for next year during the Boxing Day sales. The same principle applies to buying swimwear.
From my experience of swimwear shopping, I would recommend buying your bikinis from Matalan. This is because the majority of their swimwear is affordable and of brilliant quality. Plus, their range really caters for everyone - whether you prefer simple and plain to really glamourous. I've had my Matalan bikini for the last three years and been on countless holidays with it and it still looks brand new.
Flip Flops and Sandals
Flip flops are amazing, but when they've lost their colour or look absolutely battered...not so much. There are so many variations on the classic flip flop, so choosing what type to get simply comes down to where you'll wear them. If you're planning on spending your summer in some sort of large body of water then I would recommend buying jelly sandals, that way you won't wreck them if you decide to wear them in the sea. If you're planning on living in your flip flops/sandals then go for leather, and not that PVC/fake leather, invest in some real leather ones. They may be more money but it will save you continually buying new pairs of flip flops that either break or fade. One of the better high street shops for selling affordable leather sandals is Next; for around £30 you can get a really nice pair that will last you.
So what are you waiting for? The summer holidays are only a few weeks away and preparation is key!