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A summer capsule wardrobe can be an easy and super practical way to take on the warmer months of the year. While a ten-item wardrobe might not seem ideal for many people, being intentional with the different items we choose can really open our eyes to lots of outfits we might otherwise have overlooked! Whether you are wanting to run an experiment and challenge yourself to only a select number of items for your wardrobe or truly find core pieces that will get you through the summer season, this post is here to help!
When you’re getting started with your capsule wardrobe, it’s a good idea to have a few pieces that work for each season. You may run into trouble if your capsule wardrobe focuses too much on one type of weather at the expense of the others – imagine if all you had to wear were cable knit sweaters in July! In this post, I’ll be sharing a summer wardrobe made up of 10 key pieces of clothing for function, comfort, and style.
I have also included some of my personal recommendations for each of the items mentioned, giving you a place to start your shopping journey if you’d like!
Even if you don’t intend to commit to a capsule wardrobe for the entire season, learning the ropes for this minimalist approach can be super helpful for you personal organization and fashion sense! Need more? This 10-piece wardrobe for summer also doubles as a travel capsule wardrobe for any summer trips on the horizon. Let’s get started!
1. Linen (Pants, Dress)
When the temperatures start to rise, the first thing you want to do is move all of your heavy pieces and thick materials to the back of your closet and bring out the lightweight fabrics. It’s time to say goodbye to generous layers and hello to easy, breezy, beautiful linen! This high-quality, chic, breathable fabric is a go-to choice for hot days, making it the perfect material for smart casual outfits and timeless pieces.
On top of not absorbing moisture (say goodbye to sweat patches!), linen can also help to regulate your body temperature with its airy feel. Even when wrinkled, this material ranks highly on the summer scale for its elevated and elegant look.
100% European Linen Button Front Dress
100% European Linen Pants
2. Straw/Wicker Handbag
Your 10 piece wardrobe for summer must include a handbag. For this, repurposing your favorite bag for formal occasions just won’t cut it – a dedicated summer bag is a great way to about making your different looks all feel appropriate for the season. A straw bag is a great option to consider, making for a timeless classic look I think you’ll reach for every summer.
These kinds of bags are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, being totally adaptable to your personal needs and style preferences. If you want to go for a vintage-inspired look, find a wicker handbag in a basket shape for the ultimate Jane Birkin French girl vibes.
Hand-Woven Straw Large Hobo Bag
Handwoven Round Rattan Bag
Allington Straw Tote
3. Denim Shorts
In addition to your heavy fabrics, another piece of clothing that you’ll find you wear less and less is jeans. Though they’re still handy to have nearby, you’ll definitely want to have seasonal items like denim shorts on hand for the hot summer months.
While there are tons of short styles out there (even ones in linen), denim shorts are super versatile for a capsule wardrobe. You can style your denim shorts just like you would a pair of jeans, pairing them with anything from sweater and tank tops to blazers!
The Perfect Vintage Mid-Length Jean Short
Relaxed Mid-Length Denim Shorts
4. Floral Maxi Dress
Maxi dresses are a summer staple, easy to throw on and run out the door without giving it a second thought. If you have a summer wedding, a tropical holiday on the horizon, or even just lunch with your gal pals planned, you’ll want to have a floral maxi dress at the ready in your wardrobe.
One benefit of maxi dresses is that they can double as a cover-up when you’re heading to the pool or the beach, allowing you to hide your swimsuit and look put together in seconds! With a maxi dress, you’ll be able to move around comfortably and freely while also looking amazing.
Heat Wave Floral Print High-Low Dress
Sarai Floral Cutout Maxi Dress
Newell Floral Halter Maxi Dress
Your summer capsule wardrobe needs at least one chic pair of shoes. While sneakers and sandals might be your go-to, a dressier shoe comes in handy when you are looking to elevate your different outfits with an extra dose of style.
Espadrilles are a type of shoe that is easy to style, lending any outfit a touch of Parisian chic. You can opt for a pair of slip-on espadrilles for a more casual look or splurge on espadrille wedges for some sophistication!
