REVIEWS: Summer Dresses, Shorts, and Tanks – Plus Found Favorites at a Discount!

Summer Reviews Amazon JCPenney Kohl's

Hello, there! Today I’m reviewing a bunch of really affordable summer clothes from Amazon, Kohl’s, Old Navy, and JCPenney. I’m also sharing a couple of higher priced items that I’ve shared in blog posts that I found elsewhere, discounted! Let’s get to ’em!

SIZING: I’m 5’6″ and usually S/M or 6 in clothes and 8.5 to 9 in shoes.

 

Amazon

Summer Reviews Dressy Outfit: Amazon pink square neck floral midi dress + leather earrings + gold flat sandalsSummer Reviews Dressy Outfit: Amazon pink square neck floral midi dress + leather earrings + gold flat sandals close up and side view

Amazon Goodthreads Faux Wrap Dress – size S
The material of this dress does not have stretch, but it feels soft, lightweight, and comfortable. I love the square neckline, thicker straps, and faux wrap silhouette to help provide shape. It’s cute for a more elevated casual outfit, and you can also wear it to work or dress it up further with a strappy open toe heel. 

One thing I’m unsure of is how much this will shrink in the wash. I haven’t actually washed it yet, so I don’t know, but it seems like the type of material that will. That said, you would also probably be able to steam it to relax the fibers and expand it back out, but I just think it’s helpful to be mindful of this.

It comes in 5 prints, HERE! I wear size S.

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Amazon (exact—wearing size )
Sandals: Target (similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Summer Reviews Dressy Outfit: Amazon flutter sleeve green jumpsuit + gold pendant necklace + gold t-strap sandals

Amazon Jumpsuit – size S
How fun is this jumpsuit? I wore this to my mother-in-law’s retirement party. The material is very stretchy and comfortable, but it’s also very thick and helps smooth you out a bit better than very thin, stretchy fabrics. And, though the material is very stretchy and comfy, the jumpsuit has a lot of built-in structure to provide shape and definition, which I find very flattering. The ruffles at the shoulders help balance out the wider leg, and the waist is naturally nipped in for a flattering silhouette.

One note is that I have a shorter torso, and I feel like this hit me at the right spots. So, perhaps if you have a longer torso, this might not be great. But always worth a try if you have Amazon Prime and can utilize free shipping and free return shipping.

It comes in 7 colors, HERE. I’m wearing size S. I was kind of between sizes S and M but ultimately went with S.

Shop the Outfit:
Jumpsuit: Amazon (exact—wearing size S)
Sandals: Target (similar)
Necklace: Nordstrom (exact; super similar and much cheaper)

 

Summer Reviews Nice Casual Outfit: pink sleeveless tiered midi dress + tan white sandals + gold pendant necklace Summer Reviews Nice Casual Outfit: pink sleeveless tiered midi dress + tan white sandals + gold pendant necklace close up and side view

Amazon Midi Tiered Dress – size S
This dress is also VERY COMFY, with a super duper SOFT, comfy t-shirt material. This particular type of t-shirt material can sometimes cling, but because this dress has some built-in structure with the tiers, and because it doesn’t lie that close to my body, clinginess is not a huge problem. Instead, it’s just super comfortable! (Obviously that will be different for everyone depending on how closely this fits on you.)

I also like that this dress hits right at the narrowest part of my ankles, which is my favorite place for a midi/maxi dress to hit. Last, it has POCKETS, and the pockets aren’t bulky and they lie flat, so they don’t add bulk anywhere.

This dress comes in 8 colors and is only $29.99! See them all HERE. I wear size S.

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Amazon (exact—wearing size S)
Sandals: JCPenney (exact—wearing size 9)
Necklace: Nordstrom (exact; super similar and much cheaper)

 

Summer Reviews Nice Casual Outfit: Amazon kimono wrap pink blue floral + white tank + denim shorts + tan strappy flip flops + white earrings

Amazon Wrap – one size
This wrap is very soft and breathable, and the print is pretty. I’ll say I could do with less material (which I find true of most wraps), but for certain purposes, this works. Like, as a swim coverup or with shorts and a tank like I’m doing here. I feel like it’s harder to pull off with a dress or jumpsuit. This comes in 32 colors and prints (!!!), HERE.

