As someone who usually plans an outfit from the bottom up you don’t have to tell me twice how important accessories are! Shoes and bags are my thing. In Part 1 of this Capsule Summer Wardrobe series we talked about creating amazing outfits with just the essential tops, bottoms, dresses and jackets. In this post we’ll look at the shoes, hats, bags and beachwear to complete the foolproof summer closet. Right, let’s get started!
Thanks for dropping by – J ♥
6 styles: espadrilles, lace-up sandals, pumps, slides, pointed toe flats and sneakers
When it comes to footwear there are essentially 6 styles that are perfect for summer. The first two are seasonal favourites and no-brainers so I don’t think I need to do a hard sell. You really can’t go wrong with a photogenic pair of espadrille wedges and lace-up sandals. They’re lightweight and practically scream summer, plus you can wear them casually or for an event, so worth getting at least one pair of each.
Next up is a pair of pumps / courts. As dress policies in some workplaces dictate that open-toe shoes are not welcomed (and some people really shouldn’t put their feet on display anyway, sorry!) it’s useful to have a pair of closed-in pumps on stand-by during the warmer months. Bring a summer vibe by going for something with a slingback detail or ankle straps.
Slides are a pool side staple and an easy outfit completer. There’s something nonchalantly cool about a slide with a simple cotton dress or a pair of cut-off’s and a vest. Check out how I styled my favourite platform slides here, I absolutely adore these!
I always, always, always have a pair of pointed toe flats around even in summer because you know there will be the odd rainy day or drop in temperatures (Ireland I’m looking at you). Wear them with shorts, dresses or trousers for a preppy look.
Add a comfy pair of sneakers to your stash and you’re all set. Go for box fresh white or blush to keep things light and bang on trend.
Top tips… Get at least one pair with a block heel. Mid-heel height shoes are bang on trend right now and are a chic and let’s be honest, comfortable way to wear a heel without the pain of your average stiletto, much as I love them. Comfort doesn’t usually dictate my outfit or accessory choices but it certainly helps if something doesn’t cause physical injury or spur on madness. Also try to get something in a nude shade, or a similar match to your skin tone to give the illusion of long, lean legs.
4 styles: tote for travel, clutch bag, cross-body bag, beach bag
For travel days you can’t beat a large over-the-shoulder tote with enough space for basics and valuables (that includes dark chocolate). Sling it over your shoulder and keep hands free for essential airport shopping. If you go for something in leather, like this one, it can double up as your work bag for a chic office look.
Clutch bags are my absolute favourite type of bag. I love how they can completely transform an outfit, even a simple dress and flats combo is instantly elevated with a clutch propped on your hip. I especially like those 2-in-1 bags that switch between a shoulder bag and clutch by adding / removing a strap. Go for an extra large size like this one from Clare Vivier (love her bags) to carry all your essentials and bring you from day to night.
If like me you have a tendency to fill whatever size bag you’ve got, make sure you have a small cross-body bag in your closet to curb over-packing. Mini bags are perfect for day trips with just enough space for your cash, sunblock and lip balm. Check out these amazing mini-bags with big personalities here.
Last up is a beach bag because your summer closet just isn’t complete without a gorgeous beach tote for all those sand based activities.
Top tip… Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to use light or brightly coloured bags. I’m not against colourful accessories but feel free to use darker shades any time of year. Just be you.
2 styles: large floppy hat, straw hat
Sun hats are great for protecting our skin and our locks. Hands up, I often forget about my hair when I’m in the sun, but when I’m good I put a hat on. Go for a neutral colour in a breathable material like cotton, linen or straw. As far as styles go an oversized floppy hat is perfect for sun bathing and will instantly lift your beach look. For days spent exploring and shopping take a straw hat in a panama, fedora or trilby style. A trilby hat is one of my favourites and always makes me feel dressed even when I’m melting!
3 styles: all-in-one suit, bikini, beach coverup
Like perfume, I think beachwear is a personal choice and really depends on your style, body shape and mood (because some days you just don’t want to show the world your post-pizza tummy).
When you’re picking an all-in-one suit check out non-standard designs like the ones with cut-outs at the waist. They’re great for creating a curvy shape and taking attention away from problem areas!
Bikini wise, a strapless style is essential if you hate tan lines (personal peev) and if you’re not too full up top. There’s nothing worse than an unsupportive situation coming out of the surf. Make more of the classic triangle bikini with patchwork fabrics, embroidered details and embellishments. A balconette bikini gives good support and works well under dresses, day or night so you can can go straight from the beach to the bar.
For a beach cover-up get the most out of your capsule wardrobe by wearing an oversized white shirt or a day dress.
Top tips… When buying beachwear get the best you can afford as you want it to last for years. Also if you’re going for a bikini get a reversible set to give you more options and save on space in your luggage. Win!
Check out my pick of must-have accessories below. Oh and don’t forget to check out Part 1 of this series including the clothes you need to build your perfect capsule summer wardrobe.