Best Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe: 7 Packing Tips for the Coast

The best beach vacation capsule wardrobe is versatile, comfortable, packs light, and looks great. Does that sound like too much to ask?

It’s not, when you learn these 7 easy tips for curating a capsule wardrobe for your beach getaway. Once you know how easy it can be, you’ll discover you can use these tips for all your vacation packing.

Keep reading to learn how.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article in June 2022 to keep the content fresh and up to date.

CONTENTS – In this article, you’ll be learning 7 packing tips to plan the perfect beach vacation capsule wardrobe, including:

How to Curate a Capsule Wardrobe for Your Beach Vacation (Hint: It’s Easy)

As you plan your travels for the year, it’s no exaggeration to say that summer is a popular time to enjoy beach destinations.

You might feel that it’s too early to start thinking about your summer vacation outfits if you’re reading this early in the year. But the truth is, preparing your wardrobe ahead of time is always a good idea.

You could even go on a beach vacation over the holidays, in which case, your preparations for an island getaway over the winter will be timely.

However, when you’re getting outfits ready for a tropical getaway or your visit to the coast, it can feel overwhelming. 

If you’re spending a full week on vacation, you’ll want to have a rotation of ready clothes at your disposal without overloading your luggage.

So stay stylish with minimal effort by investing in a capsule wardrobe on your next trip to the beach. That way, you want to devote your energy to just relaxing and having fun on your break. 

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

As the name suggests, a capsule wardrobe is a mini-wardrobe that’s carefully curated to exude style without needing much effort. It’s also a practical way of preparing ahead of time for events that involve multiple functions, like vacations, seasonal changes, and even business trips.

A well-maintained capsule wardrobe contains the essentials to complete any set you have in mind.

Plus, it frees up space in your closet or luggage because the pieces can be mixed and matched with ease. 

For instance, you could go shopping for denim leggings, neutral-colored tees, and other classic pieces to complete your capsule wardrobe for a more general occasion.

But for a more beach-ready look, here are some style tips that you should consider. 

1. Check Out What’s In Season

While you can never go wrong with timeless classics, it doesn’t hurt to accentuate your wardrobe with pieces that are in style for the season.

For beach wear trends for 2022, this could be:

  • Checkered bikinis or swim suits with details like ruffles, texture, or off one shoulder
  • Crop tops paired with long, flowing skirts
  • Knit bucket hats

Since you’re going to the beach, you probably won’t need closed-toe shoes.

Instead, stick with light footwear, like sandals.

And while your tops and bottoms can be a darker shade, opt for lighter colors for your footwear. Cream or beige shoes will offset the palette of your outfit and give you a cool and collected look.  

2. Look at the Weather Forecast

On the more practical side of things, check how the weather will look before you take your leave. This prepares you for what’s forecasted.

This is a key step and will help you pack essential items ahead of time.

If it looks like mostly sunny days are ahead, you’ll want to pack at least one pair of perfectly good shades and some sunscreen.

On the other hand, colder weather calls for one light jacket to give your look some layering.

If the forecast predicts some rain, pack a sturdy but fashionable umbrella. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you’ll enjoy spending time away if you’re well-prepared.

3. Pick Your Color Palette Wisely

Now let’s get down to business.

What are the wardrobe essentials any beach trip should have?

You could start off with your base wardrobe in cool or muted tones. That will complement any bright accessories or outerwear you have in mind.

Another tried-and-true combo is navy blue or black tees with white pants and sandals.

Remember, you want to look a bit more casual without disappearing into the background.

That means when it packing the essentials, opt for simple pieces and let the colors speak for themselves.

A white dress is always a good option, too. You can dress it up or down to suit the occasion.

This allows you to create a completely different look when you pair it with bright accessories, like a colorful scarf or some fun earrings.

4. Eliminate Unnecessary Baggage

On the flip side, what should you let go of?

The entire point of a capsule wardrobe is to select the most compact and least bulky options you have.

Eliminating unnecessary baggage saves you a lot of space and ensures that you can bring home a souvenir or two.

If it’s too difficult to choose, however, consider a process of elimination.

You’ll want to limit your wardrobe pieces to two or three of the same or similar kind of clothing.

For instance, if you already have three yellow tops to go with three different bottoms, remove one top and replace it with a different type of clothing. Or, you can simply forego the third top altogether. 

5. Choose Versatile, Easy-to-Style Clothes

Since you won’t be bringing a lot of wardrobe pieces with you, you’ll have to rely on your ability to mix and match good outfits.

