Travel capsule wardrobe summer

Table of Contents

OUR POLL OF 1,000+ READERS SHOWS YOU ALREADY HAVE BASICS LIKE THESE:

The basics Lauren Perlstein

A blazer, $88; gap.com. Sizes 0 to 20.

A flowy scarf, $16; shopdavidandyoung.com (20% off with code REDBOOK20).

A pencil skirt, Hell Bunny, $49.99; modcloth.com. Sizes XS to 4X.

A black belt, Isaac Mizrahi Live!, $38.50; qvc.com. Sizes XS to 3X.

A sleeveless dress, $69; landsend.com. Sizes 0 to 26.

A crewneck sweater, $149 (sizes XS to XL), $169 (sizes X to 3X); talbots.com.

Ankle boots, Apt. 9, $74.99; kohls.com.

A striped tee, $29.95; llbean.com. Sizes XS to 3X.

Black tights, $5.90; forever21.com.

3 NEW ACCESSORIES TO GET:

Lauren Perlstein

Cage heels, Anne Michelle, $39; lulus.com (20% off with code RB20LULUS).

A blanket scarf, Apt. 9, $40; kohls.com.

Oxfords, Crown Vintage, $39.95; dsw.com.

PICK THESE IF YOU’RE SIZE 14 AND UP

Pretty updates on your fave shapes do great things for your body and your style.

Lauren Perlstein

A graphic-print dress, Ava & Viv, $29.99; target.com. Sizes X to 4X (available November 1).

A tie-neck blouse, Roaman’s, $29.99; fullbeauty.com. Sizes 12W to 32W.

Culottes, $99.90; eloquii.com (20% off with code REDBOOK20). Sizes 14 to 24.

A moto jacket, $99.95; lanebryant.com. Sizes 14 to 32.

A dark floral skirt, $54.50; torrid.com. Sizes L to 6X.

PICK THESE IF YOU’RE SIZE 0 TO 12

Modern patterns and muted tones boost your wardrobe’s energy in a sophisticated way.

Lauren Perlstein

A tie-neck blouse, Eva Mendes for New York & Company, $49.95; nyandcompany.com.

A graphic-print dress, Attention, $26.99; kmart.com.

A dark floral skirt, $148; anntaylor.com.

Culottes, $39.90; zara.com.

A moto jacket, Mossimo Supply Co., $44.99; target.com.

THE CURVY-GIRL GAME PLAN

Lauren Perlstein Lauren Perlstein Lauren Perlstein

THE SIZE-0-TO-12 LOOK BOOK

Lauren Perlstein Lauren Perlstein Lauren Perlstein

Here’s How To Do It

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Need some summer outfit inspiration? On a budget? Check this out!!

With the purchase of 10-15 articles of clothing, you can create an entire wardrobe full of colors you love and easy co-ordinations. Creating a mix and match wardrobe is all about building a wardrobe that works together and works for you. I put together 15 inexpensive outfits with my 14 clothing options from Target, but could have easily created more.

Mix and match wardrobes are not only perfect for your budget, but will save you the dreaded “But I have nothing to wear!” scream we all do with a closet full of clothes. They are also really great if you have a small storage space and want to get the most out of a small wardrobe. Save yourself hours of ruffling through your closet full of options by purchasing specific pieces you know will work well together and in other outfits.

You can now have fun every time you step into your closet because your mix and match wardrobe works together like a puzzle. Your wallet will thank you and you will always be able to find just what you were looking to wear!

  1. Dollhouse Crop Jeans — $29.99
  2. Nitrogen Crepe Elastic Waist Pants — $64.99
  3. Merona Chino Shorts — $13.98
  4. Mossimo Boyfriend Jean Shorts — $15.00
  5. Xhilaration Guaze Crocheted Shorts — $16.00
  6. John Paul Richard Yoke Tank — $24.99
  7. LOL Vintage Graphic Tank — $12.99
  8. Merona Crochet Trim Tunic — $17.99
  9. LUX II Color Blocked Blouse — $22.99
  10. Le Kate Printed Tank — $34.99
  11. Mossimo Ona Ballet Flats — $16.99
  12. Mai Thong Sandals — $22.99
  13. A+ Large Cross Body Bag — $39.99
  14. Merona Straw Clutch — $19.99

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You know the old saying: “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.”

Yet how many times have you faced this choice: buy a nice, work-appropriate blazer, or buy something more fun, like a cocktail dress? Most of the time, the dress will win, right?

But let’s face it: there are about 260 work days in the year. Your work wardrobe is WAY more important than your weekend clothes. Dressing well at work can help make a good impression and might even help you get your next promotion. Fortunately, you don’t have to have an enormous work wardrobe to have great office style. I put together a capsule collection using basics to create a full 30 days of work outfits. If you wear a different outfit to work every day of the month, it will be impossible to tell that you only have 23 pieces of workwear. Below are tips on what to buy, mixing and matching your outfits, beauty secrets to help you stay polished and tips on how to keep track of everything using Stylebook!

Peplum Top (similar), J.Crew Trousers, Pink Silk Button-Up Shirt, Blue Button-Up (Similar)

Selecting Your Clothes for the Capsule

First, choose a limited color palette – two to four colors should be enough.

Many of these items may already be in your closet but you might need to go shopping if they don’t fit well or if you have a few wardrobe gaps. If you do go shopping, remember to stick to your color palette!

Select the following items based on your color palette:

  • six shirts
  • five bottoms
  • two jackets
  • two dresses
  • two bags
  • six pairs of shoes

Things To Consider

  • Skirts – Always keep your skirts knee-length. Even if you work in a creative industry, a short skirt may still turn heads – in the wrong way.
  • Sleeveless – No tank tops at the office – ever! If you go sleeveless, be sure to cover up your chest.
  • Pants – Tapered or cropped pants can be worn with flats or heels. This is especially important if you’re a commuter because longer wide-leg styles can only be worn with heels, which may be uncomfortable if you stand or walk for a long period of time.

Having seven days of shirts and dresses means you can go an entire week without doing laundry. And while we’re on the topic of laundry, make sure you check the care tags before you buy anything – you don’t want to wind up with a bunch of dry clean-only clothes that end up sitting at the bottom of your hamper for most of the month.

If you need to buy items to complete your capsule wardrobe, seriously consider the item’s fit before you rip the tags off anything. Your basics won’t look so basic if they fit you beautifully. If you’re petite like me, always buy dresses and pants in the petites department. I used to think I could just hem regular sizes but sometimes the seams and pockets are just in the wrong place for me. Also, always look in a 3-way mirror! I’ve seen many pencil skirts that looked fine in the front but then had a back slit that was way too revealing.

When picking your items, consider including some subdued patterns. I like smaller classic patterns like stripes, swiss dots, or geometrics – they are fun but still office-appropriate. Try to avoid anything overly bold if you’re planning on keeping a small office wardrobe – you might feel self-conscious repeating it. Once you’ve selected everything, photograph your clothes for your Stylebook virtual closet so you can keep track of what you own and nothing will get lost in the back of your real closet.

Stylebook Closet App

Stylebook Tip: Add the tag “work” to your notes for each item so you can easily search for your work items when creating outfits.

Mixing and Matching

A rule that’s always helped me is that every bottom in your capsule collection needs to match at least 3 different tops. In addition, both of the jackets you choose for your capsule need to pair well with most of your tops. Following those rules, you should have almost 30 outfits right out of the gate. Now let’s get a little creative with how you make those combinations.

Black Wallet (similar), Tassel Keychain (similar), Stylebook Closet App

I love monochromatic outfits, especially when I’m combining a top and skirt. If the colors match exactly, this combination can make your outfit look like a dress – some stores even sell matching sets meant to create this illusion. These are fantastic because you have the option of wearing them together or as separates. You can also use this approach with trousers, but be sure to wear a top in a slightly different shade. For example, I might wear burgundy wool trousers with a powder pink button-down. It looks contemporary but the shapes are still appropriate for the office.

Stylebook Tip: Stylebook is the perfect app to plan your outfits. If you’ve imported your clothes into Stylebook, you’ll be able to come up with outfit ideas wherever you are. The app’s outfit editor allows you to collage images of your clothes and then save your outfit ideas with searchable notes and tags. Your real closet can stay orderly, since you can experiment without pulling everything out.

Blue Button-Up (Similar), J.Crew Pencil Skirt, Striped Clutch (Similar), Red & Tan Sandals (Similar)

Next, let’s talk proportions! Look out for where each piece of clothing sits on your body and consider if it’s flattering in relation to the other pieces you’re wearing. For example, my cropped striped jacket looks great with a cream peplum top because the bottom of the jacket emphasizes my waist instead of my hips. When it comes to proportions, opposites attract for most people. Pair long with short, voluminous with fitted, etc.

Now consider your shoes – they can make or break your outfit. Shoes are an easy way to show personality but be careful that you don’t go too sexy. The more daring the shoe, the more conservative your outfit should be. When in doubt, go with a closed toe.

Everlane Button-front Blouse, Circle Skirt (similar), Two-tone Heels (similar), J.Crew Blazer (similar)

Don’t forget you also have two dresses in your capsule collection! I like to have one simple sheath dress that I can wear any day and one “boss dress.” The latter is a piece that makes me feel confident, polished, and comfortable. My favorite boss dress inspiration is Norah O’Donnell – she wears some seriously amazing dresses on “CBS This Morning.” Go for a flattering color and an interesting detail like color blocking or a cool neckline. Mine is a color-blocked blue and grey dress from J.Crew. I reserve that one for client meetings and presentations. Changing up your accessories, hair, or layering with a jacket can make these pieces feel different.

Navy Shift Dress (similar), Coach Tote (similar), L.L. Bean Monogramed Tote, Brown Perforated Sandals (similar)

Things To Consider

  • Heat – In the summer, it’s hard to abide by general office attire guidelines because it is HOT, especially if you’re commuting. In this situation, I recommend a sleeveless button-down like those made by Everlane. They look office-appropriate on their own, but if your office is conservative, you can throw on a blazer when you get to the office and no one will be the wiser. The same goes for sleeveless shift dresses. If you get caught without your blazer, it looks great but you always have the option of putting on a jacket or cardigan if the office is chilly or if you feel more comfortable covered up.

Stylebook Tip: Keeping a record of your outfit ideas in Stylebook will help you get ready for work faster, even if you wake up late. It’s kind of like laying out your clothes the night before, but you can plan for the entire week or month without disturbing your closet! If you feel like wearing a certain top, just look it up and Stylebook quickly points you to all of the outfits you’ve created with it. You can also tag your work outfits with keywords like “work,” “meeting,” “presentation,” “office party,” etc. Then search your Stylebook outfits to quickly see everything that’s appropriate while you’re getting dressed.

emPOWERED leather tote bag, Softwalk Flats

Commuter Tips

  • Phone Charger – emPOWERED makes an amazing leather tote bag that has a built-in charger. It can charge your phone from 0 to 100% and if your charger is built into your bag, you can never forget it!
  • Shoe Stash – If you have heels that are solely reserved for work, keep them in a storage box under your desk. Then you can wear comfy flats with arch support on the train or bus.
  • Cobbler – Have your local shoe repair shop replace your heel soles with thin rubber so they last longer. They can even add a guard under the toe to prevent wear and tear.
  • Scotch Guard – Spray down your coat and your light-colored clothes to prevent stains. Just make sure to test a small, discreet area first.
  • Heels – Shoes of Prey is site where you can design custom pumps, wedges, ballet flats, and more. You can choose your heel height, allowing you to create the exact shoe you want at a comfortable height.

