How to Build a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe

As temperatures soar and sun-kissed days stretch before us, you’ll be grateful for a summer capsule wardrobe

In a season that never sleeps, who has time for a fashion crisis? Simplifying your style choices is the key to making the most of this fleeting season.

The art of curating a capsule wardrobe lies in its simplicity. Don’t overthink it. Focus on colours you like, fabrics you gravitate towards, silhouettes that make you feel confident. Stay away from trends; focus on classics—think of it as a long-term investment. If you’re feeling overwhelmed already, we’ve got you. Here are 10 pieces to start your summer capsule wardrobe. These will be your core pieces that you can add one or two pieces to and make it truly your own.

1. Palister Dress by Arc’teryx (Veilance sublabel), $400

Airy and light, this dress looks like the perfect summer dress but also performs like a piece of high-tech clothing. Soft to the skin, it’s actually water-resistant, wind-resistant, breathable and unpacks without a wrinkle in sight. And, yes, it’s machine washable. The relaxed fit with its clean, structured lines gives shape without constriction. It’s the ideal refined dress for city summers. It drapes beautifully with a touch of stretch and has a kangaroo pocket in front. In the autumn, this will layer easily with a sweater on top or shirt underneath. But don’t rush past summer just yet; this innovative and versatile dress will see you through nearly every occasion this summer. There’s a reason why (as of the publication) this dress has a perfect 5 out of 5 rating with customers buying one in every colour.
Available online

2. The Nassaus Necklace and Bracelet Set by Hey Harper, $109

This jewellery is waterproof. That means you can wear it in the shower, in the pool, while you sweat and the colour will never fade or change. Hey Harper uses a technique called physical vapour deposition (VPD), which is a coating process that blasts a gold-coloured layer onto a stainless-steel base. They claim their PVD jewellery produces a finish that is “10 times” stronger than traditional finishes. Whether or not that’s true, their pieces definitely last significantly longer. This necklace and bracelet set is the ideal base for all your summer looks. Each piece stands up on its own for a clean, minimalist look, or works extremely well when layered. Do check their sizing guide though as the bracelets run small.
Available online

3. Juliana Water-Repellent Leather Sandals by Cougar, $140

Low-maintenance shoes are a must for summer and that includes being water-resistant. Between surprise summer showers and impromptu visits to the beach, it’s best to be prepared. These puffy, strappy sandals take care of all that without sacrificing style or comfort. With a leather-wrapped padded footbed (and leather straps), these are incredibly comfy with just the right amount of a platform (non-slip to boot).
Available online

4. Invisible Reusable Nipple Stickies by Threads, $25

Whether you just want to go braless or want more modesty in a swimsuit, these nipple covers are perfect. Made from medical-grade silicone, they cover a large area that taper to completely seamless, undetectable edges. They’re sticky enough so they won’t budge but come off incredibly easily and painlessly. They mould incredibly well to a variety of breast shapes and sizes making it look like you have nothing on at all. Wash with soap and water after each use (use the original box and plastic liners) and with proper care, they’ll last up to 30 wears. Available in four skin-tone shades.
Available online

5. Layla Linen Skirt by Reformation, $228

This pull-on black linen maxi skirt is a chameleon. Made of a weighty linen, it isn’t sheer and won’t crease nearly as easily as lightweight linen. Wear it with a crop top, oversized button-up or paired with a blazer. It’s cut on the bias, meaning it drapes beautifully and also has a bit of natural stretch so it won’t inhibit your stride. The simple elasticated waist keeps things minimal and also allows you to shimmy it up to turn it into a strapless dress in an instant. The flowing A-line is gorgeous for summer, but you can belt it for more definition. The sizing runs large on this so size down (really).
Available online

6. Washed Linen Long Sleeve Dress by Muji, $109.90

The pre-washed texture of this piece is so soft and comfortable. Size up in this for a cool, oversized Japandi vibe. It’s flowy and classic as a dress, or wear it open as a topper or use it as a dramatic swimsuit coverup. It’s a dress of a thousand styles that will be a wardrobe staple for decades.
Available online

7. No-Show Biker Short by Siella, $35

Not everyone has a thigh gap. And in the summer when you want to wear cute skirts and dresses, the chafing can be a vibe killer. These biker shorts are made from a unique soft nylon blend that feel like you’re not wearing anything at all while providing a little slip where it’s needed. The seven-inch inseams prevent chafing and unwanted flashing while you’re wearing your favourite short skirts and dresses. They’re high-wasted for extra comfort and have laser-cut edges for a perfectly seamless finish.
Available online

8. Rowena Sleeveless Midi Dress by Stine Goya, $375

For a pop of print and colour, this Stine Goya micro-check dress offers both in a way that works well with a closet full of neutrals. Pair it with shoes and bags in classic white, black or navy, or lean into your maximalist side and pull out your neon yellow handbag and grass-green strappy heels. Sustainably designed from recycled polyester, this A-line silhouette has an elasticated waistband you can tailor with adjustable ties.
Available online

9. Black Crinkle Cotton Kimono & Shorts Set by LIVOM, $60 (top) and $50 (shorts)

It’s all about matching sets this year and this is the most versatile one you could hope for. Made of a lightweight, gauzy crinkle cotton, the top is structured like a cropped kimono jacket—but not too short—just short enough to make the boxy, oversized cut look defined without overwhelming. The matching shorts are a high-waisted pull-on style. Together, it looks smart yet relaxed. Order your usual size if you plan on wearing it as daywear; size up if you aim for more lounge-y vibes. And, obviously, the top and shorts can be worn separately, doubling your wardrobe options.
Available online

10. Oversized Sunglasses By Liberty London collaboration with Specsavers, $299

These oversized bow-shaped sunglasses by British heritage luxury department store Liberty finish off your summer capsule wardrobe with timeless elegance. Liberty is renowned for its exceptionally intricate original textile prints, so this collaboration wouldn’t be complete without a touch of Liberty’s signature florals. Front-facing, the sunglasses are nothing but quiet luxury. But turn the head and you’ll get a glimpse of what made Liberty famous. The deep acetate sides feature a beautiful pink and green floral pattern known as the Alicia Black print. This art-nouveau archive print was originally created for Liberty in 1897 and features trailing lotus flowers and swirling foliage and stems that form into patterned heart shapes.
Available online