Juana Ankle Wrap Espadrille Wedge d’Orsay Pump
Eleanor Espadrille Flat
ALOHAS Leather Ibizas Platform Espadrille Sandals
What is summer without a dip in the ocean or relaxing poolside afternoons? This might go without saying, but no summer closet is complete without a good swimsuit.
Finding a bathing suit that you feel comfortable and confident in is the number one priority. Whether it’s a bikini set or a one-piece, choose one that you know you’ll want to wear. You can find one-piece swimsuits in neutral colors that will easily allow you to throw on a pair of denim shorts and call it a look, or you can go the two-piece route to easily mix and match.
Kim Belted Rib One-Piece Swimsuit
Island Goddess One-Piece Swimsuit
Crinkle Two-Piece Swimsuit
7. Breezy Skirt (Knee Length or Midi)
Skirts are a go-to during summer. Comfortable, easy to style, and chic, they keep your legs ventilated so that you can stay cool as the temperatures start to climb.
Skirts are generally very simple to style, and you can wear them with everything from a basic tee to a white blouse. Pick one up in your favorite color (or print) and wear it all summer long!
Poplin Flared Midi Skirt in Stripe
100% Washable Silk Skirt
100% Organic Cotton Tiered Maxi Skirt
8. White Blouse
When it comes to classic style
For those looking to avoid sweat stains and a more fitted look when it comes to tops, this piece is perfect with its flowy silhouette and lightweight materials. White blouses really are your best friend during summer, keeping you feeling cool and looking good! Pair this style with denim shorts, skirts, and even your bathing suit for a variety of cute, comfortable outfits.
100% Organic Cotton Gauze Peasant Blouse
Pleated Short-Sleeve Top
Linen Blend Button-Up Shirt
9. Light Cardigan, Cover-Up, or Layer
Although we often think of summer as days spent sitting under the sun, it can still get chilly at times. If you’re a fan of after-dark walks or sunset bonfires at the beach, you’ll want to have a cardigan, cover-up, or extra layer on hand to keep you comfortable and warm.
Choose a light cardigan that you can throw into your straw bag to take with you during the day and into your evening. If you’re planning on spending the summer by the water, you’ll want to have a cover-up that you can wear over your swimsuit. At the same time, a chunkier sweater or a knit with holes will work, as long as it doesn’t look too out of place for the warmest months of the year.
V-Neck Relaxed Cardigan
100% Organic Cotton Boyfriend Crew Sweater
Long Beach Shirt in Linen-Cotton Blend
10. A Hat
Don’t forget your hat! While we all know the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect our skin and to help with anti-aging, we sometimes forget about a hat. You can choose any style you like, but make sure that it offers some protection for your face.
More than just protection, however, a straw hat is a classic summer accessory and summer staple that can do wonders for your personal style! Keep in mind that different styles will accessorize in different ways – floppy hats are best for the beach, while fedoras and Panama style hats are perfect for adding a chic summer touch to your outfits.
Rocky Straw Hat
Raffia Bucket Hat
Packable Straw Hat
Finding Your Own Capsule Wardrobe
These summer-focused pieces are a great place to begin when it comes to putting together your hot weather wardrobe, but it definitely does not mean you can’t wear other great items as well! Use what you already have alongside the capsule pieces that speak to you and your style preferences for classic, elegant outfits that reflect your individuality. When shopping, I also recommend focusing on the fit of the items you select – having pieces that fit your body well properly is another expert tip to elevating a simple look.
No matter if you are a seasoned fashion enthusiast or are just starting to dip your toes into this world, putting looks together can be unsurprisingly overwhelming. Stick to it! Like with everything else, learning about style is a matter of gaining experience; the more you spend time with your new items, for example, the more you’ll be able to find additional ways of styling them that are true to your individual taste. Want a little more guidance? Check out my newsletter for more free fashion guides!
At the end of the day, it all comes down to finding intentional, high-quality, versatile pieces that are easy to mix and match throughout the summer days (check out my current favorite linen brands for even more inspo!).
Whether you are looking for more minimalist summer outfit ideas or your next set of core items, there is plenty of inspiration around here for you to find. Good luck!