How to Create a Summer Capsule Wardrobe

First, What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Capsule wardrobes are eco-friendly and sustainable by helping you to resist fast-fashion impulse purchases, save money, and remove so much of the stress around fashion and clothing yourself.

A traditional seasonal capsule wardrobe consists of anywhere from 10-50 (depending on who you ask) pieces of clothing that are both practical and versatile. Once you've narrowed down your wardrobe to these carefully hand-picked essentials, you save time every morning, and you save money in the long run. Creating a capsule wardrobe makes you far less likely to make impulse clothing purchases because it allows you to better keep track of what you already have, making this a truly sustainable practice. Grab your storage baskets, it’s time to get organized and create the perfect capsule wardrobe for summer.

Getting Started

The first step to creating a capsule wardrobe is organizing what you already have and want to keep, and purging what's no longer useful or necessary. As we're making a Summer Capsule Wardrobe, if you haven’t already done so, pack away all of your winter clothing. Pack away any jackets, scarves, hats, warm sweaters and anything else you wouldn’t dream of wearing in the warm summer months ahead.

Once you've separated out your cold weather clothing, take all of your remaining clothing and dump it out onto a single surface, such as a clean linen sheet spread on the floor or your bed. It may seem counterintuitive to dump your whole closet and dresser onto your bed for organizational purposes, but stay with us. Start sorting through your pile and pull out any items you haven’t worn in the past full year or so, and any clothing you just feel is no longer serving you. Create a pile of this clothing to donate later.

Once you've sifted through your summer wardrobe and successfully purged any items that you know you don’t wear anymore, you're ready to begin building your summer capsule wardrobe.

Tops for Your Summer Capsule Wardrobe

When considering how many tops you need for your summer capsule wardrobe, think about what your typical day-to-day routine looks like in the summer. Do you work from home? If so, you'll probably want to hold on to more comfy loungewear than pressed button-downs or professional blouses.

A good rule, no matter what your work situation, is to keep at least one of each style summer top. For example, make sure you have at least one sleeveless top, camisole tank top, plain t-shirt, and blouse, etc. It's also a good idea to stick to neutrals. The key to a capsule wardrobe is making sure that you can mix and match pieces to constantly create new outfits. With a summer capsule wardrobe, we recommend light, summery neutrals like white, cream, beige and soft yellows.

Make sure you keep at least one neutral blazer or suit jacket, and a stand-by comfy and cozy cardigan sweater. In the heat of summer, you never know when you'll end up somewhere with the AC blasting arctic temperatures, so be prepared with a light sweater.

Bottoms for Your Summer Capsule Wardrobe

For bottoms in your summer capsule wardrobe, make sure you have a pair of shorts, a pair of casual pants, a pair of slacks that you can dress up, a casual breezy summer skirt, or other versatile piece such as a pencil skirt that can easily be dressed up or down.

Keep at least one pair of cotton loungewear pants for at home and consider at least two pairs of athletic bottoms for the gym, hiking or gardening.

Dresses for Your Summer Capsule Wardrobe

The maxi dress is the ultimate one-and-done piece for the summer. Be sure to keep at least one full-length, easy breezy maxi dress in your summer capsule wardrobe. Having one little black dress for evenings out is also always a good idea. If you really enjoy wearing dresses and love the idea of having an entire outfit in one piece, consider also keeping a short cotton dress around for the summer to wear during the day. At least one summer romper in your summer capsule wardrobe is also a fun and easy one-piece outfit.

Shoes for Your Summer Capsule Wardrobe

For summer, we recommend keeping in rotation at least one pair of heels, a pair of flats or slip-ons, a pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers or trainers.

Keep in mind that a capsule wardrobe is meant to be personalized and adjusted to fit your needs, so use this guide as a jumping off point and not as a strict rule book. Don’t forget your swim and beachwear, of course. Create the capsule wardrobe that's right for you!


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