Makeup Forever – liquid makeup, Essie nail polish, Palladio – Lip Stain, Clinique – Antiperspirant, Laura Mercier – Mattifying,
Julep – Double Step Foot Treatment (similar), Fashion Tape, Jennifer Behr (similar)

Beauty Essentials

This final piece in your new office wardrobe is your beauty look. Here are some of the things that took my look from good to great!

  • Makeup Lesson – I strongly recommend making an appointment at a store like Blue Mercury, Benefit Beauty Bar, or MAC to get a customized makeup regimen. Their makeup artists can help you develop a quick beauty routine and, at many stores, this service is complimentary if you make a $50 purchase.
  • Waterproof Makeup – When I commuted to work, I was always baffled that my makeup seemed to vanish on the trip in. It turned out I was sweating it off. Go with a waterproof formula, which will stay put all day.
  • Mattifying Primer – I have very oily skin and nothing helped control it until I found Laura Mercier’s Secret Finish Mattifying Primer.
  • Nail Polish – Manicures are expensive but you can still do your own nails at home. It’s important for your hands to look polished, especially if you’re going to be pointing to things in meetings.
  • Deodorant / Antiperspirant – Obviously you need deodorant, but did you know that the wax in deodorant is the cause of those yellow pit stains on your clothes? I didn’t either until the I read the July issue of Martha Stewart Living. Luckily, there are deodorants with formulas made to reduce or eliminate this effect, including Clinique and Dry Idea.
  • Fashion Tape – Even the most modest top can look inappropriate when you bend over. Fashion tape solves this overexposure problem.
  • Headbands – Developing a few simple up-dos saves time and guarantees you’ll never arrive at the office with limp, unstyled hair thanks to humidity or rain. I like sleek, black headbands.
  • Friction Stick – These little sticks are a miracle when it comes to making your shoes a little more comfortable. Just swipe wherever you have a tendency to get blisters.
  • Stretchy Thongs – A visible panty line is not cute – luckily, it can be avoided with the right undergarments. Stretch-lace thong from companies like Cosabella or Hanky Panky are very comfortable so they’re well worth the investment.

OTHER RESOURCES

Office Style Inspiration:

  • 9 to 5 Chic
  • Nora O’Donnell
  • Scandal
  • Pinterest
  • Mrs.O
  • Mindy Project

Workwear Shopping Resources:

2-Week Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe

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How to fill a carryon with a summer wardrobe for 2 weeks in Europe

I am not a fashion blogger.

There, I had to get that out of the way. Because as I was snapping photos and collecting inspiration I slumped into this self-destructive bout of self-talk.

“Tess, you are not a fashion blogger. WTF are you doing?!”

To be frank, I’m not here to tell you what to wear, because I don’t know the first thing about what’s hot and what’s not.

What I do know is that living (still working on this one) and traveling (I think I aced this one) with a capsule wardrobe packed inside a carryon can save you a lot of time, energy, and money.

Quick Aside: I’ve been wanting to write about capsule and minimalistic living for a while now, and if you couldn’t tell already… This blog will be shifting slightly to fit the needs, goals, and dreams of the reader that has been bit by the wanderlust fairy, stung by the adventure bee, and had a spell cast upon them by the world-traveling-witch…? I dunno, just hang in there with me.

Traveling is near and dear to my heart, and it is my most sincere belief that every woman has a an overwhelming dose of curiosity and wonder inside of them to see the world.

More on how this blog will help you “gain the financial independence, self-confidence, wherewithal to get everything you want in life and live a life of luxury, even if you’re not rich or famous” very soon, but for now…

My 2-Week European Travel Capsule:

As I was preparing for my 2-week trip along the Mediterranean coast, I knew I only wanted to pack a carryon.

A.) Because I didn’t want to lug around my larger suitcase that doesn’t have the 4-wheel 360 degree spinning mechanism, and I’m not about to deal with that shenanigans. Saving time and energy. Check.

B.) I wanted to prove to my boyfriend that I could pack less than him. No real benefit here except for bragging rights. Check.

C.) We were taking some European airlines between countries, and I didn’t want to pay the extra luggage fees. (Think Spirit and Frontier but better because you’re in Europe.) Saving money. Check.

I’ve always been a light packer, but I definitely needed help. I looked around on Google and Pinterest for some inspiration. What color palettes look good together if I’m only going to bring two pairs of shorts and a handful of shirts? What do I even need to bring if the whether is going to be 90+ degrees during the day but drop to 70 degrees or below in the evening?

I had questions. I researched. I figured it out. And I successfully packed my 2-week European travel wardrobe into my tiny “capsule” carryon.

Packing List:

4 Tanks of neutral colors (Black, White, Maroon, Army Green)

4 Bottoms interchangeable (Jean Shorts, Black Shorts, Stretchy Skirt, Leggings)

2 Long-Sleeves for chilly nights (Plaid Flannel Shirt, Jean Jacket)

2 Swimsuits, Hat, Sunglasses, Watch

3 Pairs of Shoes (Black Tennis Shoes for Daytime or Exercise, White Sandals, Heels … not necessary looking back. Could be swapped for a pair of flats.)

3 Dresses or Rompers (Black Evening Romper, Floral Daytime Romper, Mid-Length Dress for Day or Night)… not pictured.

For those who workout: 2 pairs shorts with built-in underwear, 2 tanks with built-in bra (and this was still over ambitious for me as most of our exercise came from venturing about town). Don’t forget socks (especially for the plane).

When you’re traveling for an extended period of time and don’t want to overpack, bring clothes that can be easily washed in a sink. It might not be the most thorough laundry you’ve ever done, but it’s at least a good rinse out. Bras and underwear are good ones that can be easily washed and hung out to dry by the next morning. Workout clothes too.

So there you have it… a wack at my “fashion” or … just a peak behind my closet doors and into my carryon. I hope this was useful.

It’s your turn, tell me: What are your travel essentials? Can you fit all you need for 2 weeks in a carryon? I challenge you to give it a try and snap me a pic. Tag me on Instagram (@tess_wicks) or Facebook (@wordsandmoney)! Happy Packing!

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When you have kids, the amount of stuff you think you to need to pack for a trip can quickly add up. But less is more—especially on vacations—and you can easily pack less by creating a capsule wardrobe for travel.

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe for travel is a collection of basic clothing that can easily be mixed and matched. A capsule wardrobe also makes life easier once you’ve reached your destination. There’s less decision making about what to wear and more time spent enjoying the actual vacation!

Tips for Creating a Capsule Wardrobe for Travel

  1. Keep it Simple: Your kids (and maybe you, too) already have the capsule wardrobe idea down—you just don’t know it yet! Kids wear the same thing all the time, and that’s the basic concept of the capsule wardrobe. Whatever shirt is on top of the pile, that’s what gets worn. It’s when kids have too many options that dressing for the day becomes an argument. Keep it simple by limiting the options and sticking to solid colors and breathable fabrics.
  2. Opt for Function and Compatibility: Each item in your capsule wardrobe should have more than one function or be compatible with other items in the collection. A mix and match travel wardrobe is key.
  3. Choose Quality Over Quantity: You want to choose quality fabrics that will last, work in warm and cooler climates, and won’t wrinkle. Sure, you might spend a bit more on a quality pair of multifuntional pants, but if you can wear them to the aquarium during the day and out to dinner later at night, it’s worth the expense and extra room in your suitcase for souvenirs.
  4. Choose a Color Palette: If you look in your closet, you’ll likely already see some similarities in color. Choose a color you normally lean toward. Then build around that color with neutrals in gray, white, black and denim for your travel capsule wardrobe. Staying in the same color palette allows for easy mixing and matching of outfits. Leave the patterns at home. They’re harder to pair with other items and end up wasting precious suitcase space. Let your kids choose one or two colors that don’t clash with each other, and then incorporate the neutral colored items. For a capsule wardrobe for kids, try to avoid white and stick with grays, blacks and denims as neutral colors. We all know that white shirt or dress will only last a few hours before a stain appears!
  5. Pack Layers: Layering clothes is key on any trip. A long sleeve shirt, along with a lightweight cardigan sweater, will save more space in your suitcase and allow for a variety of outfit options, versus an oversized bulky sweater you may only wear once.
  6. Do Laundry: Pack a week’s worth of clothing, and if you need to, do laundry. Most vacation rentals and hotels offer laundry facilities and it’s one less chore you’ll have to do when you get home!

Related: How to Return From a Family Vacation Feeling Relaxed

The Capsule Wardrobe Formula for All

  • 4 casual short sleeve shirts (if traveling to a warm climate)
  • 3 nice shirts
  • 3 bottoms (includes shorts, jeans, pants or skirts)
  • 1 long sleeved shirt (if traveling to a warm climate)
  • 1 lightweight jacket
  • 1 cardigan or lightweight sweater
  • 2 casual dresses
  • 2 swimsuits and 2 swimsuit cover ups
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • 3 bras
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 1 hat based on climate
  • 2 colorful, lightweight or sheer scarfs
  • 1 pair of casual every day walking shoes
  • 1 pair of flip flops or water shoes
  • 1 pair of nicer shoes for evenings

Oh, the places you’ll go with just one bag on your back! Learn how to unburden yourself from unnecessary luggage.

On a recent trip to California, my husband and I limited our clothes to a single backpack each. It was a life-changing experience. After checking in online, we walked into the Toronto airport, past the lineups of luggage-laden individuals waiting to check their suitcases, and went straight to security. Within twenty minutes, we were sitting at the gate and hardly knew what to do with all our free time.

After that experience, I vowed never again to check luggage when traveling. It makes moving around so much easier, and it eliminates potential wardrobe crises because all the outfit planning has been done in advance. Figuring out what to take, however, can be a challenge the first few times, which is why I’ve compiled some helpful advice from other travellers who are more experienced with building capsule wardrobes.

The idea for this post came from Verena Erin’s Instagram. Erin runs a sustainable fashion website called The Green Closet and has lots of informative articles and YouTube videos on shopping ethically, minimally, and sensibly. In this particular post, she shared a picture of the few items she took a trip to Croatia and asked for readers’ best packing tips. Some of the following come from those responses.

Wear an undershirt: This tip comes from Erin herself. She recommends wearing a thin t-shirt (or a tank top) beneath a garment on its first wear. This will prolong the outer garment’s number of days to be worn.

Wear loose clothes: The looser the clothing, the less sweaty it will get, and therefore, the more days you’ll be able to wear it.

Do the smell test: Base your clothing’s cleanliness on its smell, more than its appearance. You can spot wash and let dry overnight, but as long as a top smells OK, wear it as long as you can. Wearing merino wool helps to minimize odor, especially with socks.

Stick with a neutral color palette: Make sure your pieces can mix and mingle easily. Leave behind anything that doesn’t fit into the palette or cannot be used in more than one way.

Experiment with a packing formula: One reader shared her 5-4-3-2-1 formula — 5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 shoes, 2 handbags, 1 special item (dress, scarf, etc.). Another source breaks it down as 5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses & 3 shoes, 2 swimsuits & 2 bags, 1 hat, watch & sunglasses. One commenter said she has a hard limit of two pairs of shoes. (After taking a shocking 5 pairs of footwear on my infamously overpacked trip to Israel, I quite like this 2-pair rule.)

A male commenter on a previous article I wrote provided a list of his super-light packing essentials: 3-4 underwear, 2-3 tees, 1 spare shorts, 1 sweater, 1 jacket, swim shorts, 1 extra pair shoes, 1 microfibre towel.

