Summer capsule

Starter Summer Capsule Wardrobe for the Beginner Minimalist

Looking for inspiration for your first capsule wardrobe? Go ahead and take a peek at the items in my summer capsule wardrobe, and even shop for the same or similar items! I created my summer capsule with my lifestyle in mind. I’m a wife and mom, and I work from home.

If your lifestyle is similar, check out what’s in my closet this summer!

I love sharing my capsules at this point in my life because it shows how doable and inexpensive it can be when you first start out. Since I just started dressing from a capsule wardrobe last year, my capsules are largely inexpensive items that I already owned.

As I need to replace items in my capsule, I will be aiming for higher-quality pieces. Therefore, I will be spending more money on each item while still saving money in the long run! And, I will afford to do this, because I won’t be buying clothes as much as I used to.

That’s what makes this summer capsule a perfect example for those of you who are new to creating capsule wardrobes. It’s not some unattainable, horribly expensive capsule of fancy clothes. This summer capsule is both frugal and semi-casual, making it easy to dress up or down.

Looking for a cold weather capsule wardrobe? Check out my winter capsule or fall capsule!

You can also check out my spring capsule.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a smaller, pared-down wardrobe of only items you absolutely love and are preferably versatile, timeless, and of high quality.

Having a wardrobe containing only items you adore means you don’t have clothing around that doesn’t fit you well, doesn’t flatter your body shape, or simply doesn’t fit your personal style.

Having a capsule wardrobe filled with versatile pieces means you can mix and match to create many outfits with a minimal amount of items.

Creating a capsule with mostly timeless clothing means you won’t spend as much money on clothes since what you have doesn’t quickly go out of style.

And finally, having a wardrobe of quality materials means you can buy less because they don’t wear out quickly.

Doesn’t it sound great to have a capsule wardrobe? I love that I save time shopping and creating outfits every day. It’s a bonus to save money on clothes and has more room in the closet!

Having a capsule wardrobe is just one way I’ve simplified my life since embracing minimalism and simple living.

New to this whole capsule wardrobe thing?! My capsule wardrobe e-book (FREE with email sign-up) will help you clarify your style, declutter your closet, decide how big or small you want your capsule and which items to include, shop your closet, go shopping for what you need to complete your capsule, and begin planning your outfits! It’s 16 pages of helpful information that actually walks you through the process of creating your own capsule wardrobe.

My Capsule Wardrobe

I didn’t restrict myself to a certain number of items in my summer capsule wardrobe. I’m not a big rule follower. 😉

When I initially made my capsule wardrobe last spring, I simply decluttered my closet and made a capsule of interchangeable items with what was left. Then, I shopped for whatever was missing to complete my capsule.

In that first spring capsule, I ended up with 37 items. From there, I pared it down even more. My first summer and fall capsules had 30 items. My winter capsule had only 28 items.

And finally, I had 35 pieces in my last spring capsule. I think part of this is that spring is still pretty cold here and is often no different than winter. So, my spring capsule kinda became a combo of winter and summer.

Once I started putting my capsule to use, I could more easily see what worked well, and what simply didn’t! You may find that your number goes up and down as you figure out what works for you.

So, the same capsule moves from season to season, with a few items swapped out.

For instance, shorts were swapped out for pants, and tanks were exchanged with long-sleeve tops. Otherwise, many of my basics have remained the same. My t-shirts have moved from season to season, as well as many of my bottoms, dresses, and shoes.

Therefore, if you also checked out my last spring capsule or winter capsule, you will notice some repeated items.

What’s Included In My Minimalist Summer Wardrobe

I ended up with 35 items in my summer capsule wardrobe. Don’t worry about your number necessarily. It may fluctuate from season to season like mine does. And, it may even get further pared down as you learn what works and what doesn’t over time.

Here are the types of items I’ve included in my minimal summer wardrobe:

  • Tops
  • Dresses
  • Bottoms
  • Shoes
  • Outerwear

What’s NOT Included in my Minimalist Summer Wardrobe

Some people choose to include more than what I did. For me, I wanted to keep my capsule as simple as possible.

My capsule is filled with semi-casual items I can wear when I am working (from home), running errands, and going out with family or friends. Really, my capsule is what I go to whenever I need to look presentable!