You may even rotate certain versatile pieces, like the white dress we talked about above.

Here’s a trick to avoid looking sloppy or uncoordinated.

Bring clothes that are easy to style in different ways. This will give your look an unexpected new flavor every time you wear them.

The best thing is, it doesn’t require that much effort.

Plus, it’s a great way to exercise your fashion creativity.

For instance, you could go with a light coverup that you can:

  • Wrap around shoulders
  • Tie at your waist
  • Simply drape over your body, whether you’re wearing a bikini or a long sleeveless dress, as you walk by the shoreline. 

Wearing this versatile wrap will look completely different, and you can style it three or more ways.

6. Accessories Matter

When you’re building a capsule wardrobe for the beach, you can’t bring everything you might like from your closet.

A number of factors rule that out, including:

  • Luggage space
  • Bulkiness
  • You simply don’t want to carry that much with you

So, you again have to be strategic about the accessories that will go with your attire.

In this case, choose a small variation of accessories that can match any outfit.

For example, slim gold necklaces will flatter an evening dress and also pairs well as a casual top and shorts.

You’ll want your accessories to complement as many of your outfit without being overkill. Like choosing tops and bottoms, stick with a handful of versatile pieces. 

7. Pack Some Important Extras

As compact as you want your capsule wardrobe to be, you can always pack some important extras to go with your outfit. Or, you may want to bring those to match certain occasions.

For instance, you could pack:

  • Extra swimwear (after all, you will be at the beach!)
  • A night dress
  • A summer dress
  • Colorful accessories for a pop of color every now and then.

If you’re going out for dinner or visiting a non-beach location, consider a small purse. A compact but handy leather purse will keep your cash, cards, and other important stuff in order.

It’s a versatile accessory, too.

These extras are really less of excess baggage, and more part of your essentials for those “just in case” moments. 

If you’ve pared your wardrobe down to the essentials, you can afford to pack a few special pieces.

Final Thoughts on Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobes

Now that you more or less have a good idea of what your beach vacation capsule wardrobe looks like, it’s time to test this against what style experts have to say.

  • Try to avoid longer clothes unless they’re a dress or a flowing skirt (Longer clothes take up more space.)
  • Stick to pieces that are short and breathable, like chambray shorts, which are great for moving around and pair well with any top
  • For footwear, always go for the most comfortable option, like espadrille sandals, which are great for walking. You want to be stylish, but you’re on vacation, so comfort is important.

If you’re still not confident with your chosen outfits, you can check stores for their suggested beach wear or look at influencer or celebrity pegs to see what you do and don’t like about an outfit.

You’ll find that getting the right beach look isn’t that hard.

But it does take plenty of curation to get the perfect attire ready for your vacation.

At the end of the day, what matters is how you maximize your preferences and make the most out of your wardrobe. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Best Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

How should I dress for a beach vacation?

When visiting a beach destination, a great beach outfit might include a pair of denim shorts, a bikini top, flat sandals, a straw hat and a beach cover. After all, that’s a comfortable look for sitting back on your beach towel enjoying a piña colada!

But the perfect capsule wardrobe for summer weather might include more. You’ll want to add to your packing list a straw bag, linen shirts, white jeans, a tank top, a maxi skirt, and some costume jewelry to follow the hottest trends.

Just be sure to pick versatile peices that you can wear with several outfits.

How many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe?

Including clothes, shoes, undergarments, and accessories, a capsule wardrobe for a beach vacation can be as many as 25 items. It adds up! But it all depends on how long you’ll be traveling and where your summer travels will take you.

You’ll want to bring enough different outfits to take you from a beach day to happy hour to a fancy restaurant.

A white dress (over a chic swimsuit) worn a variety of ways with different accessories, like a sun hat or wedge sandals, might do the trick!

How do you dress elegant for the beach?

If you want to look elegant at the beach, opt for linen shorts, a crochet top, and a sexy one-piece. A white blouse and white sandals complete the outfit. And don’t forget a stylish beach bag.

The age-old trick or packing a monochrome outfit is always a chic option — even on a tropical vacation. That way, you’ll look your most elegant, despite the hot weather.

Next Steps

Look to these articles next to find more information on packing tips for your beach vacation.

Got questions or tips to add? Leave me a comment below!

Save this article for later on Pinterest!

