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Crescent’s Guide to Creating a Summer Capsule Wardrobe

model wearing a neutral sleeveless wrap knit top

Summer Staples

At Crescent, we’re huge advocates for capsule wardrobes. They have tons of benefits, including reducing fashion waste and making getting ready for the day so much easier. Instead of constantly overspending on new clothing and shopping for duplicate items by accident, we recommend going minimalist and clearing out everything from your wardrobe that isn’t part of the essentials. With a current, versatile, modern capsule wardrobe, you’ll have the right items to attend any event or occasion. While you will have to transition some pieces from winter to summer, a capsule wardrobe is much easier to manage, saving you time and money.

New to capsule wardrobes? Wondering how to find summer wardrobe staples? Crescent is here to help! Explore our summer capsule wardrobe guide here to get started.

What Is A Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a minimalist collection of pieces with a more or less fixed amount of clothing. You should consider filling your summer wardrobe with timeless basics and seasonal items that allow you to mix and match anything to create a large selection of unique ensembles.

Capsule wardrobes first got their start in the 1970s, when fashion designer, Susie Faux, designed a collection of interchangeable pieces that could be used to create multiple looks. Your capsule wardrobe is a kind of formula that helps you order and organizes your clothing so that you can stop accumulating unnecessary styles.

model wearing a colorblock cropped shirt

How Many Pieces Does A Capsule Wardrobe Need?

A good summer capsule wardrobe should have between 30 and 40 pieces of clothing. These items need to be versatile enough to dress you for at least three months of the year, with some pieces that can work for multiple seasons. Every item you choose is important, as everything from the texture and color to the material can ensure a versatile collection. Your summer wardrobe essentials must expand to consider seasonal items, like hats, shoes, and bathing suits, but exclude year-round must-haves, like accessories, workout clothing, sleepwear, and formalwear.

Introducing New Pieces

Since your summer capsule wardrobe must have a static number of pieces, any time you want to buy something new, you should carefully consider what to remove. If you have any worn-out or old items to replace, that number should dictate the amount of new clothing you buy each year. You can also minimize waste and spending when you shop for natural fabrics, sustainable manufacturing, and eco-friendly companies that strive to reduce their carbon footprint. You might also consider buying secondhand clothing and upcycled pieces to introduce fresh silhouettes and shapes without contributing to fashion waste.

Creating Your Summer Wardrobe

You’re probably already starting with a pretty large selection of clothing for your summer capsule wardrobe. The key here is to begin by keeping only your summer wardrobe essentials – the pieces you wear all the time and just can’t live without. As you sort through your clothing to determine what to keep, ask yourself a few guiding questions to ensure you’re choosing the items that would make the best possible capsule wardrobe, including:

  • What is your style?

    Take a look at your favorite clothes and assess your preferred aesthetic. Do you like prints? Bold colors? Neutral designs that are easy to mix and match?

  • What activities do you have planned for summer?

    Preparing for the season means making sure you have appropriate clothing for your plans. Do you need work clothes? Vacation clothes?

  • What color palette works best for you?

    At Crescent, neutrals reign supreme, but these hues can vary from beiges and browns to peaches and pinks. Build a palette that’s complimentary to you.

  • What does summer look like in your area?

    Do you have monsoon rains? Dry heat? Does the weather vary from minute to minute? Knowing whether you’ll need outerwear and boots occasionally will inform your decisions.

Once you’ve answered these questions and separated your clothing into piles of essentials and donations, you’ll possibly need to pare down your selections even more. Now, it’s time for the next steps.

model wearing a white mini dress

Planning

Take a look at your pile of must-have clothing. If you already pared down your selection to 30 or 40 pieces, you should be good to go! Put together a few outfits that will make getting ready for the day easy, and keep your ensembles in mind for the future. If you still have too many pieces, creating ensembles for various events is the key. You’ll find yourself reaching for some of the same garments over and over again while ignoring others. Anything that doesn’t fit into at least four or five different ensembles should not make your summer capsule wardrobe selection.

Planning a few outfits will also show you what you’re missing. Have you noticed that you have too many pairs of pants and not enough tops to go with them? Swap out pieces until you have a more balanced selection of clothing.

Valuation

With your final summer capsule wardrobe selections in hand, you still need to plan for the future. Will all of your pieces make it through the end of summer? Will you need to replace any? If there are any garments that are wearing thin, you should probably swap them out for similar styles that will last longer.

Must-Haves

There are several summer wardrobe essentials that you simply cannot live without. If you absolutely don’t know where to start, we recommend ensuring you have at least these basics:

  • Tees and tanks in basic neutrals, including black, white, and beige
  • Shirts and blouses with short sleeves or straps
  • A pair of comfortable bottoms
  • A pair of shorts
  • A skirt
  • One or two dresses
  • A blazer set
  • A piece of outerwear
  • A romper or jumpsuit

Don’t forget to have sandals, tennis shoes, slippers, and some heels on hand for whatever events you have planned. And make sure to accommodate any bags you prefer, like backpacks, clutches, and totes, as these all count as part of your capsule wardrobe.

Getting Started

With these basic guidelines for a summer capsule wardrobe, you’re ready to get started! Show us your favorite summer ensembles when you tag us on social media! 

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