And because you want to maximize every minute of fun-in-the-sun time, you definitely don't want to be wasting time digging through your closet to pick out an outfit. That's when having a summer capsule wardrobe is the time-saving hack that will make getting ready so much easier—and is sustainable to boot. By establishing a rotation of go-to pieces, you'll eliminate decision fatigue and get more wear out of all your favorite looks (fast fashion, who?).
There are just a few tips to keep in mind before getting started: First, if sustainability is the goal, don't rush out and buy all new pieces. Mindful closet advocate Sally Garcia recommends shopping your own closet first to unearth any hidden gems and identify what your needs are. Then, you can fill in with updated pieces (either bought new or thrifted) to round out your capsule wardrobe.
Just remember to keep versatility in mind, and only add pieces that coordinate with the rest of your closet, Garcia says. Doing so will allow you to mix and match with ease, and will prevent you from having to buy or thrift as many pieces in the future. Another hack for getting the most bang for your buck? Checking the fabric label for long-lasting materials such as cotton.
“Cotton is my favorite fabric,” Garcia says. “It breathes well, it wears in beautifully, and while you should mend and wear your clothes as much as possible, cotton is one of the easiest fabrics to [biodegrade]. I also love that cotton is easy to dye, giving that much more life to your articles of clothing.”
You just need eight key pieces to create looks for days. Keep reading to snag the staples you're missing from Garcia's list of suggestions (after you shop your own closet, of course).
The first item that’s a must-have in Garcia’s summer capsule wardrobe? “Without a doubt a breezy cotton dress,” she says. Not only will a dress with a simple silhouette (like this stunning sage one) help you beat the heat this summer, but you can easily dress it up or down—it’ll still look effortlessly chic whether you pair it with sneakers or heels.
If your fave summer outfit “hack” is to go with something you can slip on ASAP so you can enjoy the weather quicker, you know how important having a fun mini-dress can be—especially for the days when a maxi dress is a tad too warm. Try to rely on something in a basic color (like this adorable white one), and add in your personality with the detailing (like the lace-up front). Then just throw it on and go catch some sun.
Shorts are a summer must, especially for Garcia living in the Los Angeles heat. “I love a good pair of non-denim shorts,” Garcia says. “If styled right, they can totally work in a more relaxed work setting.” The possibilities of where to wear these breathable—thanks to their lightweight cotton twill fabric—shorts are endless. Try pairing them with sandals and a blazer for a dinner out, or throw them on with a t-shirt for your hot girl walk.
If you’re looking for a not-so-sweaty layering piece, Garcia recommends a light cotton coat, like this blazer that will make any summer outfit seem more polished. Plus, its neutral coloring means you can pretty much throw it on top of anything without thinking twice *and* you’ll definitely still get compliments on it, thanks to the cool tonal stripes.
A jumpsuit is another easy-to-throw-on base layer that provides some versatile edginess to your capsule wardrobe. Whether you’re brunching or going to a brewery, it will become an effortless essential. “It’s a whole outfit in one article of clothing,” Garcia says. “What could be more perfect than that.”
While a scarf might not be the first thing you would associate with summer, Garcia says it’s worth investing in a nice lightweight one since it can be one of the most multi-use pieces of clothing in your closet. Wear it as a shawl to dinner, as a headscarf to the vintage market, or as a top for a night out—it’ll look good in all those scenarios and more.
Another one of Garcia’s non-negotiables when it comes to a capsule closet is a colorful button-up, like this pretty purple one that gives off “I’m ready to chill out” vibes. The oversized fit will keep you feeling classically stylish, no matter where you are. Garcia recommends wearing it not only as a shirt but also as a beach cover-up or a shacket.
Everyone needs a great pair of denim shorts for ultimate summer vibes. And if you don’t already have some, this flattering, high-waisted pair will go with just about any of your favorite breezy summer tops and will last you for years thanks to their 100 percent cotton fabric.
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