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Summer can be one of the hardest seasons to dress for, especially if you live in a climate that’s hot with a capital H. You want to look chic, yet you know you would suffocate in .2 seconds should you walk outside in a classy sweater. Then when you account for your age and desire to look timeless, you feel lost when you try shopping. As a mature woman, you are not into the warm-weather fashion trends of today and are deflated by seeing short shorts, crop tops, and cutouts everywhere you turn. Though a hot weather-appropriate classy wardrobe for women over 50 sounds like a tall order, here you’ll find what you need to get started to look your best this season!
First things first:
This capsule wardrobe does not have cutouts, crop tops, ripped or booty shorts. (Not telling women how to dress, just that the majority of women over 5o do not want to be wearing these.)
Taking into account my friends that live in more of a tropical climate, it also does not have heavy fabrics or too many layers either. But you know I have to add at least one blazer. 🙂
It does have neutral colors, timeless pieces, and mature-friendly silhouettes! And though I am not 50, this is how I would dress.
And though my picks are neutral because I think that’s the best way to build a wardrobe, the majority of these items do come in a different color as I understand it can be fun to wear some bright colors this season!
You can always recreate this summer capsule wardrobe by shopping at your favorite retailer. As always, even if you don’t get these exact pieces you can still copy the style and essence of these looks.
I’m not diving into the capsule wardrobe basics in this post, including personal style and body type, as I’ve done that plenty of times before. To learn all the basics of a capsule wardrobe, you can check out these posts:
Okay, let’s get into it!
Striped T-Shirt– A great place to wear this shirt is everywhere. Any classic wardrobe needs a striped shirt! And if it’s too warm for you to wear your Breton top, then a striped t-shirt is the next best thing. Wear with virtually anything in your wardrobe, from linen shorts to flowy midi skirts.
Linen Button-Down– Linen is one of the best materials for summer because it’s comfortable, breathable, and regulates heat. So if you want to wear a classy button-down shirt this summer, then make it linen. This wardrobe workhorse will easily become your favorite as you can wear it tucked into skirts, worn with shorts, layered open over a dress, or it can even be used as a swimsuit coverup.
Tank Top– With thick straps, this tank top beats the heat without leaving you feeling too exposed. It’s simple but it exudes class with its subtle ribbed detailing. The lightweight material makes it layering friendly if you want to style it under a linen button-down, but it would look effortlessly chic tucked into high-waisted shorts too. So many different ways to wear this staple!
Sleeveless Blouse– A sleeveless blouse is a perfect pick for hot days when you still need (or want) to look dressy. A blouse in silk (or a less expensive alternative- viscose) drapes well and feels cool to the touch. A top like this instantly dresses up your outfit.
Blue Striped Button-Down– Nautical-inspired, a blue striped button-down is a summer must-have. The light color is so fresh and beachy and instantly makes you think of summer when you wear it. Just like the linen button-down, it’s a wardrobe workhorse that has infinite styling possibilities.
Neutral T-Shirts– Though they’re not the most expensive-looking pick, they’ll be invaluable to your wardrobe, especially a white t-shirt. To strike the balance between casual chic, pair your basic t-shirt with a midi skirt or if paired with shorts, don’t forget to accessorize with your favorite gold or silver pendant necklaces.
Popover Top– The easy silhouette and gauzy material make it the perfect thing to “pop over” any bottoms. A slight v-neck makes this more breathable plus the relaxed material means it can be dressed up or down.
White Blouse– Every summer wardrobe could benefit from a white blouse and a peasant or smocked top is a good choice. Flattering, flowy, and airy, this style will not only look great on, but it will feel good to wear too. Pair with linen pants for a look that reads sweet yet casual.
Linen Blazer– An extra layer may be out of the question for those in the southern states, but if you get only one outerwear pick this season, let it be a linen blazer. You can throw this on over your striped t-shirt for an effortlessly chic look. Plus it has the power to dress up even your most basic tank top or t-shirt. A denim jacket could be a more casual alternative if your weather allows it!
Optional: If you are comfortable with skin exposure, you could add a cami to your wardrobe.
Linen Pull-On Pants-This style is everything you want in a pant: comfortable to wear, easy to slip on, versatile to match, and yet lightweight enough for the heat. Whether you’ve got a long flight or book club meeting, these can be worn out and about, on vacation, or even around the house.
Linen Pleated Pants– The same breathability of linen pull-on-pants, just slightly more elevated. These high-waisted linen pants feature a wide-leg (for breeze) and a flattering drape. They’re breathable and light and are the perfect alternative to denim while looking just as put-together- if not more so.
Midi (or Maxi) Skirt- A flowy midi skirt is feminine and classic, allowing you to copy all your favorite vintage looks. On the days when you want to look pulled together but still stay comfortable, reach for a pull-on cotton skirt. You’ll instantly look classy without sacrificing comfort.
