The 12 Piece Ultimate Summer Capsule Wardrobe

A white background with 12 clothing items plus shoes and accessories for The 12 Piece Ultimate Summer capsule wardrobe. In the middle is a black box with white text that reads, "The 12 Piece Ultimate Summer Capsule Wardrobe."

There are so many fashion aesthetics and trends that circle at any given moment that it can be hard to know what direction you want to take your wardrobe.

Many people have trouble narrowing down their personal style, so I like to occasionally post what I refer to as a mixed bag sort of capsule wardrobe.

These are where I don’t focus fully on one style, but incorporate a mixture of styles, trends, and aesthetics and pull them all together usually through the colour palette.

These more align to me with the concept of style adjectives or the three-word method because when we are familiar with that concept and use it to build our wardrobes, we often end up with what would seem from an outside perspective to be a mixed bag, but in reality, absolutely makes sense to your personal style.

That is because it pulls in pieces that are a mixture of your three adjectives (or more) and that in turn will showcase a variety of different styles that you resonate with.

It is how you combine those styles that make it truly yours, and like anything in life, it is not always linear.

Your style won’t always show 1/3 for each style. It won’t be balanced like that for most people.

This means that style is not fixed but can vary widely and change daily. This concept reflects the idea that personal style is fluid and adaptable rather than being strictly confined to a single look or category.

So in other words it will be on a sliding scale depending on your mood or vibe for that particular day, which means that you don’t need to get frustrated if your personal style doesn’t fall under or remain beneath one style category.

It doesn’t for most.

In my experience if you try to narrow it down too much you end up altering your style to fit the category instead of realizing the category may not fit your style.

Let’s jump in.

The 12 Piece Ultimate Summer Capsule Wardrobe

A white background with 12 outfits for The 12 Piece Ultimate Summer Capsule Wardrobe.

Red Peplum Shirt | Culottes | Hat | Red Bucket Bag | Shirt Dress | Jacket | Earrings | White Flats | Animal Print Bag | Skirt | Cropped Chinos | Grey Tee | Striped Sweater | Black Sandals | Blue Tee | Red Slides | Black Button Up | Sleeveless Denim Shirt | Red Heels | Sunglasses | Sneakers | Clutch | Track Pants

I have said many times that I am in what it feels like is the track pants stage of life.

And luckily, or maybe not luckily, trends have shifted that way as well with the elevated sportswear look.

We wore tracksuits a lot several years ago when we were staying at home and it became more about comfort.

That moved onto the intentional leggings, paired with white slouchy socks, a trench, and the ball cap uniform that many women wore, and are still wearing.

Now we are evolving into actual sportswear type pieces but worn in combinations that are anything but sporty.

We don’t look like we are on our way to the gym or to go running, we look intentionally styled in an outfit that can be dressed up or down, but definitely not exercise in.

So to embrace that, I included my favourite track pants of the moment because they have had a restock. They keep coming back in and out so if your size is sold out then use the notification alert.

They are loose, comfortable, and have that oh-so-perfect balance of casual cool.

I have worn them so much and look forward to bringing them into my summer wardrobe with cropped tees (they are high-waisted), oversized linen or cotton button-ups, and even layered under mini dresses since I don’t wear any dresses that are above my knee.

That is just a personal preference. I have never liked shorts, short dresses or short skirts.

What should a Summer Capsule Wardrobe Include?

There will be varying opinions on what people consider specific key pieces in a summer capsule wardrobe, so I like to tell people to take my ideas more like a template where you can move things around and swap things that are more suited for your style, lifestyle, and climate.

It gets very hot and humid here starting in late spring, but I also tend to avoid spending long periods out in the direct sunlight and heat because I hate it.

Some are energized by the sun and heat, but I find it completely zaps my motivation and energy.

I am more invigorated by a deep breath of cold air.

So my wardrobe will look different than someone who loves to go out and hang in the heat and sunshine every day.

Besides the personal adjustments, I think there are a handful of pieces that will really help you to build a great foundation for a summer capsule wardrobe that are pretty universal across the board.

Remember to bring over as much as you can for each season.

First, I like a small variety of tops with different sleeve lengths, colours, fabrics, and styles.

A good place to start is a couple of t-shirts, a tank or two, an oversized button-up in linen or cotton, and an interesting piece.

