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How to Create a Summer Holiday Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget

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When it comes to planning for a summer holiday, one of the most common challenges we face is deciding what to pack. We often end up with overflowing suitcases and a feeling that we still don't have enough options. That's where the concept of a capsule wardrobe comes in—a carefully curated collection of versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create numerous stylish outfits. 

Not only does a summer holiday capsule wardrobe save you time and stress, but it can also save you money. 

In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of a capsule wardrobe and provide you with valuable tips on creating one for your upcoming summer holiday while staying within your budget.

How to Create a Summer Holiday Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget

The Benefits of a Summer Holiday Capsule Wardrobe

A summer holiday capsule wardrobe is a great way to save time, money, and stress. By carefully selecting a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched, you can create a stylish and cohesive wardrobe that will last you all season long.

Here are just a few of the benefits of creating a summer holiday capsule wardrobe: 

  • Less time spent shopping: With a capsule wardrobe, you'll spend less time browsing stores or scrolling through online shops. Instead, you can focus on finding a few key pieces that will work well together.

  • Less money spent on clothes: By intentionally selecting versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched, you'll find yourself needing fewer items overall. This means you can allocate your budget more efficiently and invest in higher-quality pieces that will last longer.

  • A more stylish and cohesive wardrobe: A capsule wardrobe encourages thoughtful selection and coordination of items. As a result, you'll have a wardrobe that seamlessly blends together, making it easier to create stylish and put-together looks.

  • Eco-friendly: Buying better quality clothes and less clothes helps towards a more sustainable future.
  • Less stress: A capsule wardrobe can help you reduce stress in your life. You'll no longer have to worry about what to wear each day, and you'll be able to pack light when you travel.

If you're looking for a way to save time, money, and stress this summer, I encourage you to create a capsule wardrobe. You won't regret it!

10 Essential Pieces for a Summer Holiday Capsule Wardrobe

For your summer holiday, you’ll only need ten essential pieces to create a capsule wardrobe that will see you through your entire sun-filled vacation.  Beach and pool holidays are particularly easy to pack minimally for.  So many of the items can be mixed and matched, and used for both day and night when the weather is good.  Here are the ten items you’ll need.  For some, you’ll need two or three to ensure you have enough items for variety.

  1. Summer holiday tops

Opt for approximately three lightweight and breathable tops such as a flowy blouse, a camisole, and 1-2 basic tees. These should be in versatile colours that can easily be mixed and matched with different bottoms and layered with light cardigans or jackets for cooler evenings.  Choose patterns or block colours that can satisfy day and evening wear.

  1. Bottoms

Include three adaptable options such as a pair of denim shorts, some black linen pants that can be dressed up or down, and a comfortable skirt or another pair of smarter shorts. These pieces should be able to be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and paired with each of the summer holiday tops to create different day and night looks.

  1. Dresses 

Pack a couple of summer dresses that can be worn during the day or dressed up for a night out. Choose breathable fabrics like cotton or linen, and consider versatile styles that can be accessorised in different ways.

  1. Swimwear

Look for a tankini that can double as beachwear and a top. Tankinis offer the flexibility to pair them with skirts or denim shorts for a casual day look, and easily transform into swimwear for a refreshing dip in the pool or ocean.  See what I mean by browsing the tankini tops at Lands' End where you’ll find tulip hems, wrap tops and bandeaus that can all double up as tops for the daytime, as well as being used for swimwear at the pool or beach.

  1. Pool/ Beach Cover-up

Don't forget to pack a lightweight and stylish cover-up that can be worn over your swimwear. It provides extra protection from the sun and adds a fashionable touch to your beach or poolside look.  A long sarong is the ideal beach cover-up that can be wrapped in a variety of ways to create different outfits both day and night.  You can wrap a sarong as a skirt with a top, or you can wrap it as a dress.  Opt for a shimmer or black colour to create a beautiful evening look with sparkle sandals.

  1. Evening Outerwear

Even during summer holidays, evenings can sometimes get chilly. Pack a light cardigan or jacket that can be layered over your outfits to keep you warm and stylish.

  1. Summer Holiday Footwear

Choose footwear that can adapt to different activities. A comfortable pair of either sandals or sneakers can be suitable for sightseeing, beach walks, or casual dinners, ensuring both comfort and style.  Or a pair of TOMS is ideal for both.  For the evening, one pair of sparklier sandals may be required!  Shoes can take up some suitcase space, so try choosing one day pair and one evening pair, and then wear some sneakers for the journey. 

  1. Accessories

Don't underestimate the power of accessories to elevate your outfits. Pack an oversized floppy straw hat to protect yourself from the sun, sunglasses for both style and UV protection, and a few statement pieces of summer jewellery such as a large bangle or beaded anklet to add flair to your looks.

  1. Beach bag 

Invest in a spacious beach bag that can hold your essentials like sunscreen, a towel, your self-cleaning water bottle, and a good book. Look for a durable and stylish option that complements your overall summer aesthetic.

  1. Summer dress

Consider packing a cover-up summer dress that can be worn over your swimwear but also doubles as a chic dress for casual outings or a beachside lunch. Choose a lightweight and flowy style that can transition seamlessly from day to night by adding your sparkly sandals and summer accessories to make it more glam.

