While planned vacations or destination weddings would require special attention and outfit planning, the rest of your summer wardrobe should be as carefree as the season itself. For wearable and, most importantly, rewearable style, consider preparing a capsule wardrobe this summer. With just a handful of pieces come endless outfit opportunities, and we deemed them essential for the summer season.
Capsule wardrobe items should be versatile and classic: After all, the goal is to make getting dressed a breeze and, in this case, to also stay cool from a temperature and style standpoint. The kind of reliable clothing and accessories you won’t mind wearing over and over or paired together, but aren’t totally boring either. Cult buy investments like Prada’s iconic bucket hat or Loewe’s signature basket bags, for example, are perfectly acceptable candidates for an even more stylish capsule wardrobe. Your quintessential summer wardrobe starts with the ten essentials, below.
For some, the summer capsule wardrobe begins and ends with an easy day dress. It’s hard to refuse a garment that doesn’t cling to the body during hot days, appears very put together, and what’s more, requires only one item of clothing for a complete outfit. You’ll come to find that these sundresses work hard in your wardrobe, wearing just as well for casual outings as they do for more formal occasions.
Ulla Johnson Phoebe cut-out cotton-poplin midi dress
Due to their relaxed silhouettes, versatility, and effortless appeal, classic button-up shirts have rightfully earned their spot as a summer capsule wardrobe staple. Take your pick from classic white poplin to subtle stripes to a pop of color to wear on repeat.
Swimsuit trends come and go, but nothing beats good old-fashioned swimwear silhouettes, from unfussy one-pieces in flattering colors to simple triangle bikinis free of bells and whistles. These are the kind of swimsuits you can wear season after season.
Can shorts be chic? These modern minimalist linen or cotton styles from Everlane and Joseph, hit the knee or fall just above, making a convincing case for the garment. Let a tailored, long short be your wardrobe hack for the office, too, as an alternative to dresses on warm and humid days.
Every season has its signature shoe type; summer’s, of course, is the sandal. With more options on the market than days you can wear them in the season, the most reliable footwear option for a summer capsule wardrobe is one you’ll happily wear with every item in it. Look for one that’s versatile, comfortable, neutral, or, better yet, all of the above.
You know that old myth that you can’t wear white after Labor Day? While we may not agree with that sartorial guideline, we do support a great pair of white jeans during the summer months. You can’t go wrong with any silhouette or shade this season, from wide-leg to slim fit in washes from chalk to ivory.
Spontaneous summer days call for a bag that can keep up with any kind of plan. Something you can carry from work to drinks or from planes to the poolside, say, a straw basket tote or carryall. Woven raffia or straw bags are a covetable and convenient accessory that’s quintessentially summer.
Loewe x Paula's Ibiza leather-trimmed raffia bucket bag
Be it airy blouses or vests, a rotation of sleeveless tops to mix and match with the rest of your summer separates is crucial to keeping your warm-weather capsule wardrobe feeling cool. Take your pick between Tove to Attersee.
For those seeking a quiet luxury or a minimalist summer aesthetic, a pair of soft trousers (think: Succession’s Naomi Pierce) in lightweight colors and fabrics will do just the trick. Wear to the office with a collared shirt, with a ribbed tank on the weekends, or to the beach with a swimsuit without breaking a sweat.
While a raffia topper can certainly elevate any vacation or beachy look, the extra sun protection one provides is yet another good reason to have one in reach this summer. Consider wearing one just as often for neighborhood walks or park picnics as you would by the pool or on the sand. Look to the runways for inspiration: white dresses and crop tops were paired with colorful bucket hats at Jacquemus, while Adam Lippes paired lampshade toppers with breezy skirt sets and resort-ready separates.
As basic as it comes, a tank top is at the top of the summer capsule wardrobe list. Seemingly simple, the humble closet staple can elevate your summer look so long as you have the right kind. (See these outfit ideas for proof). We suggest one in stretchy ribbing and enhanced necklines. Summer dressing made easy!
A good pair of sunglasses is the finishing touch to any daytime look, making it a rather small but impactful piece among the season’s capsule wardrobe and can be worn with any of the items mentioned above. Shop sought-after styles from Loewe to Bottega Veneta.