The 17 Style Staples You Need For A Chic Summer Capsule Wardrobe

We only feature products that we hope you will love. We may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.  

As the days grow longer, it’s time to revamp your wardrobe for the summer season. Creating a functional and stylish summer capsule wardrobe is all about selecting versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create numerous outfits while keeping you cool and comfortable in the sweltering heat.

Whether you’re heading to the beach, going on a vacation, or simply enjoying the rooftop drinks at your local bar, having a well-curated summer capsule wardrobe will ensure you’re always ready for any occasion.

Summer capsule wardrobe.

In this guide, we share our favorite summer essentials that we keep reaching for year after year, which we think you should add to your summer wardrobe, too.

If you are familiar with the concept of capsule wardrobes, you know that it’s good practice to buy most items in your wardrobe in a neutral color palette to maximize the number of outfit combinations that you can create. To get the most use out of your items, opt for neutral colors that you wear often and that complement your skin tone. For example, if you are cool-toned, opt for cool beige hues instead of warm tan, and for navy blue instead of black if you have very light features.

Also, don’t be afraid of injecting some color into your wardrobe, especially if you love wearing color. After all, the idea of a capsule wardrobe is to create a curated collection of summer staples that you absolutely love. We highly encourage you to add at least one or two tank tops or dresses in your favorite colors to your summer wardrobe to customize our summer capsule to your personal taste.

Now, with this said, let’s jump right into the wardrobe items that we think you should absolutely consider adding to your own summer capsule wardrobe.

Our Summer Capsule Wardrobe Picks

Neutral Tank Tops & Tees

Good basics will always be the foundation of a great summer capsule wardrobe, and tank tops in classic cuts are the perfect place to start. We’ve picked 3 colors that will look good in anyone’s wardrobe; white, black and a beige/tan top (depending on your skin tone). These colors work with a multitude of outfits and can be combined with any pieces of clothing you see in our featured capsule image above.

However, life can be a little boring without color, so if you want, you can add 1-2 additional colors in your favorite summer shades (for us, that would be pale blue and artichoke green). You may also want to add a cropped version of a neutral tank to your capsule – bralettes ad crop tops look incredibly chic when worn with a blazer and wide-leg pants.

Neutral Tanks We Love
White organic cotton tank top
Abercrombie & Fitch

Cotton Seamless Fabric Crew Tank Bodysuit

$40 at Abercrombie & Fitch

Free People

Keep It Sleek Bodysuit

$58 at Revolve

Button-Down Shirt

A high-quality button-down shirt is a year-round staple, and when summer rolls around, it becomes even more versatile. Not only can you pair your light blue and white shirts with any bottoms from a pair of shorts to jeans for a classic look, but you can also wear them as beach cover-ups.

White Shirts We Love
White cotton oversized shirt

Organic Cotton Oversized Shirt

$288 at Frame

Oversized white linen shirt

Linen Woven Shirt

$190 at Revolve

Flowy Wide-Leg Pants

Flowy wide-leg trousers made from natural or semi-natural materials have become our all-time favorite summer pieces (particularly these ones from Reformation – the petite version works well if you plan on wearing them with flats, just size up from your regular size). They are so easy to pair with other basic wardrobe pieces, but somehow, the result is always elegant. 

Wear them with your favorite tan tops and accessorize with your favorite designer belt and sunglasses for added glam.

You can also top off this look with an oversized blazer for an added touch of sophistication. Another look that we’re particularly fond of is the bralette + blazer combo with these wide-leg trousers – so chic!

Wide Leg Pants We Love
Cream wide-leg pants

Mason Pant Petites

$178 at Reformation

Lovers & Friends

Luna Pant

$198 at Revolve

Tailored Shorts

We are huge fans of tailored shorts that give your look a more polished appearance. Look for shorts in natural materials to survive the hot weather better; again, we are huge fans of Reformation’s shorts – these ones, in particular, are incredibly flattering (and constantly out of stock in certain sizes).