BTW, these shorts are the same super affordable COMFY and STRETCHY ones from Kohl’s. Definitely check them out if you are looking for a great pair of denim shorts on the cheap, HERE! I wear size 6.

And this tank is that Gap linen blend one that I keep talking about. It’s not itchy and it’s really breathable, and it comes in lots of colors and regular, petite, and tall lengths, HERE. I wear size XS as it runs very large.

Shop the Outfit:
Tank: Gap (exact—wearing size XS)
Wrap: Amazon (exact—one size)
Shorts: Kohl’s (exact—wearing size 6)
Sandals: JCPenney (similar, similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

A wrap that has much less material that many PMTers adored last summer and the one before is the one shown below:

Summer Reviews Nicer Casual Outfit: Amazon black floral kimono wrap + black top + denim shorts + brown tstrap sandals + tan earrings + gold pendant necklace + leather crossbody purse Summer Reviews Elevated Casual Outfit: Amazon black floral kimono wrap + black top + denim shorts + tan earrings + gold pendant necklace + leather crossbody purse close up

Chiffon Wrap – size L
This was a PMT bestseller for a LONG time! It has way, way, way less material and is also shorter. It’s super lightweight, too. It’s easy to wear with shorts and a tank, dresses, and jumpsuits. This wrap comes in 8 colors, HERE. Above, I’m wearing the black one. I also have the navy one, and you can see all the ways I’ve worn it HERE.

Also, a lot of you ask about this necklace, and it’s been a PMT bestseller forEVER. It goes with pretty much everything and totally pulls together outfits! You can find it HERE. One note is that I swapped out the original chain for a longer and sturdier one. I just used a chain from an old necklace that I already owned (and it’s 34″ in case you’re wondering), but you can check craft stores or Amazon for other chains.

Shop the Outfit:
Tank: ModCloth (similar)
Wrap: Amazon (exact—size L)
Shorts: JCPenney (similar—I wear size 6)
Sandals: Nordstrom (similar)
Bag: c/o Sole Society (similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar—I wear size M)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

 

Kohl’s

Summer Reviews Dressy Casual Outfit: Kohl's blue pink pastel midi dress + light denim jacket + white slide sandals + white earrings Summer Reviews Dressy Casual Outfit: Kohl's blue pink pastel midi dress + white slide sandals + white earrings close up

Kohl’s Floral Maxi Dress – size S
Flowy and lightweight to keep you cool in an elevated casual outfit. It’s fully lined with POCKETS that lay flat so that they don’t add bulk around the hips. 🙌🏽 You can adjust the length a little with the straps. I’m able to wear a regular bra with it. Wore this to church and layered on my denim jacket until it got too warm. Kohl’s runs sales very often, so you can easily grab it at a great price. Catch it HERE. I’m wearing size S.

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Kohl’s (exact—wearing size S)
Denim Jacket: Nordstrom (similar; similar—same brand but different wash, I wear size M)
Sandals: Target (similar, similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Summer Reviews Nice Casual Outfit: Kohl's blue button down tshirt knee length dress + white earrings + white sandalsSummer Reviews Nicer Casual Outfit: Kohl's blue button down tshirt dress + white earrings + white sandals close up view

Kohl’s Tiered Button Dress – size S
This is a nice SUPER SOFT and COMFY dress that offers a little more shape than the typical thinner soft swing dresses, thanks to the tiers. The buttons add cute character, and they are fully functional which is great news for any of you breastfeeding mamas. Last, it has POCKETS!

I personally have a love/hate relationship with these pockets, though. They do NOT lay flat and are quite bulky, which means they add bulk to my hips. Not my favorite, personally, but it would very likely be a non-factor if you have straighter or narrower hips and thighs. Otherwise, great comfy dress that looks stylish but still keeps things really, really casual.

It comes in 4 colors, HERE. I wear size S.