By including these ten essential pieces in your summer holiday capsule wardrobe, you'll have a variety of outfit options that can be mixed and matched to suit different occasions while on a beach vacation, all while keeping your packing light and summer holiday budget in check.

Tips for Finding Affordable Pieces for Your Summer Holiday Capsule Wardrobe

Creating a summer capsule wardrobe on a budget can be challenging, but it's definitely possible. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Thrift stores and consignment shops: These are great places to find unique and affordable pieces that are still in great condition. You may stumble upon hidden gems that perfectly fit your style and budget.

Online retailers: There are a number of online retailers that offer budget-friendly options. Be sure to check out sales, discounts, and clearance sections to find great deals on summer essentials.  Check out my blog post on how to save money on clothes when shopping online for more great tips.  Use the best cashback websites to save money on popular online stores.

Swap and borrow: Coordinate with friends or family members to borrow or swap items for your holiday. This not only helps you save money but also adds a touch of variety to your capsule wardrobe.

Focus on quality over quantity: It's better to invest in a few high-quality pieces of clothing that you can mix and match than a closet full of cheap clothes that you'll never wear again.

Take care of your clothes: The better you take care of your clothes, the longer they will last. Be sure to wash and dry them properly, and avoid putting them in the dryer if possible.

Use what you already have: Most people already have wardrobes bursting at the seams with clothes.  Sure, it might be nice to buy something new, but do you really need to?  It's highly likely you already have everything you need to create a perfect summer holiday wardrobe.  If not, just buy the pieces you absolutely need to keep costs down.

By implementing these tips, you can create a summer holiday capsule wardrobe that reflects your personal style without straining your budget. Remember, it's all about being resourceful, patient, and creative in your search for affordable fashion finds. 

Styling Your Capsule Wardrobe for Different Occasions 

Your summer holiday capsule wardrobe is not only about practicality but also about looking effortlessly stylish for different occasions. Here are some suggestions for styling your capsule wardrobe based on specific activities:

Beach days:

For a day of sun, sand, and relaxation, pair your swimwear with a lightweight cover-up, a wide-brimmed hat, and comfortable sandals. Don't forget to bring a tote bag to carry your beach essentials. If you want to switch up your beach attire, consider these additional outfit suggestions:

  • A sundress with a straw hat and flip-flops.

  • Board shorts with a tank top and flip-flops.

  • A rash guard with board shorts and flip-flops.

Poolside lounging:

When lounging by the pool, slip into a breezy maxi dress or a flowy jumpsuit. Complete your poolside look with oversized sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sun. Consider these additional outfit ideas:

  • A kaftan with a pair of flip-flops.

  • A swimsuit cover-up with a pair of sandals.

  • Shorts and a tank top with a pair of flip-flops.


For comfortable yet stylish outfits while exploring your destination, combine a pair of denim shorts with a loose blouse or a basic tee. Finish the look with comfortable sneakers or sandals and a crossbody bag to hold your essentials. Here are more outfit suggestions for sightseeing:

  • Khaki pants with a button-down shirt and loafers.

  • A skirt with a blouse and flats.

  • A summer dress with sandals.

Dinner out:

When it's time for a nice dinner out, elevate your capsule wardrobe by accessorizing. Add a statement necklace or earrings to a simple outfit, or pair a dress with heels or a clutch for a more formal look. Here are some dinner outfit ideas: 

  • A skirt or dress with heels.

  • Slacks with a button-down shirt or blouse and dress shoes.

  • A suit with a tie or dress shoes.

By following these tips and adapting them to your personal style, you can create a stylish and versatile summer holiday capsule wardrobe that will effortlessly take you from the beach to sightseeing and dinner out.

Create a Summer Holiday Capsule Wardrobe You Love!

Creating a summer holiday capsule wardrobe on a budget is not only practical but also allows you to express your personal style. By carefully selecting versatile pieces and following the tips mentioned in this article, you can have a wardrobe that is both affordable and fashionable.

A capsule wardrobe offers numerous benefits, including saving time and money. With fewer items to choose from, you'll spend less time shopping and more time enjoying your vacation. By investing in high-quality pieces that can be mixed and matched, you'll save money in the long run and have a more cohesive wardrobe.

Here are a few final tips to help you get started:

  • Start by creating a list of the activities you will be doing on your holiday. This will help you determine the types of clothes you need.

  • Choose versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits.

  • Don't forget to pack accessories to add a touch of personality to your outfits.

  • Be sure to take care of your clothes so they will last longer.

  • When choosing colours, opt for neutrals that will go with everything.

  • Invest in a few high-quality pieces that will last for years.

  • Don't be afraid to mix and match different styles.

  • Have fun with your fashion and express your personal style.

So, as you embark on your summer holiday, be confident in the knowledge that you have a well-planned and budget-friendly wardrobe that will keep you looking chic and feeling comfortable throughout your vacation. Enjoy your travels and embrace the simplicity and style of a summer holiday capsule wardrobe!

Before you go…

Off to a summer festival this year and need an affordable outfit?  Check out this guide on how to dress for a summer festival on a budget