Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe: 10 Must-Haves

What’s better than a beach vacation? With days spent in the warm sun, sand in your toes, and stunning views, this is our ideal type of trip. The only challenging element of beach vacations is figuring out what to pack. 

If you are anything like us, you have a tendency to overpack. While you’re stuffing your suitcase to the brim, you probably think you’re being smart for packing so many options. We’ve been there, too, and we really only overwhelmed ourselves in the process, making it harder to curate the perfect vacation outfits. 

It is time to say goodbye to the days of overpacking and instead channel your inner minimalist self by preparing a beach vacation capsule wardrobe. Rid yourself from the stress of too many options, and instead carefully and intentionally select garments that will serve you for the duration of your beachy escape. 

Unsure where to start with your beach vacation capsule wardrobe? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn all about capsule wardrobes and get a rundown of all the must-haves for your upcoming trip! 

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe? 

If you love the sounds of not overpacking for once, curating a capsule wardrobe is the best way to ensure you pack the appropriate amount of clothes for your next beach vacation. But what actually is a capsule wardrobe? 

Capsule wardrobes were coined by a London boutique owner named Susie Faux in the 1970s when she championed the importance of pulling together a small wardrobe of basics and timeless essentials. The idea behind the capsule wardrobe is that you will minimize your wardrobe and overconsumption habits and instead have essential, adaptable garments that can pull together many different outfits. 

These condensed wardrobes are designed to make your life easier while making it easy to dress fashionably. All you need to do is lock down staple pieces for your closet, then wear each garment interchangeably to make countless stylish outfits. 

Even if you are not ready to fully commit to the capsule wardrobe lifestyle, you can construct a mini capsule wardrobe for your upcoming beach vacation. Doing so will help you avoid overpacking and the stress associated with picking vacation outfits. 

Just like a regular capsule wardrobe, your beach vacation capsule wardrobe will need to consist of a small selection of staple pieces that will serve you throughout your entire trip. 

Read on to get a list of all the must-haves for your beach vacation capsule wardrobe! 

1. A Solid Tank Top

A beach vacation staple includes a solid tank top. Since you will be spending ample time somewhere tropical and warm, you will need a tank top in your outfit rotation. 

One of the main factors of capsule wardrobes is selecting garments that can be worn interchangeably, which means your tank top should be in a shade that you can easily match to several outfits. We strongly recommend wearing either a black or white tank top. 

Black and white are the shades that are easiest to match, so you will have no trouble adapting the shirt for different looks. Versatility at its core, you simply cannot go wrong with a black or white tank top. 

Wear it over your swimsuit when you head to the pool or the beach, or even rock it as part of a casual outfit for your tourist activities. Whatever plans you have on your beach getaway agenda, a solid tank top is certainly going to come in handy on multiple occasions!

2. A Stylish One-Piece Swimsuit

Obviously, swimsuits are a necessity for your beach vacation, so be sure to choose one or two of your favorites to rock on the shoreline throughout the duration of your fun tropical escape. 

There is no predicting what kind of swimsuit vibe you will crave on any given day of vacation, so we recommend packing a one-piece swimsuit that makes you feel alluring and confident. One-piece swimsuits are an excellent option because they flatter every body type, hug your figure perfectly, and are easily adaptable. 

One-piece swimsuits have the potential to serve you very well along your beach vacation. Look like a beach goddess when you dive headfirst into the ocean waves or even build stylish going-out looks by converting your swimsuit into a bodysuit. 

Whether you take the plunging one-piece route or rock a one-shoulder one-piece, you are going to spend plenty of time in your new favorite suit.

3. A Stylish Bikini

This is a beach vacation, after all, so you should have a bit of variety on the swimwear front. Your one-piece swimsuit will get plenty of use, but a bikini is also a necessary addition to your beach vacation capsule wardrobe. 

For those days spent lounging on the beach getting your tan on, a cute bikini is an absolute must! You don’t want to leave your luxurious getaway with unflattering tan lines, so a two-piece swimsuit is a necessity to ensure your skin gets sunkissed evenly. 

