Words by Danielle Whiteman
3 Minute Read
Share this article…
If you can get your summer ‘working’ wardrobe right, you’ll never utter the words ‘I don’t have anything to wear’ again! The sun has finally come out to play, so it’s time to ditch the layers and embrace your summer style.
Summer is about easy, breezy, simple styling. It’s about being able to throw together an outfit that ticks the ‘comfort’ box without compromising on style. If you’re anything like me, you tend to have a much busier social life during the summer months. This calls for a wardrobe of pieces you can mix and match to give you endless different looks. Where some capsule items may feel like a bit of a splurge, it’s helpful to bear the cost-per-wear in mind and always ask yourself ‘do I love it and do I want to wear it again tomorrow?’ If your answer is yes, and you have the budget, then some of these capsule pieces will be an investment you won’t regret.
A capsule wardrobe for Summer 2023:
The black midi dress
When you think of summer dressing, the colour black might not be your first thought, but in my opinion, a black dress can be even more chic than a white cotton dress. Opt for a classic midi that’s nipped in at the waist and choose simple shapes. A great black midi dress will be the most hard-working piece in your wardrobe, taking you effortlessly from day to night. This 90s shape Nobody’s Child, Black Linen-Blend Spaghetti Strap Maddy Midi Dress, £59 is lightweight and perfect for showing off slender shoulders on balmy days. If you’re looking to flatter a bigger bust, I love this New Look, Black Broderie Sleeve Midi Dress, £35.99. With the added ruffle on the straps it’s also a winner for anyone who might feel conscious about their upper arms. Both these dress options are super for dressing up and down.
Black linen trousers paired with a waistcoat
Sticking with the black theme, a summer wardrobe staple that everyone needs is a good pair of black linen trousers. There are sooo many options out there, but a great place to start for shape would be these Zara, Linen Wide-leg Trousers, £29.99.
Given their versatility, I do feel it’s worth investing in a black linen trouser that fits you like a glove. For a more premium option, have a look at these Jigsaw, Black Hopsack Blake Trousers, £140. Made from a heavier linen mix, they are the perfect happy medium between tailored and loose fit.
To catapult this look into 2023, pair it with a waistcoat…yes, I said a waistcoat! Waistcoats having a real moment which is marvellous for a smart office look or dressy enough for a dinner date. This Jigsaw, Hopsack Tailored Waistcoat, £140 and Zara, Waistcoat with Contrast Back, £32.99, co-ordinate with the trousers I have already mentioned, but can also be worn over dresses and with jeans or shorts.
The slip dress
A slip dress is a gorgeous throw-on piece. It’s a layering essential for your summer capsule wardrobe and I adore this H&M, Modal-Blend Deep Brown Spaghetti Strap Slip Dress, £17.99. Wear it simply as a slip by day or night and dress up or down with heels or flats. I love these simple barely-there wedges from Amazon, The Drop Women’s Black Sophia Two Strap Wedge, £28.06. They are a lovely update to classic barely-there heel, but with a wedge for a true summer vibe. If you’re thinking a slip dress isn’t for you, don’t forget that you don’t have to wear it as a simple slip. Try layering with an open white linen shirt like this Mango, White 100% Linen Shirt £35.99, or tie in the waist to accentuate the waistline. You can also wear a tee over the top to create a top and skirt look (Y2K are having a moment) or simply pair with a linen blazer.
Summer always goes hand in hand with the dreaded shorts – but you don’t need to fear them! Go for a tailored city short, which are slightly longer in length and tailored to be super flattering. I love these slightly longer length H&M, Linen Bermuda Shorts, £34.99, with a slight pleat adding just enough volume to give the look of movement. In terms of what to pair with a simple short, I’d recommend a top with a bit of detail, like this River Island, Co-ord Stripe Tie Front White Beach Shirt, £37. This shirt is a versatile piece that can be mixed with a linen trouser or even worn as a beach cover-up.
Let’s talk summer accessories, starting with something I’m sure we all have in our wardrobes…the wicker bag. Personally, I ditch my leather bags in the summer and rely solely on my wicker tote. Go for one that’s smaller than a beach bag but big enough to throw all your essentials into…and most crucially, one with a shoulder strap. I love this Zara, Woven Shoulder Tote Bag, £45.99.
If we’re talking sunnies, the shape for 2023 is the chic black angular cat eye and best of all, it’s super flattering for all face shapes! ASOS have these Topshop, Oversized Black Angular Cat-eye Sunglasses, £16 which are great value. I find a good pair of black sunglasses can really elevate a simple look.
Give your jewellery a summer update too. Ditch the heavy gold for some fun, colourful, beaded necklaces. Mango have some great pieces – like this Ceramic Shell Necklace, £22.99. Basically, choose anything with a bit of colour and throw some shells into the mix to inject some summer into any outfit.
Footwear-wise, keep it simple. A great tan barely-there sandal is THE perfect addition to any summer look and I love these Zara, Flat Sandals with Leather Straps, £45.99 with natural tones, linens and dresses.
If you’re looking to really splurge on a handmade leather pair, you can’t go wrong with Ancient Greek Sandals. They have so many perfect barely-there options, but I adore the Ancient Greek, Nima Sandals in Biscotto, £170. It’s a super flattering style, with no ankle strap, but cut asymmetrically. It sems that the chunky sandal is also here to stay, but I feel like a happy medium is needed for 2023. I love these Mango, Black Leather Strap Sandals, £49.99 for a chunky sandal look without the bulk, for adding an edge to summer dresses, tailored trousers etc.
I hope you find these recommendations helpful. Remember that the key to a capsule wardrobe is all about classic pieces that you can mix and match, not buying trends that come and go. I’m sure most of you have these capsule pieces in your wardrobe already – you may just wish to update one or two of them.
Good luck. See how many looks you can create! xx
Share this article…