Learn how to curate an effortless and elevated summer capsule wardrobe for 2023. This capsule is incredibly versatile with a multitude of chic outfit possibilities and the summer capsule wardrobe checklist will be your perfect guide.
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*this post contains affiliate links, updated for 2023 season, see bottom of post for last years capsule*
A Neutral Capsule Summer Wardrobe
Summer is just around the bend as spring comes to a close and this is a perfect time to curate a capsule wardrobe for the 2023 summer season.
If you are a fan of chic, neutral style, and want to streamline your wardrobe or begin to adopt a more minimalist style this, summer capsule wardrobe checklist and guide will help you along your way.
Below we will answer the common questions about capsule wardrobes for summer and give you a breakdown of each item included in this summer capsule. You’ll also find images and style boards to give you tons of outfit inspiration.
What should be in a summer capsule wardrobe?
A thoughtful summer should consist of items that can be worn on warm, sunny days while also containing pieces for layering when the days are cooler or for evenings. This includes tank tops and t-shirts, lightweight sweaters, linen or cotton pants, shorts, skirts, summer dresses, a blazer, and a denim jacket.
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Checklist
Below is a checklist of the essential pieces to include in a minimalist summer capsule wardrobe:
- 2 basic tank tops
- camisole top
- button-up shirt
- lightweight blouse
- 2 basic t-shirts
- 1-2 lightweight knit sweaters
- denim jacket
- lightweight blazer
- denim shorts
- linen shorts
- tailored shorts
- lightweight trousers
- 1-2 summer dresses
- midi skirt
- 1-2 swimsuits
- leather sandals
- black sandals
- heeled sandals
- woven tote or leather tote bag
- leather crossbody
- dainty jewelry
- 1-2 hats
**Get a printable checklist at the bottom of this article!
How many pieces are in a summer capsule wardrobe?
There is no specific number for how many pieces need to be in your capsule. But, each piece should fit the following criteria: it’s versatile, can be worn multiple times a week, and is good quality. Our capsule summer wardrobe contains 19 pieces of clothing, four pairs of shoes, two bags, and accessories.
Your capsule might need to be larger depending on your lifestyle, or it might be smaller too. The key is including neutral staples that can be layered, and having the right footwear.
A nice selection of accessories to choose from is good so you can elevate your overall look. This way you’ll feel stylish and sophisticated for everything from running errands to going out for a date night.
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials
Listed below is each item included in our 2023 summer capsule wardrobe and the reason why it is capsule essential for the summer season. This list is based on a minimalist wardrobe, so you can add to it as you need to fit your lifestyle and personal taste!
Basic Tank Top(s)
Neutral, basic tank tops are staple pieces that can be worn multiple times a week in the summer when the weather is hot. Or you can pair a basic tank with a light layer when it’s cooler. The classic, polished look of a simple black or white tank can be elevated even more with layered dainty pendant necklaces.
A dainty camisole tank top is perfect capsule piece for summer evenings with friends, date night with jeans, or with a midi skirt for a casual summer wedding or event. Go with a neutral color such as ivory, black, or taupe for versatility. Or, you can go with pastels if you prefer more color in your capsule.
A crisp white button-up shirt belongs in every capsule as this lightweight, airy staple is so versatile.We also think a secondary striped blue button-up shirt is also good for variety. This color also easily pairs with denim, white, or black bottoms.
A button-up can be dressed up or down, and in an oversized fit can be worn over jeans or tucked into a pair of shorts or trousers. These shirts also works great as beach cover-ups over a swimsuit!
A pretty floral print goes a long way in the summer months. To dress up a minimal look, pair a sleeveless or short-sleeve blouse in linen or cotton material with trousers, shorts, or jeans.
We love that a simple floral (or gingham print) blouse can be worn casually or dressed-up, and adds interest to a simple and minimalistic outfit.
A neutral t-shirt (or a few!) is a staple in a summer capsule. You can easily dress it up or down, and wear it over and over again all summer long.
For versatility and comfort cotton or linen t-shirts are great choices. We love a solid neutral tee and a striped tee for variety.
Layered over a t-shirt, tank top, dress, or midi skirt, a knit cardigan is a wonderful layering piece for summer!
We love the oversized Jenni Kayne cashmere cardigan included in the capsule, But, a much more affordable, and still high quality option, is from Quince. You can also go for a cotton cardigan or linen cardigan if you prefer one that doesn’t give as much warmth.
For cooler days or summer evenings one or two lightweight sweaters make great layering pieces in a summer capsule. If you live somewhere that has cooler summer days, opt for a warmer fabric like cashmere, and if you live where the summer weather is always warm, go with cotton or a linen blend.
A denim jacket is an essential addition to a summer capsule. It can easily take any outfit from day to night and you can choose from a classic blue wash, or go with white or cream for a summery look.
We love a slightly oversized denim jacket to elevate any look.
Just like the denim jacket, a lightweight blazer is a great layering option for summer. It also has a classy look that can be perfectly paired with jeans or shorts, sandals, and a tank top.
Or, throw it over a midi skirt or dress and put on a pair of sneakers for something more casual. You can also make this layer more formal for a wedding over a summer dress.
Linen shorts are great because they have a casual yet elevated vibe. You can dress them up with a basic tank and dainty jewelry and heeled sandals.
Or, dress them down with a casual t-shirt, flats, and a woven tote for beach or lake days. See this post with tons of chic linen shorts outfit ideas!
Jean shorts are classic for summer and can be worn all season long. We love a vintage wash blue but you can also go with white or black denim shorts.
If you always have trouble finding a good pair of denim shorts we highly recommend the Madewell perfect jean short for fit, comfort, and style.
