Summer Travels: Capsule Wardrobe

Summer is when most of us do our traveling. School\’s out, the weather is gorgeous and all you want is to be outside. I get it I live in the Northeast so I\’m all about summer vibes and that means a whole new summer travel capsule wardrobe!

However, it can be a little harder to pack for a summer trip than it is to pack for a winter trip. In the winter, you have layers, you don\’t sweat as much and it\’s easier to reuse clothing on your travels even if you don\’t have access to a washer/dryer. In the summer the rules change. You sweat, sometimes a lot. Sweat leads to mildew if you don\’t let your clothes dry before packing them.

Also, because of the sweat, you might want to change your outfit more than once to stay comfortable. Most trips in the summer include water activities and you will need a change out of your soaked swimwear. You see where I\’m going with this. Summer = more clothes. However, that doesn\’t have to be true. Choosing to pack clothes that are quick-dry, loose, and non-clingy will allow you to stay cooler and your clothes to dry quicker eliminating the need to pack more.

I\’ve put together a classic look summer capsule wardrobe and here\’s how you can do it too.


Creating your Summer Capsule: First Color!

Creating your own minimalist travel wardrobe is easier than you think. If you look back at my Basic Capsule Wardrobe (you can follow the link to read more), you will see what you need to create the basic capsule for any travel adventure.

The first thing to do is to pick which color you want to create your wardrobe around. I\’ve picked a neutral palette so that all of the clothing goes together. You want to make sure that all of your items can be worn together. For example, each t-shirt/tank top can be worn with each pant/short. By just pairing the t-shirts/tanks and pants/shorts, there are enough combinations fro 21 changes of clothes! Add the dresses and sweater or jacket and the combination number goes up. You don\’t need to pack more and you could get away with packing less.

Choose the right materials

For summer clothes you want them to be light and airy. Pick fabrics that are soft and breathable. You want to invest in quick-dry fabrics like linens and cotton. Try to stay away from form-fitting, clingy materials, they only stick to you once you start to sweat and create a lot of unnecessary chafing.

Shoes…what to bring

Shoes are probably one of the hardest things to pack. Where are you going? Do you need hiking boots and sneakers? Do you need 4 pairs of sandals? The answer is no. You want to pack shoes that are comfortable to walk a full day in and don\’t chafe or rub in any way. If you\’ve bought a pair of adorable shoes for your beach vacation make sure that you\’ve worn them for a full day before packing them. You don\’t want to get to your destination and realize that those cute sandals have just given you blisters and you\’ve only been wearing them for 2 hours and you can\’t change them until later that evening. Nightmare!

I like to bring one pair of sandals and one pair of running shoes. I usually make sure they\’re in a neutral color like black or tan and they can be dressed up or down. The best part about packing light is that if you see a pair of gorgeous shoes you have to own, you have room in your bag!


Accessories can change an outfit completely. So if you want to pack fewer clothes you can add another hat or bag and it can add another option to your already existing outfits. Belts and scarves are great ways to accessorize without taking up a ton of space or weight in your carry-on.

Pack half of what you think you need and bring twice as much money

One of the best ways to figure out what to bring is to lay everything out a few days before you go. Make outfits out of your chosen items and see what works with what. If there is an item that doesn\’t match anything else or is extra, leave it. Then the day before you leave repeat the process. Do you need six shirts? Can you get away with five? The answer almost always is yes.

The reason the answer is almost always yes is that while you\’re traveling you might see a shirt you like or a pair of shoes you just have to have. Wouldn\’t you rather just buy that great shirt and have a memento of your trip? I always find things in other places that I would love to own. If you pack more than you need you might not have the room to bring back these pieces that will remind you of that fantastic vacation you went on.


When planning your capsule for summer here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  1. Color. Pick a color you can wear with every outfit. Something that goes with everything else.
  2. Stick to a minimum number of what you need for your trip so that you can add pieces if you want while you travel.
  3. Pick fabrics that are light and airy like linen and cotton.
  4. Pack comfortable shoes. Even if you love those stilettos and could totally see yourself going out one night in them. Leave them at home. Use precious room in your bag for souvenirs, not shoes you won\’t wear or will only wear for an hour.

And that\’s it! Quick and easy. You can use my template above as a guide. I would travel for a month on that capsule and you can do the same. If you have any questions or need guidance on what to bring on your trip, send me a comment. What are some of your tips for summer packing? Let me know in the comments. Until next time!

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