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A Summer Capsule Wardrobe for Maximalists Like Me
06.25.19

As much as I might entertain the fantasy from time to time, I’m not a capsule wardrobe kind of gal. I’m sartorially fickle, and I like options. That being said, as my favorite season approaches, I’ve started to notice that while I don’t have a capsule wardrobe, I do have a seasonal wardrobe—a handful of pieces that consistently make it into my outfit rotation, albeit mixed and matched with plenty of other stuff.

Despite only recently realizing it even existed, becoming more mindful about this collection of things I routinely gravitate toward has been an unexpected boon to my process of getting dressed. On top of that, it’s also proven to me that clothes don’t have to be basic in order to function as basics. Scroll down to see the various components of my summer wardrobe core, and feel free to steal it (I can vouch for its efficacy)—or (!) jump to the comments and tell me what’s in yours.

SZ Blockprint Kitty Dress

I wear (and will continue to wear) this caftan at least once a week all summer. It’s super lightweight cotton to the point of being almost sheer, which makes it the perfect weight for sticky subway rides and long walks alike. It’s comfortable but still makes me feel put-together, and it looks good with a tweed jacket or sweater when confronted with an AC-blasted office—something you can’t say about every lightweight cotton caftan.

Entireworld Muscle T-Shirt

I’ve already written about this tank in my story about summer turtlenecks, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also include it here. It is the *perfect* cut for a muscle t-shirt hitting (and not hitting) at all the right places. I love it so much I will continue to wear it incessantly despite the fact that a pair of red underwear smuggled its way inside my white laundry load last week, thus dying it faintly pink. This item is probably the most basic basic in my wardrobe core, but seems to stand out nonetheless. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me where it’s from, but my vague estimate is: a lot.

& Other Stories White Denim Midi Skirt

My skirt from & Other Stories is old, so I linked to this seriously IDENTICAL one from Urban Outfitters above, but here it is again for good measure. It actually costs exactly the same amount as what I paid for mine in 2016, which is $60. A veritable steal for a skirt you’ll wear with everything and anything from now until September, but also probably long past that as well because this baby looks great with tights, too.

Leather Ancient Greek Sandals

I buy a new pair of leather Ancient Greek Sandals every summer because I’ll have inevitably worn through my last pair the summer prior due to such frequent use (I have yet to find a pair that withstands it, but do tell if you have!). In addition to being the ideal strappy summer sandal aesthetically speaking, they’re also one of the few that requires no breaking in. Yep. No blisters, even the first time you wear them. This summer, I got these.

Repeller Jumbo Barrette

The Repeller Jumbo Barrette has been available to shop since midnight this morning, but I received my personal order last week and LET ME TELL YOU it’s as great as it looks. I have a ton of hair and it holds it super securely, but I also let a friend with much thinner hair try it on and it did the job swimmingly for her as well. It’s a necessary component of my summer wardrobe core in that it keeps my hair sweater off my sweaty face and is neutral yet spicy enough to take any (and I mean any) outfit from zero to 60.

LoveShackFancy Flower Cardigan

The blue flower cardigan I have from LoveShackFancy seems to be sold out everywhere from here to kingdom come (I searched and searched 4 u!), but I found this pink version on sale at Poshmark, and this fun argyle alternative. Also a big fan of this one dropping in the fall. Anyway, there’s something about the floral appliqués that make a cozy knit feel irreverently defiant against the idea that it might be a little bit cold, which is why it’s such a great summer sweater. It keeps you warm physically while reminding you emotionally that ’tis the season for flower petals, not snowflakes. A very important task for any member of my wardrobe core.

Tory Burch Wide-Leg Pants

One of my more recent wardrobe core acquisitions, these pants earned their place as a surefire summer staple the moment I tried them on. They’re the perfect weight and silhouette for this season—light and accommodating, but not to the extent that they lose the integrity of structure and fit. As a bonus, they also humor my fantasies of making this past winter’s #stickofbutter rampage a 365-day affair. Oh also! They’re on sale and qualify for an extra 25% off with the code EXTRA according to Tory Burch’s website.

Jockey Full-Cut Briefs

Okay, I lied when I said the Entireworld muscle tee was my most basic summer basic, but do these high-waist briefs get extra fashion points for basically being what Carrie Bradshaw wears in that scene when she tugs on Aidan’s you-know-nuts? Regardless, putting these on feels like giving your hips the hug they deserve. I love wearing them under slightly sheer white dresses during the summer–and/or nightgowns I’m appropriating as daywear.

What’s in your summer wardrobe core?

Photo by Madeline Montoya.

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