The end-of-summer sales are no joke. Not only is the sheer amount of inventory overwhelming, but I sometimes find myself tempted to buy a piece simply because it’s on sale. My rule of thumb? If I wouldn’t buy it full-price…then I have to think hard (REALLY HARD) before buying it on sale.

That said, it’s worthwhile knowing which pieces I really will wear year after year. Not just to focus my sale-shopping efforts, but also — and more importantly — I’ve found that a short-list of favorites also serves as a level-set, a point of comparison when tempted by a sale price.

I have eight key pieces that form my go-to summer wardrobe…and these pieces have remained unchanged for the last three years. They’re all discussed below. Some of them are, in fact, on sale, some are sold out, and some are still available, just full-price. So. To serve as a point of comparison, I’ve included links to similar pieces on sale. But…BE PICKY.

My Summer Essentials Capsule Wardrobe

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

dress | denim shorts | sunglasses | sandals | silk cami | bathing suit | straw tote | linen dress

1. A Breezy Cotton Sundress 

A loose cotton sundress with spaghetti straps (to show off my tan) is a piece that I wear all summer, every summer. Cute enough for the city, comfy enough for the beach, and something that has made it into my suitcase year after year (Michigan, Avalon, Berlin, Greece, Italy, etc). My personal favorite is this tie-waist number from Voloshin…so much so that we made it part of our collection. (It’s also handcrafted in small batches, out of organic cotton.)

Sale stalking: Super easy – this Voloshin X TheMomEdit sundress is now 50% off.

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

dress (XS) | bag | sneakers

2. A Linen Midi Dress From Reformation

I’m obsessed with Reformation, and their linen dresses are a BIG part of that obsession. Too often linen dresses look like sad sacks…but Reformation has managed to make them impossibly chic and sexy. Additionally, not only is linen insanely cool in hot summer temps, but it softens up with every wash and only looks better over time. Lastly…linen requires virtually NO water to produce…and emits one-quarter of the CO2 that cotton does. 

Sale stalking: This one is so specific that it tends to be hit or miss (in terms of sale selection), so I’m constantly stalking Reformation’s linen section. I’d advise ordering a few sizes now so you know which size to pounce on when/if they do go on sale (I typically order a size 4, one size bigger than usual but have also ordered a size 6 on occasion). And I love that their shipping materials are either 100% recycled or compostable (which is why I try to order directly from Ref, when possible).

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

dress | shoes | bag | bracelet

 

3. A Black Silk Cami (in real silk)

I’ve found that 100% silk is one of THE most comfortable fabrics to wear in hot temps. My favorite is Cami NYC’s classic racerback. I wear it day after day, either rinsing it out in the sink while traveling (it dries SO quickly) or machine washing (on delicate, in one of these mesh bags). Washing (or rinsing) takes away the sheen of silk, leaving a matte finish that I personally find easier to wear. I also tend to stick to the darkest colors (black, navy) because they look the best matte. 

Sale stalking:  I usually snap these up when Shopbop has one of their Friends & Family sales (one should be one coming up soon? Or if nothing else, try Black Friday sales)…but if you can’t wait, Shopbop does have these CAMI NYC styles on sale.  

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

cami (xs) | shorts (25)

4. A Fancy One-Piece Swimsuit

A truly glamorous one-piece swimsuit has quickly become a summer fav. It goes from beach to lunch pretty effortlessly, and allows me to really play. Sandcastle-making, cliff-jumping, snorkling…and then still managing to look somewhat put-together is a pretty good trick. And I’ve found that a really well-made swimsuit not only lasts longer, but tends to have better colors/prints/patterns and is usually more flattering, too. My favorites are all by Mara Hoffman (a sustainable swimwear brand!!). 

Sale stalking: The best sale on Mara Hoffman swim so far is here.

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

swimsuit (xs)

5. Tortoiseshell Sunglasses

Sunglass trends come and go…but these oversized tortoiseshell sunglasses are the ones I ALWAYS travel with. They block the sun best, and look good with EVERYTHING. They’re classics for a reason. 

Sale stalking: Right now, Nordstrom has a bunch of tortoiseshell sunnies on sale (and the Prada, Tori Burch, Gucci and Kate Spade pairs are at least 40% off).

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.top (xs) |  jeans | bag | sunglasses

6. A Straw Bag

Straw bags have taken over my life. They’re basically the only thing I ever want to carry, and I use mine well into fall. So whether it’s a smaller straw bag (like my beloved Clare V. honeypot) or a classic straw tote…highly recommend. 

Sale stalking: Right now, Anthro’s selection of sale bags are an extra 30% off…and include a bunch of straw, beaded, or woven bags. This black one would work well into Fall, as would this ladylike striped Clare V

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

top (small) | shorts (25) | bag 

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

similar tee | similar jeans | similar wedges | bag

7. Denim Shorts

Denim shorts are one of my forever staples. There hasn’t been a summer — since I was 14 — where I didn’t rock a pair of cut-offs. Like jeans, my favorite pairs tend to be pricy. So if I can find a pair on end-of-season sale, it’ll likely be a solid purchase. This season, however, I really wanted to find a pair of high-rise denim cut-offs (all of my old ones were really low rise). AGoldE’s Parker cut-offs were my personal favs.

Sale stalking:  My favs, the AGoldEs are on sale at Shopbop!! Actually, Shopbop’s sale selection of denim cut-offs is really good, especially if you are also looking for a higher-rise denim short. Otherwise, if you’ve been hoping to score rag&bone’s classic cutoffs (or FRAME’s) on sale, try Bloomies, here.

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

tee (xs) | shorts | shoes | bag

8.  Flat Tan Sandals

There has yet to be a summer where tan sandals are a no-go. They match literally EVERYTHING and are perfect for trips that require as little packing and luggage as possible. I also think they make black dresses look summery, and are a perfect pair with tortoiseshell sunglasses and straw bags.

Sale stalking: I’m a pretty big fan of Saltwater sandals which never seem to go on sale….and, well, shoot.  The sale selection of brown sandals is pretty picked over. The best selection — by far — is Bloomingdale’s (here), but I’d stick to sandals that have really good reviews. This pair is probably my top choice from the sale section.

Building a summer capsule wardrobe? (On sale is the best forumla). We have 8 key pieces for a go-to summer wardrobe...shoes & bag included.

dress | shoes | sunglasses

 

Here’s to strategic shopping!  

xo,

S

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