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What to Put in Your Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe

What to Put in Your Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe


What to Put in Your Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe - Blog banner

Booked your tickets for all your summer vacations, but you haven’t started to plan your travel wardrobe, then checkout how you can build a summer travel capsule wardrobe. 

This will take the guess work out of what to pack for your summer destinations and will save you major money.  

Table of Contents

Start with the list of Destinations

Whether you just have one destination, or you are doing multiple different destinations in the entire summer, its important to first make a list of all those destinations.

Having trouble, because you haven’t booked the rest of the trips. It’s ok, let me give you some scenarios to help. 

You could be planning to do an international trip in the summer, and you might have road trips planned as a quick weekend getaway rest of the summer. And you are already making a note of which beach destination you want to go in the winters. Just think of where, because then you know what to buy. 

This is really important for your winter time, because you won’t find a lot of summer clothes then. 

summer travel capsule wardrobe - destination

Some potential summer vacation ideas:

  • Somewhere like Alaska – National forest visit.
  • Glamping or camping.
  • Roadtrip to beach destination.
  • Beach Resort vacation
  • European beach vacation.
  • European city visits.
  • Island vacation.

How many pieces in a summer capsule wardrobe?

The number of clothing items you need in your capsule wardrobe completely depends on the number of days you will be traveling.

You can’t just add up the number of days in all of the vacations you are going in the summer. Pick the one which has the maximum number of days, and the other ones which are completely different.  

This will help you determine what kind of clothes to pack, which I will get to later in this post. 

Determine The Number Of Outfits You Need

Once you figure out how many outfits you will need, you will know exactly what to put in your summer capsule wardrobe. Now yes, you don’t want to be restricted by doing everything now, but this will help you with at least making a mental note of outfits. 

Here is a rough number of outfits for days based on destinations.

Now, don’t get scared, just because you are seeing a large number of outfits, does not mean you need to pack different clothes for every single outfits. 

But usually these are the number of times you will be make outfit changes based on the activities you might have planned. 

And you always need something extra, just in case. Having been traveling with my daughter for years, this has always been my rule of thumb.

Determine The Specific Events

Another key factor you should think of before building your capsule wardrobe are the important activities you have planned for. And which are the ones, you absolutely want to look your best for. 

Say, you are going to a beach resort vacation. You most likely will be spending most of the days on the beach or by the resort pool. But you are heading to a fancy dinner in the evening, you need a nice outfit for it. So, you need to think of a nice dress or a two piece set that will work for you. 

You can checkout my blog post about what to wear on a beach resort to get the full guide. 

Now that you have figured out how many outfits, lets get into the real question here:

If you are going for all dresses, then you will probably need the exact number of pieces for the number of outfits. But that’s a lot of dresses.

But you are not going to do that. 

Around 5 - 6 different length, print and colors of them will be sufficient for all summer destinations
Minimum of 8 pairs will help you build unlimited outfits
A minimum of 7 pairs will give you unlimited outfits
A minimum of 4 outerwear pieces will work for summer travel
A minimum of 6 pairs of shoes will work for all your summer travel destinations.

What Dresses To Add To Summer Travel Capsule?

To maximize your summer travel capsule wardrobe you need to add different styles of dresses that will still be versatile and look stylish. This is important so, you are not doing last minute shopping because now you hate all the dresses you have. 

Shirt Dress

Shirt dress is a grownup version of the T shirt dress that looks more elevated and versatile. You can wear it in so many different ways by styling it.

So, this should be part of your summer travel capsule wardrobe. Whether you are going to Europe or to a beach vacation, you will get a lot of wear out of this style of dress. 

When it comes to length, I do prefer above the knee as it becomes more versatile. 

Tiered Dress

Tiered dresses are an under utilized style and one of my favorite styles of summer dresses. The silhouette looks flattering on all body type. 

And when you are traveling, you don’t have control over your diet, in fact you don’t want to. You want to enjoy. 

These dresses will help even if you are bloated and don’t feel your best because you are jet lagged. 

I would pick a classic shade that you can wear anywhere. 

Satin Dress

There will be times in your travel where you will want to go out on a nice dinner. If you are going to Europe, there will be plenty of fancy events. 

A satin dress will come in handy. Now why a string strap satin dresses are really popular and everyone wears it. But for travel, I would recommend something modest that you can wear everywhere. 

And because it is solid color styling it would be easy with any style of accessories and outerwear.

Linen Dress

Linen is an expensive looking fabric that is also breathable. So it’s a perfect material to wear in hot weather. And I think a linen dress in a solid color will look chic and sophisticated. 

You can also pick black in this material which will still feel breathable. You don’t have to wear long linen dress, but they still look chic. 

