The Capsule Wardrobe Concept, Summer Edition

The term “capsule wardrobe” was originated by Susie Faux, the owner of Wardrobe, a London boutique the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is made up of timeless pants, skirts, tops, and dresses that can be supplemented with seasonal pieces. There have been more than a few renditions of this concept over the years.

In 1985, Donna Karan started her own brand (after 11 years of designing for Anne Klein) with “Seven Easy Pieces.” When I was pregnant, there was an essential pregnancy “kit” that included leggings, a tank, a skirt, and a dress. While one was designed for pregnancy and the other around a working woman, both of these ideas stemmed from the concept that with the right basics, dressing would be simple. Truth be told, capsule wardrobes need to be catered to a person’s lifestyle. What works for me may or may not work for you.

With this in mind, let’s take the “capsule” concept and value engineer it for the next three months. Sometimes I feel we get so overwhelmed with what we don’t have in our closets that we overbuy for our needs. While summer is hands down my favorite times of year, it’s certainly not due to all the great outfits that I get to wear. By August, I’m thrilled to get out of the house with some sort of semblance of polish that will breathe in the sweltering heat. Typically, fall and winter capsule wardrobes require a bit of an investment. Keeping temperature as a guide, the summer capsule wardrobe should be a bit easier to acquire.

Here are some guidelines that I use…

While summer is full of easy and affordable clothing, it’s still better to purchase with “quality over quantity” in mind. “Fast Fashion” really hurts the environment and I’m a firm believer in being more thoughtful with your purchases rather than just getting a good deal. Two or three high-quality, well-made pieces of clothing that will stand the test of time, lasting years instead of months, will actually save you money in the long term. Many woman just feel they don’t have the time to dedicate to finding the right pieces, thus “on the fly” decisions win over thoughtful…which eventually leaves you feeling empty.

Take the time to get the proper fit. I have been repairing items of my own this year as well as editing for fit. One of the frequent edits I make is in my shirts. I get the sides taken in or add a couple of darts in the back. Not only is the silhouette more flattering, but I choose to wear the pieces more because I feel good every time I put them on.

Just as you should do with your fall/winter wardrobe, add specific “forever” pieces to your summer wardrobe with bags and jewelry. Keeping a summer capsule wardrobe will have you relying on your accessories much more. You may recall that I wear my locket in the colder months. In the spring I swap out my staple jewelry selections to something more seasonal.

For the last two summers I’ve been wearing my ASHA skull and crossbones, which inevitably receives compliments and inquiries as to what this piece means to me. This year, I’m over the Harbour Island moon to add my Briland Coordinates pendant to my summer jewelry. I just need to have another charm engraved, “If found, return to…” and my summer necklace collection will be edited to my dreams!


Inspiration Looks & Products


  • The latest from Alicia
Alicia was born and raised in Alexandria, and married a local boy. She is happily married and the mother of two amazing children and one adorable and terribly smart border terrier named Dixie. Alicia has always known she was a creative. She collected editions of Vogue from junior high on and has always loved clothing and design. She studied interior design at VCU and parlayed that degree into commercial interior design, the web design, and ultimately found herself managing a local boutique and serving as a stylist to many Alexandrian women. She now has a successful full-time styling business, The Tulle Box, and makes it her business to make her clients feel great about themselves and the way they look.


  1. Avatar Susan G says:

    I love your quote on Minimalism! Great Article!

  2. Avatar Betsy Micklem says:

    Where do I find that gorgeous necklace in the big photo?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get your daily dose of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, and design. Locally sourced and locally styled!