Capsule wardrobes are great any time of year and for many reasons. Because they consist of a handful of well-made, quality essentials that match a variety of other garments, they ensure you always have something stylish to mix and match. Plus, they take the guesswork out of getting dressed because every item matches one another, which really simplifies the process of packing for a summer vacation. You can easily mix and match capsule wardrobe items to make them look like an entirely new outfit, which is a major benefit that helps you save space in your luggage. If you’re wondering how many items you need for a summer vacation capsule wardrobe, check out our recommendations.
Think of the types of shorts you wear most often, whether they are denim, cotton, linen, or all of the above. Narrow your selection down to two of your most versatile and comfortable pairs, and then alternate between both during your trip. You may want to spot wash your denim shorts or hand wash your cotton shorts in the bathroom sink on occasion, but they should easily dry overnight if you hang them to dry in your room. Otherwise, you should be totally fine with just two pairs of shorts, as long as you’re also packing a dress or two, or another type of bottoms like linen pants.
Packing two cute tank tops to wear alone or under a button-down blouse is ideal for summer vacations, and they take up hardly any room in your luggage. We recommend one white tank top and one black tank top. But what you pack will ultimately depend on the color you tend to wear most often, remembering that a capsule wardrobe consists of basic, everyday items that you can mix and match with one another. If you’re going somewhere warm, a tank top with a pair of shorts and sandals is enough to take you throughout the day in comfort. And if you head inside the air conditioning for a meal, you can always cover up with a button-down blouse, which brings us to the next summer vacation capsule wardrobe essential.
While a flannel would also suffice, it doesn’t scream summer like a white blouse does. Button-down blouses are versatile because you can wear them buttoned up on their own, unbuttoned and untucked over a tank top, and either with shorts, pants, or a skirt. They always add a touch of class to an outfit, and if you wear a white blouse over a tank top, you can even tie the arms around your waist when you get warm. Opt for a wrinkle-resistant button-down blouse so you can tie it around your waist or throw it into your beach bag without worrying about it getting wrinkly.
If you tend to wear dresses more often than shorts throughout the summer, you might want to pack more than one dress and keep the shorts at home, but having at least one makes sure you’re all set in case you end up going to a nice restaurant. Even if you don’t have plans to go anywhere fancy, summer dresses are great because they can easily accommodate both casual and formal environments. Whether it’s a simple shirt dress, jersey dress, or sundress, make sure you have at least one and that it matches whatever shoes you plan on wearing the most during your trip.
Yes, we’re recommending more shoes than any other item, but it’s for good reasons. First of all, summer vacations typically involve pools and beaches, which certainly require a pair of flip-flops. But you may get away with nixing the flip-flops if your sandals are waterproof and lack heels. Still, they take up little space in your luggage and weigh close to nothing, so we recommend packing a pair of flip-flops regardless. Pack some sandals for meals at nice restaurants and to wear with any other outfits you pack. Squeeze in some sneakers for any active excursions you might be planning as well as for any workouts at the hotel. You’ll also appreciate them when you’re walking through the airport to catch your flight, and wearing them to and from your destination assures that they don’t take up space in your luggage.
Remember that a capsule wardrobe consists of the essentials, ensuring you always have something reliable and comfortable to wear. But that doesn’t mean you can’t throw in a few extra items you like. Maybe it’s a colorful patterned blouse or a fashion scarf. Or maybe you just bought a new kaftan cover-up that you want to show off. By packing your capsule wardrobe into your luggage first, you can better assess what extra items you have room for. Don’t forget to leave room for your toiletry bag, sunglasses, and jewelry, though.
You may even find that the simplicity of a capsule wardrobe leaves so much room in your luggage that you can fit everything into a carry-on instead of checking a bag!