my summer capsule wardrobe + how i planned it

It’s that time of year when the mornings are hot and the afternoon is hotter! I’m stoked for my first summer in Sacramento and looking forward to seeing how my capsule holds up in this heat.

I shared about my capsule wardrobe process and made a wardrobe planner (!!!) a couple weeks ago. Today I’m breaking down how I used my planner to build my summer capsule plus giving you the full look at this season’s wardrobe.

This one's a long haul, so let's get started.

The Item Breakdown

Like I said in my post on how to make a capsule wardrobe, I aim for 40 items in each capsule. This season I wound up with

18 tops

8 bottoms

4 dresses

1 jacket

1 cardigan

8 shoes


Life, At A Glance

My current lifestyle is pretty casual. I spend my time working retail where my dress code is fairly causal, making YouTube videos at home, and blogging from coffee shops, with the rare occasion to dress up.


Despite the 100+ degree heatwave that Northern California endured last week, the average high in June is 88 degrees. July gets up to an average of 93, August's average high is 92, and September's average high is 88.

I also took where I work into consideration. I work in an air conditioned store and the coffee shops I visit are also climate controlled, but most of my time is spent at home where I rarely turn on the AC.

Describing My Style

I got a comment on one of my YouTube videos the other day questioning why I made a capsule wardrobe video when so many of my items were plain tees and jeans. It was fairly harmless, but it still bugged me a little.

I started thinking about how I could make my outfits and wardrobe more exciting, but then I remembered that I like my clothes to be plain. Simple pieces are easy to mix and match, and I've always been drawn to them. I looked through my old capsule wardrobe planners and sure enough, the word simple has always popped up when I desrcibe my personal style.

All that to say, this section can be more helpful than it seems. So even if you're kind of guessing, fill it out. Your instincts might surprise you!

The words I gravitate towards are simple (obvi), effortless, California, unexpected, and menswear-inspired.


I only have two goals this season: to go on a shopping freeze and to challenge myself to fully style outfits when I go to work.

I put a lot of effort into my work outfits when I was working a desk job, even though that wasn't relevant to my work. Working in a women's clothing store is a unique chance to exercise my styling muscles, so I'm focusing on getting back into that habit this season.

Things to Try

I'm hoping to experiment with espadrilles, hats, and lipstick this season.

I've never owned espadrilles, but they're so perfectly summery and seem like a really easy way of elevating some of my more basic outfits.

Hats are something I think everyone struggles with (at least everyone I've met). We all think they're cool, so we buy them, but then we get allll self-conscious about actually wearing them. Maybe it's because they're such a hipster trend? Regardless, I'm throwing my hat inhibitions to the wind and plan on wearing them as much as possible.

Lipstick technically doesn't fall into any clothing category, but beauty routines are definitely a part of personal style. I love makeup and always have, but the one thing I've never fully embraced is lipstick or any other lip color. So this season, I'm trying it out. If I hate it, I don't have to wear it, but I already have a feeling I might love it.

Basic Outfit Formulas

I outline specific outfit formulas later in the planning process, but I like to start with general proportion formulas first to help get me thinking about what kinds of pieces I'll include in my capsule. This season I picked three general outfit recipes.

1 | breezy tee + shorts + sandals

2 | easy dress + sandals

3 | flowy top + jeans + flats

Color Scheme

I think my summer color scheme is proof you can have a colorful capsule. Sure, it's mostly neutral colors, but it's still full of color.

my summer capsule wardrobe color scheme consists of mostly neutral colors like white, black, blue and brown. I have a lot of green pieces (it's my signature color, what can I say?) but I'm mixing it up by using yellow AND red as accents.

I’m working with white, blue, and black as my neutral colors, green (shocking) and brown/tan as my main colors, then using yellow plus a little bit of red as my accent colors.

Key Pieces

This section is where I select the stars of my closet. These are the items that are in line with my personal style words and would fit in my basic outfit formulas. This season I picked:

the 10 key pieces for my summer capsule wardrobe / a striped tank top, off the shoulder top, boxy crop tank, vintage denim shorts, white skinny jeans, madewell mom jeans, a striped t shirt dress, espadrilles, teva sandals, and white vans sneakers

| 1 | striped tank | 2 | off the shoulder top (sold out, similar here) | 3 | green crop top (similar here| 4 | vintage denim shorts (similar here & here) | 5 | white denim | 6 | madewell summer jean | 7 | cotton dress (similar here) | 8 | espadrilles | 9 | teva sandals | 10 | vans sneakers

Key Accessories

Accessories are the key to completing an outfit. They can take an outfit from boring to interesting. I picked accessories that would help me add color and visual interest to my outfits.

| 1 | wide brimmed fedora | 2 | straw fedora | 3 | bandanas | 4 | sunglasses| 5 | gold layering bracelet | 6 | stud earrings

Specific Outfits

Once I've figured out my basic outfit formulas, my key pieces and key accessories, I move onto specifics. I find this section particularly helpful for the days when I'm feeling uninspired or running late. But it's also really helpful to think about how I'd style items I'm experimenting with, like espadrilles. This way, when I get them, I'm not stumped on how to incorporate them into an outfit because I've already done that work! Here's what I brainstormed during my planning session.

1 | striped tank top + crop jeans + braided sandals

2 | off the shoulder top + cotton shorts + slide sandals

3 | boxy crop + mom jeans + vans

4 | central shirt + vintage denim shorts + teva sandals

5 | blue tank + white skinny jeans + desert boots

6 | off the shoulder top + mom jeans + braided sandals

7 | cotton dress + high top converse

8 | swingy tank + black high rise jeans + espadrilles

9 | green tank top + white shorts + teva sandals

10 | button back dress + vans

Shopping List

As much as I love summer, every few years my wallet takes a hit during this season. I’m a November baby so my fall and winter clothes are almost always gifted, but I get no such luxury for the warmer months.

Luckily, I work at a clothing store, so I was able to save some money on some of my items by using my discount. For the things I couldn't buy from work, I looked for sales, shopped the thrift stores and saved my pennies.

I'll be uploading a summer capsule haul to my YouTube channel soon, so keep a lookout for that!

Aaaaand that's how I planned my summer capsule. I know that was a lot of text to throw your way, but I hope it gave you insight into the capsule planning process!

Want to see everything that made it into my summer capsule wardrobe? Watch the video!

Later skater,