These Are the 9 Pieces You Need for a Summer Capsule Wardrobe

May 08, 2021 at 06:09AM

I’m pretty strict when it comes to a summer capsule wardrobe. Years ago, I might have been tempted to ensure there were loads of summer dresses and loose-fitting trousers in my wardrobe, but I’m now set on only a few items. This reasoning is absolutely to do with sustainability and ensuring my wardrobe works as hard as possible for me, but also, when it’s hot, you don’t want options—you just want pieces that make you look and feel good. 

I’ve finally narrowed down my warmer-weather outfits to just nine pieces. It doesn’t seem like very much, but all of these items are perfect for mixing together and creating different looks. Not to mention, I’ve included plenty of accessories. Sunglasses, a pair of sandals that work with everything, and a proper basket bag will do brilliant things for your outfits. 

Below, you’ll see the nine items I recommend that should be in everyone’s summer capsule wardrobe. Note that there’s no mention of swimsuits, as this isn’t for going on holiday, even if plenty of these pieces work for that, too. Rather, it’s for your day-to-day looks during the summer.

If there’s one item I can’t do without during the summer, it’s an oversize shirt. It can be in any colour you want—although my preference is a white or striped version—and just know you’ll wear it all the time. Whether worn with jeans, shorts or knotted over a dress or your swimming cossie, this will be your summer saviour. 

I think everyone needs a summer dress that makes them feel great. You know the frock that you can throw on when it’s boiling and you still manage to stay looking cool? That one. 

Take a tip from our French pals and opt for a basket bag during the summer. My preference is oversize in case there’s a call for a picnic and you need it to double up as your picnic basket. 

Don’t forget to pack your sunnies every day of summer. Sure, one minute it’ll be raining, but the next, it’ll be sunny. 


This season, there’s been a lean towards ’90s-style sandals. Flatforms and chunky flip-flops are where it’s at. My best tip, however, is to keep them simple so that they go with everything you own. 

You might not be much of a shorts person, but in the height of summer, nothing else will do. Look to Lorna of Symphony of Silk, who always manages to make her looks chic. 

Black and white T-shirts have saved me again and again during the summer. Tuck one into jeans, shorts, and skirts and you’ll look chic and fresh. 

I never used to be a white-jeans person, but about five years ago, I realised just how great they look in the summer. My preference right now is wide-leg versions.

If I lived in L.A. or somewhere else equally as warm, I probably wouldn’t include a jacket. But I live in the UK, and it gets cold in the summer. So a light jacket is a necessity. 

Next up, these are the biggest spring/summer 2021 fashion trends to know. 

Author Elinor Block | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC

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