Photo credits: Jewelry – Content Pixie (Unsplash); Others – Canva Pro

When to Visit 36 Dreamy Destinations

You will instantly receive the FREE Month-by-Month Destination Guide

No worries, we won't spam you. Unsubscribe at any time you want. Powered by ConvertKit

Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

18 thoughts on “Best Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe: 7 Packing Tips for the Coast

  • June 30, 2022 at 11:02 am
    Permalink

    These are great tips! I agree with you that it’s important to check the weather forecast in that way you can prepare accordingly. Yes, to versatile, easy-to-style clothes. I just recently discovered the joys of packing light and it is life-changing.

    Reply
    • June 30, 2022 at 4:20 pm
      Permalink

      I’m so happy for you, Clarice! Packing light can be so freeing. 🙂

      Reply
  • June 29, 2022 at 11:13 am
    Permalink

    I love this concept of Capsule wardrobe. I might have been doing so subconsciously but adding a name to it makes it sound so cool. I definitely agree with your point about versatile dresses and adding accessories to make it look different and cool. I generally use a lot of scarves and chiffon/ georgette shrugs to add a different color to the old tops or dresses. Jewelry helps too but on a beach vacay I tend to use less of that.

    Reply
    • June 29, 2022 at 12:09 pm
      Permalink

      Yes, it sounds like you have been intuitively packing a capsule wardrobe, Ami! Now you have a name for it. 🙂

      Reply
  • June 29, 2022 at 10:41 am
    Permalink

    That’s a wonderful post on how to pack a capsule wardrobe. All the frequent travelers will benefit from these tips. Choosing the right things to wear with matching accessories like sandals, light jewelry, sunglasses, and hats does the trick for a perfect beach look. And it’s always a good idea to pack extra stuff for special occasions on beach. Loved your tips!

    Reply
    • June 29, 2022 at 12:11 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you, Puloma. I’m so glad you loved this post and found the tips useful!

      Reply
  • June 28, 2022 at 10:27 pm
    Permalink

    This is what I actually need to know because I continually overpack, so it’s extremely appropriate that I read your blog at this moment. Capsule wardrobes are a great concept since they reduce stress and decision fatigue by speeding up and simplifying the process of choosing what to wear. I took so many valuable lessons away from this, and I’ll definitely use them on my upcoming beach holiday. I’ll bookmark this article and pass it along to my loved ones and friends who are likewise overpackers.

    Reply
    • June 29, 2022 at 9:55 am
      Permalink

      I’m glad you came across my article at the right time, Maria! It’s hard not to overpack, but intentionally planning a capsule wardrobe makes it easier to travel lighter!

      Reply
  • June 28, 2022 at 11:16 am
    Permalink

    I’m a recently converted carry on traveller only, so I’m always looking for tips for light packing. I haven’t heard about capsule wardrobe. I think it’s a great idea.

    Reply
  • June 23, 2022 at 7:10 am
    Permalink

    I always travel carry-on only so packing is very important to me. I need to have clothes that go with each other but also don’t take much space in my bag. I have heard about capsule wardrobes before but never really looked into creating one. I think it’s a great idea and that it helps so much with minimalist packing.

    Reply
    • June 23, 2022 at 9:03 am
      Permalink

      I am with you, Joanna. The fewer bags the better – and close at hand! Creating a capsule wardrobe is a perfect fit for packing light.

      Reply
  • June 22, 2022 at 2:01 pm
    Permalink

    I love the idea of putting together a beach capsule wardrobe. But I must admit I struggle with getting rid of the extra fluff. I do love to have a lot of variety in my outfits. Although monochrome might be easier to pack. Good point about using a light cover up for multiple purposes.

    Reply
    • June 22, 2022 at 3:10 pm
      Permalink

      I totally get it. It’s true: Monochrome outfits–or at least the same color families–will maximize your options and make it easier to pack. If you try it, you might be surprised at how much variety it can offer!

      Reply
  • June 21, 2022 at 9:59 am
    Permalink

    I definitely need to get better at picking a color palette when I go. That way I don’t have to take lots of different things (say black, brown, and navy if I just pick one), and things will coordinate well. Great idea!

    Reply
    • June 21, 2022 at 7:40 pm
      Permalink

      Picking a color palette can make such a huge difference and give you so many interchangeable options, Jennifer. I hope you give it a try!

      Reply
  • June 20, 2022 at 5:00 pm
    Permalink

    Coming from a warm environment, I understand the concept of packing light and well as well as utilizing clothing that has multiple purposes and is compact to use. I like the idea of using a color palette that matches the location you go to and find fun pieces that will stand out in a coastal environment.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2022 at 5:12 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks, Noel. Glad you can relate. Fun pieces really can make a look!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.