Summer is here, full of sunshine, grilling in our backyard, and pool days with my kids. It’s such a celebratory time of the year! I’ve done a major rework for my summer wardrobe this year, because creating outfits for the hot, humid weather has consistently been the most challenging for me. I rarely felt good or comfortable in the outfits I was wearing in the summertime.
How do you spend your time in the summer?
When I started creating this capsule, I thought through the way I spend my time in the summer. Mainly we are by the pool or lake, hanging out in our backyard, exercising or running errands around town. We don’t have any weddings to attend this summer, just a couple fancier dinners out.
So, nearly all my clothes need to be casual, comfortable, with one or two dressy outfits.
Don’t discount things like exercising and going to the pool when thinking about a summer wardrobe. I spend 3 mornings a week in workout clothes, so it makes sense to stock that part of my closet. When it’s hot we go to the pool, so I like to have at least 2 swimsuits and coverups in case one set is the laundry.
What is the weather really like?
Indianapolis is hot and humid all summer. It’s in the 90s most of the time.
It’s helpful to filter out climates in other parts of the country. Jeans, sweaters, layers, long sleeves might make sense in San Francisco, but they just aren’t realistic here.
What feels most comfortable to you?
This comes down to preference. I’m learning that my ideal summer uniform is a tank top with shorts and sandals. From that basic formula, I might switch out the shorts to a denim skirt, or the sandals to sneakers. But the basic idea is the same.
I have one dress right now that I love for summer, and I’d like to buy one or two more, but dresses aren’t my everyday look. For you, a dress might be the most comfortable thing ever, so be honest about what you love to wear.
Pay attention to what you don’t like.
It’s just as helpful to notice what you don’t feel good in. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of having too many “fancy” clothes” and not being realistic about investing in daily outfits. When I stood in front of my closet, I wouldn’t have enough pieces to create outfits for all the normal days with my kids. Or I would feel worried about pieces getting ruined, which makes anyone feel uncomfortable.
Another mistake was buying too many t-shirts and then feeling hot and stuffy during the summer. I’ve learned that tank tops feel so much better to me when it’s warm.
Building My Summer Capsule
When I started making purchases, I kept in mind my general summer uniform (tank, shorts, sandals) and tried to devote the majority of my budget to the pieces that I would wear the most. My goal was to create a capsule for my real, everyday life that can mix and match together. On cooler nights, I can add layers from my spring capsule. Here’s to a summer of feeling comfortable and well-styled!
Twill Shorts: The perfect alternative to denim shorts, these can be dressed up or dressed down with ease. I’m partial to the ochre color, which looks great with a tan, and the patch-pocket indigo version is another favorite of mine. I went with a 4, so true to size (don’t size down). For an even more comfortable option, try the easy short, which I have in black. It’s lovely for the hottest days.
Camisole: Along with shorts, this has been the biggest area I’ve invested in. I especially like a camisole with details like buttons or ties, since layering isn’t possible. A linen version is breathable, and I own this one in two colors.
White Button-Down: When I want to wear sleeves, this is very flattering shirt that isn’t tight or constrictive. The v-neck feels cool. I lightly iron it after washing, but it’s meant to be rumpled and worn-in.
Tank Tops: I’ve been living in cotton tank tops that can still be worn with a regular bra in the summer (again, comfort!). I especially love wearing the lightweight cotton air tank and the scoopneck muscle tank. The whisper tank from Madewell is another winner.
Denim Shorts: Cutoffs are the indestructible foundation of my summer clothes. They can pair with a swimsuit, camisole, sweatshirt, anything. Making sure these fit right is huge, and in the summer time I don’t want my shorts to be too tight. I own a 27 in a pair from Everlane (no stretch) and Madewell (stretch, and a little longer inseam).
Sandals: Having a few pairs of sandals to choose from is helpful, so I like to have one that is easy to walk in, with a tan neutral color. A molded sandal is great for the pool and sporty outfits. A minimal flat can go dressy or casual depending on the clothes.
Baseball Hat: My favorite way to protect my face from the sun.
Cotton Midi Dress: Wearing this feminine dress is such a fun way to change-up my everyday look. It makes me so happy and the fit is perfect. Wearing a 4.
Cover-up: Treating my pool outfits like a legit daily look has made such a big difference. With little kids, the pool is our favorite activity, so it helps to have a cover-up I feel great in.
To see more summer outfits using this capsule, click here!