Your Summer Capsule Wardrobe Is Here! 10 Pieces, Endless Outfit Options

Work smarter, not harder.

By Bridget Chambers
summer entertaining tips-camille skirt

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Summer is (finally!) here, and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks transitioning my closet for the new season. What started as a cleanout and reorganization mission evolved into a thoughtful evaluation of everything I own—and what holes needed to be filled. With limited storage space, it became clear that every piece I purchased needed to be multi-wear, functional, and a true ten-out-of-ten. Working in fashion, it can also be tempting to overconsume, so I’ve realigned my priorities to build a summer capsule wardrobe that puts quality over quantity. 

After a huge purge, the coats and boots have made their way to the back of the closet, and I’ve built a 10-piece summer capsule wardrobe full of linen, wovens, and sandals that has taken center stage. I think I’ve finally cracked the code to effortlessly chic summer dressing. The secret? Less truly is more.

The Summer Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

Find out exactly what you need for your summer capsule wardrobe below, and allow your closet to work smarter, not harder in summer 2024. 

  1. Simple Sundress
  2. Lightweight Top
  3. Breezy Bottom
  4. Non-Denim Shorts & Skirt
  5. Layering Tee & Tank
  6. White Denim
  7. Everyday Sunglasses
  8. Summery Sandals
  9. Seasonal Straw Bag
  10. Protective Sun Hat

Simple Sundress

For all of the minimalists out there, a solid sundress can be a summer capsule wardrobe in and of itself. A sundress is a one-and-done outfit, is easy to pack on vacation, and keeps you cool while looking effortless. This summer, I’m looking for midi-to-full length sundresses that I can pair with sandals, sneakers, or heels, depending on where I’m headed. I love styling summer sundresses with a statement belt and a thin knit draped over my shoulders to add a bit of depth to the look.   

Lightweight Tops

I grew up in Texas, and one of the most difficult things about summer shopping is finding tops that are breathable enough to wear in peak heat. Even though I now live in Los Angeles, I still gravitate toward sleeveless vests, breezy button-downs, and girly blouses that don’t leave me in a puddle of sweat.

Brands like DOEN, Reformation, and The Great have lots of lightweight and flowy tops that I love to style with denim, linen, and silk all summer long. My favorite top in my summer capsule wardrobe is my linen vest from DISSH, as it’s as cool as a tank top, but feels a little more styled and chic. 

Breezy Bottoms

Although I still wear jeans all year round, I’ve been looking to expand my selection of pants with linen and silk pairs for summer. I’ve found that these airy alternatives are not only more comfortable and breathable but exude the laid-back energy that I’m trying to channel this year. (Plus, nothing is worse than a tight pair of jeans on a summer sunburn.) Investing in a trusty pair of white linen pants will be the best thing you can do for yourself this summer. This is the definition of working smarter, not harder—these pants will match every top in your closet. 

Non-Denim Shorts & Skirts

While there is nothing wrong with denim shorts and skirts, I personally find them uncomfortable. I know that might be a hot take, but I don’t think I’ve worn my denim shorts in over a year. Instead, I gravitate toward flowy shorts and skirts that aren’t too short or too tight. I find that the more a-line shape a pair of shorts or a skirt has, the more flattering they are on the leg. This year, I’m filling this slot in my summer capsule wardrobe with longer, more tailored shorts and full-length linen skirts.

Layering Tees & Tanks

Every good summer capsule wardrobe starts with one-to-two layering bases. My requirements for layering tees and tanks are that they are long enough to tuck in, are not too tight around my arms, and are thick enough not to show my bra underneath. Once you find a good white or black tee/tank, the outfit possibilities are endless. If you’re looking for a foolproof summer outfit formula, pair one of these white tanks or tees with linen pants, a comfy sandal, a sweater draped over your shoulders, and a raffia bag. Sometimes, simpler is simply better. 

White Denim

One of my favorite summer style trends is an all-white look. I’m a sucker for white jeans and a white top with a pop-of-color shoe and bag, so finding a reliable pair of white denim jeans is essential for my summer capsule wardrobe. You can’t go wrong with any cut of white denim, as this is a classic trend that will never go out of style. White denim overalls are also a great summer purchase to style over a white tee or a bikini at the beach. Bonus points for rewearing these pieces into fall and winter—we love a winter white!

Summery Sandals

Summer is the season of sandals, so say goodbye to your favorite boots and hello to biweekly pedicures! Whether you lean toward basic dad sandals or sexy strappy numbers, your choice in sandal should be neutral, comfortable, and durable. It’s easy to be woo-ed by trendy shoes, but a true summer capsule wardrobe sandal is timeless and versatile enough to pair with every item on this list. I look for sandals that are easy to slip on and off for beach days and grassy picnics, and lay flat in a suitcase for all of my summer adventures. 

Seasonal Straw Bags

Perhaps my favorite part about summer rolling around is dusting off my woven raffia and straw bags to style all season long. Though this material will be forever reminiscent of my mom’s beach bag growing up, I love that designers have been using raffia in more modern, structured designs, giving the look a laid-back but still trendy feel. Plus, straw is a neutral, so it will match and add a seasonal flare to every outfit you create with this summer capsule wardrobe. From the farmer’s market to the beach and out to dinner, these bags can truly do (and hold) it all.

Protective Sun Hats

When I envision summer chicness, every look is topped off with the perfect floppy sun hat. There’s just something so opulent about a big hat and dark sunglasses that takes a basic summer outfit from simple to sexy. It’s also as functional as it is fashionable, protecting your skin during the sunny days ahead. I’m on the hunt for the perfect neutral raffia sun hat to wear at the beach with bikinis, on long walks in activewear, and everywhere in between. If a full-brim hat isn’t your style, a classic baseball hat adds a cool-girl touch to the summer capsule wardrobe while still covering your face, too.

Everyday Sunglasses

I like to think of sunglasses as the cherry on top of a summer capsule wardrobe: not entirely essential, but a small finishing touch that goes a long way. I went through a phase of purchasing multiple trendy, colorful sunglasses, but after having to pack four pairs of glasses for a three-day trip, I finally said enough is enough and found a well-fitting, neutral pair that goes with everything. Sunglasses also have a tendency to get left on the dinner table or swept into the ocean, so don’t feel like you have to spend a pretty penny on this element of your summer capsule wardrobe. A designer pair of sunglasses is always a fun splurge, but more affordable pairs earn just as many compliments minus the price tag.