We think it’s a great idea to have one pair of shorts in your capsule that can be dressed up for a night out or brunch with friends. Tailored shorts with a paperbag waist or seam detailing are versatile and elevated.
Remember, if any of these items don’t feel practical to your lifestyle, swap them out for an item that does.
Summer isn’t summer without beach and pool days, right? Add one or two neutral, chic swimsuits to your capsule and you’ll be set!
If you feel like you need several swimsuits to make it through the summer, re-evaluate that and consider getting a few mix-and-match bikini tops and bottoms. This way you’ll be able to make more swimsuit outfit combinations without having a drawer full of them.
Vintage Wash Jeans
A staple in any capsule is a pair of lightly distressed vintage wash jeans. We believe when you the perfect pair, you’ll wear them multiple times a week. We are a huge fan of the Madewell Perfect Vintage Jeans, but Levi’s, Agolde, Everlane, are all fantastic brands to choose from as well.
If you like light and airy outfits in the summer, you can go with off-white, white, or ecru jeans as well!
A light ivory or beige pair of trousers goes a long way in the summer. Dress them down with sneakers and a cardigan, or up with heeled sandals and a blouse.
The light color has a fresh summery feel and can be super versatile, but you can also go with black if that is more your style.
When it comes to summer dresses you can go in any direction you like!
If you love neutrals stick with a light and flowy white summer dress, or opt for a black cotton or linen dress. You can also try a polka-dot dress, or go with one or two pretty floral dresses.
These should be dresses you can wear with sneakers and a denim jacket on a casual day, or wear with heeled sandals and the perfect jewelry for a laid back summer wedding or baby shower.
A solid neutral or subtly patterned midi skirt is a great addition to the capsule for its versatility and ability to be dressed up or down. And a midi skirt can have a polished look with the right top, shoes, and accessories, and can easily take you from running errands to date night.
The Jenni Kayne leopard slip skirt is our all time fave for it’s neutral tones and light, airy fabric. If you have the budget, it’s well worth the investment!
A great pair of white or ivory sneakers are a must for summer. Pair them with just about everything – jeans, shorts, dresses, etc. and be on your merry way!
One or two pairs of comfortable, yet fashionable flat slides are essential to any capsule summer wardrobe. They can be paired with pretty much any outfit and will be your go-to for most summer days.
We recommend sticking with neutrals for versatility and making sure you choose a sturdy pair of sandals as you will definitely be wearing them a lot. These French Sole sandals are stylish, comfortable, and timeless (and are a great Hermes sandal look-alike for much less!).
Black sandals are a timeless classic that add an extra polished appeal to any summer look. We love chunkier fisherman sandals or dad sandals which are very on-trend for 2023, but you can go with any style you prefer!
For dressier occasions, weddings, date nights, etc. you’ll want a pair of stylish heeled sandals. Strappy sandals with a chunky heel combine style and comfort, and are great for walking in on grassy areas!
Again, we recommend sticking with neutrals for versatility here.
Straw or Leather Tote Bag
When it comes to carrying all your essentials, a tote bag is the perfect minimal and practical addition to a summer capsule wardrobe. A woven/straw/basket bag style is versatile and practical for a day at the beach or lake, or for running errands.
Think of this as your catch-all, carry-everywhere bag for summer!
Next, a crossbody purse that can be dressed up or down is another summer capsule staple. It’s the perfect bag that can hold just the essentials and not feel too clunky.
If you are able to, we recommend investing a little more in accessories to elevate moderately priced clothing items in your capsule. An investment bag goes a long way as it can be worn every day of the week!
Sunglasses, Hats, & Accessories
Lastly, adding in a selection of classy accessories to your capsule wardrobe will tie everything together.
A great pair of sunglasses, neutral hair accessories like clips and scrunchies, dainty gold plated jewelry, and a baseball cap or straw sun hat are all subtle, classy pieces that are the cherry-on-top of every great summer outfit.
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Outfits
Below are outfits created with the capsule wardrobe pieces. You can see how easily it is to mix and match each versatile piece for a wide selection of practical summer outfits.
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How Do You Start A Summer Capsule Wardrobe?
- Assess your lifestyle and what you do on a daily basis in the summer as this will help you determine the type of clothing that will make the bulk of your capsule. You may need to add in more dresses or professional clothes, or bring in more casual items.
- Empty your closet and place all of your fall, winter, and other cold weather items in storage bins. You can keep these at the top of your closet or in a storage room and pull them out at the end of the summer to create a fall capsule wardrobe.
- Declutter what’s remaining to minimize the overall amount of summer clothing (here’s how) then use our summer capsule wardrobe checklist above to guide you in what you are putting back into your closet, and deciding what items you might need to go buy.
Creating a summer capsule wardrobe and curating the summer capsule of your dreams can take time! If this is your first time trying a capsule wardrobe for a season, have fun with it and learn as you go through the process of narrowing down your summer clothing to only to contain only the staples you love.
Then, play around with mixing and matching to create endless outfit combinations. A thoughtful, minimalist inspired wardrobe takes time and it’s a journey as you hone in on your personal style and discover which clothing makes you feel amazing.
Also, a summer capsule wardrobe will help you look at consumerism differently as you limit buying new clothing throughout the summer. Just don’t forget to give yourself some grace and little by little you’ll build a summer capsule wardrobe you absolutely love!
If you are gearing up for fall, don’t miss our Effortless Fall Capsule Wardrobe!
save the free checklist to print below!
Last Year’s Summer Capsule Wardrobe:
If you came to this post through an image of last year’s capsule via Pinterest, don’t worry – we’ve saved the capsule below so you can take a peak at it! It’s similar to the 2023 capsule, but this year has updated items to reflect the 2023 season!
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