Everything You Need for a Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Keep it simple during hot, humid summer months with easy outfits that work for the beach, a cruise and everything in between.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
April 24, 2019
Related To:

If you're ready to simplify your clothing selection, summer is the perfect time to test out a capsule wardrobe. Avoid overpacking and stressful outfit planning by scaling back your closet to just the essentials. To help you get started, we put together 10 outfit formulas for a beach or cruise vacation using just 20 items (plus accessories). Keep scrolling to see our suggestions and shop our capsule wardrobe favorites.

Keep a pretty printed dress in rotation for summer that can be dressed up or down with the right accessories.

Shop Our Picks:
Sleeveless stripe dress from Urban Outfitters, $49
Leather slide sandals from Walmart, $28
Hoop earrings from Amazon, $9
Straw bag from ASOS, $29

Layer a one-piece swimsuit under shorts or a skirt to go from the pool to lunch. Or wear it instead of a top on especially hot days.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
One-piece swimsuit from Target, $34.99
Multi-color scarf from American Eagle, $15
White shorts from Amazon, $45
Straw hat from Target, $16.99
Leather slide sandals from Walmart, $28

Prints bring variety and vivality to a capsule wardrobe. Keep a printed skirt in rotation for when you want to make a statement.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
Printed button-front skirt from Gap, $59.95
Solid color fitted tank top from Amazon, $14
Heeled espadrilles from Zappos, $125
Pendant necklace from Anthropologie, $44

Easy and breezy, a jumpsuit works for day and night in the summer.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
Striped jumpsuit from Anthropologie, $140
Multi-color scarf from American Eagle, $15
Heeled espadrilles from Zappos, $125
Hoop earrings from Amazon, $9.36

A classic button down is a must-have in your summer capsule wardrobe. Pair it with denim shorts and white sneakers for a laid-back daytime look.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
Striped short-sleeve button down from Urban Outfitters, $39 (originally $54)
Denim shorts from Nordstrom, $64.50
White sneakers from Zappos, $49.99
Lightweight cardigan from Amazon, $18
Sunglasses from ASOS, $19

For chilly restaurants and offices, a lightweight cardigan is good to keep on hand as part of a summer capsule wardrobe. Throw it on over a white tank tucked into a floral print skirt and you're ready for dinner or the office. Add a hat for Saturday mornings at the farmers' market.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
Lightweight gray cardigan from Amazon, $18
Printed button-front skirt from Gap, $59.95
White flowy tank top from Anthropologie, $90
Straw hat from Target, $16.99
Pendant necklace from Anthropologie, $44
Heeled espadrilles from Zappos, $125

White denim jeans are a closet staple, but shorts are cooler for hot summer days. White shorts are super versatile. Wear them with anything from a colorful, printed top and sneakers to a simple white tee and espadrilles.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
White shorts from Amazon, $45
Denim jacket from Target, $22.99
White t-shirt from Walmart, $10.46
Multi-color scarf from American Eagle, $15
Heeled espadrilles from Zappos, $125

Great for dressing up or down, a solid color dress provides versatile outfit options. We love it with simple slide sandals, a sun hat and statement necklace.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
Solid-color sleeveless dress from Anthropologie, $150
Leather slide sandals from Walmart, $28
Straw hat from Target, $16.99
Pendant necklace from Anthropologie, $44
Denim jacket from Target, $22.99

Add a fun, colorful shirt to your capsule wardrobe that can be worn with shorts or jeans. We layering a one-piece swimsuit underneath so you're always pool-ready. Don't forget seasonal accessories like sunglasses and a trendy straw bag.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
Printed shirt from ASOS, $45
Lightwash denim jeans from T.J. Maxx, $69.99
White sneakers from Zappos, $49.99
Straw bag from ASOS, $29
Sunglasses from ASOS, $19

This staple item absolutley needs to be part of a summer capsule wardrobe. Classic denim shorts go with everything from flowy tops to simple tanks and tees.

SHOP OUR PICKS:
Denim shorts from Madewell at Nordstrom, $64.50
Solid-color fitted tank top from Amazon, $14
Multi-color scarf from American Eagle, $24.95
Leather slide sandals from Walmart, $28
Sunglasses from ASOS, $19

Items for a Capsule Wardrobe:

  • 2 pairs of shorts: white, denim
  • 1 pair of lightwash jeans
  • 5 tops: printed, short-sleeve button down, fitted tank, flowy tank, t-shirt
  • 1 jumpsuit
  • 2 dresses: printed, solid color
  • 3 pairs of shoes: espadrilles, white sneakers, leather sandals
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 printed skirt
  • 1 denim jacket
  • 1 lightweight cardigan
  • 1 colorful scarf
  • 1 hat
  • Accessories (not counted): earrings, necklace, sunglasses, bag

Styling: Jennie Andrews, Molly Miller; Photography: Cassidy Garcia

Keep Reading

Next Up

Our Picks for Stylish and Practical Travel Gear

Travel Channel editors round up some of their on-the-road favorites this season.

14 Designer Passport Holders + Wallets Under $50

International travel requires a stylish passport holder.

Haunted House Survival Guide: 10 Products You Need to Get Through It

Grab these essentials to help you survive the night. Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.

8 Prime Day Deals on Top Travel Tech

Don't miss these hot Amazon Prime Day deals that will help you gear up for your next vacation.

10 Clever Pet Products for Frequent Travelers

Let your fur kid travel with you, or keep an eye on Fido and Fluffy while you're away. All you need is some great pet gear.

10 Flashy Hawaiian Shirts for Your Next Cruise

Make waves onboard and onshore with a flamboyant Hawaiian shirt.

This Top-Rated Personal Water Filter Is on Sale Right Now

Whether you're an avid traveler, hiker or camper, this personal water filter is a must-have. It's also more than 50% off for a limited time only.

A Very #VanLife Christmas

If you're taking the holidays on the road this year, why not spread some extra cheer?

5 Water Bottles You Need for Your Next Plane Trip

You don’t want to go to the airport without at least one of these clever reusable water bottles.

Celebrities Love This Luxurious, 121-Year-Old Luggage Brand

Since its inception in 1898, RIMOWA has been crafting high-quality and reliable suitcases for the everyday traveler (including A-list celebs).

On TV

What's New in Interests

Shop Our Favorite Travel Gear

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.