Our Easygoing Summer Capsule Wardrobe Inspiration For 2024
When it comes to summer we’re all about ease—easy to wear, to style, and to wash. Unless there’s a fancy wedding to attend, for which we might rent a dress, we’re living in athleisure and simple, versatile layers. This summer we’ve got our eye on slip-on dresses, no-fuss button downs, and flowy bottoms (elastic waistbands for the win!) And of course no matter the season, you’ll always find basics like tees and tanks made from natural materials and chic, comfortable shoes for walking. (Our editor’s favorite white t-shirt is a cotton one she purchased from Target well over a decade ago—how is it still going strong??)
Below, you’ll find which types of garments we’re styling this season, as well as our favorite selects from sustainable brands at a range of price points. While you won’t find $30 dresses or $10 sandals on this list, consider it inspiration for creating your own dream capsule by shopping your closet first (it’s a great season to host a clothing swap with your friends). Plus—we’re including a few DIY, thrifting, and upcycling tips, too, so you can customize your capsule on any budget.
When it does come time to invest in new clothing, we turn to vintage and sustainable clothing for pieces we’ll wear for years to come. These are the garments and accessories that are inspiring our spring capsule wardrobe. Be sure to share in the comments what garments you have on heavy rotation this season!
If you’re embarking on a capsule for the first time, or want to get inspired by the variety of capsule wardrobes people practice, check out our deep dive into what capsule wardrobes are here.
1. Oversized simple tee
We don’t want to waste our summer fussing about our wardrobe. An oversized tee made of natural materials pairs perfectly with denim and bike shorts, and can even serve as an impromptu swim cover-up. If you’re thrifting one, look for a garment without polyester or spandex for the breeziest option. (If you find the perfect fit, but there’s a logo you’d rather not wear, consider iron-on patches or embroidering over them!)
2. Easy button down
Speaking of thrifting, there’s nothing better than finding the perfect button down (here are a stylist’s tips on what to look for). If you prefer something a little more tailored or more specific, shopping new may be a good option—but don’t forget to shop your closet first. We’ve also been known to borrow button downs from the men in our lives, no shame in that game. 😜
3. Minimalist tank
A favorite tank is almost always in our capsule wardrobe (see our spring capsule here!) thanks to its layering versatility. While cropped tanks are fun, we’ve also found full length ones easy enough to crop without cutting—meaning we can wear the garment longer into cooler weather.
4. Flowy pants
Pants that ebb and flow like the ocean make it feel like you’re wearing PJs all day. We prefer linen and natural materials, but a little stretch is always cozy, too! If you’re ready to try your hand at DIY, here’s a simple tutorial for wrap pants you can make using upcycled fabric (add width and minus length for a cropped version, even shorts!)
5. Casual shorts
Repeat after us: there is no age limit on shorts. Wear them if you want to! This season, we’re swapping the tight jean shorts for something that is both elevated and easy to wear. We’re looking for stretch, shape, and volume so linens and recycled nylon are on our wish lists. Find the perfect trousers at the thrift store? Yep, you can turn them into shorts.
6. Cropped denim
There’s bound to be chillier nights or over-air-conditioned spaces that we need extra coverage for, so we’ve nixed the jean shorts in favor of cropped denim. Perfect to pair with your favorite sneakers or wedges, we especially love the light denim look for warmer seasons. You can lighten jeans using bleach or hydrogen peroxide, but we’ve also found so many good light-wash pairs in thrift stores—and mom’s closet.
7. Slip-on dresses
With all the movement and energy of summer, we prefer to avoid dresses with zippers or ultra-tight fits. This year we’re looking for flare dresses and babydoll styles for staying cool. If you want to hop on board the crochet dress train and have more time than money, consider making one yourself with Wool And The Gang.
8. Bicycle shorts
And for when the dress feels a *little* too short we’ll sneak on some bicycle shorts for a complete and comfy look. Otherwise, these pair perfectly with all our favorite tops for casual errands and lunches with friends.
9. Matching sets
If you haven’t had a matching set since you were a kid, you’re missing out. Not only is the complete outfit easy to pull together, but you can easily mix and match tops and bottoms if you get just the right set. Consider soaking two similar natural fiber garments in the same dye bath to achieve a similar look.
10. Woven bags
Any other millennials baffled by the return of those slouchy sequin shoulder bags? We’re searching for a similar (and more subtle) look this year by opting for woven textures on our handbags. You can even find affordable vintage woven bags on Etsy for a retro look.
11. Summer scents
On the spectrum of sultry to sweet, we find our perfume preferences falling somewhere in between during warmer months. Think: florals meet woodsy aromas. The two below are some of our favorite examples of this dichotomy, and we can’t wait to smell our best. If you want to keep it simple, carry a small spray bottle of rosewater with you for whenever your face—and your mood—need a little boost.
12. All-purpose hat
Protecting our eyes and face from the sun has become more of a priority as we get older, so summer hats are a must (bonus points if the hats are packable). For a more affordable option, thrift some branded caps and embroider new patterns on them—here’s how.
13. Strappy sandals
Whether you’re headed to a wedding or brunch, a strappy sandal adds a playful touch to any outfit. Just learn from our mistakes—if you’ll be out in the sun for a long time, be sure to apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet or it’ll be a very uncomfortable evening.
The Adidas slides get an upgrade with these cute heeled mules for summer—slide them on and you’re out the door in no time. You can find unique vintage pairs while thrifting, or even browse eBay for pre-owned mules you won’t find in stores.
Maybe we’re just prioritizing comfort more than ever, but every year we love pairing sneakers and dresses just a little more. We’re skipping the converse, though, and opting for substantial, comfortable sneaks that we can walk all day long in.
Featured image from Alohas