How many items should be in a minimalist summer wardrobe?
Updated: Mar 1
Summer months bring warmer weather in our area. Parse down your closet or wardrobe for those hot summer days into a minimalist summer wardrobe and make getting dressed easier!
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Why Create a Minimalist Summer Wardrobe
In another blog post, 12 Essentials on a Minimalist Wardrobe Checklist, I shared that a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of items that can be worn together. Carving out a seasonal minimalist capsule wardrobe from your entire collection has several advantages:
Less options eases the decision making process of getting dressed
Key pieces can be rotated and mixed and matched
Keep what you love, even if it’s not on your color palette
Seasonal pieces can be highlighted and ensure you wear what you own
Different ways to wear the same shirt and minimize the items you keep
Wearing an item more than once before laundering - do laundry less often
How to Create a Minimalist Summer Wardrobe
Parse your closet down to select pieces and set up a capsule wardrobe
Declutter items that you do wear or like
Shop at thrift stores for new pieces that have the fabrics and colors you like
Consider a simple color palette to mix and match easily
Learn your personal style and shop for what you like
Dress for your body shape
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is simply a small collection of items that can be worn together. One pair of pants with three different shirts. One shirt with three different shorts.
A capsule wardrobe approach may work to create your summer wardrobe collection.
How many items should be in a minimalist summer wardrobe?
I cannot imagaine myself telling anyone in this world the number of clothes, plates, or shoes she should keep. In this post, I offer 12 starter pieces to kick off your wardrobe organization and categorization.
Over time, I've collected more than 50 items using these baseline categories to cultivate a closet I love. Now, 25 of those can be pulled out for summer and the rest can be set aside as out of season clothing.
The number of items to keep in a minimalist summer wardrobe is entirely up to you.
The pieces that work for your body shape, the fabrics that make you feel fantastic, and the fits you adore. You deserve to be happy when you get dressed.
You may have heard of 10 item wardrobes or Project 333. Both approaches could help get your items collected and ultimately cultivate a wardrobe you love.
Project 333 suggests keeping 33 items in your wardrobe for 3 months. Courtney Carver is the mastermind author behind Project 333, and she says:
“Project 333™ is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.”
Un-Fancy kicks off a season with a 10 x 10 challenge of 10 items for 10 days. Per her website:
“Here’s how it works: Pick 10 items of clothing from your closet. Include tops, bottoms, and shoes for your everyday life. Don’t include accessories, outerwear, bags, PJs, or gym clothes — they can flow in and out freely. Then, for 10 days, create a new outfit each day using your 10 items.”
Here’s my answer to how many items I keep in any capsule wardrobe: I let laundry be my guide. Could I wear the same 10 items in rotation for 10 days? Sure. Do I want to? No. I like to change it up based on my mood, what time I woke up, what I need to do in a day, and where I need to go.
Typically, I cycle at least one load of laundry per day for my family of five. I wash everyone’s clothes in Dropps laundry detergent, and I wash darks with darks, lights with lights, etc. and throw everyone’s dirty clothes in together.
The number of items you keep does not matter as you long as you use it, need it, or love it.
25 Piece Minimalist Summer Wardrobe for 2022
This itemized list is a capsule wardrobe for summer.. from my closet. Your list may not include tank tops. Or maybe your list includes a light jacket if you have cooler days.
Your list may not include 25 pieces. More or less does not matter as long as you enjoy wearing your selections.
The idea behind this list is to provide inspiration to consider your current wardrobe and how you can parse it down for summer.
Here's a fun image of my summer wardrobe for 2022! I added a five circle color palette so you can see how I would mix and match items.