Get clever with packing: Stash socks and underwear inside shoes to save room. Roll clothes instead of folding. Use packing cubes if you want. Wear your bulkiest items, especially shoes or boots. Take items that are built for travel, such as this brilliant collapsible water bottle called the Hydaway that shrinks down a 1-inch disk when not needed — no more hauling awkward stainless steel water bottles.

Get some laundry detergent: Depending on the length of trip, realize that you’ll probably need to wash something at some point, but this is small price to pay for bypassing enormous lineups. Pack a small ziplock of powdered detergent, or buy it upon arrival.

Women, take a pashmina scarf: Conde Nast reported that every flight attendant they interviewed travels with a pashmina scarf. It’s incredibly versatile, can be used as a blanket or pillow on the plane, extra warmth for cold days, an accessory to dress up a basic outfit.

Pack as if social media doesn’t exist: There is weird pressure to appear good in photos on social media, and with that sometimes comes a reluctance to be seen in the same outfit more than once. Ignore that impulse! Wear what you’re going to feel comfortable in, no matter how repetitive it is. That leads to a related point…

Pack what you love wearing at home: Stick with your favorite. If you find a particular piece of clothing to be restrictive and uncomfortable at home, you won’t want to wear it elsewhere, either.

Take books that can be left behind: If you’re one of those few people that doesn’t have an e-reader (like me) but cannot survive without a book, then choose cheap paperbacks that you can leave in hotels or hostels as you move on.

Do you have any life-changing travel packing tips? Share in the comments below.

6 Best Ways To Build Summer Wardrobe Essentials In 2019 Pratima Ati Hyderabd040-395603080 February 11, 2019

I still remember curling up to cutesy bonfires on my terrace top. So much for winters, isn’t it? House parties were all about warm jammies, hoodies, wine and hot chocolate. And, before you know I’m already shopping for the next roof-top BBQ party. That’s how long winter lasted and how soon summer arrived. Urghh! That time of the year I’ve been dreading. Yes, the tan, the summery yellow dress, and fancy flip-flops sound refreshing. But summers need a lot of preparation. Considering how hot it already is, I’m not sure if any amount of readiness will suffice. But, it definitely will need some. I don’t want to get any more roasted than I already am.

Let’s make a checklist of your everyday essentials, list out must-haves and go over some dress ideas. Let’s sort your summer wardrobe right now!

6 Best Ways To Build Summer Wardrobe Essentials In 2019

1. Shades

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Set your shades budget aside before summer. You know that these are a must-have, so no excuses there. You need a pair or two of Polaroid shades that protect you from UV rays as well. Especially, for someone who drives to work. Treat yourself to a couple of fancies or have cheaper ones as a backup if you want.

2. Shoes

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Comfortable and casual shoes should be your mantra. We all love boots and styling them with short dresses is fun, but they need to be put away unless you’re at a party with full blown air conditioner. If you’re wearing closed footwear, ensure you dry them before next use. You don’t want to choke people with the stink from all the sweat and grime. It’s a big turn-off!

3. Bags

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Summer bags are a must, and they are called so for a reason. You will need to stock up your bag a lot more than you otherwise would. Sunscreen, body mist, perfumes, etc. Plus the floral ones are so fun and refreshing.

4. Hat Or Umbrella

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Fedoras or not—Hats are a must. If you think they are too fancy, carry an umbrella. You carry and apply sunscreen, but considering the hot temperatures, it just doesn’t help. Hats for a beach vacation I’d say. Photographs look much fancier. Go with a baseball cap for weekend breakfast or brunch; it makes up for a bad hair day. Whatever your choices are; be prepared.

5. Hairstyles

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Ok, I know this doesn’t fall under your must-have list. But you need to try a few summer hairstyles and be thorough. I thought it was worth mentioning, so here goes. If you live in a coastal city, you already know that summer hairstyles are twice as hard. Nothing sticks because of the heat and sweat; also, because it makes your hair wavy, messy and unmanageable. The messy bun is the first thing that comes to my mind, but that won’t last you the entire season. Look up a few DIY tutorial videos and try hair updos that are elegant, fashionable, intact and comfortable without being all over the place.

Everyday Essentials (Well, Almost)

1. Tank Tops

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Tank tops go with anything and everything. You can wear them both indoor and outdoors. And, you can never have too many of them.

2. Yoga Pants

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When I say yoga pants, I mean comfortable cotton ones. Not the winter sweats. I spend most of my summer shopping and other activities in these. They are just smooth on the skin and protect you from the tan. Wearing clothes in itself seems like a herculean task in summer—let’s ease it out a little, please!

3. Shorts

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For most of you, it goes without saying. It is an everyday essential. For some of you who shy away from wearing shorts, do yourself a favor and try them. You will thank me later. What anyone thinks is not your problem!

4. Plain T-shirts

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We are always cranky in summers and getting out is a big deal. And dressing up is a pain as you are clueless about clothing that is both comfy, yet colorful and stylish. For those of you who don’t want to make an effort to look for anything cute, this is all you will need. Wear them with culottes, shorts, trousers or just about anything. Get a pack of black and white each. They will come a long way.

5. Sunscreen

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It’s a given that you will need sunscreen, for obvious reasons. Do not feel lazy and ignore; it’s a slippery slope. Sunburns are complicated and are difficult to deal with. Stop the procrastination and order one, NOW!

6. Lingerie And Intimates

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You can use a pair only for one use during summers. I’m sorry, but this is how it works. The washes need to be more frequent than in winters. It is important to get your bare essentials right, so plan ahead and stock them up!

Summer Dressing Ideas

1. Palazzos And Tank Tops

They are airy, flouncy and most importantly don’t touch the skin—which makes them ideal pieces of clothing for summer. Go with lighter fabrics like chiffon, georgette or linen and sport them with a tank top that is either contrasting or complementing your trouser. It depends on your mood really.

Shop That Look

Palazzo: myntra.com

Tank Tops: myntra.com

2. Culottes With Plain T-Shirts

These are trendy, chic and seamless. Summer looks are all about being effortless that do not compromise on style. Now, we are talking. We discussed plain T-shirts a minute ago, remember? Yes, so team it up with these culottes. The options are limitless here. They come in printed, floral, plain etc. However, choose prints that match your body type. You’re otherwise good to go with these!

Culottes: myntra.com

Plain Top: jabong.com

Sandals: myntra.com

3. Maxi Dresses

Shopping for a summer outfit that is suitable for work? Also, looking for something that can just be casually worn on the weekend, To a bridal shower or a house party? The answer to everything and anything is a maxi dress. I can never get enough of these, and I get just as excited every time I wear one or shop for these. They are easy on the skin and feast to the eyes. Suits any body type and occasion. What are we waiting for? Get a couple of them, if you have not already!

Maxi Dress: myntra.com

Oxidized Jewelry: ajio.com

Shades: ajio.com

4. Maxi Skirts

Maxi skirts have become the latest fashion trend in summer. From plain, striped to bold and luxurious—the choices are limitless. You get this in split type if you like to show off those toned calf muscles. Wear these with camis and layer it up with with a cape to get protection from tan. Or, try this with a tunic top—it is one combo you cannot say no to.

Maxi Skirt: myntra.com

Tank Top: myntra.com

White Sandals: myntra.com

5. Crop Tops And Skirts

Crop Tops are a rage and have been so, especially over the last season. These are not going anywhere for some time now, plus they go with just about anything. Leggings, crop top, and a plaid shirt is a chic combo you could try. They go with denims—short or long trousers. And needless to say, they look great with skirts. Get a few of them to mix and match. You won’t get tired of them, in fact, you can never have enough of them!

Crop Top: myntra.com

Skirt: myntra.com

6. Cold Shoulder And Dhoti Pants

Have you heard about these yet? Cold shoulders are the next big thing. The fashion world has stylishly inched away from off shoulder tops into these cold shoulder tops, and we could not have been more grateful. It comes to prove that tweaking tiny details can make a world of difference to a style statement. They also go with absolutely any bottoms. However, dhoti pants are unique and distinct. Both dhoti or cowl pants and cold-shoulder top add definition to the look. You hardly need any accessories, and that’s why we need this most in summers.

Cold Shoulder Top: myntra.com

Dhoti Pants: myntra.com

Blue Wedges: myntra.com

7. Short Linen Dresses

Are you a fan of linen, loom or anything cotton. You are going to love this. If not, summer will make you fall for it, anyway! But, yes short linen dresses are a blessing in disguise. You just slide it down your body and not worry about anything else. So is the case with off-shoulder dresses as well. Classic, comfortable and uptown chic! Match them with bold white slips on or shoes for a summer day outing!

Linen Dress: ajio.com

Off Shoulder Dress: ajio.com

Shoes: ajio.com

White Back Pack: ajio.com

8. T-Shirt Dresses

We all love the T-shirt material, don’t we? And, most of us just sleep with a long boyfriend tops. How about stretching them and making that your daytime attire? Yes, they are very much acceptable and in vogue right now. Go with a classic shirt tied at the waist—how cute is that!

Dress: bewakoof.com

Canvas Shoes: myntra.com

This is all about the summer wardrobe essentials 2018. It’s all about staying hydrated, rocking those messy buns, killing it with reflector shades and oh-so- comfortable clothes. Sounds easy? Summer outfits might seem effortless and easy to pull off unlike winters, but if you look at it – there is a lot that goes in. You need to be much smarter with your choices to make it seem that way! Be prepared and put-together! And, that’s everything you will need over the next few months to pull it off in style. Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other add-ons to this summer wardrobe check list. We’d love to hear from you. Until then – Stay Hydrated And Happy Shopping!

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Pratima Ati

After working in Marketing and Business Development for a few years, Pratima Ati jumped ship to pursue two things she loved – fashion and writing. She’s now a full-time Fashion & Lifestyle writer and has never looked back ever since. She sleeps early, reads often, and when she can’t, she finally gives a closure to all the characters living in her drafts. Sometimes, they pass off as poetry too! That, and her training in Indian classical music and playing (learning) the veena keep her sane, civil, and bearable.

The days are getting longer, the sun is getting hotter and all around, there’s a humming in the air as everyone and everything anticipates the coming season. Summer is just around the corner, and you know what that means— sensational summer styles and fresh fashion all through the warm months. The blush and brightness of summer come with pool parties, picnics, vacations and road trips, beach days and plenty of opportunities to be out and about— and you’ll need to dress right for all of them.

When it comes to looking your best for every occasion this season, the right styles, outfits and wardrobe picks are essential to enjoying the summer to its fullest. Is your wardrobe in shape for summer fun? Summer essentials for every wardrobe give you the versatility you need to nail the summer look. These pieces reflect the brightness of summer with a side of functionality that keeps you cool and on-trend. Fill your closet with these summer fashion must-haves this coming summer.

1. Pastel Bottoms

What could be more of a summer must-have than fresh, fashionable colors and light tones to cool down the heat of the season? We wear tasteful jeans and slacks in dark and neutral tones all year long, but with the sun coming out of the clouds, it’s time to break out the brighter shades in your pants picks.

Trade in the standard denim or black bottoms for bright, summery pastels like freesia moto jeggings . Pastel bottoms fit in your summer wardrobe because they inject it with a playful burst of color. Pastels reflect the season in clothing form.

Bright colors are more versatile than you might think:

  • Pair your pastel jeggings, skirts or shorts with patterns or solids.
  • Opt for a solid white top if you want to balance out the bold look of the pastel bottoms.
  • When you prefer a bold look, take a color-blocking approach by pairing your pastel bottoms with a different pastel color top.
  • Wear a pretty floral top or another summery pattern.

