Summer Work Capsule Wardrobe: How to Stay Stylish and Cool

April 28, 2023

How do you look professional and stylish daily at the office — even in the hottest months of the year? With a women’s summer work capsule wardrobe.

Capsule wardrobes are a smart, stress-free (and more sustainable) way to approach your personal style. You’ll have the right pieces in your closet that you can easily mix and match without a second thought.

In this article, we’re covering why we recommend this approach (especially for summer). Plus, we’re sharing four core pieces every woman should have in their warm-weather capsule wardrobe, and three easy outfit formulas.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a streamlined collection of clothes that all go together and compliment each other. Every piece has a purpose and goes with most (if not all) of the other items in the wardrobe. It’s all about creating more outfits, with less stuff!

The goal of building a capsule wardrobe is to make the most outfits from the least amount of clothes.

In short, less is more. That’s why some people also call these “minimalist wardrobes.”

Creating a capsule wardrobe allows you to:

– Focus on quality over quantity.
– Spend less time shopping and creating outfits.
– Delete the excess clothes from your closet that aren’t serving you or your style goals.
– Dress for where you are in your life now rather than holding on to past versions of yourself.

That’s why this type of wardrobe is so useful for building a work wardrobe. Busy professionals can look great while focusing on what really matters. It’s why we use it with all of our Next Level Wardrobe clients.

Pros of Summer Work Capsule Wardrobe

Let’s talk specifically about the summer work capsule wardrobe. Here’s why this styling method is ideal for high temperatures.

1. Minimalism and summer go hand in hand.

Think about what would feel best on a long, hot day.

Complicated outfits with too many layers and accessories that take time out of your already jam-packed schedule?

Or grabbing a couple of quick, lightweight pieces that you know will keep you comfy all day? A summer minimalist wardrobe is the way to go. Again, more outfits with less clothing.

2. Seasonal work capsule wardrobes keep you organized.

If you’re not already organizing your closets by season, this is your sign to do so. When you look at your closet, you should be able to easily spot the pieces you’re actively wearing and know every piece of your closet.

Before the start of a new season, swap out the pieces you’ll no longer need for the next few months. (In fact, go ahead and take this as an opportunity to clean out your closet!) Then, sub in those that work for this time of year.

3. It makes looking professional a hundred times easier.

So many people struggle with building outfits that fit their office dress codes that also feel comfortable on hot days.

After all, shorts don’t cut it in most professional environments.

But with a business capsule wardrobe, that’s no longer an issue. You have a lineup of ensembles you know work for the weather and your schedule.


Because you invested time beforehand to intentionally pick out the right pieces. You have piece-of-mind knowing that no matter what the day throws at you, your outfits are up to the challenge.

4 Must-Have Pieces for a Summer Work Capsule Wardrobe

Have we convinced you to try out a women’s work capsule wardrobe? Great! Now let’s move on to what you’ll need to start building your summer work capsule wardrobe:

1. Lightweight blouses
2. Dresses
3. Work-ready sandals
4. Pants in natural fibers

These four core items are all you need to create a versatile wardrobe for office days. Keep scrolling to learn why it’s worth investing in these pieces and our top product recommendations.

Capsule Wardrobe: Summer Work Blouses

Lightweight blouses should be a cornerstone of your business casual capsule regardless of the season.

You can easily layer them up in transitional seasons like spring and fall, or wear them as-is when in summer.

Whether you’re wondering what to wear in NYC when it’s hot or you live in a southern climate, these are a lifesaver.

Just opt for lightweight options like silk, linen, or viscose when selecting your capsule wardrobe summer work blouses. Do that and you’re sure to stay cool while looking polished.

Reiss Taylor V Neck Shell For Womens Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Product by Reiss, shop here.

To keep your blouses dress code-friendly, make sure you have some level of shoulder coverage. You can do a short sleeve or a thick strap like the one this black v-neck from Reiss features.

You can quickly throw a blazer on top for a meeting or go without on your lunch break.

Violetta Pleated Sleeveless Top

Product by Hobbs London, shop here.

Want something more conservative for your summer work capsule wardrobe? Opt for this high-neck style from Hobbs London, seen above. You get coverage at the neckline without sacrificing comfort and airiness for your arms.

Tuck it into a pair of cropped trousers and add on closed-toe slip-ons to finish the ensemble.

Easy-to-Wear Dresses

Dresses are the ultimate one-and-done outfit. So it’s no surprise that they’re a staple style in any good summer business casual capsule wardrobe.

You can throw one on even on your busiest mornings and still look like you put time into your outfit. Plus, they’re much more breezy and breathable than a suit. Bonus- no coordinating a top and bottom.

Dresses are also perfect for expecting women, so if you’re struggling to style summer pregnancy clothes, this is for you.

T Tahari Judianne Short Sleeve Fitted Sheath Dress

Product by T Tahari, shop here.

No matter where you work, a sheath dress is always a good idea. Try something like this classic option from T Tahari. The simple design makes it a cinch to dress up or down for any occasion.

Need to hop on a conference call? Pop on a lightweight layering piece to frame your outfit.

Heading to a patio dinner after work? Add a pendant necklace and strappy sandals.

Product by Ralph Lauren, shop here.

One of the business casual summer dresses you need to add to your closet asap is a wrap dress.

For one, this style works on all body types. Whether you’re looking for what to wear in the summer as a plus-size woman, a straight-size, petite, etc. this is the look for you.

Wrap dresses like this white option above from Ralph Lauren accentuate the waist, and complement curves, all while looking professional.

