The under-$100 spring pieces that get me the most compliments

Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase through the links below, we may receive a commission. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Lauren Caruso is an In The Know shopping contributor. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more.

There’s something you should know about me: Despite having worked in fashion for well over a decade, my closet isn’t very expansive. It’s full, sure, but I generally wear some version of the same thing every day. The only thing that varies, mostly, is the season.

In winter, it’s usually a flowy black pant with a cropped sweater and boots, topped off with a longline jacket. In the summer, it’s either a dress that barely skims my body, or some version of a shorts-and-crop-top outfit that doesn’t feel particularly novel, if we’re being honest. Spring and fall bring some iteration of the same, mixing and matching a few pieces that make each outfit weather-appropriate

But having a simple, seasonally specific outfit formula works for me. While I’m not afraid to invest in a few outliers — like a bag I absolutely love or a chic leather blazer that I can throw on from time to time — I generally stick to affordable, minimalist basics. Think a ribbed white tank that I can layer underneath a blazer or a leather jacket; a pair of comfortable flats that are both chic and comfortable; a pair of straight-leg, rigid jeans that I reach for every day. The good news is that I’ve realized you don’t have to spend a ton of money to find pieces that’ll nab you tons of compliments. I’ve probably recommended my favorite pair of $16 sunglasses to dozens of people, and the little black dress I swear by is usually a conversation starter for its simplicity. 

Ahead, check out the under-$100 spring staples that get me the most compliments.

Mango Knots Heel Sandals, $59.99

Credit: Mango

Mango makes the simplest, chicest spring heels — and this cream-colored pair grounds all of my outfits.

Ribbed Skinny Racer, $66 

Credit: LNA

Sure, $66 may feel a bit pricey for a simple white tank — until you realize that it washes like a piece that should cost $150. It’s perfectly form-fitting, never stretches out and makes any outfit look instantly put-together. I’ve had mine for almost two years, and I’ve worn in at least a hundred times — less than $1 per wear isn’t so bad.

Kotn Cropped Long Sleeve Tee, $35

Credit: Kotn

Kotn’s Cropped Long Sleeve Tee is great for transitional weather layering. I like to wear mine with baggy jeans for a casual look, or with denim shorts and a leather jacket on breezy spring nights.

Reformation Marlowe Dress, $98

Credit: Reformation

Reformation’s Marlowe Dress is a perennial favorite for multiple reasons. First, I’m 5’2″, and the dress hits a touch lower on my thigh than it does on the model, making it appropriate for everything from a wedding to a casual dinner date. Second, based on how it’s styled, it can feel like an entirely different dress every time I wear it. And lastly, it’s just one of those pieces that feels good to wear — slim-fitting, but not snug.

BDG Premium High-Waisted Retro Boy Jean, $99

Credit: Urban Outfitters

I love a pair of baggy jeans for spring, and this pair from Urban Outfitters’ private label boast my favorite quality in a pair of jeans: They’re non-stretch.

UO Kendal Strappy Slide Sandal, $49

Credit: Urban Outfitters

These scrappy sandals are somehow equally chic and comfortable.

Donni Terry Bralette, $76

Credit: Donni

This terry bralette from emerging brand Donni is one of my favorite pieces. I like to pretend it’s more of a crop top by pairing it with high-waisted jeans and a blazer. It might not be exactly office-appropriate, but add a short kitten heel and you’ve got a full date-night look.

Manner Market Scarf, $55

Credit: Manner Market

I love throwing this scarf on when my outfit feels like it needs a little extra… something.

Oak + Fort Elastic Waist Pant, $48

Credit: Oak + Fort

Oak + Fort is one of my favorite places to get on-trend items at affordable prices. These wide-leg pants are a go-to of mine all season long — and they look way more expensive than they are.

Babaton Mini Slip Skirt, $78

Credit: Aritzia

Aritzia’s Mini Slip Skirt comes in 11 colorways, including this off-white hue that manages to make any outfit more elevated.

Levi’s 501 High-Waisted Denim Short, $69

Credit: Urban Outfitters

These cut-offs are the only thing I wear when the weather gets truly sticky. Size up, though: They’ll shrink in the wash.

Sausalito Rectangle Sunglasses, $16 

Credit: Urban Outfitters

If we’re being honest, I lose my favorite pair of sunglasses every year. It’s a terrible habit, but I’ve since switched from $300 frames to these $16 ones — and I get more compliments than ever.

BB Dakota Madge Vegan Leather Coat, $90.30

Credit: Shopbop

This oversized vegan leather blazer looks like a vintage score — and feels like one, too.

Shop Peche Rosa Shirt, $79

Credit: Shop Peche

This simple pleated top has come in handy more times than I can count. It’s a great layering piece — and even makes for an elevated beach cover-up.

Babaton Sculpt Knit Cross Tank, $58

Credit: Artizia

This criss-cross tank, which is structured without feeling restrictive, looks like it should be triple the price.

Anine Bing x Terry O’Neill Kate Moss Ida Tee, $99

Credit: Anine Bing

I love a good plain white tee, but this Kate Moss iteration from Anine Bing is a hit with all my friends.

Iris & Ink Lattice Leather Slides, $100

Credit: The Outnet

These flats from Iris & Ink are the perfect throw-and-go sandals for spring.

Zara Flowy Jacket, $69.90

Credit: Zara

Zara sells some version of this flowy blazer every year, and for good reason. It makes any outfit look instantly put together. I like to wear mine with short shorts and a tank.

Mango Linen Shirt, $59.99 

Credit: Mango

An oversized linen button-down is a spring essential. I like to size up for a roomier fit.

Lo & Sons The Bond, $98

Credit: Lo & Sons

I have this fanny pack in the sheepskin leather, but the recycled poly version is an even more functional all-weather option.

& Other Stories Tiered Mini Lace Dress, $99

Credit: & Other Stories

Sure, this dress is inherently saccharine, but it’s easy to toughen up with a pair of chunky sneakers, black sandals or a lug-sole boot.

If you enjoyed this story, check out Lauren Caruso’s weekly workout essentials!

More from In The Know:

Mini-retirements are on the rise — here’s how to plan one

Save up to 80% on denim, tops and more at FRAME’s online sample sale

Over 7,700 Amazon shoppers love this affordable bandeau bikini

Use this blush-highlighter hybrid to get a lit-from-within glow