The Complete Capsule: 11 Summer Essentials to Carry You Through Till Autumn

The weather in this country might be as confusing as the politics this week, but we're happily distracting ourselves by contemplating the mechanics of our summer wardrobes. We don't need to list off the items that belong in a seasonal capsule (in every beach-bound suitcase, you'll find dresses, sandals and swimsuits). However, there are certain versions that will prove the most versatile and really see you through the next six weeks—and perhaps even six years.

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The ideal 2019 summer capsule wardrobe includes classics we revisit every year, including tan leather sandals, white dresses, basket bags and simple swimwear. There are some new additions to the list this year, however, including fun hair accessories, strappy sandals and vest tops. Keep scrolling to shop 11 editor-approved essentials that will see you through this summer, the sudden heatwave and beyond.

1. White Dress


(Image credit: We the People Style)

Whether you're going somewhere tropical or staying put in an air-con–free Britain, nothing feels quite as breezy as a white linen dress. And it's best to just embrace the creases; it only adds to the charm of this relaxed fabric.

2. Milkmaid Tops


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Milkmaid tops are the perfect items for weekends in the park, and thankfully, Topshop, ASOS, Miss Selfridge and more have all created pretty prairie-style tops with lace-up detailing, shirred bodices, square necklines and bows.

Related: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe That Will Last a Lifetime

3. Tan Sandals


(Image credit: Emma Spedding)

Tan leather sliders have long been associated with luxury thanks to Hermès's iconic Oran sandals and Saint Laurent's Nu Pieds. High-street versions can look just as elegant. Dune's Loupes are a Who What Wear favourite.

4. Feather-Light Skirt


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When it's just too hot to wear white jeans and unthinkable to even consider anything as complicated as a jumpsuit, a slip skirt will continue to be your best pal well into the warmer months. Pair with a nostalgic tee and sandals, and opt for a bucket hat if you'd like to shade your visage in style.

5. Go-With-Anything Sunglasses


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Sunglasses are often a key part of any summer wardrobe, and below are three pairs that will go with any outfit.

6. Vest Top


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When it comes to T-shirts, the tank top is quickly regaining popularity. If you want to expose maximum shoulder, opt for a racer-style or strappy buckled tank. Ribbed tanks with wider straps (like Lizzy's Arket top) above feel like a smarter option you can wear in the office too. 

Related: These Sandals Always Look Expensive, No Matter How Much You Spend

7. Floral Dress


(Image credit: Lucy Williams)

In summer, you just can't go wrong with a throw-it-on floral dress. Brands know that, so you won't have to look for long to find a dress that will work as a morning pick-me-up this summer.

8. Strappy Sandals


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The most wide-spread trend so far from the summer collections is strappy sandals (also known as "naked" or "floss" heels). The straps are tiny and contort across the foot in all kinds of crisscrossing patterns. However, in the heat, you're going to want something that reflects this trend but doesn't kill your feet. Cue strappy flat sporty sandals, such as Tevas.

9. Basket Bag


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The basket bag has been a summer staple for several years now and is an enduring fashion import from French style icons. 

Related: Summer 2019 Fashion Trends: Looks You Need to Know

10. Hair Accessories


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A hair bobble is one of those things you permanently need on your wrist in summer, but this year, prepare to upgrade your ponytails with colourful scrunchies, hair scarves, clips and headbands. Pulling your hair off your face has never looked so chic or felt so liberating.

11. Simple Swimwear


(Image credit: Reem Kanj)

There are so many exciting swimwear trends around this year, however, when talking about a capsule summer wardrobe, it pays to have a simple bikini or one-piece that goes with everything.

Next up, see our guide to the key trends for autumn/winter 2019 trends

This piece was published earlier and has since been updated. 

Emma Spedding