Sunnier weather is (sort of) upon us and for many that heralds an exciting change: the switch to summer clothes. From mini dresses to shorts, crop tops and maybe even flip flops, It’s nearly time to shed the winter coat for a flirty sundress.

Like Londoners, Westfield White City is ready for this shift in customer tastes, with bright colours, lighter fabrics and just generally cheekier clothing suddenly adorning many of its 300 or so stores. But as with, well, everything these days, a new summer outfit typically doesn’t come cheap.

Could it, for example, be possible to cobble together a trendy, sun-appropriate ensemble with only £10 at Westfield? I headed there to find out – and while I spotted lots of gorgeous dresses in most shops, there was only one High Street shop I went into where I could afford them.

READ MORE: ‘I went to Primark with £30 to find an outfit just like Kate Middleton’s and I had to sacrifice one of her signature items to make it work’

Westfield White City is the original London Westfield
Westfield White City is the original London Westfield (Image: MyLondon)

Though I live close to Westfield I’ve only visited a handful of times, usually opting for my actual local ‘High Street’ King Street, which is a little closer and a whole lot less gigantic and confusing. However, visiting for a shopping spree instead of to fix my phone caused me to appreciate its nostalgic mall feel and breadth of stores. It’s a nightmare to navigate in a time crunch, though.

My original plan involved using a map to pinpoint shops but this was quickly abolished when I entered via Wood Lane and spotted zero stocked help desks (as there are in Westfield Stratford ), plus flickering person-height screens that were not, in fact, responsive to touch. But I took the only turn (right) and after determining en route options like Levi’s, Scotch and Soda and Beyond Retro as too expensive, was soon within the centre’s cavernous heart, heading for the enormous Zara.

I fell in love with a tonne of Zara's new season summer collection - but most of it was way beyond my £10 budget for today
I fell in love with a tonne of Zara’s new season summer collection – but most of it was way beyond my £10 budget for today (Image: MyLondon)

Outside of its sales, Zara’s not known for particularly affordable prices but it is a good barometer for what’s in. Inside I spotted a tonne of gorgeous summer-orientated pieces from ditsy floral midi dresses and puff-sleeved minis to sleek workwear in vibrant oranges and pinks (clearly the colours of the season, as the remainder of my shopping trip revealed). Alas the only under £10 bit I found was a £9.99 white crop top, with even the tiniest dresses priced at £29.99 and up.

I wanted to buy literally everything but reminded myself that Zara’s summer sale is due around the third week of June (I keep tabs on it every year, and?) and departed towards H&M ’s glowing red sign. Closing in on this beacon I spotted a window display of frivolous floral dresses and co-ords. Bingo.

H&M's window display screamed summer - but would they have an outfit I could afford?
H&M’s window display screamed summer – but would they have an outfit I could afford? (Image: MyLondon)

Rails of these bold, flowery bits greeted me as I entered and I stroked the light fabrics with desire. Flipping the price tags of the strappy midis revealed a lower limit of £17.99 – better than Zara but still over budget.

One circuit of the four-level store later and I’d spotted a second summer-orientated section containing flowy, earth-toned bits (alas, more expensive than the first) and no reduced section, but a handful of stretchy dresses priced at £9.99. I wondered if I could do better at any of the competitors lining the rest of this Westfield avenue.

Summer was in full swing in Stradivarius - but sadly most dresses were priced from £22.99
Summer was in full swing in Stradivarius – but sadly most dresses were priced from £22.99 (Image: MyLondon)

As I traipsed through Stradivarius, River Island and Monki, then Pull & Bear and Bershka, I noted lots of perfect dresses, skirts and tops and got a definite sense of Summer 2022 TM trends. Frills, sparkles and toned-down neon were in; beachy halters, Hawaiian-inspired patterns, colourful beaded necklaces and funky, chunky rings were too; bags were mostly dainty, pastel and small. I’d describe it overall as seventies meets nineties in a TikTok-friendly way.

But despite the ‘30% off’ signs stationed outside a few, I couldn’t spot any dresses, jumpsuits or skirt and top combos for under £10, even within the (slim pickings) reduced rails. Bar River Island where even sale tops exceeded £20, most stores’ dresses started somewhere between £17.99 and £22.99, with bags above £12.99 and low heels or platform sandals circa £25.

Beachy vibes and orangey tones were big in Pull & Bear
Beachy vibes and orangey tones were big in Pull & Bear (Image: MyLondon)

And so it was back to H&M, tail between legs, since I unfortunately hadn’t noticed the Primark tucked in the corner. To my joy, though, examining the racks around the £9.99 dresses glimpsed earlier revealed a mid-pink halter dress that was inexplicably priced at £3.99. I couldn’t figure out why its RRP was lower than its neighbours but I wasn’t going to look this gift horse in the mouth and gladly snatched it up.

£6 remained, which ruled out bags and shoes but I hoped it was enough for another item. (Two’s a crowd or, err, outfit.) Sunglasses and silky hair wraps were just too high at £6.99 but there were some cute ribbon-bedecked scrunchies for £3.99.

The finished outfit featuring my two new items from Westfield
The finished outfit featuring my two new items from Westfield (Image: MyLondon)

I picked a floral one reminiscent of the retro, muted yet bright patterns I’d seen repeatedly today, delighted I’d now managed a summer outfit for £7.98 total. Okay, I needed to add my own shoes and it was relatively bare bones even then – but it was definitely cute, versatile and on trend for summer.

You can buy the Halterneck bodycon dress in Light pink (£3.99) and Scarf-detail scrunchie (£3.99) in-store or online at H&M.

Is there a story you think we should be covering? If so, please email whatson@mylondon.news or at tilly.alexander@reachplc.com

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