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How to create a Minimalist Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Planning a vacation this summer? Learn how to create a summer travel capsule wardrobe with a few thoughtful key pieces you can mix and match to create so many outfits.

Capsule Wardrobe 2024

A summer travel capsule wardrobe is all about packing light and smart for your sunny getaway. I’m a big fan of creating capsule wardrobes. They are great if you want to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. They are also superb if you have a wardrobe bursting with clothes and do not know what to wear. This capsule will inspire you by showing you how you can mix and match key items you already own, as well as where to buy essential items you need to create gorgeous outfits.

I recently travelled to Spain and this capsule was pretty much what guided my packing. No matter where you are travelling to, so long as the weather is warm, this summer travel capsule wardrobe will show you how to create a variety of outfits.

What is a Capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of versatile pieces that you can mix and match to create multiple outfits, saving you space and indecision!

The growing interest is capsule wardrobe is undeniable. Capsule wardrobes emphasize investing in quality over quantity.

With fewer quality clothes to choose from, you’ll spend less time rifling through your closet and more time doing the things you love.

Summer vacation capsule wardrobe pieces

How many pieces are in this capsule wardrobe?

There are 9 pieces in this capsule wardrobe excluding accessories. The key items are 3 bottoms, 3 tops, 2 dresses, 1 swimsuit and an airport outfit. However depending on how long your trip will be you can double(2-3 weeks) or decrease (a weekend) these items.

  1. Neutral Button down shirt
  2. Neutral cotton tank top
  3. Dressy top
  4. Tailored shorts
  5. Jeans shorts
  6. Linen Pants
  7. Versatile dress
  8. Beach cover up dress
  9. Straw bucket bag
  10. White trainers
  11. Leather sandals
  12. Statement sunglasses
  13. Carry-all bag
  14. Ballerina flats

How can you build a capsule that is both stylish and practical?

Let’s dive into the items you need to build your summer travel capsule wardrobe.


1. Neutral Button-Down Shirt

First things first, a neutral button-down shirt. It’s a classic! I love mine in linen because it’s super comfy and breathable, perfect for those hot days exploring a new city. Plus, it doesn’t wrinkle easily, which is a lifesaver when you’re living out of a suitcase. You can even throw it on over a tank top for a more put-together look in the evenings.

2. Neutral Tank top

A tank top is a key travel essential. It’s perfect for layering under your button-down, or on its own for a casual day. Choose a flattering cut like a v-neck or round neck and get it in a breathable fabric like cotton. Trust me, you’ll be living in this thing!

3. Neutral dressy top

No travel wardrobe is complete without a good black top. It’s instantly chic and can dress up a pair of shorts or jeans. Plus, it hides any mishaps that might happen on your adventures. I chose the vest for this capsule because it gives a dressier feel.



4. Neutral tailored shorts

I love having a pair of tailored shorts because they are great for exploring, lunch or even a fancy dinner if you dress them up with a nice top and some heels. They’re comfy, stylish, and won’t wrinkle easily, which is a major plus when you’re on the move.

5. Jean shorts

Jean shorts are a travel staple for a reason. I love to throw them on with a tank top for a casual day trip or for a stroll down the beach.

6. Linen pants

A comfy pair of linen or casual trousers is a game-changer. They’re lightweight and breathable, perfect for hot weather, but can also be dressed up with a blouse for a more formal occasion. Plus, the relaxed fit is perfect for the airport as well so you don’t need to pack any airport outfit.



7. Go-anywhere dress

Every travel capsule needs a go-anywhere dress that is comfortable, versatile, and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I like to go for a black dress, when creating a neutral travel capsule. A super tip is to look for a wrinkle-resistant fabric and a style that flatters your figure. You can wear it with sandals for a daytime look or add a statement necklace and heels for dinner.

8. Second Dress

You can include a second dress in your travel capsule that is either super casual or super dressy. This will depend on the activities you have planned on your trip. For this neutral capsule, I have chosen a crotchet beach dress, that is light weight and can be thrown over my swimsuit. This dress is actually versatile and can take you from beach to poolside bar.

However, in my coloured travel capsule, my second dress is very colourful and dressy and is to be used for a night out.



9. Sun Hat

The first essential accessory is a sun hat for chilling at the beach or pool side. Choose a style that suits your face shape and personality – a floppy hat for a relaxed vibe, a straw fedora for a touch of chic, or a baseball cap for a sporty look.

10. Trainers for walking around

Comfy shoes are a must for any traveller. You need a good pair of trainers or walking shoes for all that walking you’ll be doing. I love how comfy Adidas Samba is. I took it with me on my recent trip to Spain that involved a lot of walking, and my feet were happy. Definitely worth checking the reviews if you love less chunky looking trainers.

11. Slide sandals and Dressy Sandals

Pack a pair of dressy sandals for those evenings out. They’ll instantly elevate your outfit and make you feel comfy yet stylish.

12. Straw Tote

Finally, the holy grail of travel – the carry-all bag! This isn’t just any bag, it’s your travel companion. Choose a spacious tote that can fit all your essentials – your wallet, phone, sunscreen, water bottle, and maybe even a light scarf for chilly evenings. I really like this Loewe bag but it costs > $800. A great alternative is this bag by & other Stories which is under $120. Equally spacious and stylish.

Summer Travel Outfits

Now let’s style the items in your capsule wardrobe.

How to build a summer travel capsule wardrobe

Identify Your Style: This capsule is a guide but you can certainly adapt to your style. If you do not like figure fitting dresses, by all means replace the black midi dress with a fit and flare dress. What’s most important is that you create outfits that you feel your best. Not sure of your style? Look for inspiration in fashion blogs, Pinterest boards, or magazines. Find out what looks great on people with your body type and experiment to see if it works for you too.

Clothing Inventory: Before you go shopping, take stock of your existing clothes. Identify pieces that are still relevant and fit well. It might just be that you have all the pieces you need to create your capsule and the only thing missing is this styling guide.

Versatile pieces: you’ll need to choose pieces that can be dressed up or down, worn together in different combinations.

  • Neutrals as base: It’s always great to have tops, bottoms, and a dress. Think black, white, navy, khaki, beige, etc. These will be your mixing and matching workhorses.
  • Focus on fabrics: Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, and chambray. These will keep you cool and comfortable in the summer heat.
  • Quick-drying: Consider quick-drying materials for swimsuits, cover-ups, and anything you might get sweaty in.


Creating a travel capsule wardrobe is fun. It’s all about choosing versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create endless outfit combinations. If you’d like to travel with more colorful items, then head over to our colored travel capsule post that features not just bright but also gorgeous outfits.

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