Skip to Content

Ultimate Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Ultimate Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Are you looking for the ULTIMATE Summer travel capsule wardrobe? In this guide, we tell you exactly what to pack for Summer travel in Europe and around the globe.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

But before we get onto the specific items we put in our favorite Summer 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 and where it can be used.

What is a Travel Capsule Wardrobe?

Linen Capsule Wardrobe
Linen Summer Capsule Wardrobe for Travel

To know what a Summer travel 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:

Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe

So now you know what a travel capsule wardrobe is we will look at capsule wardrobe for Summer in particular.

Our Summer packing list and capsule wardrobe is designed to be used in the traditional Summer months of June, July and August in the Northern Hemisphere such as in Europe, Asia and of course the USA and Canada.

Note: if you are travelling to the Southern Hemisphere Spring is categorised as December, January and February.

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

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

How to put together a Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe

WomAN in hat and red dress overlooking coatst in Calabria Italy
Summer Travel 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.

When I put together my own Summer capsule wardrobe I always gravitate towards bright colors, pastels and florals. My favorite color palettes for a Summer capsule wardrobe are:

  • blues,
  • yellows
  • and red.

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 Summer 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

Summer 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 Summer travel capsule wardrobe we will look at some of our favorite pieces to include no matter the destination:

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 summer capsule list are:

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.

Dress / Skirt

As you transition from your Spring capsule wardrobe into your Summer one, you will want to change the skirts and dresses you wear. Personally I like a Maxi Dress or Skirt or midi one as I find they work no matter where you are., These work even if you plan on visiting religious sites such as churches or mosques.

I also like that these are great day to night transition pieces with a little dressing up with jewelry and pashminas.

Click here to shop Summer dresses.

Athleta Brooklyn Travel Pant

My absolute favorite travel pant of the moment has to be the Athleta Brooklyn Pant. These pants have a stylish but comfortable elastic waistband which for me make them my go to airplane outfit.

But not only that the fact that they do not wrinkle, along with the ability to machine wash and dry make them perfect for traveling.

I like to wear these as part of my airplane outfit which again saves room in your suitcase and means you can try and pack carry on only. They also work well for nights out where you want smarter trousers.

Click here to shop the Athleta Brooklyn ankle pant for travel.


Although not for every destination, when we are visiting summer destinations with beaches, or outdoor activities as opposed to cities I always pack shorts.

I tend to pack smarter more tailored shorts such as chino shorts instead of short shorts or denim shorts as these work in more settings.

Best Tops for Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobes

So now you know our favorite bottoms for your Summer 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 t shirts as opposed to long sleeve ones.

Click here to shop basic tee shirts.

Note: For Europe in Summer I would avoid a graphic t-shirt or slogan tee for several reasons. Firstly they are less versatile so aren’t as easy to combine in your Summer outfit combos. But also they aren’t in keeping with many local European styles.

Also for cities rather than beach destinations, I tend to avoid tank tops because at some cultural institutions these are not appropriate.

Blouse / Shirt

A shirt or blouse is a great addition to a summer 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 Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Layers are important no matter the time of year you travel even in Summer. Now depending on the location will depend on the thickness you need.

However, generally speaking I normally try and take 3 top layers and 3 base layers with me when I travel which in Summer usually consists of:


A cardigan is essential for this time of year as it can be layered on top of blouses, tops, t shirts and dresses 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 sweater is another great day to night transition piece. I particularly like sweaters made of merino wool as they are light and easy to pack, but also look very stylish.

Click here to shop merino wool sweaters.


Although a casual item, my capsule wardrobe is never complete without a hoodie and is often worn as part of airplane outfit.

I tend to wear this for more day time sightseeing as opposed to nightwear.

Click here to shop hoodies for travel.

Best Jackets for Summer Travel (Optional)

Waterproof Jacket

Depending on where you are going will depend on whether you need a pack-away rain jacket. For instance I would never travel to the Fjords in Norway without one, however in Spain in summer I would definitely leave this off my packing list.

Click here to shop jackets for travel.

Shoes for Summer 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:


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:


A sandal is perfect for summer 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.

Optional Shoes

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

  • Flip FLops
  • Watershoes

Best Accessories for your Summer Capsule Wardrobe for Travel

The items that are included in this section are definitely nice to haves rather than Summer 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 Summer 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 summer capsule wardrobe. They can be used as an extra layer in the cooler weather or even as a scarf, and can also make outfits more modest at religious sites. 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.

Crossbody Bag

A crossbody bag anti theft type is actually always on my packing lists especially for traveling in European cities such as Rome and Barcelona which do have pickpocket problems.

I find these types of bags give me a bit more peace of mind when traveling as they make it harder for pickpockets to get into. When selecting a crossbody bag I would pick something in a neutral color such as brown, black or navy depending on the palette of your capsule wardrobe and think about one that can be sued throughout your seasonal capsule wardrobes.

Shop crossbody bags here.

Note: a tote bag is also handy for souvenir shopping too.


Again, a hat is by no means an essential but they can transform an outfit and can make for some great instagram worthy photos as well as a great way to keep your face protected in the sun..

We like the floppy wide brimmed hats in a color that complements rather than matches your capsule wardrobe. For beach destinations you can go for wider brims than cities.

Click here to shop Summer hats for travel.

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