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Ultimate Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

Ultimate Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

Our beach vacation capsule wardrobe is filled with amazing beach outfit ideas so no matter whether you are heading to the beaches in Europe, Mexico, Caribbean or further afield this is the guide for you.

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But before we get onto the specific items we put in our favorite beach travel capsule wardrobe, we first thought it would be a good idea to tell what is a travel capsule wardrobe is, why you should pack one afor your next beach vacation.

What is a Travel Capsule Wardrobe?

To know what a beach vacation capsule wardrobe is, it is worth outlining what a travel capsule wardrobe actually is!

Generally speaking a travel capsule wardrobe is a method of limiting what you pack for vacation by creating more minimalist packing lists, and thus preventing you from overpacking.

A travel capsule wardrobe uses a few key pieces of clothing to make up several mix and match outfits. Basically meaning that every piece of your wardrobe, can be used in multiple outfits to create completely different outfits.

Now depending on the length of your travels or vacation, the time of year you are traveling and the destination will depend on how many items should be included in your capsule wardrobe. However in my opinion the less the better. But be sure to pack enough so you don’t have to do laundry or buy new items at your destination.

Some ways we create out capsule wardrobes are using the following packing methods:

Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

So now you know what a travel capsule wardrobe is we will look at specific capsule wardrobe examples for beach vacations.

Note: this beach vacation packing list is designed for summer and good weather vacation. If you are traveling to a traditional beach destination in the off season or winter be sure to check out our specific packing lists.

And if you are traveling for another type of vacation be sure to check out our other capsule wardrobe packing lists for more specific guidance:

So now you know what a beach travel capsule wardrobe is how do you begin to put one together?

How to put together a beach vacation Capsule Wardrobe

Woman sat on swing on beach with back to the camera
Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

Whenever I am putting together a capsule wardrobe I always start making my wardrobe in the same way using a couple of considerations these are:

Color palettes

Having a clear color palette is essential for creating any successful capsule wardrobe. Without a clear color palette your items will not mix and match correctly and therefore will not create multiple cohesive outfits for a true minimalist closet.

Now obviously monochrome is the easiest capsule wardrobe to make as you are so limited in colors. However I find this makes my vacation photos look a bit boring, especially for vibrant summer destinations and beach destinations.

Instead when I put together my own beach capsule wardrobes I always gravitate towards bright colors, pastels and florals in a complementary palette. Some of my favorite color palettes for a beach capsule wardrobe are:

  • blues,
  • yellows
  • and red.

and if you are feeling daring you could even add in some neons and orange. But this is very much a personal choice and you should pick a color palette that you feel comfortable in.

Plan out your outfits in advance

Whenever I am packing my travel capsule wardrobe, I always lay my clothes out and plan my outfit combinations in advance.

This way you know that everything you have goes in your outfits and can be used multiple times. This is why I like the sudoku method as it is the easiest method of laying out outfits.

Check weather and itinerary before travel

Obviously this is a generic beach capsule wardrobe designed for use during traditional Summer weather. For this reason waterproof wear is not a top priority for this list. However, a word of caution is to always check the weather at your destination 7 days before travel and keep an eye on it up until departure.

And if you are looking for other seasonal capsule wardrobes these posts may be of interest:

Also it is worth mentioning that we have seasonal travel lists for specific destinations. To check your destination and time of travel head to the search function on the top of this page and type your destination and month of travel (i.e. Venice August or Italy July). This will give you packing tips for local dress codes and weather in more specific detail


And as this is a beach vacation packing list, swimwear is obviously going to be of paramount importance. I usually take at least 2 pieces of swimwear and 2 covers with me on a week long vacation so I can always have one piece to wear and one that is drying but you may want to add some more.

Just try and select covers and 2 piece swimwear (if you want this style) that can be mixed and matched together for different beach looks.

Beach Travel Capsule Wardrobe Essential Items

Woman with her back to camera looking at sea on beach in a white top and green skirt
summer travel capsule wardrobe

So now you know the principles of how to put together a beach vacation capsule wardrobe we will look at some of our favorite pieces to include no matter the destination.

This guide has been split by pieces for easier navigation but if you use the items we lay out in this guide you will have enough outfits that can work for beaches, daytime sightseeing and restaurants and evenings out next to the beach. So no matter whether you are heading to a city beach, an all inclusive resort or a tropical island this is the packing list for you.

Best Pants for your Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobes

Usually when I start putting together my capsule wardrobes I start with the pants / trousers first. I generally speaking own more tops than bottoms, therefore I like to pick our the pants first as I have more tops to play with.

The essentials on your beach capsule wardrobe list are:

Dress / Skirt

Dresses are my number one pick for beaches as not only can a maxi dress double as a beach cover, they can also be used in restaurants at resorts and in evenings when you go out.

Click here to shop Summer dresses.

Linen Trousers / Linen pants

Linen trousers are a great pick for Summer no matter where you are traveling to. We like to pick linen pants in a neutral color such as cream, beige or white as they work well no matter the color you pick for your capsule wardrobe.