Tailored Shorts We Love
White linen shorts.

Remi Short in Stretch Linen Blend

$98 at J.Crew

Black pleated shorts

Mason Short

$128 at Reformation

Denim Shorts

You can’t beat a good pair of denim shorts for those days that you want to dress more casually. We especially love the look of distressed shorts dressed up with accessories like a chic designer bag and sandals.

Opt for denim colors that you usually gravitate towards, whether those are light-wash, white, true blue, or dark-wash shorts.

Denim Shorts We Love
Distressed blue denim jeans

501 Original Short

$70 at Revolve

Cream denim shorts.

Eliana Pleated Denim Shorts

$148 at Reformation

Neutral Oversized Blazers

Oversized blazers are seasonless pieces that can instantly elevate an outfit, no matter how casual the rest of your look is. You can wear them with anything from floral dresses to denim shorts and cocktail party outfits, and they’ll never look out of place.

While we favor lighter blazer colors for the summer season, you can also opt to add a chic black blazer to your outfit if you own a lot of black clothing. Of course, it’s best not to wear black in the heat of the day – you’ll want to reserve this blazer for evenings.

If you plan on wearing your blazer during the daytime in the summer heat, it’s best to opt for breathable natural fibers like linen, or semi-breathable materials like rayon, polyamide and polyester blends, which tend to have a smarter look.

Neutral Blazers We Love
Cream oversized blazer
&Other Stories

Relaxed Linen Blazer

$179 at &Other Stories

Central Park West

Bay Lean Blazer (Linen Blend)

$216 at Revolve

sweaters & Cardigans From Natural Fibers

Summer nights and windy days call for warmer pieces, but instead of opting for any old sweater, choose a piece that’s made from breathable natural fibers (or blends) that will help you stay sweat-free. While you can choose a sweater or cardigan in any color you love, there’s nothing quite like a timeless striped sweater to achieve a trendy French girl-inspired look.

You can also use this piece as a daytime accessory, slinging it over your shoulders and tying it at the front, as has become trendy in recent seasons.

Summer Layers We Love
Breton stripe sweater

Organic Cotton Jumper

At Arket

White summer cardigan.

Ambroise Cardigan

$130 at Sezane

Feminine Sundresses

It’s always a good idea to have a few different summer dresses in your capsule wardrobe since they are so fuss-free to style. We recommend adding one white sundress to your wardrobe and one feminine sundress in a color that you love to wear – be that light blue, floral or something else.

Sundresses We Love
White summer dress.
Sabo Skirt

Nyrobi Dress

$90 at Sabo Skirt

Yellow linen sundress.

Percy Linen Dress

$278 at Reformation

Tank Dress

It’s also a good idea to add a long midi or maxi dress to your collection that is more figure-hugging than your other dresses. You can style it up or down, depending on where you’re going; wear it with a pair of dad sandals for casual errands, or dress it up with strappy heels for fancier occasions.

Tank Dresses We Love
Light sage green knit dress

Karter Knit Midi Dress

$228 at Revolve

Light blue tank dress.

Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress

$80 at Skims

Your Favorite Jeans

A good pair of denim jeans should never leave your wardrobe, no matter the season. For summer, we prefer light-wash jeans with a straight-leg, but you can also opt for a pair of white jeans or trusty blue jeans in a baggy cut, if that fits your personal style better.

Jeans We Love
Agolde hig-waisted jeans

Pinch Waist High Rise Kick Jean

$188 at Revolve

Agolde straight jeans

Lana Straight Jean

$188 at Revolve

Neutral Everyday Designer Bags

Designer bags are what you need to transform your outfit from “meh” to “wow” in an instant. We recommend having one black bag and one beige/tan bag to match all of the different outfits that you create with this capsule wardrobe guide. You don’t need any more colors than that! 

Of course, classic, timeless bags like the Chanel Flap Bag will always be among our top recommendations, but cheaper brands like Saint Laurent, Celine, Gucci and Prada also have some fantastic options.