One of the best aspects of pastel bottoms is the versatility in style. You can pull off the pastel look for a casual get together with friends. Those same pastel pants give you a bright, festive look at a baby shower or graduation party. Changing the top and your accessories makes it easy to dress up or dress down the look of the colorful bottoms.

If bright pastel pants are outside your comfort zone, start with white cropped jeans. The white still gives you crisp brightness that screams summer, but it’s more neutral than pastel colors and can help you easy into new color territory. White is also very versatile for pairing with brighter summer tops, and the light color keeps you cool in the summer heat.

Another way to tone down the brightness of pastel is with neutral accessories. Carry a black, white or cream handbag with your pastel pants.

2. Florals

Hoping to look especially feminine with your summer fashion must-haves this year? Bringing your girly side out doesn’t have to mean wearing all lace and dresses this summer. For those who like bright boldness and subtle sweetness alike, think fashion-forward florals this summer!

If floral prints make you think of your grandma’s closet, it’s time to revisit the print. Floral prints, like the one on ourdouble bell sleeve top , lend an updated, feminine, romantic look that’s ideal for your summer plans. Tops aren’t the only option for integrating flowery prints into your wardrobe. You can find the print on:

  • Dresses
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Even shoes

That versatility means you can always find a floral look that matches your mood, whether you’re heading to the gym or a formal summer wedding.

Floral prints in summer clothing often feature bright colors or pastels. Balance out the brightness with neutral shoes, handbags and other accessories. If you prefer a bolder look, pull one of the colors from the floral print as the color for your accessories. Another option is to mix in other patterns for a fun look. Stripes and polka dots both go well with floral prints. Adding a belt or scarf is an easy way to break up a large chunk of floral patterning to make it more flattering.

3. Maxi Dress

Take your summer must-have styles to the max with free-flowing fabric that both covers you with comfortable class and keeps you cool — all while making you look cooler than ever. Maxi dresses come in all kinds of styles, shapes, patterns and colors to make you stand out this summer.

The maxi dress is the perfect combination of versatility and comfort. Flowing, draping fabric swishes as you walk, and the longer length covers your legs for a flattering yet modest look. Maxi dresses come in a variety of fabrics and patterns to fit your style preferences.

Think you can’t pull off a maxi dress because you’re short? Don’t let your height keep you from enjoying this summer staple. Women who are on the shorter side can still look stunning in maxi dresses for both casual and dressy summer events.

Use these tips to nail the look:

  • Alter the length: If you find a maxi dress you really love, go for the alterations to make it the perfect length.
  • Add height with shoes: Instead of shortening the dress, increase your height with a pair of trendy wedge sandals. The extra height may be enough to keep the dress from dragging awkwardly on the floor.
  • Look for shorter cuts: Not all maxi dresses are the same length. It may take some searching, but if you can find a shorter maxi dress, you may find it’s the perfect length without alterations.
  • Choose solids: A solid-colored maxi dress creates a continuous, elongating look that makes you appear taller. A small pattern can also have the same effect. Dresses with large patterns or different blocks of color tend to break up the look and emphasize your short height.
  • Pair it with a belt: A simple way you raise the hemline of the dress by a few inches is adding a wide fashion belt. Use the belt to hike the dress up a little higher than normal, so it billows out slightly above the belt.
  • Hold the bottom: Fabric pooling around your feet can have a romantic effect on your look. Raise the skirt slightly when you walk to avoid tripping, but otherwise, you can let it flow.

You can expand your summer wardrobe options with some pieces like the maxi dress. Instead of a full dress, opt for a maxi skirt. You can pair it with any number of tops to change the look of the skirt. You can also position the waistband higher on your body to shorten the length of the skirt.

A midi dress is another option that’s slightly shorter than a maxi. This style typically hits somewhere between the knee and the ankle, so it still gives you the modesty of a maxi dress without the dragging fabric.

4. Something in Blush

Pretty in pink is a staple for spring and summer, but when you don’t like too bright or bold, clothing articles and accessories in blush are a beautiful summer must-have.

Blush is a color that works for everyone, which makes it a perfect summer staple. Pieces like our banded neck top in blush give you just a hint of color without being blindingly bright. It’s the perfect balance of color and subtly, falling somewhere between the starkness of white and bold, bright colors.

If you’re not sure how to wear blush, keep in mind it works well with many other colors. Incorporate a subtle blush piece into your look with the colors you feel your best wearing to balance out the pinkness. Almost any color works with blush, including navy blue, charcoal, black, teal, emerald, olive and chocolate. For less contrast, combine a blush piece with a light neutral, such as cream or white. A blush top also pairs well with denim bottoms.

5. Versatile Sandals

The summer is hot and hazy, so you want to spend it wearing clothing and accessories that are breathable and comfortable while also bringing out your sense of style. When it comes to crucial summer fashion must-haves, every girl needs a pair of versatile sandals in her summer wardrobe. From a day at the beach to a summer wedding, the right sandal stays with you every step of the way. Sandals look great with shorts, leggings, cropped pants, skirts and dresses.

Here are some things to look for in your pair of staple sandals this summer:

Neutral color: A neutral color, such as taupe, gray or cream, increases the versatility of the sandals by letting them pair well with almost any color outfit. Of course, you can incorporate bright, colorful sandals into your summer footwear collection, but have at least one neutral pair for versatility.

Support: When looking for your go-to sandals for the summer, a good, supportive fit is key. Sure, you want your sandals to look cute, but your feet won’t look so hot if the sandals rub, pinch or otherwise hurt. Look for sandals that feel supportive throughout the foot, particularly in the arch area.

Comfortable straps: Summer sandals feature a variety of strap styles, from a single strap across the toes to multiple straps crisscrossing the feet. Test out the shoes to make sure those straps lay across your feet comfortably. Straps that dig, pinch, gap or squeeze your foot will quickly feel uncomfortable and may even cause blisters and sores on your feet. Look for comfortable, flattering strap placement.

Easy wear: Ideal summer sandals are easy to get on and off your feet. Complicated straps and buckles are annoying to deal with when you’re ready to head out the door.

Limited detailing: While some detailing is fine, too many accents on your sandals can limit their use. When you’re looking for a neutral, versatile sandal, simple detailing is best. It creates a more versatile style you can adapt to both casual and dressier situations.

Heel height: The height of the sandal is another consideration. Wedge sandals are flattering and give you height, but they can feel uncomfortable and difficult to wear if you’re not used to height in the heel. A flatter sandal may be a better option for you in that situation. Test out the heel height to ensure you can walk comfortably in the sandals.

Quality materials: No matter how the sandals look, you want a pair made from quality materials if you plan to wear them throughout the summer. You’ll likely spend a lot more time on your feet in the summer, so you need sandals constructed to keep up with all that activity.

Another versatile summer footwear option is the peep-toe bootie. The open toe gives the booties a summery feel, and they offer a slightly dressier look when you need to show up in style this summer. The booties also bridge the gap between spring, summer and fall, with enough coverage to last into the cooler seasons.

Most women have more than one pair of sandals, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your footwear. Let your personality show through fun detailing and styles of sandals. Always look for comfort when adding to your summer sandal collection.

6. Layering Tees

When it comes to simple, comfortable, versatile summer must-have clothing items that are easy to pair and pull off with almost anything, a solid layering tee is a staple in your wardrobe year round. It’s the perfect example of a versatile piece that takes on many different looks based on how you wear it.

First, start with a tee that has flattering lines and styling. Many layering tees have just a bit of spandex integrated into the fabric to give the top a flattering and comfortable stretch. A fitted style that follows your curves is the best way to highlight your shape while eliminating the bulky, baggy look.

The little details also make a basic tee the perfect layering piece for your summer wardrobe. A scoop or V-neck design adds interest and a feminine touch to the shirt.

Once you find the perfect layering tee, have fun with how you wear it:

  • Wearing the shirt on its own is a simple way to get dressed for running errands or hanging out around home.
  • If you’re meeting up with friends, add some shimmery jewelry to dress up the look.
  • You can also pair the shirt with a lightweight blazer, cardigan or chambray shirt to nail the layered look.

Solid-colored layering tees are also great for pairing with patterned bottoms. Choose a color from the pattern when picking the perfect tee. The solid color complements the pattern and can help tone it down if the pattern feels a little too bold.

The versatility of the layering tee can’t be beaten. You can wear a tee with almost any summer bottom. White is a classic layering tee option. It gives you a crisp, neutral look that goes well with everything. White is great, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore color. Layering tees are the perfect way to brighten up your casual summer wardrobe. Grab layering tees in all of your favorite colors for even more matching possibilities.

7. A Light Shell

When we think of summer, we usually focus on the bright sun and burning heat of the days — but it’s not always blazing outside. On those rainy days, evening oceanside strolls and other times when the sun hides for a bit, you might wish you had something to cover your shoulders. For this reason, a cute cardigan or shaw is still a summer must-have.

The mercury may be rising, but a lightweight shell is still a solid piece in your summer wardrobe. Even though the daytime temperatures are high, you may find yourself feeling a bit chilly on summer evenings, especially if you’re at the beach. The lightweight shell is easy to throw on over your top for a bit of warmth and style. A lightweight cardigan, blazer or chambray top creates a flattering layered look that can dress up a plain tee. You can even pair your shell with your favorite graphic tee for a modern look.

If you like the idea of a blazer, linen is a lightweight, breathable fabric that works well for summer. For the cardigan look, check the weight of the knit. A thin, lightweight knit gives you the look of the cardigan without causing you to overheat.

Color is a matter of personal preference. White, cream and other light neutrals pair well with a variety of summer tops, from solid bright colors to playful patterns. Neutral is a safe choice if you only add one light shell to your summer wardrobe because it has so much versatility. If you want to brighten up your look, add in a few pastel shells to pair with your patterns or a white tee.

8. Lace Details

When it comes to freshness and femininity in the warmest season, there’s nothing to bring out your natural beauty and add some class like the most delicate summer must-have: lace. Just like floral, lace is a classic design element that always has a place in fashion. Lace detailing adds a flirty, feminine touch to your wardrobe. Our double ruffle hem top is the perfect example of a balanced look that incorporates lace. A simple lace ruffle or lace overlay elevates a plain top to something elegant and stylish. A lace-detailed top looks just as great with denim as it does with an elegant skirt, which makes your lacy summer top a versatile addition to your wardrobe.

If the mention of lace causes flashbacks to dresses your mom made you wear in elementary school, you’ll be happy to hear modern lace detailing is feminine without being overly frilly. Here are some tips for making lace work with your summer style:

  • Start with just a little: If the idea of lace scares you, pick a top with just a touch of lace. It’s an easy way to try out the trend without feeling overdone. Common places for lace detailing include along the neckline, at the waist and on sleeves.
  • Accessorize with lace: You can also add a feminine lacy look with your accessories. A handbag, socks or other accessories with lace make pretty accents for your summer wardrobe.
  • Try color: Lace doesn’t always have to be white. You’ll find lace pieces in a wide range of colors, from dramatic black to lighter pastels.
  • Don’t go overboard: Pairing a lace-covered dress with lace tights and lace-detailed shoes is a recipe for lace overload. Choose one lacy element for your outfit, and balance it out with simple elements.
  • Show a little skin: Sheer lace sleeves or a sheer lace neckline give a dress or top an edgy touch while still maintaining femininity.