Capsule Wardrobe: Business Casual Summer Sandals

Every capsule wardrobe needs business casual summer shoes. Today, we recommend you find the perfect pair of sandals.

Why? Because they’re comfortable, practical, and they look good. These are especially a must for clients that want a walking-friendly alternative to heels. You still get to show off your style without making your feet suffer.

A lot of women hear sandals and think that that’s too casual for a summer work capsule wardrobe.

But if you pick a neutral shoe made of high-quality materials, you’ll look the part no matter what. Stick to colors like black or brown and textiles like leather or jute.

Product by Jimmy Choo, shop here.

If you want to feel on-trend without looking “trendy,” slide on these Jimmy Choos. The knot-strap style is just the right amount of pizazz without going over the top.

It won’t distract from your outfit and you can walk all day in these.

Vince Women's Pia Wedge Mule Sandals

Product by Vince, shop here.

Or if you want a bit of height, these heeled mules from Vince are an easy-to-pair option. Try these with a wrap dress or a wide-leg pair of pants.

Pants in Natural Fabrics

Speaking of pants, it’s time to check out the best bottoms for a women’s business capsule wardrobe in the summertime.

The key to not hating your pants during a heat wave is to prioritize investing in breathable fabrics. Natural fibers such as cotton and linen will keep you a hundred times cooler than polyester and won’t trap heat.

If you’re worried about wrinkles or stretchiness, you can always opt for a blend with a small amount of synthetics.

The next thing to keep in mind is the silhouette of your pants. Play around with cropped hems and wide legs to maximize comfort.

Stories Linen Wide Cut Trousers

Product by Stories, shop here.

This summer, embrace a relaxed style and linen with these light beige pants from Stories. (You can also buy them in a minty green if you want to play with seasonal shades.)

Create a power casual ensemble by partnering them with a tucked-in tee and loafers.

Remain Linen Beryl Side Slit Trousers

Product by Remain, shop here.

Dreaming of something airy to add to your summer work capsule wardrobe? Pull on these pale blue pants by Remain. Style them with tan sandals and a matching blazer for a summer twist on corporate casual attire.

3 Ways to Style Your Business Casual Summer Capsule Wardrobe

We’ve laid out how to build a work wardrobe for hot weather. Finally, let’s cover how to turn those pieces into outfits.

Below we’ve come up with three simple ways to style your business casual summer capsule wardrobe pieces.

Think of these as formulas. That way, you can plug in various items from your closet and have an endless rotation of looks.

Summer Work Capsule Wardrobe Outfits: Lighten Up

One way to instantly summer-ify your business casual work capsule wardrobe is with light colors.

For one, light colors don’t trap heat the way dark colors do. Just switching to lighter shades will make a huge difference.

For another, visually, light colors signify warmer, livelier seasons.

If you’re new to the light side, ease yourself in. Try camel-brown pants with a white blouse. Or a light gray dress.

But if you’re feeling bold, go for something like the photo above. Tuck a cream-colored top into matching trousers and finish the look with sandals in the same color. Add a black or brown belt for definition, and you’re good to go.

Outfits for a Summer Work Capsule Wardrobe: Show Your Layers

If there’s one thing we love for a summer capsule wardrobe, it’s finding new ways to style classic pieces. A great place to start is with your favorite blazer.

Blazers and structured layering pieces are a workwear go-to. But in the summer months, it’s less practical to put on a traditional suit. Instead, we recommend wearing a blazer over a dress.

Pick out a simple sheath or shirt-dress style that won’t compete with your blazer. We love the contrast of the cream-colored jacket over the navy-blue dress.

This is also an ideal option for anyone working from home. You’ll look perfectly professional for any Zoom calls while keeping cool.

Summer Work Capsule Wardrobe Outfits: Off-Duty Style, On the Clock

Our last outfit formula for you to try is this straightforward yet chic look. All you have to do is take your airy blouse, tuck it into relaxed trousers, and add low-profile sandals.

Why does this work look?

1. Core colors. Core colors include black, white, navy, and grey. These colors easily mix and match with each other and with most other colors. If you make your outfit out of these main shades, you never have to worry about clashing.

2. Fit. The pants are well-tailored to the body and the tucked-in shirt defines the waist. Plus, it prevents it from looking sloppy. If you take the time to ensure your clothes fit, you’re much more likely to look and feel put together.

A summer work capsule wardrobe should feel effortless and that’s the vibe we get from the combination above.

Want help learning how to build a summer wardrobe?

Apply for Next Level Wardrobe’s personal styling services or women’s image consulting services. We have a team of experts ready to find your style and change how you shop for good. From creating a flawless business casual wardrobe capsule to building your personal brand through fashion, we’ve got you covered.

About the Author - Cassandra Sethi
About the Author - Cassandra Sethi

Personal Stylist & Image Consultant

Cassandra Sethi is a Personal Stylist and Founder of Next Level Wardrobe, a luxury Personal Styling and Shopping Service that helps successful professionals of all ages and sizes. After working in the fashion industry for over 25 years, she used her expert knowledge to create a proprietary styling system called ‘The Next Level Wardrobe Style System' which guarantees clients more outfits with less items in their closet. NLW has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Tamron Hall Show, NY Mag, Huffington Post and more.

*Disclosure: Next Level Wardrobe only recommends products that we’d suggest to our clients or personally wear ourselves. All opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, Next Level Wardrobe may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

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Cassandra Sethi

is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. She is the Founder of Next Level Wardrobe and 'The NLW Style System' that guarantees clients more outfits with less items.

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