Everyday Designer Bags We Love
Black Chanel classic flap bag

Classic Double Flap Bag

Secondhand at Fashionphile

Beige YSL Toy Loulou
Saint Laurent

Toy Loulou Crossbody Bag

$1,990 at Neiman Marcus

Raffia Totes

If you’re going to spend a lot of time on the beach or by the pool, you need to get a Raffia tote bag. These chic beach bags fit everything you could possibly want to carry, from laptops to an extra pair of shoes. They also make for cute summertime travel bags in and out of the airport.

Beach Totes We Love
Loewe basket tote bag

x Paula’s Ibiza Anagram Basket Tote Bag

$1,100 at Neiman Marcus

Saint Laurent

Hobo YSL Shoulder Bag in Raffia

$1,890 at Neiman Marcus

Chic Sunglasses

Sunglasses are an absolute must – not only do they provide protection, but they double up as a fashionable accessory. We love a good pair of Celine sunglasses, but many other brands also offer interesting designs that fit different face types – a few of our favorites are below.

Sunglasses We Love
Black Celine sunglasses

Triomphe 52mm Oval Sunglasses

$510 at Neiman Marcus


Rectangle Acetate Sunglasses

$433 at Neiman Marcus

Versatile Belt

Much like sunglasses, a designer belt is a rather inexpensive way to elevate your entire look. Celine’s Triomphe belt has been the most popular accessory in our recent memory, but it’s not the only designer belt worth checking out – a few timeless options are below.

Designer Belts We Love
Black medium Celine belt

Medium Triomphe Belt

At Celine

Brown Hermes Kelly belt

Epsom Kelly Belt

Secondhand at Fashionphile

Black YSL Monogram Leather Belt
Saint Laurent

YSL Monogram Leather Belt

At Neiman Marcus

Flat Sandals

From beach slides to dad sandals, a chic pair of flat sandals is the ultimate summer shoe that can be worn anywhere from sandy beaches to the city streets. Invest in a good-quality pair in a neutral tone to make sure your flats retain a timeless appeal.

Flat Leather Sandals We Love
Tan Hermes Oran sandals

Calfskin Oran Sandals

Secondhand at Fashionphile

Black Tory Burch dad sandals
Tory Burch

Kira Sport Sandal

At Tory Burch

White Gucci slides

Interlocking G Cut-Out Slide Sandal

At Gucci

Dressy Heels

Summertime is the peak of events, ranging from garden parties to beach BBQs to rooftop cocktail parties and more. The easiest way to transform a casual outfit into a more dressy one is by changing your shoes, which is why we recommend having at least one dressy pair of shoes in your wardrobe, be that a pair of strappy sandals or espadrille wedges – or both!

Dressy Shoes We Love
White strappy sandals
Tony Bianco

Caprice Heel

$150 at Revolve

Cult Gaia sandals.
Cult Gaia

Jila Jute Sphere-Heel Sandals

$428 at Revolve

Neutral Sneakers

Neutral and white sneakers are a year-round wardrobe staple that always gets extra use in the summer in our editors’ wardrobes. They’re the perfect shoe to pack with you on holiday, especially if you’re going to be walking a lot and exploring different regions.

Despite being quite casual, they go with anything and everything in a capsule wardrobe, and they’re perfect for toning down certain wardrobe pieces like blazers for a more wearable everyday look.

Neutral sneakers We Love

Samba OG Sneakers

$100 at Adidas

White Golden Goose sneakers
Golden Goose

Superstar Leather Glitter Low-Top Sneakers

$625 at Neiman Marcus

We hope you enjoyed this article about summer capsule wardrobe essentials and got plenty of outfit ideas to try while the warm weather lasts! As we already mentioned, make sure to tweak this list to your style, adding classic pieces in colors that work well with your skin tone and personal style.

Up next: 10 Casual Summer Outfits Perfect For Hot Weather

Find Us Now On Instagram

Similar Posts