Printed Dress

A printed dress will change up your look and add some variety. I  personally loved solid colored dresses and still do. But printed dresses always look beautiful and perfect for summer weather. 

They add character to your style and feel fun. When it comes to print, I always say go for finer prints compared to bolder of bigger prints. 

Finer prints look more refined and timeless. Now, you can wear this for more than one year.

What Tops To Add To Summer Travel Capsule?

You don’t need all the tops in the world, just the right one. And this is where you can replace items or swap them with your everyday closet pieces to make it versatile. 

For instance, if you are going on road trip, you probably already have t shirts that you can add to your wardrobe. You don’t need to shop a lot for this. 

But here is a list of tops you should have.

White T shirt

The most versatile piece and the piece that will brighten up all your outfit. But if I were you, I will wear a white crewneck T shirt, as it looks more polished and stylish. 

This is great for classy casual outfits for site seeing or even while traveling on the flight or train or car.

Black T Shirt

The saying never goes old, “when in doubt wear black”. You need to have a black T shirt for versatility and they are perfect for travel. 

All black look is my favorite airport outfit. Its classic, looks polished and I can hide my the food and drinks belly. 

Linen Shirt

A good quality linen shirt will go for more than couple of years. And they are really versatile. 

You can wear them as swim cover up, or you can wear them as regular tops or layer over tank tops when it gets a bit chilly.

And they look put together and stylish, so you can also wear them if there is a fancy occasion.

Silk Top

A silk tank top or a silk top will be a great elevated piece too which you can pair with skirts or jeans to create chic outfits. 

You can wear them for night time looks if you are tired of wearing dresses. This clothing item makes your summer travel capsule versatile. 

Again, you don’t have to wear a sleeveless top, there are some silk shirt options too. 

Printed top

If you love wearing casual clothes when traveling, then a printed top will add some chicness to your looks. 

Pair it with denim shorts or jeans and see how your outfit will look chic and ready for cute photos. 

Again, go for finer prints that will be timeless.

If you are going for hiking or nature escape, you should also add your activewear tops to the capsule wardrobe.

What Bottoms To Add To Summer Travel Capsule?

You most likely would own most of the bottom pieces for your summer capsule wardrobe. These don’t have to be over the top. 

But if you want, you can add some fun piece like a cute skirt or  printed pants that will be perfect for European trips. 

  • Jeans – A Comfortable Pair
  • Midi Skirt
  • Above the Knee Skirt
  • Linen Pants – Black & White
  • Trousers or Pants
  • Shorts – Denim & Cotton
  • Leggings
  • Activewear shorts
Outfit on a Summer travel

What Shoes To Add To Summer Travel Capsule?

When adding shoes to your summer capsule wardrobe, the one important rule you should follow is comfort. If your shoes are not comfortable, they will make your travel uncomfortable and you will end up spending more money on it.

But you can still find cute shoes that will be comfortable too. I will list the essential pairs for you. 

In case you find a new pair of footwear that you really want to wear on your trip, make sure to break them in. 

Since you will be walking a lot, its important to make sure they are comfortable.

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Walking shoes – Leather Sneakers
  • Pool slides or Beach Slides
  • Block Sandals
  • Espadrilles
  • Flat Sandals
Summer travel outfit for nature escape

What Outerwear To Add To Summer Travel Capsule?

This is where you don’t need any shopping unless you don’t own a good weather proof jacket for a nature escape. But you also need to carry a lot of jacket. 

If you are flying out, you can wear the jacket you will use as a layering. 

But if you are going to a city trip, you need to carry a more polished outerwear. 

Here is my list:

  • Trench Coat
  • Weather proof Jacket
  • Cardigan
  • Leather Jacket
  • Linen Blazer

Extra Items You Need In Your Travel Capsule

Here are a few more things you will need to complete your summer capsule wardrobe. A good travel bag. You can carry a good leather tote if you are headed to city getaway or even a road trip.

If you are going on a beach or resort holiday you can make your straw bag your travel bag. This will save a lot of space in the suitcase. 

For a mountain escape, you need a backpack that is utilitarian and looks nice. 

But here are a few other items that are important to add as well:

  • Swim wear
  • Swim Cover up
  • Cross body bag
  • Sunglasses

I hope this was helpful. Would love to know where are you all planning to travel to this summer?

For more on travel style, please read:


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About Suchi

A Techie turned Fashion blogger, I have been in your shoes. I have gone from looking like I was trying to fit into my teen clothes, to now a stylist and blogger known to be classy and elevated style. I can help you look your best without spending too much time, effort and money into your wardrobe. 

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