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: Kohl’s (exact—wearing size S)
Sandals: Target (similar, similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Summer Reviews Casual Outfit: Kohl's California tank + red shorts + brown shorts + white Crocs flat sandals + white earrings

Kohl’s Muscle Tank – size S
This is another print of the same tank I shared in the recent blog post “How to Liven Up Your Summer Outfits.” (In the blog post, I showed the colorway Brown Sunset.) This is very lightweight and breathable, and I especially like that the armholes aren’t cut super low so your bra is not exposed. If you don’t want a tank that says “California,” no sweat—it comes in 15 prints! Check them all out in straight sizing, HERE. Find it in plus sizing, HERE. I wear size S.

Shop the Outfit:
Tank: Kohl’s (exact—wearing size S)
Shorts: Old Navy (exact—wearing size XS)
Sandals: DSW (exact—wearing size 8)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Old Navy

Summer Reviews Casual Outfit: Kohl's California tank + red linen shorts + brown linen shorts + white Crocs flat sandals side view

Old Navy Linen Shorts – size XS
If you’re on the PMT email list, during Memorial Day sales I mentioned I bought a bunch of these shorts on sale for $8. For that price, they’re a good deal!

Good stuff: they’re lightweight and comfortable, which covers your basics. They come in LOTS of colors and are available in sizes XS to 4X and in regular, tall, and petite lengths, HERE. Awesome! I wear size XS.

Downsides: they do get baggier upon wear, and I already sized down to XS so I can’t size down more. I think it’s mostly okay for very casual outfits, but if they get misshapen or too wrinkly, I think that anything nicer than super casual outfits could start to look sloppy. And that’s fine, as long as I know only to rely on them for super casual stuff.

I’m contrasting that to the Nordstrom Trailblazer Shorts that I shared in my recent blog post. You get the same function of pull-on shorts that have stretch, are comfy, and have a fully elastic waistband. But the Trailblazer shorts hold their structure and more easily help you look put together instead of like you’re wearing pajamas. The Trailblazer shorts cost way more than $8 though, but there is a noticeable difference in how they elevate your style. You can find the Trailblazer shorts HERE. I wear size 27 as those run pretty large.

But again, I do like the Old Navy shorts for certain cases, and especially for a cheaper option! I’d just encourage you to be mindful of how the material makes outfits feel and how these shorts can function in your wardrobe.

Shop the Outfit:
Tank: Kohl’s (exact—wearing size S)
Shorts: Old Navy (exact—wearing size XS)
Sandals: DSW (exact—wearing size 8)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Summer Reviews Athleisure Casual Outfit: Kohl's white graphic tank + brown joggers + white Crocs flat tulum sandals + white earrings

Old Navy Stretch Tech Joggers – size M
I’ve shared these joggers before, but I just got the brown pair so I’m sharing them again. (Remember how I’ve said brown is the new black for this season? 😄) These are LIGHTWEIGHT in a sporty material and are so, so good for summer. They come in 11 colors and sizes XS to 4X and in regular, tall, and petite lengths. See them all HERE. I wear size M.

Since these are sporty, I usually pair them with casual t-shirts and tanks.

Shop the Outfit:
Tank: Kohl’s (exact—wearing size S)
Joggers: Old Navy (exact—wearing size M)
Sandals: (exact—wearing size 8)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

JCPenney

Summer Reviews Casual Outfit: light brown crop top + brown joggers + white slip on sneakers + gold pendant necklaceSummer Reviews Casual Outfit: light brown crop top + brown joggers + white slip on sneakers + gold pendant necklace close up view

JCPenney Short Sleeve Crop Top – size S?
I included these in a post a while back called “Affordable & Comfortable Outfit Ideas to Sightsee In the City.” And while I didn’t emphasize it much in that post, I was personally drawn to it. I like the crop length for a modern and current silhouette for athleisure and activewear. I understand it’s not everyone’s thing, and it doesn’t need to be, but I’m digging it more and more (to a certain extent).

This material is very soft, smooth, and stretchy, but it’s on the thicker side so it holds some shape. It comes in 3 colors, HERE. I wear size S.

Shop the Outfit:
Top: JCPenney (exact—wearing size S)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 4)
Shoes: Nordstrom (similar, similar)
Necklace: Necklace (exact; super similar and much cheaper)

Also, those jeans above are the same ones below…

Summer Reviews Casual Outfit: black graphic tee + distressed blue jeans + white tan slide sandals + white earrings + green jacket + brown backpack

KUT from the Kloth Jeans – size 4
I talked about these KUT from the Kloth jeans in “Three Outfits With a Black Graphic Tee to Copy,” and while they sold out quickly from Nordstrom, they are currently available in size 00 to 18 HERE! And ON SALE! They are VERYYYYY SOFT and COMFY. They are a lighter weight, so they have been my favorite summer jeans.