I really loved this Beastie Boys t-shirt. Never seeing them in concert is one of my biggest life regrets.

Since I hang in the air conditioning and often feel cold I also included a loose-fit sweater, and some kind of light jacket.

In this instance, I went for a utility style jacket because it deviates from the oversized blazer we often see, it is less bulky than a denim jacket, and it is very trendy right now.

A belted utility jacket paired with a feminine skirt is a look that is living in my head at the moment.

For bottoms, you need to think about what you will realistically wear.

You might love a good mini skirt, but will it be a key wardrobe staple for you or something you will wear only a couple of times this season?

That is an important question to ask yourself, because we want to build a wardrobe that will be worn through the entire summer.

Every piece on repeat.

So while you may like a mini skirt, maybe a long and loose maxi will make more sense and get more use.

I included some culottes that have an asymmetrical front for interest, plus they give me a preppy vibe which is very on-trend.

Some track pants, cropped chinos, and a long linen skirt. All of these pieces will pair with every single top which is also something to make certain of.

I rounded it out with a long shirt dress, that is classic but can also be made to fit any style based on how you wear it.

A truly versatile piece.

You want to have a variety of shoes, handbags to complement your pieces, and some easy accessories which are all like the icing to finalize and change up your looks.

What is in My Summer Capsule Wardrobe?

There is a very small number of pieces that are on my wardrobe wish list that I need to round out my summer capsule, and a few of them I included in this post.

I am seeking an oversized black button-up. Linen, cotton, secondhand maybe?

I am envisioning it paired with my black kick flares and some mesh or woven flats for a modern Audrey Hepburn-esque vibe.

I am trying to pare it down for summer.

A long black skirt. I am not certain if I want a midi or maxi, but I do want something cotton or linen that is loose. Maybe something fuller with a retro feel, or possibly a slimmer column fit.

I am open to both, but uncertain so I am currently seeing what my options are. I want an intentional purchase, not an impulse buy.

And finally a flat cap in cotton like the one here. I have a few herringbone versions which are my goto hat, but a cotton would be better for the season.

I am not big on wide-brimmed hats, so these are my current favourite.

To me they give more of a streetstyle feel than most summer hat options and that works with my wardrobe better.

I don’t really do baseball hats, but I have a South Park vintage one that I think is funny.

It is a much better choice for me than a sports team because I am a lifetime sports hater, so it would be very off brand and inauthentic for my life.

As I am currently being blasted in the face by the sun, this is really getting me into the summer vibe.

When the temperature climbs and the days stretch longer, the appeal of a fresh and breezy summer wardrobe becomes undeniable.

So the urge to go out and succumb to the temptation of trend-driven purchases to welcome the warm weather will be strong, but before you do, take note of what you want and compare it to what you already have.

Chances are that you already have some pieces that will already fit the bill.

Viewing your wardrobe with new eyes, or even viewing it for a new season can make you see potential in items that you might have previously forgotten about.

It is okay to add a new piece or two for summer, I am. But it is not necessary to start from scratch each season unless you have moved to a completely different climate, or had a significant weight change.

I want you to wear your clothes. That is what their purpose is.

Pull out those special pieces that you save but never wear, and actually wear them.

Make your entire wardrobe work for you, and you will be amazed at how much you already have.

Be prepared to see how much you will enjoy getting dressed again, even if it is a season that you don’t like.

Casual Summer Outfit Ideas for Women

A white background with 12 outfits for The 12 Piece Ultimate Summer Capsule Wardrobe.

A white background with 12 outfits for The 12 Piece Ultimate Summer Capsule Wardrobe.

Red Peplum Shirt | Culottes | Hat | Red Bucket Bag | Shirt Dress | Jacket | Earrings | White Flats | Animal Print Bag | Skirt | Cropped Chinos | Grey Tee | Striped Sweater | Black Sandals | Blue Tee | Red Slides | Black Button Up | Sleeveless Denim Shirt | Red Heels | Sunglasses | Sneakers | Clutch | Track Pants

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Sara is the founder and creative behind livelovesara. A George Brown College Fashion Styling Graduate, she provides advice on finding your personal style regardless of age and budget. She is always on the hunt for the perfect wardrobe piece and is a vintage and thrifting enthusiast who can't wait to share her newest finds. She is also trying to learn French.

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