Summer capsule wardrobe picks 2021

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If you have a burning desire to buy a trendy piece for your summer wardrobe capsule, do it. Chances are you’ll wear it several times during the season, given the piece rotations.

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What are the best summer capsule wardrobe items?

Building a summer capsule wardrobe is more than just an exercise in minimalism. In addition to helping you decide what to wear more quickly, it’s a genuine money-saver that could change the way you view fashion.

Summer capsule wardrobes contain anywhere from 20 to 50 pieces, most of which coordinate well together. Believe it or not, the thoughtful curation offers considerable style flexibility. Depending on how you coordinate and accessorize, you could go nearly a couple of weeks without repeating the same outfit. 

What to know about summer capsule wardrobes

What is a capsule summer wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe contains the bare essentials, namely those you can mix and match easily and quickly. For the summer, a capsule wardrobe typically includes 20-50 pieces, including tops, bottoms, dresses, skirts, shorts and sweaters. 

How do I build a summer capsule wardrobe?

There are a few ways to assemble a summer capsule wardrobe:

One method is to have a purge, in which you remove or donate any pieces that don’t have a significant purpose. Some consumers find it’s easy to keep the favorites and get rid of the rest, whereas others feel it’s challenging or emotionally exhausting.

Another popular method is to make a list of essential summer pieces. Compare the list to what you already have, and only purchase what you need. As for clothing that doesn’t make the capsule cut, reserve a few favorites and remove the rest. 

While it’s an expensive method at first, some people opt to replace their entire summer wardrobe and purchase a capsule one. Going forward, they can keep a few favorites to carry over into the following year and purge the rest to make room for new capsule items. 

Patterns and colors with capsule wardrobes

One of the top concerns about capsule wardrobes is whether you need to stick to neutrals or solids to make it work. In short, the answer is no, but you need to be clever and have a good eye for matching. 

When you curate a summer wardrobe, you’ll need to put careful thought into each piece rather than simply plucking them from racks. 

If you’re drawn to a floral maxi dress and a printed top, for example, you might need to limit your sweater options to solid or neutral colors. Conversely, if your summer capsule picks mainly include neutrals and solids, be sure to add some bold pieces to enliven your collection. 

Work capsule wardrobes vs. casual capsule wardrobes

Another common concern with capsule wardrobes is whether they’re achievable if you need both work and casual clothes. There’s more than one school of thought on how to approach the issue.

Individuals that wear more formal business attire, like skirts or suits, may prefer to invest in a separate summer capsule wardrobe for work. Some pieces, such as some blouses or pants, may be suitable for winter capsule wardrobes, too. 

However, those with more casual work attire might be able to get by with a single summer capsule wardrobe. As a result, these capsules may contain closer to 50 items. Generally speaking, it often includes an assortment of pieces that cover a variety of dress codes.

Summer capsule wardrobe items

A plain white tee

Bar III Seamed V-Neck Top

Bar III Seamed V-Neck Top

There are few pieces more versatile than a plain white tee, which you can wear with most types of bottoms. Bar III Seamed V-Neck Top is a contemporary spin on the classic tee with a blouse-like fit and a center-front seam.

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A sheer kimono or ruana

Anne Klein Printed Sheer Kimono

Anne Klein Printed Sheer Kimono

Kimonos and ruanas are the ideal lightweight layering essential. Anne Klein Printed Sheer Kimono has a flowy fit with three-quarter sleeves and a 33-inch hem.

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A go-to pair of shorts

Style & Co Roll-Tab Bermuda Shorts

Style & Co Roll-Tab Bermuda Shorts

Shorts are a warm-weather favorite that you can dress up or down with the proper footwear and accessories. Style & Co Roll-Tab Bermuda Shorts have an adjustable cuff and relaxed fit.

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A flattering pair of jeans

Levi’s 311 Shaping Skinny Jeans

Levi’s 311 Shaping Skinny Jeans

Summer jeans belong in every capsule wardrobe, namely a flattering pair worn with or without a belt. Levi’s 311 Shaping Skinny Jeans, which come in white and a few light denim shades, have a sleek, slimming design.

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A versatile sweater

ZESICA Batwing Sleeve Cardigan

ZESICA Batwing Sleeve Cardigan

A versatile sweater is easy to style with most capsule picks, plus it’s worth keeping in the car on chilly nights. ZESICA Batwing Sleeve Cardigan remains a favorite choice for its chunky, relaxed fit.

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A pair of wide-leg pants

JM Collection Metallic-Detail Wide-Leg Gauze Pant

JM Collection Metallic-Detail Wide-Leg Gauze Pant

Loose, wide-leg pants have boho vibes as well as comfort. JM Collection Metallic-Detail Wide-Leg Gauze Pant has an embellished elastic waistband and comes in petite and regular sizes.

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A button-down shirt

Lauren Ralph Lauren Dolman-Sleeve Linen Shirt

Lauren Ralph Lauren Dolman-Sleeve Linen Shirt

Button-down dress shirts create a multitude of looks, including popped-collar dressy styles. Lauren Ralph Lauren Dolman-Sleeve Linen Shirt is great for its crisp, cool design.

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A pair of joggers

INC International Concepts Utility Jogger Pants

INC International Concepts Utility Jogger Pants

Joggers are an athleisure favorite for their sporty, comfortable style. INC International Concepts Utility Jogger Pants have oversized side pockets and come in six summery colors.

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A bold maxi dress

Lands’ End Tiered Sleeveless Maxi

Lands’ End Tiered Sleeveless Maxi

A maxi dress is a welcomed addition to capsules since you can wear it independently without coordinating other pieces. Lands’ End Tiered Sleeveless Maxi is made with a soft cotton blend and flattering A-line cut.

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A jumpsuit

Vince Camuto Wide-Leg Jumpsuit

Vince Camuto Wide-Leg Jumpsuit

Jumpsuits are in-style, especially those with unique cuts and bold colors. Vince Camuto Wide-Leg Jumpsuit ticks both boxes since it comes in fuchsia or blue and has a fun silhouette.

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A solid tank top

Sonoma Goods for Life Tunic Layering Tank Top

Sonoma Goods for Life Tunic Layering Tank Top

Solid tank tops pair well with most bottoms in summer capsule wardrobes. Sonoma Goods for Life Tunic Layering Tank Top, available in over a dozen colors, has an extra-long hem so that it can be worn tucked or untucked.

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A short-sleeve blouse

L.C. Lauren Conrad Pleat Neck Top

L.C. Lauren Conrad Pleat Neck Top

A printed short-sleeve blouse adds a pop of color to shorts, jeans or pants. L.C. Lauren Conrad Pleat Neck Top has a simple scoop neckline that ties in the back.

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A t-shirt dress

Daily Ritual Jersey T-Shirt Dress

Daily Ritual Jersey T-Shirt Dress

T-shirt dresses work great on their own or can double as a convenient cover-up. Daily Ritual Jersey T-Shirt Dress is an affordable, versatile basic that works with any summer shoe.

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A floral top

Simply Vera Vera Wang Pleated Neck Tank

Simply Vera Vera Wang Pleated Neck Tank

Floral tops have splashes of color that pair well with plain shorts or jeans. Simply Vera Vera Wang Pleated Neck Tank works well for day-to-night looks given its flowy design and elegant neckline.

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A striped top

Croft & Barrow Essential Crew Neck Tee

Croft & Barrow Essential Crew Neck Tee

A striped top, when paired with well-fitting bottoms, always has a polished look. Croft & Barrow Essential Crew Neck Tee is a comfortable option made from soft cotton.

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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