White Jeans-Cool summer days were made for a pair of white pants or crisp white jeans. They instantly add a fresh look to all your tops too. Perfect for everyday wear or vacations! These can help you create those beachy, breezy looks too. The perfect jeans are usually mid to high rise and have a slim/straight leg.
Linen Shorts– These incredibly versatile and incredibly comfy (per reviews) shorts can be worn in a myriad of ways, all depending on how you style them. Whether you pair them with flip flops for the beach or espadrilles for dinner, you are guaranteed to look simply stylish!
Cropped Wide-Leg Pants– These type of pants have the feeling of pj’s, but look anything but. A roomier silhouette than the pull-on linen pants and a more comfortable fit than the high-waisted pleated pants, these pants fill in the gaps in your summer wardrobe.
High-Waist Tailored Shorts– Though these look fancy, they are made out of a stretchy Italian linen and are roomy throughout the legs. The comfort plus the versatility mixed with the classy silhouette means these will be a go-to pick all summer for all your timeless looks.
Light Wash Jeans– Though jeans may not be your first choice this summer, when you do reach for jeans, reach for white or this light-washed hue. This vintage sunbleached color is the perfect shade for summer and no matter the season, jeans are the foundation of every wardrobe.
Caftan– The beauty of a caftan is not that it’s comfortable (though it is), but it’s incredibly versatile, working as beach wear, work wear, and even loungewear. This pick features an adjustable waist tie which takes care of the problem that some caftans can be shapeless and unflattering.
Tank Dress– For lounging around at home or heading to a grandkid’s sporting event, a tank dress belongs in your wardrobe for casual days. Pair with sneakers, an open button-down, and sunglasses to complete the look. Though to dress it up, you can add shape with a belt or add structure with a blazer and head out to dinner!
Midi or Maxi Dress– Longer dresses are not only feminine, but they are nice for wearing in the cooler mornings or evenings when it feels a little too cool or cloudy to expose a lot of leg. Or they can just be a great option if you are not a shorts person but still want an option that doesn’t leave you feeling overheated.
White Wrap Dress– A white dress is the equivalent of the timeless LBD (little black dress) and gets even more classic when in a wrap style. Whether it’s for church, vacations, or grabbing lunch with your friends, this little number will be the perfect thing to throw on to look summer chic.
Shirt Dress-This “utility” style will work for a variety of occasions. Plus, buttons add to the versatility, because not only can you wear it buttoned-up as a dress but you could wear it open over shorts for an extra light layer.
Linen Dress-It’s not summer without some easy, breezy dresses you can throw on and a flowy linen dress does not disappoint. Pair with your favorite accessories and call it a day!
Lace-up Sandals– An elevated staple, these shoes are still very versatile while being very stylish. They’re a slightly new look and are a step up (pun intended) from your everyday sandals.
Espadrille Flats– To get the look of espadrilles without the height of wedges, opt for espadrille flats instead. Easy to slip on and comfortable, these can be worn for all your summer activities this season.
White Sneakers– For errands, traveling, sightseeing, Farmer’s market, or shopping, white sneakers are the go-to these summer months when you need a fresh pair of comfy shoes.
Brown & Black Leather Sandals– If you want shoes that match a lot of different outfits, then get a style like these. A classic pair of brown & black leather sandals will match all your outfits, stand the test of time, and add the classic element to every outfit. Neutral sandals are such an easy way to finish getting dressed if you don’t know what to wear.
Mule Slides– For date nights, weddings, work, or any other special occasions when you need a little oomph, slip on a pair of mule slides with a block heel. Chic yet still walkable!
Sunglasses– Sunglasses are one of those overlooked wardrobe essentials. It’s not summer without sunglasses! Throw these on before heading out the door for the ultimate chic summer vibes.
Straw Hat– From shielding your face in the backyard while you sip a drink on the patio to keeping your eyes shielded as you stroll on vacation, a straw hat is a practical must-have that also adds style to your outfit!
Straw Tote Bag– A straw bag is the perfect summer accessory and choosing one that could work as both a purse and for the beach is not a bad thing to have.
Crossbody Satchel Bag– A bag like this is perfect for summer as it strikes the right notes between classy yet summer-appropriate.
Gold/Silver Hoops & Pendant Necklace– These simple jewelry pieces could be all you need this summer. Subtle and simple, they can complement all clothing pieces and make your outfit feel complete and elevated!
Now that you’ve got a good list of what to have in a classy summer capsule wardrobe for over 50, below you’ll find outfit ideas of how to actually style the items too!
There are no hard and fast rules to summer fashion. Not only do you have to account for your body shape and personal comfort, you have to take into account your weather and travel plans as well.
But the beauty of creating your own summer capsule wardrobe using the pieces in this post means that you have the building blocks to create your very own great style. Which I know that you have!
Do you need a travel capsule wardrobe next? To find out the travel clothes you need to create different looks, check out my Minimalistic and Chic Tropical Vacation Capsule Wardrobe!