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Summer Capsule Wardrobe: Budget-Friendly Must-Have Classic Pieces for Summer

With warmer weather comes your summer capsule wardrobe, classic pieces to keep you cool and look your best. There are many great pieces to keep in mind when it comes to building your summer closet. However, I highly recommend the “French girl” fashion style because it exudes timeless, sophisticated looks. 

So, let’s go ahead and explore some of the timeless or classic pieces you need to have in your wardrobe this summer season. 

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Checklist 

summer capsule wardrobe

Let’s start designing your summer capsule wardrobe checklist so you can start getting all the essentials. 

Most capsule wardrobe collections have these quality pieces, ranging from a navy blue tank to cuff shorts. There’s something for everyone looking for their new core pieces for summer. 

Midi Dresses 

Midi dresses have been a fashion staple for years, but they’ve never been more in-style than now. 

They’re the perfect mixture between a short cocktail dress and a longer full-length dress. They’ll work with your personal style with a hemline that floats to the mid-calf. 

With that said, it’s time to take the midi dress to the next level by dressing it down. Instead of wearing a formal piece designed for date nights, why not turn it into an everyday staple? 

Opting for midi dresses with a more casual bodice with short sleeves and a menswear collar can be ideal. 

Denim Shorts 

There will never be a summer season where denim shorts aren’t an everyday staple you need to have. 

Their versatility is one of their largest selling features, working well with more formal blouses and casual band tees. Not to mention denim comes in an assortment of washes, helping you customize the personal style of any outfit. 

Our top recommendation for this year’s summer wardrobe is to avoid distressed shorts. 

Instead, opt for full denim without any rips or tears. It elevates the appeal of a casual outfit while remaining youthful and relevant, like a denim jacket. 

Men’s Dress Shirts 

You’ve likely seen French women strutting around in menswear during the warmer months. These exact pieces are foolproof because they’re easily customizable, breathable, and perfect for the hottest days. 

Men’s dress shirts are one of the top options, as they’re long enough to be worn as dresses or can be tucked into shorts. 

Another considerable benefit of men’s dress shirts is they work for casual and formal outings. 

You can easily tuck a corner into a pair of high-waisted, tailored dressy shorts. They also pair fabulously with a laid-back pair of bicycle shorts and your favorite sneakers. 

If you want to make a bold fashion statement, pair the shirt with a waist belt to help accentuate your figure. Paired with a chic pair of sandals and a fabulous purse, you have the perfect Sunday morning brunch outfit. 

Wrapped Dresses 

A stylish option since the 20th century, the wrapped dresses is an iconic piece you’ll find in a French wardrobe that’s perfect for the summer season. These classic dressy items work well with formal accessories and are exceptional for casual outings. 

You can easily pair them with wedges or dress them down with your favorite pair of strappy or everyday slide sandals. Above all else, wrapped dresses look flattering on any body type. 

Linen’s Shorts

If you’ve never been a fan of denim shorts,linen is a fabulous alternative that screams “Summer!” 

This lightweight material is elevated, adding an extra layer of class to any top you choose. It’s a versatile piece that looks fabulous with cropped blouses or oversized graphic tees. 

Linen shorts are also quite comfortable to wear in warmer weather, as they’re one of the most breathable materials out there. 

You can achieve the perfect light-toned outfit with a pair of white linen shorts or opt for a brighter color for a vacation look. A great linen pant is also an excellent choice for men searching for luxurious yet casual pieces to add to their wardrobes. 

summer capsule wardrobe essentials

Linen-Blend Shirts 

Combining the benefits of linen and cotton, these French-style summer shirts are breathable, smooth, and soft. You can wear them during workdays, weekends, tropical or beach getaways, and even formal events. 

Pair them with crop pants, shorts, or skirts, and your favorite shoes that match the occasion, and you’ll have a classy, elegant, smart look. They’re also one of the most classy swimsuit cover-ups! I call it the ultimate all-rounder piece that will free you from the stress and hassle of deciding what to wear in the morning when you’re in a rush. 

Shackets and Overshirts 

It’s not every day that you’ll see sweltering temperatures during the summer. In these instances, shackets and overshirts will become your best friend. 

These unique items pair well with classic summer wardrobes and give you the extra warmth you need. 

Shackets are particularly popular, as they combine the benefits of a shirt and jacket in one. You’ll have the standard silhouette of a traditional dress shirt but with a thicker, warmer material. 