Bikinis can also be worn interchangeably as regular, going-out clothes. Wear your bikini top as a stand-alone shirt when you spend warm days exploring the local scene or taking a hike. You can also don your bikini underneath other garments, like tank tops or dresses, for a cute layering moment. 

Your bikini can be worn for a dip in the pool, a day of lounging, or even a stroll around town. However you style your two-piece swimsuit, you will get plenty of use out of it on your trip. 

4. A Linen Button-Down Shirt

Though the weather will be warm most of the time, it is a good idea to pack a long sleeve just in case the temperature takes an unexpected turn. With endless layering options, a linen button-down is a perfect garment for the occasion! 

Talk about versatility: Linen button-downs will serve you for several different outfits. Wear one as a cover-up garment at the beach, for a stylishly casual dinner outfit, or even to lounge around your luxury resort suite. 

Linen is light and airy and will perfectly match the aesthetic of the beach. You will feel cozy and look chic when you incorporate a linen button-down in your beach vacation capsule wardrobe. 

5. Denim Shorts

Denim is one of those fabrics that matches everything, regardless of color or pattern, so you will get plenty of use out of a pair of denim shorts no matter what tops you pack. 

You can’t go wrong with a pair of jean shorts. Whether you prefer Daisy Dukes or a trendy pair of mom jean shorts, your denim bottoms will come in handy. 

Since denim tends to be bulkier and heavier than most other fabrics, it is important to stick to one or two pairs while you’re packing. Be sure to choose a pair that makes you feel comfortable and confident!

6. A Flowy Dress

A flowy, breezy maxi or midi dress is a beach vacation must-have! Clothes that are light and airy are essential in those warmer climates, and you will look and feel picturesque in a stylishly flowy dress! 

Wear your favorite dress as a beach cover-up for those moments when you get sick of lounging in just your bikini. You will also need a pretty dress for any upscale oceanside dinners. A flowy dress perfects the relaxed beachy style that you will need throughout your trip. 

7. Comfortable Sandals

Shoewear is one of the more critical components of your beach vacation capsule wardrobe, and you absolutely cannot head to the beach without a stylish pair of comfortable sandals. 

Beach vacations are meant to be laid back and relaxing, and your shoewear should match that vibe. Sandals will bring you comfort when you trek across the sandy beaches and will go perfectly with your summery, breezy vacation wardrobe. 

8. Sneakers

Some beach towns and tropical destinations are known for their excellent hiking trails and walkable cities. For days spent strolling around must-see tourist sights, you will need a reliable, comfortable pair of sneakers along with you. 

Sneakers need to be accounted for in your beach vacation capsule wardrobe, and you will not regret incorporating these casual but comfy kicks into your shoewear rotation. 

9. Lounge Shorts

A cozy pair of loungewear shorts are crucial for your condensed vacation wardrobe. 

Hitting the beach? Hanging out on your hotel balcony? Need some cozy travel clothes? Lounge shorts are an absolute must! These can take the form of sweat shorts, knit shorts, or even biker shorts! 

Whatever your style is, a comfortable pair of lounge shorts is a necessity!

10. Sunglasses

You should absolutely account for accessories in your beach vacation capsule wardrobe, and nothing is more essential than a cool pair of sunglasses! Plus, putting fashion aside, sunglasses are important to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. 

Get a fun pair of waterbugs, classic aviator-shaped sunglasses, or trendy cat-eye sunglasses. Be sure to grab a pair of reliable sunglasses that also match your personal sense of style, and watch all your beach vacation outfits elevate a notch! 

Only Bring the Essentials

When it comes to curating the perfect beach vacation capsule wardrobe, the moral of the story is to only bring the absolute essentials! All of the garments listed above can be styled in several different ways so that each day you can create fashionable outfits without having to rummage through an overstuffed suitcase. 

So, pin down your staple pieces and pack responsibly for your next beach getaway! 


A Brief History of Minimalism: How the Minimalist Movement Happened | Minimalism

Life is easier with a capsule wardrobe | The Washington Post

How Do Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes? | MedExpress