5 sleeveless shirts
1. Everlane smock top (link, but looks sold out)
2. Purple (link not available)
3. Blue flower (link not available)
4. Peach (link not available)
5. White eyelet boho (link)
8 short sleeve shirts
6. Mint polka dot (link not available)
7. Mint sweater short sleeve (link)
8. Mint solid t shirt from TJ Maxx (link not available)
9. Black t shirt (link)
10. Blue t shirt (link)
11. Green dressy (link)
12. Blue polka dot (link)
13. Petal sleeve in “greygreen” color (link)
3 capri jeans
14 + 15. capri jeans from kohls (link)
16. capri jeans from j jill (link not available)
17. Black thrifted (link)
18. Black Lee (link not available)
19. Green thrifted (link)
20. Blue Kohl's (link)
21. Flowery cream (link not available)
22. Blue white stripe (link)
23. Christy dawn (link not available)
24. White smock top dress thrifted from thredup (link)
25. brown skirt thrifted from thredup (link)
These are the Jockey shorts I wear with dresses and skirts.
Also, I wear these Amazon tank tops as undershirts, essentially.
How to Mix and Match Clothes
Mix and match outfits from this list may include white jeans, a shirt with neutral tones, and a straw hat. Pair that same shirt with white denim shorts and a denim jacket (if you have cooler nights. Grab that same denim jacket and change into one of your favorite summer dresses for a third outfit.
Using neutral colors for a few tops creates multiple options with a pair of skinny is a great way to extend your minimalist wardrobe for the summer season.
My Summer Wardrobe
I shared my own summer capsule wardrobe in this video. After a declutter a month before, I ended up with about 50 pieces in my entire wardrobe. There are 20 versatile pieces in my summer wardrobe.
I love a good fit, white t-shirt for the summer days, but I cannot keep a white shirt clean. I dribble coffee, get dirty in my garden, or the kids mess it up.
For date night or special occasions, I dress up with one of my summer dresses and my everyday sandals.
What should you do with the off season clothes?
My entire wardrobe including my winter capsule wardrobe hangs out in my closet year round. I have the closet space. However, if you do not have the space or if you wish to have the off season clothes out of sight (like your trench coat or leather jacket), try storing clothes in
waterproof plastic bins in your basement or garage
linen or cotton storage containers in another closet
containers designed to fit under beds
in any extra cabinets you have (like your laundry room or kids closets)
vacuum sealed clothes bags
While it is a good idea for certain items, not everything can be stored with vacuum sealed bags. Some clothing has natural fibers that need to “breathe” and can warp or become misshapen in a sealed bag without air.
Puffy jackets - anything made with down or fluffy cotton stuffing - should also not be vacuum sealed into clothing bags. Note that things like snow gloves, jackets, and pillows often contain these fabrics. Lastly, wool, silk, and cashmere will also not recover well from vacuum sealing.
I store out-of-season clothing in Rubbermaid plastic bins in my boy’s closet or in the basement. I have dozens of these bins after three years of decluttering, and I’m a fan of using what you have first.
However, according to The Organized Home:
"Your clothing needs to breathe. Plastic bags from the dry cleaner, plastic bins, cardboard packaging—keep your clothes trapped in them, and you’ll risk mildew, insects, and yellowing. The best storage container for your seasonal clothing is made of either linen or cotton."
Read more about that here.
My personal style is a mixture of boho, relaxed, and coastal grandmother. Simplified Wardrobe has an amazing collection of personal style types with examples on their website. Find the link here.
What if you do not like the items in your closet?
Curating a closet you love takes time. It may take a long time, and may never actually end. Figuring out the fabrics you like, the clothing sizes that work for your body shape, and the colors that brighten your face takes time.
Identifying the items you no longer wish to own is the first step towards actually decluttering. Choosing to let go will launch you towards physically removing it from your home.
Take it one day, one shirt, one drawer at a time.
Decluttering is perpetual. Your interests, season of life, and needs change. Your wardrobe flexes with you as you declutter. Here are 6 steps you can drake to declutter your wardrobe and curate a closet you love.
If you use it, need it, or you love it, then keep it. If it doesn’t meet one of those expectations, then I encourage you to deeply consider decluttering it.
Thrifting is a great way to curate a closet with colors and fabrics you like. The “1 in 1 out minimalist rule” may help guide you. For every item you bring in, take one out.
Read this one next!