Here’s a capsule wardrobe for a short trip to a casual destination with a predictable summer climate. I can expect daytime temperatures around 80º F and cool nights (≈55º F.)
I’m visiting family so I can borrow a jacket in a pinch.
It’s almost killing me to stick to such a boring palette. I keep wanting to sneak in more bright pieces in peachy coral and acid green. I. Will. Resist. Temptation!
This is all that I need, however, and I haven’t been feeling very well. I need to keep my bag to a manageable weight to avoid exacerbating my arthritis pain. Ruthless curation is the best way I know of to do so.
As is often the case due to my foot problems (more arthritis, plus a broken sesamoid bone), I began by choosing a summery pair of my favorite Ahnu Sugarpine sneakers. These are the lightweight, cooler mesh version.
Teva bought Ahnu, and now I’m afraid for the future of my favorite footwear
The soft colors get dingy fast, and this is my newest pair. That set my color palette to “baby blue.”
For summer, I wear a lot of UV protective clothing. I’m sensitive to chemical sunscreen (painful red rash) and mineral sunscreen (breakouts from the carrier cream, I assume.) I protect my skin instead with high UPF clothing and broad-brimmed hats.
All of the bottoms for this capsule are made by Coolibar. They are equivalent to a topical SPF of 50+.
The matching powder blue hoodie is also Coolibar; the tank is a coordinate from the same set.
My go to white, v-neck, faux wrap, kimono style tunic was made by ExOfficio. I liked it so much after wearing it for a season, I bought four more when they went on clearance. May I never live without this summer staple.
The other white woven top is a simple rayon tank sold by Dharma Trading Co as a blank canvas for fiber artisans. Once again, I bought these in bulk. They are long enough to cover my bum as a tunic with lightweight summer trousers, and they double up as minimalist nightgowns. It’s rare for me to travel without at least one of these, regardless of the season.
To these summer specific basics, I’m adding four cotton/Lycra layering tanks. My favorites remain the Duluth Trading Co No Yank Tanks. They are opaque enough to wear alone, but, more often, I add one under another top to keep warm (dawn and dusk), for more modesty, or to extend wears between washings of the more fashionable tops.
I could easily skip accessories for a summer trip. The truth is, when the temperature climbs above about 75º F, I start to remove necklaces, scarves, and sometimes even earrings. I’m really sensitive to hot weather, and every extra item annoys me.
Bonus points if you can identify the chemical symbol on this necklace given to me by my husband
Full wardrobe, including accessories at the upper right
With so little color in this capsule, and for very little extra weight, I went ahead and added a polka dot skinny scarf, one gold necklace, and two pairs of earrings—gold hoops, and light blue dangles.
I’m also bringing my summer “sandal alternatives”—a pair of lightweight grey mesh Mary Janes by Propet.
Two pairs of shoes is an extravagance, but these weigh very little, and I am sometimes undone by the immense weight of my own feet in tennis shoes when I’m feeling unwell, so I’m not willing to go without.
Add socks (7 pairs, mostly tiny anklets), undergarments, and one more rayon tank for nightwear, and I have plenty of options for a six day trip. Unless I spill on myself (not unlikely *ahem*), I won’t need to do laundry, either.
Packing it all in my Rolo bag weighs in at a whopping 5 lb 4 oz. I can manage that over my shoulder, and it will be easy to stow overhead.
I will also carry my Western Flyer in backpack mode loaded with everything else: handbag, Bluetooth keyboard, medication, toiletries, and a slew of comfort items. Fully packed, the Tom Bihn Western Flyer should top out around 10 lbs. I’ll keep that by my feet on the plane for easy access.
These are the moments when one is grateful to be only 5′ 3″ tall. Most of those moments seem to occur in cramped aircraft seats.