A 12 Piece Eclectic Summer Capsule Wardrobe

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

What does it mean to have an eclectic wardrobe? If you are wondering whether your own wardrobe might fall under this category, it probably does. I feel like my wardrobe could be considered eclectic in many ways and if I really dug in and veered a bit from my style, I could come up with some very interesting outfits.

So it is not just about the pieces you own, but the way that you wear them that brings the eclectic feel and look.

Connecting the terms eclectic, with weird or different seems to be synonymous but it really isn’t. Eclectic doesn’t have to mean way off the normal path into weirdsville.

It can vary because an eclectic style wardrobe is a vibrant and diverse collection of clothing and accessories that is a mix of different styles, cultures, and eras.

It is characterized by its uniqueness, and the ability to combine seemingly contrasting pieces into a cohesive and unique look.

When working with a summer capsule wardrobe we don’t have the luxury of using layers to build our looks like we do in cooler months, so instead we mix textures and patterns to build these looks.

For example, you could pair floral prints with geometric patterns, mix polka dots with stripes, or combine different fabrics like silk, leather (maybe not for summer), denim, lace, or crochet.

Crochet doily-esque pieces are really having a moment right now. You will either love it or hate it, but there is no denying that is bring a lot of interest to a look.

This reminds me of a doily long sleeve shirt that I bought from Le Chateau in the very early 90s, and being made fun of at school for wearing a “tablecloth”. It hurt my feelings then, and makes me rage now.

I never stopped wearing that shirt though.

So don’t shy away from combining different patterns and fabrics that yo are drawn to.

The key is to blend these elements in a way that feels harmonious rather than chaotic.

But honestly, sometimes a bit of chaos is good.

A 12 Piece Eclectic Summer Capsule Wardrobe

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

Vest | Vintage Jeans | Espadrilles | Black Handbag | Dress | Neon Blazer | Sneakers | Necklace | Earrings | Silver Flats | Animal Print Handbag | Pink Skirt | Shorts | Peplum Shirt | Sweater | Animal Print Trousers | Band T-shirt | Hat | Colourful Print Shirt | Tank Top | Red Mules | Sunglasses | Sandals | Red Handbag

What are some characteristics of an eclectic wardrobe?

At the core of eclectic style is being able to seamlessly integrate both vintage and modern items.

This might mean wearing a vintage 1950s dress with contemporary sneakers or something more simple like combining a modern blazer with a retro band t-shirt.

This mix not only adds depth and character to the wardrobe but also tells a story through fashion.

I included some vintage Levi’s 517s in this capsule. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy loved Levi’s denim and it is said that her favourite style was the 517 which is a classic bootcut style.

It is one that never goes out of style, and also now you have a story to go with some jeans. See?

Colour also plays a crucial role in an eclectic wardrobe.

I actually started this post out this week as building a colourful capsule but it wasn’t going the way that I wanted and seemed to veer this way on its own accord.

This happens often, and I usually just pivot and roll with it. It never works to force something.

In this style, it is common to see bold, vibrant hues mixed with neutral tones.

You can also experiment with bold colour blocking depending on how adventurous you are.

Because an eclectic dresser is not afraid to experiment with unexpected colour combinations, such as pairing a bright red skirt with a turquoise top or accessorizing a monochromatic outfit with a neon bag.

But if too much colour scares you, try dipping your toe in by the use of colourful accessories like neon sandals, a bright statement necklace, or a vividly patterned scarf.

Summer is the perfect time to add some neon.

If you want to start light, then accessories are essential in an eclectic wardrobe.

This could range from statement jewellery and fun hats to quirky handbags and colourful scarves.

These accessories are often standout pieces that add an extra layer of interest and personality to an outfit.

I used to not be a hat person at all.

So much so that I refused to wear the cap to my high school graduation.

I am a hat person now, and find them a great way to add some personality to a look. The flat cap I included is a cotton/linen blend for summer and brings a touch of masculinity to the looks.

It’s like a Peaky Blinders touch of tomboy vibe, but if you want to go more feminine, I saw this hat with the bow that gave me a bit of 50s retro feeling.

Eclectic style often draws inspiration from various cultures around the world.

This might be reflected in the use of ethnic prints, traditional garments, or jewellery with cultural significance. By blending these elements, an eclectic wardrobe celebrates diversity and global influences.

Layering is a fundamental technique in eclectic fashion, and like I said at the beginning of the post, it can be difficult to showcase this during the hotter months.

Often this involves wearing multiple layers of clothing in creative and unexpected ways.

For example, layering a dress over jeans, a turtleneck under a summer dress, or multiple necklaces of different lengths and styles. all of these can be workable and adapted to your summer outfits.

Skirts and dresses over pants is a throwback trend that currently is going through a resurgence, so in summer maybe try a lighter weight, loose pant or even cropped length under skirts and dresses of different styles and lengths.

Even a large yet light scarf or sarong tied at the hip would work as well for a different variation.

Instead of layering turtlenecks under summer dresses go back to the 90s and use a t-shirt. Even a tank or blouse would work depending on the style of both the shirt and dress.

You need to experiment and try a few looks out to see what works best.

Layering accessories though, is very easy to achieve during any season.

Not only adds dimension to the outfit but also allows for practical versatility.

Use your wardrobe to tell a story. Every piece in an eclectic wardrobe often has a story behind it—whether it’s a souvenir from a trip, a hand-me-down from a loved one, and even just a thrift store find.

This storytelling aspect adds a sentimental value and makes the wardrobe a true reflection of the wearer’s journey, experiences, and personality which is what dressing and style is all about.

If you are on the more creative end, many eclectic dresses dabble in DIY or upcycling.

You can personalize your clothes by adding or changing things in your wardrobe. Like taking replacing boring buttons with a bloder choices, or cropping the length of pants, or shirts.

If you are more hands-on you can use embroidery in creative ways to repair holes or stains in pieces that you may love.

Then we have upcycling which is takes a skilled eye to see the potential of a piece. For example you can transform an old dress into a trendy top or a skirt. Get creative with scissors and a sewing machine to give new life to older pieces.

These two characteristics are also a very sustainable way to think of fashion, which we all need to be a little better at.

By reusing vintage items, upcycling old clothes, and buying second-hand, those with an eclectic style often contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly fashion practice.

At its core, an eclectic wardrobe is all about celebrating your unique style and having fun with fashion. It’s about ditching the usual fashion rules and mixing things up to create a look that’s truly your own.

With an eclectic wardrobe, you get to experiment and express yourself in new ways every day, turning your outfit into a fresh and exciting story that you get to write, each time you get dressed.

We all need a little bit more fun in our wardrobe, don’t we?

Eclectic Summer Outfit Ideas for Women

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

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

Vest | Vintage Jeans | Espadrilles | Black Handbag | Dress | Neon Blazer | Sneakers | Necklace | Earrings | Silver Flats | Animal Print Handbag | Pink Skirt | Shorts | Peplum Shirt | Sweater | Animal Print Trousers | Band T-shirt | Hat | Colourful Print Shirt | Tank Top | Red Mules | Sunglasses | Sandals | Red Handbag

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Sara

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.

2 Comments

  1. Funny, I would not have considered myself eclectic, but I would wear everything in that capsule wardrobe! Look at me, braver than I thought!

    • Hahaha! It’s funny how that works. I think a lot of us are the same and didn’t notice until we really thought about it. I hope this might have given you a new perspective for your wardrobe.

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