They’re easy to layer with shorts and a tank but can also be worn on their own. 

The casual styling of shackets makes them easy for any woman to wear, and they have a fantastic appeal for an everyday outing. 

Bicycle Shorts 

The final staple I recommend you begin adding to your summer capsule wardrobe is a pair of bicycle shorts. 

These initially gained popularity in the 90s but quickly became a must-have for modern fashionistas. Their comfort, versatility, and style make them an iconic staple to wear every day. 

Bicycle shorts are typically made from stretchy materials, such as nylon or polyester. They fit your body’s unique shape, with some styles offering added stomach support. 

You’ll never have to worry about your thighs chafing with their length, but they’re also short enough for most looks. 

Pairing bicycle shorts is the easiest thing to do, as they work with relatively anything. For running errands, you can choose linen-blend shirts or men’s dress shirts. They also work perfectly with dressier footwear or more casual, strappy or slip-on sandals . 

It’s also important to note they come in an assortment of colors. If you need a quick and comfortable pair of everyday shorts, bicycle shorts are considered the best things. 

Be Summer Ready! 

When building your summer capsule wardrobe, you need few quality staples in your collection. With the help of these everyday essentials, you’ll have all of the basics needed to build a classy wardrobe. You’ll also find you can look your best while staying comfortable on the year’s warmest days. 

Now you’re ready to fill and personalize your summer capsule wardrobe, it’s time to shop and this Summer Capsule Shopping List can help narrow down your choices. 

minimalistic summer wardrobe

Do you have a fashion or style question? You can contact me here! Or Book a FREE Discovery Styling Call with me!


I’m Linda, your go to Stylist, Personal Shopper and Curator.

Whether we can walk together down the streets of Paris, or you would prefer the contactless virtual experience, I will enhance your wardrobe through inspiration, styling tips and tricks, and a curated shopping experience.

Read more about my story here.

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My daughter and I just got back from an fabulous shopping tour with Linda. The experience was fabulous from start to finish. Linda communicated with me via email and WhatsApp and she asked lots of questions about both me and my daughter’s style and our shopping needs and wants. She went above and beyond to help make the experience amazing. She took us to stores where she had hand picked items for both of us. Shopping in Paris can be overwhelming especially with a picky teen, but Linda really delivered. She also gave us great shopping recommendations for the rest of our day. Highly recommend her services!!!!
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Our afternoon with Linda was absolutely fantastic, and one we’ll never forget! We all (daughters 11, 14, and myself) found special items we are so excited about, and never would’ve found the fantastic clothes or brands she pointed out to us if it weren’t for her. She gave us advice on what worked and what didn’t, helped bridge the language barrier, and made 3 hours fly by. I would (hopefully will!) do it again in a heartbeat!!
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Linda hosted a Fashionista Experience for me, my 13YO and our 22YO friend. She has the best personality and style ideas. Her kindness and professionalism with my family and with store personnel was so very impressive as was her rapport with the saleswomen in the stores. Of our 10 days in Paris, this was one of our favorite outings and so different than anything else we did. No pressure to buy and such an in-depth knowledge of the area. When we ran out of time, she walked us by all the other places she didn't want us to miss. What a gem. Book her while you can.
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My favorite part was our guide, Linda! she was so kind and professional. She worked so well with both my granddaughters. They thought she was terrific. She understood their existing styles and preferences but then added tips and encouragement to update their current looks. Going shopping with Linda was my granddaughter's favorite part of the trip!
Lester S
Outstanding experience for a teen!
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Linda was superb: extremely organized and had clothes prepared in advance. And she gets along great with teenage girls—what else can you ask for? Thank you Linda!
Jessica s
The Perfect Experience!
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Linda asked many questions during the booking concerning budget, style, sizes, interest. It maximized our time together and led to some marvelous new and vintage finds. It was so much fun, too! Highly recommended experience for mother/daughter combo.
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Linda is not only an exquisite person, she is incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and a wonderful teacher. She is a brilliant fashion mentor, advising clients on everything from building the perfect capsule wardrobe to styling with fun accessories to suggesting shops that carry the perfect one-of-a-kind items to complete your look. I highly recommend an experience with Linda!
simdor72
Guided shopping and styling in Paris with a teen
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Linda was really lovely , and patient too. She’s already selected many pieces for my teen ( and me) and was encouraging and supportive in her finding and exploring style . She was budget conscious and had a great eye and method of helping us to choose clothes .
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