I tend to use these as day to night transition pieces and in nearby towns rahter than on the beach themselves. However if you pick a wide legged linen pant these can work well with a bikini top.


Shorts are a definite must for beach destinations. Personally I like to avoid denim shorts as I find these more uncomfortable on sand. Instead I like to pack a mix of cotton shorts foron the beach and smarter chino style shorts for beachside restaurants.

Best Tops for beach vacation Capsule Wardrobes

So now you know our favorite bottoms for your beach travel capsule wardrobe we will turn our attention to tops.

And our first pick has to be:

T Shirt

A basic t shirt is a great staple and an essential of any packing list at any time of year. Now depending on the color scheme you are going for will depend on what color you should have. But in my opinion you can never go wrong with a plain white tee.

For Summer I tend to pack more short sleeve but you could also add a tank top too. Just be sure to keep to natural fabrics such as cotton as these are more breathable on hot beaches.

Click here to shop basic tee shirts.

Blouse / Shirt

A shirt or blouse is a great addition to a beach capsule wardobe. Again I stick with tops in natural fabrics such as cotton and linen to reduce sweat.

Personally I love a floral blouse but also think you can never go wrong with an oversized linen shirt. And as an added bonus can look casual with some jeans or be dressed or with accessories for a more smart casual look.

Click here to shop printed and patterned blouses.

Best Layers for your Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

Although no one wants bad weather on their beach vacation, it is always a good idea to have at least one layer with you.

My favorite layers for beach vacations are:


A light waterfall cardigan is essential for this time of year as it can be layered on top of tops whether you need an extra layer during the daytime, or want to use it to dress up your evening attire.

You can choose the color based on the palette you have in your wardrobe.

Click here to shop cardigans for Spring.


A hoodie is great for airplane outfits when you are heading to beach destinations and can be good for lounging around the pool on cooler days.

Click here to shop hoodies for travel.

Best Swimwear for Beach Vacations (Optional)


We always pack at least 2 pieces of swimwear for beach vacations one for wearing and one for drying.

I tend to stick with one piece swimsuits but you should pick the stle you feel most comfy in.

On top of swimsuits I also think allbeach packing lists should include:

Beach Cover

Again I usually pack two of these for beach vacations for wearing walking to and from the hotel pool or beach, and for using at beachside bars and restaurants.

I like the kafkan style ones but this is a personal choice.

On top of these you may want to add

  • a rash vest – especially if you plan on snorkeling or doing watersports.

Shoes for Beach Capsule Wardrobes

I often find that shoes are the easiest item to overpack. However, for Summer I recommend packing just two pairs of shoes. They are:


A sandal is perfect for beach travel. Depending on how much walking you plan on doing depends whether you need something with arch support. If you do want a comfortable sandal for walking, we don’t think you can go wrong with Teva. Otherwise you can pick a sandal that is easy to slip on and off.


I never travel without a pair of sneakers. Some of my favorite travel sneaker brands are Hoka and All Birds. Bit ecco are a good brand if you want a sneaker with some waterproofing.

However my favorite sneakers of the moment are the Addidas Cloud Foam. These are white sneakers which are very versatile as part of a capsule wardrobe but also are very comfortable for walking long distances.

On top of sneakers I also recommend packing:

Optional Shoes

Other shoes you may want to add depending on the destination include:

  • Flip FLops
  • Watershoes – if you are heading to a rocky beach or a beach where there is a risk of lionfish these become more of an essential.

Best Accessories for your Summer Capsule Wardrobe for Travel

The items that are included in this section are definitely nice to haves rather than beach travel wardrobe essentials. However, packing at least one of the below items can really help transform your outfit and make it pop.

Some of our favorite beach travel accessories include:

A Pashmina

Pashminas are my number one travel essential for women as they are so versatile as a great layering piece and are always part of my perfect beach capsule wardrobe. They can be used as an extra layer in the cooler weather and of course they are a great day to style an outfit differently for a day to night transition.

Click here to shop pashminas.


Traveling with jewelry can feel a bit like a minefield especially if you are worried about traveling with expensive or precious jewelry.

The type of jewelry you travel with is really a personal choice about what you feel comfortable with. However we think even traveling with some costume jewelry is a good idea to help you make your capsule wardrobe outfits look a bit different.

Beach Bag

An essential for taking books, towels, sunglasses and sunscreen down to the beach with you.

Crossbody Bag

A crossbody bag anti theft type is actually always on my packing lists and is useful if you plan to head off your resort to go into local towns.

Shop crossbody bags here.


Hats are an essential for beaches. We like a wide brimmed hat that can protect your face from the sun. But baseball caps are handy to if that is your preference.

Click here to shop Summer hats for travel.

We hope this has helped you put together your own beach vacation Capsule wardrobe! And we would love to hear about what you pack for your beach vacation in the comments below.