9. Slip-On Sneakers

You’ll be active all summer long — not just at the gym or exercising outside, but when you’re jumping from activities to social gatherings to errands. Whenever you’re casually on the go, slip-on sneakers are a summer must-have.

Regular tennis shoes are great for workouts, but what about those times when you’re running errands or socializing in a casual environment? The slip-on sneaker is a good middle ground for a cute, casual shoe that is easy and comfortable to wear. They’re not just suitable for casual shorts and tees. Slip-on sneakers look great with:

  • Dressy shorts
  • Skirts
  • Leggings
  • Casual summer dresses

The slip-on version gives you all the comfort of a traditional sneaker without the bulk. The soles are often thinner and lighter, so you can easily keep up with all of your summer activities. Plus, the slip-on styles make the shoes easy to put on as you head out the door. Slip them on, and you’re ready for summer adventures.

Slip-on sneakers come in a variety of colors and styles. Choose a patterned pair for a fun little touch of style on your feet. Cutout patterns or textured detailing also add a decorative element. A neutral solid gives you the versatility to wear the slip-on sneakers with almost any summer outfit. The neutral option is great if you only add one pair of slip-on sneakers to your collection. Don’t forget your no-show socks to keep your slip-on sneakers from becoming stinky.

10. Fun Leggings

Whether it’s winter or summer, people tend to have strong feelings about leggings. Not everyone might think leggings are a summer must-have, but we say why wouldn’t you wear the most comfortable possible option for bottoms? Leggings come in many fun color and patterns, which injects your wardrobe with a little personality. They’re the perfect way to pull in the hot pastel colors of the season and the always-classic floral prints, but don’t limit your pattern choices. Rock a pattern and color that make you feel beautiful.

Go for a cropped length to keep you cool and to show off your ankles. If you feel comfortable mixing patterns, pick out a print legging with a different print top. Florals, stripes and dots all work well together, but you can experiment with your own pattern combinations to create your signature style. Another option is to balance out patterned leggings with a solid top. Pull a color from the pattern, or stick with a light neutral, such as white, cream or gray.

If you’re not comfortable with patterning on the bottom, opt for a fun solid color for your leggings. A single color makes the leggings a staple to pair with your patterned tops. You can even pair the leggings with a short patterned dress.

If you’re a little nervous about wearing leggings, choose a longer top to provide coverage. A tunic top is the perfect match for your summer leggings because of the length.

Fill Out Your Summer Wardrobe at My Sister’s Closet Boutique

It’s time to dive into the season fashion-first! How does your wardrobe stack up when it comes to summer’s must-have pieces? Now is the perfect time to fill in those missing summer wardrobe essentials. Check out our selection of florals, maxi dresses, layering tees and all of the other summer staples, so you’re ready for summer fun.

Summer Wardrobe Essentials

Posted on May 21, 2019 | 51 Comments ”

As we near the end of May, I always like to share my list of summer wardrobe essentials in preparation for 25 Days of Summer Fashion, which starts in just a little over a week.

Plus the Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale starts tomorrow, and all the Memorial Day weekend sales are starting up, so this is a great time to make a list of what you need to round out your closet for summer!

The spring-to-summer transition is much more subtle than winter-to-spring or summer-to-fall, but I still like to freshen up my wardrobe for the summer season. I’m already noticing some “holes” in my wardrobe when I go to get dressed on the warmer days.

When you notice those “holes” in your wardrobe — pieces you need to complete an outfit — keep a list. Add to that list anything you see in these wardrobe essentials that you might also need, and then you can be more intentional when you go shopping because you’ll know what you need.

By way of disclaimer, every woman is different so these “essentials” are really more like suggestions.

Take your lifestyle, your job, and your budget into consideration, but this is my list of summer wardrobe essentials for a stay-at-home mom (or work-at-home mom) who dresses fairly casually most of the time, but also needs a few dressier outfits for church on Sunday and/or an occasional date night or lunch date with friends.

Again, I have a very casual lifestyle so that will be reflected in this list. If you need work wear for a professional environment, your list may look a little different, but this should still be a good starting point.

#1. White Jeans

White jeans top the list because they’re one of the mainstays of my summer wardrobe. They make a crisp statement and pair well with everything from neutrals to pastels to brights.

Right now my go-to white jeans are the Madewell 9″ skinnies pictured above. They’re moderately priced (and you can find them on sale from time to time!) and they fit great. Best of all, they aren’t see-through and they don’t bag out with wear.

I linked to Shopbop because they have the most sizes available, but you can also get these at Nordstrom and at Madewell.com. Madewell carries them in petite, tall, and taller lengths as well.

I also rounded up some other favorites in the shopping widgets below.

Shop white jeans:

#2. Jean Shorts

As a stay-at-home mom, I practically live in denim shorts in the summertime. I’m willing to spend money on my jean shorts because I wear them so much, but I’ve also been on the hunt for more budget-friendly pairs to recommend.

I recently reviewed over 20 pairs of shorts, if you’d like to check out that post for specific suggestions, and you may also like my post on dos and don’ts for wearing shorts.

As always, take into consideration your body type and your style aesthetic and choose a pair that you will love to wear over and over.

Shop denim shorts:

If you’re not comfortable wearing shorts, you may like my recently updated post on alternatives to shorts.

#3. White Tee

A good white tee is something I never want to be without. You can wear it with anything and dress it up with accessories. Choose a tee that fits well and a neckline that flatters you. A v-neck is pretty much universally flattering, but you can always do a scoopneck or a crewneck if that works for you.

Length is another thing to consider. I like shorter ones for wearing with skirts and shorts and longer ones for wearing with pants and jeans. Don’t rule out the possibility of tailoring if you can’t find the perfect tee. T-shirts can easily be shortened or nipped in at the waist to achieve the perfect balance for your body. If you’re going to wear it a lot, it’s well worth the extra effort and expense.

Shop white t-shirts:

Even if these aren’t pictured in white below, they do all come in white. Sometimes I can’t select the color of the item I put in these widgets.

#4. Cropped Pants

Cropped pants in a lightweight material are a nice alternative to shorts, although I like to have some of each. Fortunately cropped pants are very much on trend right now so they aren’t hard to find, and they come in all different silhouettes.

Shop cropped pants:

#5. Casual skirts

Casual skirts are another nice alternative to shorts, and these days anything goes — from maxi skirts to pencil skirts, from denim to chino.

I don’t wear a ton of skirts, but they’re a great way to level up a casual t-shirt. Plus you can wear fashion sneakers or sandals with them, just like with shorts. I also included a skort or two in my recommendations below.

Shop casual summer skirts & skorts:

#6. Denim Jacket

Even though it is generally hot in the summertime, I always get cold in air conditioning so I often bring a denim jacket along as a layering piece. I wear mine with dresses as well as with pants and jeans.

A white denim jacket is particularly sharp for summer, but if you wear white jeans and pants often, you may prefer a blue jean jacket. I have one of each, and I wear them both a lot.

Shop denim jackets:

#7. Neutral Flat Sandals

I recommend neutral sandals for your basic wardrobe essentials because they’re so versatile, but once you get your basics situated, you can branch out with some fun colors.

If I had only one pair of flat sandals, it would be my Tory Burch Miller sandals in Sand Patent or Makeup. They go with everything, and I find myself wanting to wear them almost every day.

While they’re my all time favorites, there are a lot of other great options for less. Sam Edelman makes a nice sandal, and he has a lot to choose from this season, or you can find some great designer lookalikes at Target.

Slides are having a moment, but they’re not as easy to walk in as a thong or an ankle strap sandal, so take your personal needs into account. If you need support, check out Vionic, Born, and Abeo.

STYLE TIP: The key with comfort sandals is to look for more delicate styles — thinner straps are always going to be more flattering than thicker straps, etc.

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#8. Neutral Wedge or Block Heel Sandals

When you want a dressier summer shoe, wedges and block heel sandals are practical and on trend. What’s nice about these styles is they’re easy to walk in and offer more stability than a stiletto.

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#9. Fashion Sneakers

I honestly don’t find myself wearing sneakers much in the summer — I’m a sandal girl through and through — but it seems like they should go on this list just the same.

I love the white leather sneaker trend and have worn my Veja Esplars a lot over the past few months, but I think I’ll break out my Converse Shorelines again for summertime. I really love the convenience of a slip-on, and canvas is cooler than leather.

For a good sock that doesn’t slide down in Converse, I recommend these Nike no show socks.

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#10. Casual Summer Dresses

Casual summer dresses are a great alternative to shorts or cropped pants, and the nice thing about a dress is, they’re “one and done.”

STYLE TIP: Be sure to wear your dress with strappy sandals — clunky closed toe shoes with a dress can look frumpy.

Midi dresses are definitely having a moment, and maxi dresses are popular too, but I prefer a knee-length dress, myself. Don’t be afraid to show some leg! (Self tanner is your friend.)

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#11. Lightweight Cardigan

This is a new addition to my summer wardrobe essentials this year, and I’m not sure why I never included it before because I’ve relied on my Splendid thermal draped cardigan every summer for the past few years.

A cardigan is a nice alternative to a denim jacket in certain situations, but I wear mine more as a pajama coverup in the mornings, or with shorts and a t-shirt on chilly summer nights at the beach or on the deck with friends.

Shop summer cardigans:

#12. Summer Handbag

Handbag trends right now are all about the light neutrals — white, ivory, blush, as well as straw and macrame.

Of course every woman has her personal preferences, but I like to have a crossbody for going out and events as well as then a few totes and hobo style bags in various colors for my daily use.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Save, Spend, Splurge: Spring Handbags

If you like to carry just one bag pretty much everywhere, make it something in a light neutral that goes with most everything in your closet.

Shop spring/summer handbags:

#13. Bathing Suit + Coverup

Oh, yes, the dreaded bathing suit. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer, and having a well-fitting bathing suit is a must.

No one likes bathing suit shopping, but it must be done. Because I’m busty, I always look for a suit with an underwire bra built in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 2019 Swimsuit Guide

Shop swimsuits:

And don’t forget a coverup! I usually throw on my jean shorts and a t-shirt and call it a day, but there are tons of cute coverups out there. I’ll be updating my post on swimsuit coverups, so stay tuned for that!

You may also want a pair of flip-flops to wear with your bathing suit, and don’t forget a beach bag!

Shop coverups:

To Sum It Up!

This list of summer wardrobe essentials isn’t exhaustive, but it should get you started. You’ll definitely want a variety of cute tops to wear with your shorts and white jeans, and adding a pair of printed shorts is a fun way to add some interest to your wardrobe. I like to have a few basic tank tops to wear on the hottest days or to layer under a jacket or blazer with pants or skirts. I always keep a few pairs of blue jeans in my closet for cooler days or evenings, and I will still wear my pastel jeans to church occasionally.

I’d love to hear what pieces you consider to be essentials, and I hope this post helps as you form a foundation for your summer wardrobe.

If you’re overwhelmed and looking for help building your summer wardrobe, I highly recommend trying out Trunk Club. It’s a personal shopping service by Nordstrom. You can read more about it HERE.

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posted by Jo-Lynne Shane on May 21, 2019 | 51 Comments ”

The Rules

If you’re an adventurous woman, you’ll benefit from building a capsule wardrobe.

A few months ago, I decided to fly out to visit my extremely fashionable friend in Chicago, and I was hard pressed to pick outfits that would impress while not wrinkling in my Outbreaker travel backpack. I knew I’d be crashing on her couch for a week, and that our activities would range from biking, to clubbing, to fancy cocktails, so I developed a system that worked for me.

