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The Pieces You Need to Build Your Summer Wardrobe

Summer is here and I don’t know about you ladies, but with the new season comes the desire to buy new clothes! In the past, my shopping strategy would be to buy things I thought were cute when a new season rolled around, filling my closet with trendy new items. And yet… when I went to put an outfit(s) together, I still found myself saying, “I have nothing to wear!!!”. Sometimes leading to me going out and buying something new (yet again) or just begrudgingly wearing a piece that I typically reserve as a plan B outfit. Sound familiar?? Keep reading…

If you haven’t heard the term “capsule wardrobe” before, let me break it down for you in the simplest of terms. Basically, a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothes with essential pieces that can be easily mixed and matched to create a ton of different outfits. Once I focused on building a capsule wardrobe FIRST, and then snagging a few trendy pieces to add to it, the game changed for me!

With each season your capsule items change (because, the weather, of course) but now that we’re heading into summer, I thought I would put together all of the pieces you need to build your capsule wardrobe this season. These pieces are basics that can be styled in so many ways- together, with other accessories, whatever. The goal is to invest in pieces that you can use as a foundation for your looks; an easy starting point when putting together new outfits. I broke everything down into categories with pieces I think are essential for a summer capsule wardrobe. Grab one, grab 5, and see how much easier it is to get dressed this summer. Let’s get into it…

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Let’s start with the bottoms. Not always a super exciting piece to shop for in my opinion, but essential nonetheless. A well-fitting, high-quality bottom that you feel confident in is make-or-break for a chic (and comfortable) outfit. I think we all have a pair of jeans (or a few) that we like, so I didn’t bother with that. I did include some denim, but in a different silhouette than you probably have in your closet. These are the bottoms I think you need to snag for this summer:

Linen Pants

Linen is a major YES from me for the summertime as it is light, breathable, and can be styled casually or dressy. I personally like having a pair of more casual-feeling linen pants like these for every day, along with a tailored style of linen like these pants for a dressier moment. I recommend investing in a good pair of linen pants so you aren’t dealing with anything see-through, or something that wrinkles instantly with any contact. That doesn’t mean they have to be super expensive- snag something on sale like these!

Linen Shorts

The younger sister of the linen pant, linen shorts are a piece I am constantly reaching for during the hot summer days. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of denim shorts, but linen can easily make a basic outfit feel more elevated, AND they are comfortable. Something simple will do, like this pair of linen shorts.

Interesting Denim

As I mentioned above, we all have a few pairs of jeans in our closet that we love, but this season, grab some denim that is a little more interesting. This could mean color, fit, embellishments, whatever you like. I personally love this cropped wide-leg moment here– the tailored details take them from your average pair of jeans to something completely different. Snag them in white, too!

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Moving on to tops. When shopping for tops in a summer capsule wardrobe, I like to look for things I know I can wear over and over again and not get sick of them. Think BASICS here. Neutral colors, flattering cuts, things you can layer or dress up and down. Once you have your basics pieces, then you can bring in brighter colors, fun prints, or trendy styles to spice things up. Here are the tops I think need to have a place in your summer capsule wardrobe:

Basic Tank Tops

This might seem obvious, but if you don’t have a few neutral, basic tanks in your closet, grab a few!! Basic tanks are one of those building block pieces for an outfit that you have to have, good for layering or easy to wear on their own. Something lightweight and simple like this $20 cotton tank is something you’ll be reaching for constantly. Or try out something a little more form-fitting like this seamless tank that has a flattering square neckline.

Pieces With Texture

A simple way that I like to make an outfit feel more interesting is by adding texture. Texture can take an outfit built with basic pieces and turn it into something chic and intentional. Something like this knit top has a lovely bit of texture that isn’t overwhelming and still would work as a basic piece that matches everything. I also like this crochet top that is a little bolder but still stands as a classic piece you can mix and match.

Lightweight Long Sleeves

While summer is the time for warm weather, the mornings and evenings can still get a little chilly. That’s why I like to keep a few lightweight long-sleeve shirts in my wardrobe for the season. I’m loving the sheer trend right now, so this long-sleeve knit top is the perfect piece to get the trend BUT still feels timeless and won’t be “out” by next year. A classic button-up is also essential for summer but instead of grabbing your basic oversized style, try something new like this cropped balloon-sleeve button-up. It feels a little more elevated than your average button-up and is made out of linen so you’ll stay cool during the warmer days and nights.

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Finally, we have dresses. I love a dress during the summertime because they are easy to wear, breezy, and comfortable. They also are one of those pieces that make you look like you tried really hard on your outfit but it really took you 5 minutes 😉

When it comes to dresses, it’s really about your personal style and what you like to wear/what looks best on you. There aren’t any KEY dresses I think you should have in your wardrobe, but I do think when it comes to building your capsule, keep these 3 rules about dresses in mind…

  1. Keep it lightweight: Throughout summer, the last thing you want is to have some heavy, non-breathable fabric on your body. Did someone say sweat??? No, thank you!
  2. Keep it loose: Don’t get me wrong, I love a form-fitting dress more than the next girl. But when you’re shopping for summer, look for pieces that are looser and won’t cling to your body during those extra-hot days.
  3. Keep it comfy: Overall, the whole point of reaching for a dress throughout the summertime is to be comfortable, not the opposite. When shopping for dresses you’re planning on casually wearing this summer, think to yourself, “Will I really want to wear this during a hot summer day…..?”.

All of the pieces shown above are made of lightweight, breathable fabrics that are comfortable AND easy to style. I love a dress you can wear with slides and a tote during the day and heeled sandals and a clutch for the evening. If you’re not a dress person, try out this utility-style romper instead!


I threw in a few simple accessories I’m loving for this summer that you can style with any of these pieces. These slides are so easy to throw on, along with these hoop earrings to complete your look. I also like this tote for some extra storage for those summertime activities or this belt to add an extra element to your outfit. With accessories, you really can’t go wrong so snag pieces that you know you’ll reach for again and again!

Next time you shop for summer clothing, keep these capsule tips in mind and I promise you, ladies, it will make a HUGE difference! See how your closet slowly transforms and thank me later 😉 What are some of the items that you’d shop for your summer capsule wardrobe? Shoot me a DM on Instagram and let me know!