So, these are the types of items I chose not to include in my summer capsule wardrobe:

  • Pajamas
  • Undergarments
  • Swimwear
  • Lounging clothes
  • Exercise clothes
  • Accessories

Again, I own all of these types of items not included in my capsule. But, I either wear them so infrequently (like my swimwear) or I didn’t care if they were perfectly matched to the other items in my capsule (like my pajamas and loungewear).

I have a few bottoms and tops that I only wear for lounging at home. And I still have a few tops and bottoms for working out, a couple swimsuits, and a few pairs of pajamas for cold and warm weather.

I simply only have as much as I need. I do laundry at least every other day, so I don’t need a ton of clothes outside of my capsule.

And for all of my clothes, inside my capsule and out, I use the one-in-one-out rule. When I buy something new, something old has to go. That way, my wardrobe will never get out of control again!

Shop My 2019 Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Your capsule won’t look exactly like mine, even if you work from home like me. That’s because my capsule represents my style and preferences, and your capsule will represent your style. Still, you can use my summer capsule wardrobe to put together your own summer clothing list.

But, in case you see something you would like to complete your minimalist summer wardrobe, I’ve included links to my items or similar items. (Not everything in my summer capsule wardrobe is new and available to purchase.) Simply click the links to view the item!

For my capsule, I’ve chosen black as my base color. That means I base the rest of my wardrobe off of what looks good with black. My other neutrals also have to look good with black. I use white, gray, and tan as my complementary neutrals.

You’ll notice that the accent colors in my wardrobe also repeat themselves. That helps me be able to mix-and-match and create the most outfits with the fewest items! That’s key so that you don’t start to look like you own two things. 😉

I’ve chosen blush and olive green as my accent colors. You can choose to accent with whatever colors you love!

Tanks and Tees

My summer capsule wardrobe consists of several T-shirts and tank tops. I keep these same short-sleeved T-shirts in my capsule every season. The tank tops are pulled out in the spring and continue into my summer capsule. I find these tanks and tees the most comfortable and easy for me to dress up or down.

I like to have mostly solid pieces, but to keep things interesting I’ll include some patterns. In my capsule, I’ve included some striped, floral, and lace pieces. Because they are all in the same handful of coordinating colors, they mix-and-match to create many outfits!

My favorite places to buy basics like these are Target, Old Navy, and H&M. These places typically have decent-quality basics for less money. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on T-shirts because I tend to be hard on them. 😬 Life of a mom…

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Tanks and Tees
  1. Black tank top (These are nice and long, which I love!)
  2. White tank top
  3. Giraffe tank top
  4. Black/white chevron tank top
  5. Floral tank top
  6. Black/white striped t-shirt
  7. Blush pink t-shirt
  8. White t-shirt
  9. Black t-shirt
  10. Gray t-shirt
  11. Olive green t-shirt
  12. Black lace t-shirt
  13. Black/white striped tunic tee

Tops and Outerwear

The tops I’ve chosen to include in my summer capsule wardrobe are great for layering. They include button-up shirts, cardigans, and a zip-up hoodie. They coordinate well with the tanks and tees in my wardrobe and the bottoms and shoes you will see below.

My absolute favorite top was a surprising one for me. I read somewhere that a chambray shirt is actually considered neutral and matches well with a ton of clothing, so I bought one. To my surprise, it is the most versatile thing that I own!

My chambray shirt can be worn with almost anything in my wardrobe. Most of my other items can coordinate with 3-8 items. However, I can wear my chambray shirt (#1 below) over 16 ways and in any Minnesota season!

Check out all the ways you can wear a chambray shirt in my free e-book, “How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe That Works For You”.

A new addition to this year’s capsule is my olive-green anorak jacket (#5 below). I love that it coordinates so well with everything in my capsule, and makes me look more put-together when I’m out and about.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Tops and Outerwear
  1. Chambray shirt
  2. Black cardigan
  3. Gray cardigan
  4. Gray zip-up hoodie
  5. Olive anorak jacket (comes in tons of colors!)

Dresses

In my summer capsule wardrobe, I have one casual tunic dress and one black dress.