Basic Capsule Wardrobe

What, exactly, is a capsule wardrobe?
Good question. There are quite a few resources out there for women who want to define their personal style aesthetic while investing in a minimum number of pieces. Un-fancy suggests paring down your entire clothing collection to the bare minimum and using only those pieces for a few months before deciding what you need to add in. That’s great if you’re redefining your entire look, but capsuling your wardrobe specifically for travel might look different.

1. Buy Quality, Not Quantity

Capsule wardrobes aren’t really forgiving when it comes to your collection of shoddily made, but glittery, going-out tops from Forever21. You don’t need a whole rainbow of bright tops either. Find your colors and pick one or two.

2. Choose Fabrics Carefully

Select those that last, work in multiple climates, and aren’t prone to wrinkling. Remember, this is your collection of packable items, so your fabrics need to look great when you pull them out of a small compartment in your backpack, shake them once and put ’em on. Denim and leather don’t tend to wrinkle, and if they do, they actually end up looking better.

3. Harmonize Color Schemes

Why waste time on the road trying to figure out if a certain skirt goes with a particular sweater? Remember that black, grey, khaki and white aren’t your only choices for neutrals; stripes or small florals can match easily with solids, and you can go as crazy as you want with tops if you only pack neutral bottoms (or better yet, neutral tops with kooky bottoms!) If you’re nervous about mixing colors, use a color scheme generator.

What to Include

The first rule is that the aesthetics in this process are largely up to you. Every single piece in your wardrobe should make you feel good, so start with that magic sensation of wearing something that makes you stand out (or blend in, whatever you’re into).

Personally, I love wearing a very specific shape of long skirt that I’ve only seen on Modcloth, so I tend to pack one of these and match it with different tops. While not everyone would wear a vintage-inspired skirt, it’s kind of my thing during warm weather, so I stock up.

What’s your “thing”?

Any capsule wardrobe, no matter who you are, will include a week’s worth of underwear, one pair of shoes for walking, and a pair of shoes for fancier outings (these can be flats or nice sandals, just not your hiking boots). You’ll also include omething to sleep in, 2-3 bras (I like to bring a padded push-up and two unlined lace bras) and lots of layers. If you’re a jewelry person, leave the statement pieces at home and pick a couple of neutrals. Be sure your sunglasses go with everything.

Women’s Capsule Wardrobe Packing List

  • 4 light tops (one of these can be nicer)
  • 2 tank tops or camisoles for layering
  • 1 sweater in neutral color
  • 1 light jacket
  • 2 pairs of jeans (not cheap jeggings, but real denim jeans)
  • 1 skirt or pair of overalls (whatever quirky bottom piece you’re into)
  • 1 pair black leggings
  • 1 sundress
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of shoes (one for walking, one more presentable)
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 8 pairs of underwear
  • 3 bras
  • 1 beanie or baseball cap

Light Tops

Tops can range from quality t-shirts to blouses, depending on your personal style. Black and white horizontal stripes go well with bold colors, and jewel tones are complimentary on everyone.

Quality t-shirts and tops that go beyond the basic boxy shape can be purchased at American Apparel or Urban Outfitters. If you’re a conservative dresser and are looking for function over form, Uniqlo and Gap have options with less flair. If you’re searching for feminine cuts designed to accentuate your curves, Victoria’s Secret (surprisingly) has some great tops.

Tank Tops & Camisoles

I like to pack these when I travel because I’m a little modest, and dressing in front of other people, especially in a crowded hostel room, can be nerve-wracking. Camisoles are also great as light undergarments, which means they give you an extra layer in the cold and absorb your sweat when it’s hot, which keeps your outer layer fresh enough for a second wear.

I get my tank tops at American Eagle, but you can easily find these at Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or Ross. These don’t need to scream quality; they’re just functional pieces that help to transition between outfits.

Sweaters

I can’t believe how long I went, as an adult woman, without owning a black sweater. I’ve always had this misconception that flashy clothing is more memorable, but I wear my black sweater multiple times a week now that I have one. It’s a Calvin Klein v-neck that I got for a fraction of the normal price at Marshall’s, so I’d recommend shopping somewhere for discounts. The nicer your sweater’s brand, the more washes and wear it’s going to survive, so this is an item you’ll want to splurge on.

If I can avoid wearing a coat or a jacket, I will, so I am a big fan of chunky pullover sweaters.

Light Jacket

As I mentioned in my Boston packing list, I am allergic to hoodies and sweatshirts. I think they’re a really easy way to make people look frumpy, like they don’t care about the city they’re visiting, so I avoid these altogether.

Luckily, there are so many options for light jackets that function well, while making the wearer look stylish. Light-wash denim jackets, especially with a bit of wear, look great, and black leather moto jackets add a bit of edge to anything (even a sundress).

I have a couple jackets from Urban Outfitters, but honestly, searching for a jacket you’re going to remember when you look at your world traveling photos is best done in thrift stores. There’s something definitively romantic about finding a pre-worn bomber jacket that fits you perfectly, especially if it’s in a packed and dusty Goodwill. Commit to a long-term quest to find your travel jacket; you won’t regret it.

Jeans

I’ll say this with emphasis: buy yourself two pairs of good denim, high waisted, black, or dark wash jeans! Once I made the switch to high-waisted, flattering jeans, I never bought another pair of awkward, low-cut, jeans made for teenyboppers. Those jeans tend to slip over your hips and downward, and it’s really frustrating to constantly hike them back up while wearing a big backpack.

I’m, admittedly, addicted to buying those low-quality, soft jeggings and wearing them around town, but for travel, I always bring my actual, rough and tumble, thicker denim jeans because they have pockets and won’t sag around my butt after two days of walking. I also like how skinny jeans fit around your ankle for easy bicycling, but flares are apparently on their way back. Who knew?

Don’t buy your jeans in stores that cater to teenage girls: they’re just not meant to fit a woman’s body. While Urban Outfitters have a couple cuts that I enjoy, my favorite jeans are from Acne.

Skirts & Overalls

I swear to God, I’ve never gotten more compliments from women on a piece of clothing than I get wearing my black overalls from Gap. I feel like Taylor Swift in these things; they’re cut to end just above my ankle, so I roll them up a bit and wear them with combat boots. They fit snugly around my butt and hips like a good pair of jeans, but they slouch around my legs and torso in a way that makes me look carefree (I am not a carefree person).

As for skirts, I’m a huge, huge fan of the 50’s inspired mid-length skirts over at ModCloth. They are not for everyone, but I promise you that you’ll feel like an absolute goddess in one of these, paired with a simple, form-fitting t-shirt (cropped works best) and a denim jacket. They’re breezy, easy to pack into a small space and so full of color that you won’t notice the rest of your capsule wardrobe is just shades of grey.

As for shorts… just kidding, don’t buy shorts. Who are you, Jan Brady? Alright, fine. If you’re visiting a hot climate, shorts are inevitable, but be reasonable about it. You may look fantastic in short-shorts, but knee-length or beachy shorts will save you a lot of hassle on the road.

Black Leggings

No one warns women that there are a million different types of leggings, and that most pairs are not completely opaque. Don’t show the world your underwear; buy a pair of black leggings meant for athletics, and you can throw them on under a skirt or dress if it gets cold, or wear them to bed.

Sundress

It’s a difficult process, finding sundresses that won’t wrinkle, but it’s worth the effort. I have a dress that goes well under a sweater that I pack everywhere I go; it’s also made of soft cotton so it doesn’t wrinkle, and it comes almost to my knees so I don’t have to worry about it floating around in the wind.

In my opinion, the “little black dress” standby is a bit boring. I’m a fan of the “little, bold color dress” in a solid tone. You know, the color that always makes your mom go, “Oh honey, that’s your color, what a lovely shade on you!” Mom knows best; buy a dress in that color, whatever it is.

Socks

I know what you’re thinking: I’ve got this, how hard can socks be? The answer is deceptively hard. Most of the Tortuga team prefers Smartwool, but I have no opinion on the brand.

I’m lucky enough to live in Cambridge, MA, where I have a speciality sock shop right next to the farmer’s market where I buy my kale bunches, but for those of you who can’t visit: 100% wool socks, of any brand, are your friend.

Don’t trust blends, and only buy cashmere socks if you’re planning on laying around the house the entire time you’re traveling. Sturdy cotton socks are great for walking, but wool socks will get you through annoying airport jaunts, cold nights and breezy early mornings.

I also tend to buy long socks and crunch them down around my ankle if I don’t want to look like a school girl. Ankle socks are overrated, anyway.

Shoes

We’ve written a lot about shoes, and some of us even hate the most-often recommend shoes for travelers: hiking boots. I’m personally a fan of fashionable booties with a half-inch heel (I wear a pair I found vintage, every single day) but I can get behind combat boots, white Keds or Sperry boat shoes. Basically, any type of shoe that’s supposed to look worn out is going to make you look worldly and well-traveled (which helps if this is your first time backpacking).

I also think it’s nice to keep an option open and pack a second pair of shoes, whether they’re sandals or comfy flats that won’t tear up your feet. You never know where you’ll be invited, and you may not want to wear your filthy walking Keds to cocktails on a rooftop bar.

Pajamas

Man, I love pajamas. I was once a woman who wore a lot of cute, butt-length nightgowns, because I wanted to look like I was in a music video while wearing my acne cream and reading comics in bed, but in my adulthood, I made the switch to matching sets. Flannel is fine, but cotton is better. You want a pair of incredibly cozy pajamas that you’ll feel comfortable getting into every single night. Victoria’s Secret has the coziest sets.

Underwear & Bras

Girl, you wear whatever makes you feel like a queen! I recently bought some matching Calvin Klein, classic grey and white undies with soft sports bras and they make me feel lovely, but I’m also a fan of lacy, cheeky things. Just be sure to bring at least one thong, or a pair of underwear meant to be seamless, in case you need to wear something tight.

As for bras, make sure they’re the right size (this is harder than it sounds, so get a second opinion from a professional). I always bring a padded bra and two unlined bras, to satisfy my whims on the road.

Beanie or Baseball Cap

Here’s the deal with my hair when I’m traveling: Day one is good, day two I need a bit of dry shampoo, and by day three I either need to wash my hair or it’s going under a hat. Beanies remain effortlessly cool, but I’ve included the baseball cap option in case you’re afraid of looking hip.

Finding Basic Pieces

Since we urge you to pick quality over quantity, steer clear of fast-fashion joints like Forever21, Primark, Old Navy and H&M. You may be able to buy five black sweaters for $25 bucks, but they’re not going to last very long.

Uniqlo has great solid color warm layers, Banana Republic is great for “boring” basics like turtlenecks, and ModCloth and Nasty Gal are fun for mid-quality statement pieces that can fit with your neutrals. You can also reply on Gap for mid-price basics and Anthropologie for splurges.

TL;DR

Think ahead and create a capsule wardrobe that’s built to travel. The process of purging your clothing and replacing only a few, quality pieces will help refine your personal style, and save you a ton of grief and thought during your trips.

  • Quality over quantity
  • Don’t be afraid of color
  • Choose what makes you feel good
  • Denim and leather are your friends

The Travel Capsule Wardrobe: The Rule of 3

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For some travelers, packing light equates to a vacation of repeated outfits. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be true. By focusing on versatility, you can mix and match items to create countless outfits from just a few items. Keep reading to discover versatile packing at its finest and the importance of a travel capsule wardrobe.

The Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Written By: Maggie Fogg

As avid travelers, we firmly believe in packing light (as light as possible, in fact). Flying with just a carry-on and packing cubes can save tons of time and energy – and help you side-step some major headaches, including lost baggage and heavy suitcases you have to drag up a flight of stairs.

But when you only have a small suitcase, and as a result – only a few pieces to work with – figuring out what to pack and how to plan outfits can be tricky.

How do you keep your wardrobe incredibly limited without surrendering your style? How do you pack only a few key items, while maintaining versatility in your outfits?

Working from a capsule wardrobe is your best bet. Sticking with basic separates in neutral colors goes a long way for creating a variety of outfits with limited items.

If you are packing for a combination of business and pleasure in the same trip, it becomes all the more important to choose well-made styles that can be dressed up or dressed down with a few accessories.

How do you build a tight wardrobe without adding too many pieces? How do you keep your suitcase lean without choosing only safe, boring and basic options – and steering clear of going too far the other way, packing stylish pieces that you’ll only ever end up wearing once?

Let’s look at a few essential tips…

And don’t worry. A capsule wardrobe doesn’t need to be made of dull all-black outfits. You can use the guidelines below to create a versatile travel wardrobe featuring a variety of clothing styles (this is how to mix and match prints).

Read this to learn how to pack light stylishly for any destination!

The answer is to follow one simple rule – the rule of 3. This is more than wearing every piece you pack at least 3 times. Pack all items with the intention of wearing each item in a variety of outfits that work in at least three different occasion types.

This could be dressy, professional, and casual. Or it could be sexy, relaxed, and polished. It all depends on your lifestyle and the nature of your trip. When you consider using each piece with this kind of versatility, you’ll be able to build a stylish capsule wardrobe for any trip, and have tens of great outfits on-hand for any occasion.

Choose from one of eight travel capsule wardrobes to help you plan for your trip!

The Travel Capsule Wardrobe: One Piece, 3 Ways

Take, for example, a pretty tank top like the wine-colored one shown above. It can be paired with a relaxed skirt and a blazer for a casual business event.

However, just as easily, it can be dressed up for an evening out on the town with a slim pair of jeans and a cool rocker-inspired choker and cross-body bag.

And third, the tank looks just as stylish with a beach babe pair of cut-off denim shorts, boho-inspired travel sandals and a straw hat – on point for a summer musical festival.

Take a look at this post to see how you can make 3 weeks worth of outfits with just eight pieces of clothing!

The Travel Capsule Wardrobe: Guidelines for 3 Uses

Now that you know how to use one piece in three different ways, follow these guidelines to make the most of your outfits.

Be Meticulous With Fit

Stick to flattering, figure-skimming silhouettes. Avoid anything with too tight of a fit, as it won’t appear relaxed or chic. Likewise, avoid anything with a loose fit since it can read as sloppy and unpolished. Don’t be afraid to tailor your clothing, especially when it’s something you absolutely love!

Stick to Classic Styles With a Hint of Trend

Choose fairly neutral colors and simple cuts and patterns for versatility and longevity, but look for unique twists that add visual interest. This could be lace detail, embroidery, funky zippers – anything that expresses your personality.

File Into 3 Occasion Buckets

When you’re shopping for new items or pulling items from your closet to pack, mentally file each item into its occasion bucket. Is it sexy, relaxed, and girly? Or is it business-casual, classic, and refined? Hint: this rule also works really well outside of travel packing for your everyday wardrobe, too.

Don’t Forget to Map Your Outfits

Particularly with separates, make sure you can pair each item with several other items you’ve packed. It doesn’t help you if you can wear a cute embroidered blouse to the museum, a nice dinner, and on the plane but haven’t any bottoms you can pair with the top.

Have Fun With Accessories

Follow the same rule of 3 with accessories, including bags, shoes, jackets, and jewelry. Shop for high-quality, versatile pieces that are fairly classic in design but have a fun flair. For shoes, all you need are three pairs: one for sightseeing, one for a special activity, and a bonus pair.

These are the most cute and comfortable shoes for travel!

For example, this black and white striped dress is modern and airy with a slightly French nod. It can be dressed up for a summer night with bold earrings and a trendy belt. It also pairs well with polished accessories – like a cream blazer and ballet flats – for a cultural outing. Or, pair the dress with white sneakers, a summer hat, and a super-cute canvas tote for a breezy look to wear when visiting a local farmers market.

Ultimately, the accessories help give this dress a different feel for each occasion, but the guidelines above are used for each outfit. Each of the accessories are basic in their feel, but they have a trendy or stylish twist and can be paired with other outfits for other occasions.

Check out our top choices for convertible travel dresses!

With this simple rule, you can streamline your travel packing, change the way you look at your everyday wardrobe, and transform how you shop in the future.

Need help creating a capsule wardrobe?

Savvy travelers know that a capsule wardrobe is the secret to traveling carry-on only. Pack Light Stylishly is our eBook that shows you exactly how to make a functional yet stylish capsule wardrobe for travel.

Learn more about Pack Light Stylishly here!

What are your tips on versatile packing for travel? Do you follow a travel capsule wardrobe? Share in the comments below!

For more packing strategies, please read these posts:

  • Building a Travel Wardrobe in 5 Simple Steps
  • How to Fit Everything in a Carryon (Video Tutorial)
  • Think Traveling Carry-on Only is Impossible? Read this.
  • How to Choose the Best Shoes for Travel

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I hope you liked this post on versatile packing at its finest and the power of a travel capsule wardobe. Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

Author Bio: Maggie Fogg is a full-time traveler and writer. She left Toronto with a one-way ticket to Spain and has been making her way around the globe ever since. Currently, you can find her dancing and hiking her way around South America. Follow Maggie on Instagram.

When you go on a vacation, does it seem like you overpack? Do packing it all in a big suitcases to hold everything? Do you pack complete outfits to wear on the entire trip?

If you use a capsule wardrobe for your closet, you are already a step ahead in packing for a vacation. You already know that core closet essentials are the foundation of a capsule wardrobe and that they can mix and match to give you dozens of outfits! If you don’t use a capsule wardrobe, find out more with, “Capsule Wardrobe 101: What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?”.

If you have no idea where to begin to build a travel capsule wardrobe, scroll down and see the step-by-step guide below. If you need a travel capsule already prepared for you, see the Travel Capsules category for several ideas.

Step 1. Plan

Find out the Weather Forecast for your destination

Is it going to be hot or cold? Sunny or Rainy? The type of clothes you pack will be determined by the weather, so pack accordingly.

Clothes Fabric/Material

If you will be traveling to a hot climate, be sure to pack clothes made of cotton or linen, as those fabrics breathe well in warm temperatures and will keep you cool. If a cold climate is where you will be traveling to, you may want to pack a few items made of wool to hold in the warmth.

Activities

Are you going to be sightseeing and doing a lot of walking, attending special events or traveling for work? You can pack only casual clothes, only dressy clothes or a mix of both depending on your activities of your trip.

“Dress Like the Locals”

Find out how the residents of your destination dress to blend in. Dressing in attire that stands out may attract attention of pick-pockets and possible thieves, which you don’t want! Research how the locals dress on Google or Pinterest to find out more.

Step 2. Clothes

Pack Core Closet Essentials

Rely on your core closet essentials to build your travel capsule wardrobe and you will have endless outfit possibilities! What are core closet essentials? They are neutral color, basic essentials that are classic and timeless and never go out of style. They are, for example: blue jeans, black pants, black skirt, white/gray/black tee, white blouse, denim jacket, utility jacket, black flats, etc. See the Capsule Wardrobe Starter Kit for 35+ core closet essentials you can choose from when you pack for your trip. The Capsule Wardrobe Starter Kit contains several pieces from the Simplified Style®: A Year-Round Core Closet Essentials Capsule Wardrobe E-Book. Simplified Style® includes all the neutral-color basic essentials you will need for a capsule wardrobe, a wardrobe plan for each of the 4 seasons of the year, Over 400+ Outfits, plus more!

TIP: Never pack complete outfits, but Pack Individual Items instead.

Packing complete outfits (a top and bottom and/or layer) can lead to overpacking. When you focus on packing individual items (X number of tops, X number of bottoms, X number of layers, etc) you will have the most outfit possibilities because they will ALL coordinate!

Use Neutral Colors

Make sure to pack clothes in mostly solid, neutral colors, like Black or Navy, Gray, White, Beige, Tan or Camel. Just like in creating a full capsule wardrobe (see “How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe: A Step-By-Step Visual Guide“), use Black or Navy as your Base Color when building your travel capsule, so all your clothes will coordinate!

Adding Accent Colors or Patterns (Optional)

Take your Travel Capsule up a notch by adding 1 or 2 accent colors. Or, if you want to add a pattern to the mix, add only 1 top or bottom as the pattern piece. This is optional! If you are packing only clothes with neutral colors, you can add color to your travel capsule with a scarf, belt or jewelry!

Stock Your Closet
With Core Closet Essentials
& Get 400+ Outfits!

Get Your Copy Today!

Step 3. Shoes

Wearing the right kind of shoes on your travels is very important! You want to wear shoes that not only look great but are comfortable for walking. Here are some recommended styles of shoes that are appropriate for activities on a trip.:

brown strap sandals (sightseeing – warm weather)
black slip on sneakers (sightseeing – warm weather)
nude block heel sandals (events/dinner – warm weather)
black pumps (business trip events – warm or cool weather)
black or nude loafers (sightseeing/dinner – warm or cool weather)
black or taupe booties (sightseeing – cold weather)
black or brown tall boots (sightseeing – cold weather)

Shop Everlane For Your Core Closet Essentials!

What To Wear On The Plane

You can wear one of your outfits from your travel capsule wardrobe (to save room in your suitcase) and pack the rest of the capsule in your carry-on suitcase! Plus, you can wear the same outfit on the flight back home. An example of a comfy outfit to wear on the plane: jeans, tee, cardigan or utility jacket and a pair of flats or sneakers.

An outfit to wear on the plane or to travel in the car – image source

You may also like:

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe: A 5-Step Visual Guide

How To Create a Core Closet

Travel/Mini Capsule Wardrobe Ideas

How To Clean Out Your Closet

How Many Items To Pack

Count the number of days on your trip, including the days to and from your destination. That’s how many days you will pack for. As a rule of thumb, the longer the trip, the less you want to pack to make room in your suitcase.

Use the Universal Packing List below to pack for the number of days on your trip. Feel free to adjust accordingly. Using the packing list below is the most efficient way of packing for your trip using the minimum amount of clothes you will need. You may or may not need to wash any clothes you pack, depending on your laundry preference, how many days of your trip and the climate you are traveling to (see “Laundry Consideration” below). For example: a top can be a t-shirt or blouse, a bottom can be pants, jeans, shorts or skirt and a layer can be a denim jacket, utility jacket, vest, cardigan, etc.

Outerwear

Whether you are traveling to a cold environment or one with just a chill in the air, you will want to pack a coat (insulated parka) or a light jacket (utility jacket, insulated vest or rain jacket). If you will be flying to your destination, you can save room in your suitcase by wearing it on the plane if it is approximately the same temperature as the place you will flying from. Delta Airlines lists a jacket as a “freebie”, meaning you are free to carry it on the plane with you. If your coat or jacket is easily packable, you can always pack it in your suitcase with your travel capsule wardrobe. A great coat to wear for the Winter that you can roll up and pack in your suitcase is an Insulated Parka like this one.

