But while hitting the high street is tempting, burning a hole in our pockets is not. We look at ways you can revamp your summer wardrobe without breaking the bank.
Charity shops - no longer the preserve of your gran
Over recent years, charity shops have lost their reputation of being musty spaces, filled with porcelain ornaments, old seven-inch singles and dresses from the 1980s. With reports of celebs such as Kate Middleton, Lily Allen and Sienna Miller generously donating their designer clobber, the humble charity shop's status has been elevated to new heights. And let's face it - it might be the only chance any of us ever get to bag an Alexander McQueen dress.
Check online where you can grab a celeb bargain but if you're not lucky enough to live in the right vicinity, don't underestimate what can be found in your own local charity shop.
Fashion that was popular in bygone eras has a habit of resurfacing - both 1920s glamour and 1950s USA fashion were among collections featured on the catwalk for spring/summer 2012. So, while you are shopping, keep your eyes peeled for drop-waist dresses, beading and tassels as well as ginghams, plaids and pastel cheques.
Clothes swapping is the new clothes shopping
Clothes swapping has become hugely popular - not only because you end up with a new outfit without spending a penny, but because it is also eco-friendly. 'Shwopping' - an initiative launched by Marks and Spencer on April 26 - encourages people to donate one old item for every new one they buy in store.
The items you donate will go to Oxfam to be resold or recycled. Over one billion items of clothing are sent to landfills each year, according to the store, so by swapping your clothes rather than throwing them away, you are also doing your bit for the environment.
There are a number of clothes swapping websites, such as bigwardrobe.com, which are bursting with up-to-the-minute designer and high street clobber. Simply register, photograph the clothes you want to offer along with their details, and get 'shopping!' Once you find something you like, you suggest what you wish to swap and hey presto - a new outfit for free!
Or how about organising your own clothes swapping party? A great excuse to get the girls together, you can all bring the clothes you have grown bored of and finish the night with a new addition to your wardrobe - without spending a single penny.
Vouchers and deals
Being savvy with your spending also means keeping a look out for money-off and discounted items.
Right now on MoneySupermarket, there is a voucher for 15% off all new arrivals at Oasis and £25 off a £50 spend at Very.co.uk. Burton is offering £10 off a £40 spend and La Redoute is offering a generous 30% off full price spring/summer clothing. With so many great offers around, you can still shop at your favourite shops, but at a fraction of the price.
Buying online is often safer than hitting the shops - you're less likely to be side tracked and end up with items you didn't plan on buying. But if you do shop online, try to do a 'big' shop and buy a few items at once so you're not paying numerous times for delivery, which can add a substantial amount to the final price. And keep a look out on your favourite shopping sites for promotional deals and periods where you can get free postage and packing.
If you have a special event coming up and you really can't afford to go all out - why not consider hiring? By doing this, you can get a stunning designer dress worth hundreds - at a snip of the price. Again, there are a number of websites offering this such as wishwantwear.com and girlmeetsdress.com.
Customise what you already have
You don't need to be Gok Wan to give clothes your current clothes a new lease of life.
Take, for example a black cocktail dress with a plain strap. Visiting your local haberdashery or discount store would allow you to pick up some cheap flowers or other accessories which could be sewn on to the strap, immediately giving the dress a make-over.
Blazers and jackets can be made more interesting by adding a vintage statement brooch -again keep your eyes peeled in charity shops and at vintage fairs. And the age-old wisdom of accessorizing never fails to transform an outfit - adding a colourful scarf, belt or chunky jewellery can really enhance what you are wearing. Plain tops can be brightened up with sequins, lace, ribbons, beading and embroidery - so be daring and experiment!
Think before you buy
The fact we all need to tighten our purse strings at the moment can actually be beneficial as it makes us think of new ways to obtain things we would usually just buy on impulse. You really don't have to spend much to be up there in the style stakes - just employ a little bit of creativity and a fresh attitude to shopping.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
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