I like having a casual dress, because it can be worn with or without tights/leggings, with boots, flats, or heels, and with a cardigan or jacket when it’s chilly. This means that I can easily dress it up or down depending on where I am going! Also, it hides a multitude of wrongs. 😉

I always own one black dress, because it’s also easy to dress up for fancier occasions like weddings, but can also be worn for a fun night out. Again, versatility is key for capsule wardrobes!

My all-time favorite place to buy stylish and comfortable tops and dresses is H&M. They have such a wide variety of styles there, so I always find something I love.

 Summer Capsule Wardrobe Dresses

  1. Black floral tunic dress
  2. Black dress
  3. Coral

 Bottoms

The bottoms in my summer capsule wardrobe are pretty basic and go with almost anything. My capsule includes two pairs of jeans (one light, one dark), a pair of black pants, a pair of colored pants, and a pair of black leggings. With just these 5 bottoms, I can put together a multitude of outfits.

I tend to spend a little more on my bottoms since I don’t own as many and I want them to last. I LOVE Express for jeans and pants. I’ve been lucky enough to score these a few times at second-hand stores!

My favorite leggings are from LuLaRoe. My black leggings are so soft they feel like butter, and they aren’t see-through like so many leggings are. If you love leggings, dresses, and long, comfy (yet stylish) tops, you have to check LuLaRoe out.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Bottoms
  1. Black leggings
  2. Blush pants
  3. White pants
  4. Dark blue jeans
  5. Dark denim shorts
  6. Light distressed denim shorts

Footwear

These 6 pairs of shoes are all I need to make an outfit look put together. They allow me to take an outfit from day to night. And they help me dress up my semi-casual wardrobe when I need to get fancy!

The black rain boots go with everything so well. I can even add a liner or boot socks to them to make them warm enough for winter. And I love how the tan boots look with anything olive. Otherwise, I’m more of a sneaker girl. I like a comfortable, casual style more than anything.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Shoes
  1. Tall black rain boots
  2. Brown sandals
  3. Black sandals
  4. Black sneakers
  5. Black ballet flats
  6. Nude high heels  similar (Did you know that wearing nude heels makes your legs look longer? And this girl needs all the help she can get.)

My Summer Capsule Wardrobe Through The Years

So, now that you’ve seen my summer capsule wardrobe, you may be wondering a couple of things. First, how long will I wear only the items from this capsule? I will wear this capsule as long as the weather permits…probably around 3 months before cooler fall weather begins.

Second, what happens next summer?

Actually, as soon as I’m ready to put away this year’s summer capsule wardrobe, I will take a moment to evaluate. I will ask myself what worked well and what didn’t. In other words, I will think about what items didn’t get worn much…or not at all and consider selling or donating them.

Even more, I will inspect my clothing for wear and tear. If anything has lost quality over the course of the season, I will make a note of it on my shopping list so I can pick up a higher-quality replacement. This evaluation process is precisely what alters my summer capsule wardrobe slightly from year to year.

In addition, I may occasionally choose to freshen my wardrobe with a new item I love. I simply use the one-in-one-out rule, so I know that means if I choose a new item for my capsule, something else has to go.

This helps me make a wise decision in regards to quality and versatility when picking up new items. If it doesn’t make the cut, I don’t buy it.

Find out more about how to maintain a capsule wardrobe!

Let me help you create your first minimalist summer wardrobe

New to this whole capsule wardrobe thing?! 

You are going to want to get my FREE e-book: How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe that Works For You when you sign up for my emails! It’s 16 pages of helpful information that actually walks you through the process of creating your own capsule wardrobe.

My capsule wardrobe e-book will help you clarify your style, declutter your closet, decide how big or small you want your capsule and which items to include, shop your closet, go shopping for what you need to complete your capsule, and begin planning your outfits!

Remember, you need to create a capsule wardrobe that works for you. Don’t forget to take your personality, style, lifestyle, and climate into account. Otherwise, you will end up with a capsule that bores you, or one that looks great but isn’t actually functional.

I hope you found this post helpful if you are thinking about creating your first capsule wardrobe or are just beginning to switch your existing capsule over to summer. Having a capsule wardrobe really is the best way to keep the clutter out of your closet AND save you time and money in the long run!

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Theresa Bedford is a nationally syndicated writer. Her work has been seen on the Associated Press Wire, Blox Digital, and MSN. She writes about productivity, money, and simple living to help people focus on what really matters in life.