Step 4: Accessories

You don’t want to overpack your suitcase with accessories since you can use accessories repeatedly throughout your trip. You can pack these accessories and/or wear them on the plane to save room in your luggage/tote/handbag:

  • Crossbody Bag – This type of bag can be worn as a shoulder bag or crossways over your chest. If you get one with handles, you can also carry it like a handbag. If you have one with a zipper and no outside pockets, it will keep thieves and pickpockets away, and also wear it across your chest to be secure. This Small Transport Crossbody comes in black or brown so it will coordinate with all your outfits!
  • Scarf – Cashmere scarves are not only soft, but they are warm too, especially in cold climates.
  • Bandana – These are great to wear in the Summer as an alternative to jewelry. You can also tie one on your handbag/crossbody handle to add a pop of color!
  • Mix & Match Jewelry (such as Kendra Scott) – Pick up to 2 necklaces, 2 pairs of earrings and a bracelet all in the same jewelry tone (gold, silver or rose gold) so they all coordinate.
  • Hat – Either wear it on the plane or pack a “packable hat” in your suitcase. Straw hats are great to wear in the Spring and Summer and Wool hats are best for Fall and Winter.
  • Beanie – If you are traveling to a cold climate be sure to pack a beanie in a neutral color, like black or gray to coordinate with all your outfits.

The Necessary Extras

“Carry-On” Suitcase

By bringing your suitcase with you on the plane, you can avoid the extra time and money checking in your luggage. Plus, by keeping your suitcase with you prevents the possibility of lost luggage! Just as the name implies, this small-sized suitcase meets the standard airline bag requirements to be allowed to carry onto the place and stored in the overhead compartment above your seat. If you will be traveling via a plane to your destination, be sure to check with your airline to make sure your suitcase is compliant. See Delta Airlines Carry-On Rules to find out more information on what items you can bring on the plane with you.

Pack like a pro and travel in style with this 5-Piece Luggage Set with Carry-on Suitcase, Tote and Packing Cubes (6 colors available) from world traveler TV host Samantha Brown.

These are great carry-on suitcases to pack your travel capsule wardrobe:

Tote To Carry On The Plane

Most airlines, like Delta Airlines, allows a carry-on suitcase and a purse on the plane. If you want to carry your crossbody on the plane, but also need to pack some items for the plane trip, you can carry on a tote. You can put all your necessities (wallet, passport, phone, lipstick/lip balm, earbuds, computer, eyemask for the naps on the plane, scarf/bandana and your crossbody in the tote. Be sure to check with your airline to find the dimension restrictions of the bag you can bring on the plane. Here are some totes and crossbody bags to take with you on your trip:

Packing Cubes & Other Organizers

When you pack your clothes in your suitcase, do they tend to shuffle around and get wrinkled? You need to use packing cubes! This budget-friendly 3-Piece Packing Cube Set will keep your clothes organized for easy packing in your carry-on suitcase. Pack like a pro and travel in style with this 5-Piece Luggage Set with Spinner, Tote and Packing Cubes (6 colors available) from world traveler TV host Samantha Brown.

If you like to pack convenient travel-size toiletry containers, you store them in this Toiletry Bag that easily expands into a hanging bag. If you need a makeup bag, this Tumi Nylon Cosmetics Case is a bit of a splurge, but it will help keep your makeup in its place while traveling.

Laundry While Traveling

If you need to freshen up your clothes while on your trip, you can pack a small, packable container of laundry detergent and wash any pieces in the sink in your hotel room, then hang to dry! When building your travel capsule wardrobe, avoid packing dry-clean-only items. This 6-Piece Travel Laundry Set contains everything you need to maintain clean clothes while traveling!

Travel Packing Checklist

Use the following checklist to help you pack for your trip (you may or may not need to pack all these items). Use the “Notes” section to add additional items to your list or write your travel schedule. You can also download the travel checklist here.

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How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe: A 5-Step Visual Guide

How To Create a Classic Wardrobe

Travel Light With Core Closet Essentials

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The 10 Item Wardrobe (Makes 48 Outfits)

Start your capsule wardrobe using just 10 pieces!

If you’ve been on Pinterest or have read some posts here on my blog, chances are you’ve seen the subject “Capsule Wardrobes”. I’m a BIG FAN of capsule wardrobes! They have helped me 1) save on average about $1,000 a year and 2) changed my shopping habits. Having a capsule wardrobe can literally change your life. I save money by being conservative at shopping.

Here’s how I used to be with clothes: I would carelessly buy clothes not thinking about if they would go with other clothes in my closet. The clothes I would buy would only go with one or two other items in my closet. I would wear them a few times, then get tired of them. Oh, and I can’t forget about if something was on sale, I just HAD to buy it! I couldn’t pass it up because it was on sale. I couldn’t leave it on the rack…it was half-price! Once again, not thinking if I could wear it for a few years or if it was made of quality material. Some clothes I would buy wouldn’t be made well and would stretch or fade after a couple of washings.

Thank goodness for the internet and finding out about capsule wardrobes. A couple of years ago when I was researching about the capsule wardrobe concept, I thought I would give a try. It took a couple of seasons to NOT want to wear ALL the clothes in my closet. I think we can be emotionally attached to the clothes in our closet. I know I was. Now, things have changed and I have a different approach when it comes to clothes. When I do shop, I ask myself “can this item go with at least 3 other things in my closet?” If it doesn’t, I don’t buy it. Also, I would rather spend $50 on a shirt that’s well made and is mixable with several items in my closet, and NOT buy a $20 shirt that is cheaply made and can go with only 1 other item.

I have 30 clothes in my Summer Capsule Wardrobe. Other than adding a pair of shorts to wear on the weekend, I stick to those 30 items. I don’t feel weighed down by having all those clothes in my closet. I feel more refreshed and organized and it takes me only 5 minutes to get dressed in the morning. Life is better with a capsule wardrobe!

If you like this 10-Piece Starter Capsule Wardrobe,
you’ll love The Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe E-Book!

25 pieces will make 85 Outfits
All 85 Outfits are created for you!

If you are just starting out with wanting to try a capsule wardrobe, you can start with just 10 items.
These 10 wardrobe essentials can easily mix and match with one another. They are popular styles, neutral colors and solid materials.
You can create at least 20 outfits with all these pieces!
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CREATE A CAPSULE WARDROBE ON A BUDGET: 10 MINIMALIST OUTFITS

9 PIECES / 9 OUTFITS

Row 1: black tank / black striped tee / ivory cold shoulder top

Row 2: white tee / gray tee / chambray shirt

Row 3: black skirt / white jeans / indigo jeans / denim shorts

Click images to shop the post

Add shoes to complete your outfits (click images to shop)

10 Capsule Wardrobe Essentials For Endless Outfit Options

I’m a big fan of capsule wardrobes. My guide for starting your own is still the most popular post around these parts. And even though I’m inclined to stick them into the ‘trend’ category since capsule wardrobes are all ANYONE can talk about, I’ve personally found a minimal wardrobe ridiculously helpful when it comes to getting ready in the morning.I can be running late to work (which is always) and know that almost every piece in my closet could be paired with another without me looking like a clown.

I’m sure you want to feel like you always have something to wear, right?

No matter your closet size, one thing that seriously makes life simpler is having a solid foundation for your wardrobe. Building your closet around a few basic items that can be worn year-round will guarantee that you always have something to wear. I know they may not be the most exciting of clothes, but basic pieces can end up being the clothes you hold on to for the longest. Once you find the perfect white tee, it may easily become your favorite item in your closet.

Now, I didn’t mean for this post to be super long, but I wanted to make it as useful as possible. Here’s what I’ve done for you, my friend:

1) listed the reasons why basic items are super helpful

2) given examples of the different styles of basics you could choose

3) thrown in some outfit ideas that show how versatile these pieces are, AND

4) made you a free printable to make sure your closet isn’t missing anything

P.S. Want to pin this now so you can read it later?

Wardrobe Essentials 101

How Basics Help Pad Out Your Closet

Your essential items are intrinsically basics: neutral, subtle, versatile pieces that pair well with anything. You don’t want them to detract from your statement pieces, but rather balance them out.

What’s great about them? You can easily dress them up with accessories, you can use them to transition from day to night quickly, they make traveling a breeze, and people won’t notice you’re wearing the same thing over and over again.

How To Make Them Last Longer

Since you do end up wearing basics a lot more than your other clothes, they can end up looking worse for wear if you wash them too often. I used to be the person who washed my clothes after only wearing them once, but now I’ve realized that you really don’t need to wash them unless there’s a stain or they smell a bit too obviously – it’s also better for the environment to wash them less. I recommend looking for basics that are a little looser around the pit area because they’re less likely to get stinky.

Finding The Perfect Essentials

You’d be surprised at how many factors can go into basic items. You have to consider things like the style (neckline, pant style, length), fit (loose, fitted), and fabric (cotton, rayon). For example, I personally think I look better in scoop necks than v-necks. No idea why. Just try a variety of styles at the store and see what you like best.

Why You Should Invest In The Essentials

If you’re going to spend money on clothes, I honestly recommend spending it on basics. You’ll appreciate having a high quality $25 black tee rather than a $2 one from Forever21 because it’s going to last you so much longer. Basics will never go out of style, which means you won’t regret investing in them.

Here’s what I consider to be the top 10 essential items for your wardrobe. You can definitely get by with only one of each, so just choose which color/style works best with the rest of your closet.

01 | Tank Top

Black | White | Gray

I wear a black tank top under my shirt every single day. It makes a somewhat see-through blouse totally wearable.

02 | Short-Sleeve Tee

V-Neck | Scoop Neck | Crew Neck

The most versatile piece of them all. Tuck it to a skirt, throw on a blazer, maybe even sleep in it.

03 | Long-Sleeve Tee

White | Striped | Black

Perfect on it’s own or underneath a sweater during the winter.

04 | Blouse

Button-Up | Printed | Wrap Style

The great thing with blouses is you can wear them to the office or pair them with some jeans for a casual look. I feel like everyone should be obligated to own a chambray shirt.

05 | Sweater

Round-Neck | Crew Neck | U-Neck

I like lightweight sweaters that can be worn on chilly summer nights, but work well for layering under a coat in the winter too.

06 | Black Dress

Boho | Tank | Skater

I’m not saying you need a little black dress, but some form of a black dress will get you through a million and one occasions.

07 | Cardigan

Waterfall | Button Up | Open Front

Keeps you warm AND covers up coffee stains on your shirt. Brilliant.

08 | Blazer

Classic | Long | Waterfall

You can look instantly put together with a blazer #GIRLBOSS

09 | Jeans and/or Ankle Pants

Boyfriend | Ankle | Skinny

Does anyone not own a pair of jeans? Invest in a pair that make your butt look fab. If you work in an office, ankle pants are a great alternative to super-serious slacks.

10 | Black Skirt

Skater | Pencil | A-Line

Choose one that works for your body. My backside does not agree with pencil skirts, but it sure does like the skater variety.

Ways To Wear Them

Here are a few outfit ideas to show how a basic item can go from casual to dressy without much effort.

Plain Tee

Black Dress

Black Skirt

Blazer

Wardrobe Essentials Checklist

To make sure you always have something to wear, I’ve put together a free checklist for you! All you have to do is write down the ideal color, style, and fabric of the item you’re looking for, decide the maximum you’re willing to spend and where you’d like to buy it, a few other pieces you can pair it with, and whether you already own it or if you’re still looking. Happy planning!

What are your wardrobe essentials? Are you feeling satisfied with your closet right now?

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link or purchase an item from a link, I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you).

Tags : capsuleminimalism