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How to Build a Summer Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

casual summer vacation outfit

Are you preparing for a quick summer getaway to the coast? Packing efficiently is a challenge for most of us, especially if we can only bring a cabin bag or a backpack. Solution? If you wish to travel light and have enough outfits for your holiday, consider putting together a summer beach vacation capsule wardrobe.

What is a vacation capsule?

A vacation capsule is a small collection of clothes and accessories that can be mixed and matched effortlessly to create many outfit combinations. There are no strict rules on how many items or what type of clothes you should bring. It depends on the duration and the activities you have in mind for your vacation. The only rule that should be applied to your vacation capsule is versatility. Every single item should be worn at least once.

How do I build my summer beach vacation capsule wardrobe?

When planning a holiday, the first thing to do is research the climate and weather forecast for your desired destination. You should pack lightweight and light-coloured clothing for hot locations and bring a couple of jackets for windy places. Then consider non-beach activities. Will you be interested in sightseeing, trekking, or biking?

The next step is to go through your closet and pick a few of your favourite pieces. Is there something you were itching to wear on holiday? That might immediately let you decide on the colour palette for your capsule.

The colour palette 

It is much easier to build a capsule with neutral colours. That is because all items should be mixable and go well with one another. However, you can add your favourite accent colours. The easiest way is with accessories. 

Shoes in summer beach capsule wardrobe

This is the trickiest part as shoes tend to take up a lot of space in our suitcases. Therefore, when planning your vacation capsule, it is best to consider only the most versatile pairs.

I would always include sneakers. They are great for the journey, trekking, workouts, long walks or sightseeing. Even better if you own a simple pair in a neutral colour.

Then I would add a pair of simple flat sandals and a pair of flip-flops. And that’s all. No fuss and no headaches.

What do I pack for my beach vacation?

So let’s get to the clothing we want to pack in our summer beach vacation capsule. How many items? It depends.

Vacations days and activities will define the number of outfits you will need. For example, on your one-week vacation, you intend to go to the beach or swimming pool every day, exercise three times, go sightseeing or explore five or six afternoons and then dine out six evenings. 

Let’s do the maths. For this scenario, we will need six casual chick outfits for dining out, 6 or 7 comfortable combinations for journeys, sightseeing, and walks, six beach and swimming pool combos and one workout outfit.

Swimwear and accessories

We do not need six different swimsuits. I can normally get away with just one bikini and one sarong. However, two pairs of each are optimum to give you some flexibility and different looks. 

Add a chic beach bag and a lightweight cotton or linen beach towel.

The casual summer beach vacation capsule

After carefully assessing my needs, I would build my capsule with one or two dresses, a pair of shorts and a skirt, pair of trousers or jeans, three to four tops, and a jacket. Let’s not forget a sports bra and leggings for the workouts.

Now let’s see how it all looks. The items and the combinations.

Tops and Dresses for summer vacation capsule wardrobe


Shoes and Accessories

Daytime outfit combinations

Evening outfit combinations

Final thoughts

Creating a capsule wardrobe will save you time. On your vacation, dressing up is easy because most pieces can be mixed and matched with little effort. A capsule wardrobe also allows to save space and to travel light. And most importantly, to focus on the experience during your vacation. 

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