HOWEVER, now that I’ve had them for a while, one thing I don’t love is that they can get misshapen as well. The pic above is when they were pretty new, whereas the pic prior, with the JCPenney brown top, shows how they are a little misshapen at the knees. 👎🏼 (This doesn’t happen with my Wit & Wisdom jeans!) But I still love them nonetheless because they are SO COMFORTABLE!

Shop the Outfit:
Tee: Nordstrom (similar)
Jacket: Gap (similar, similar, similar)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size 4)
Sandals: JCPenney (exact—wearing size 9)
Backpack: Amazon (exact)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Summer Reviews Elevated Casual Outfit: white blouse + olive soft pants + white tan sandals + gold pendant necklace + white tan purse

JCPenney Sandals – size 9
These have been my go-to sandal over the last month and a half! They are very inexpensive, so of course they don’t offer much cushion or arch support. But the strap area is soft. I really like the off-white tones mixed with tan. You might have noticed that I often wear white sandals or tan sandals. Sometimes white sandals are a little too bright for some outfits or tan sandals don’t “lift” the outfit quite enough, so this off-white and tan mixture becomes a great balance of both. Find them HERE. I wear size 9.

Shop the Outfit:
Top: Gap (exact—wearing size S)
Pants: Gap (exact—wearing size 6)
Sandals: JCPenney (exact—wearing size 9)
Bag: Gap (exact)
Necklace: Necklace (exact)

 

Summer Reviews Elevated Casual Outfit: white blouse with tan print + olive soft pants + white tan sandals + white earrings

Madewell Ikat Top – size XS
I showed this in my recent blog post “Comfortable, Breezy, Breathable Clothes to Stay Cool In the Summer.” This top is expensive, but it is very lightweight and breathable, and it keeps me cooler than other similar tops that are cheaper. I’m showing it here simply to tell you that it is ON SALE directly at Madewell, HERE! The listed sale price is $49.99 and then you can get an EXTRA 20% off at checkout when you use the code SALEONSALE.

Since I had already bought mine from Nordstrom, instead of returning it, I just chatted online with their customer support, and they did a price match for me! I took a screenshot of the price in my Madewell cart after applying the extra 20% off code, and Nordstrom honored it. This is helpful too because it’s on *final* sale at Madewell and not eligible for returns, but that’s not the case at Nordstrom, where you’d be able to return it if it doesn’t work for you. Anyway, you can find it at Nordstrom HERE, and Madewell ON SALE HERE. I wear size XS as this runs pretty large.

Last, these are the Gap TENCEL pants I’ve talked about lots lately. SO COMFY, lightweight, soft, and BREATHABLE. My favorite summer pants! Check them out HERE. I wear size 6.

While we’re here, I must GUSH about both of these pieces again for BREATHABILITY! I wore this outfit on a day that was 102 degrees. Why was I wearing pants to begin with? Well, the morning started off cooler. But eventually, it hit 102 and I found myself outside sitting in a car with the a/c OFF for a whole hour (!!), and I was actually still comfortable in this outfit! So yes, these pieces are a bit pricier compared to the cheaper stuff I have gotten at Kohl’s and Old Navy. But they breathe so well comparatively.

Shop the Outfit:
Top: Nordstrom (exact—wearing size XS)
Pants: Gap (exact—wearing size 6)
Sandals: JCPenney (exact—wearing size 9)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (similar, similar—I wear size M)

 

Alright, that was a LOT! I hope this helps you find some great, affordable pieces for the summer!

Reminder! If you want help building an awesome, easy-to-use summer wardrobe, check out the Summer Starter Kit Wardrobe Guide! You’ll have a plan to build a compact summer wardrobe of 9-15 pieces that will turn into 15-30 outfits. Complete with an outfit catalog of all the outfits, a database of shopping links, and style tips to help you pull the outfits together. Get your copy HERE so that you can feel great this summer!

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