Casual Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

beach vacation capsule wardrobe

We are planning a beach vacation this summer and I cannot wait! I’m notorious for over-packing, but this year I need to keep things in check because the five of us will be going to Universal Orlando for a few days and then driving out to a beach house for a few days. That’s a lot of people in one vehicle, and since we all need to bring things, that means I need to pack lighter than I’d like. Luckily, I’m traveling with all males, none of whom are particularly concerned with what they’re wearing. The downside is that 3 of those 4 males are 6 feet tall and counting, so they and their clothes take up more room than they did on car trips years ago when they were little.


I’ve never created a capsule wardrobe before, but there are quite a few people out there are really good at it (for example: check out Paige at or follow her in Instagram @stylethislife for some great capsules!). I challenged myself to make a 10-item wardrobe capsule, but  I just couldn’t do it. I kept bargaining with myself (“shoes don’t count as clothes, right?” and “maybe I won’t count the bag and the hat?” and also,  “a swimsuit is a recreational item, not clothes”). I decided to quit bargaining and just allow myself 15 items. I will admit that this capsule does NOT include undies, so that is one more item I’ll need to pack; but everything else should be covered. Except sunglasses: those REALLY don’t count as part of your wardrobe. Because this capsule only has 15 items, darn it.


3 Rules: Casual, Stylish, & Comfy

I set 3 parameters for my capsule: everything in it must be casual (or I just wouldn’t feel like “me”!), stylish (this year I swore not to pack my cut-off sweatpant shorts….), and comfy (if I can’t bring those sweatpant shorts, I need to at least be almost as comfortable). I also tried to build the capsule around pieces I already own, or are at least similar to things I have, so I don’t need to go out and buy anything when we’re already spending way more than I’m comfortable with on this vacation. (Can you ever be comfortable with spending money on “extras” like vacations? I can’t, sorry.) I am proud to say that at the time when I made this, all of the items EXCEPT the shoes and bag were less than $30 either everyday or due to a sale price. Score!! The bag is under $50 and the shoes, well, they hover around the $100 mark. But they’re really comfy. You can shop all of these items by clicking the product links in the list below.


I guess it also goes without saying that all items in the capsule need to be able to mix and match with the other items. You’re probably like, “Duh, it’s a capsule wardrobe.” But I kept finding myself wanting to stick in a unique item that didn’t fit with the rest, so this was hard for me!

Beach Vacation Capsule Wardrobe 15 Items

Shop all of these items by clicking the product links in the list that follows.


1. American Eagle Tomgirl Slouchy Bermuda Shorts

American Eagle Tomgirl Slouchy Bermuda Shorts

I own these shorts and they are SO comfortable. And they are long enough that I don’t feel too exposed and no tugging is involved. I love that they’re distressed and faded. So beachy! The shorts could be worn with any one of the tops in this capsule, and you could even wear it with the bikini top.


2. American Eagle Soft & Sexy Hi-Neck Tank

American Eagle Soft & Sexy Hi-Neck Tank

Did you see that “hi-neck” part? There’s nothing worse than a tank top that makes you have to worry about bending over and putting on a show. This tank top keeps everything covered and it is really soft and comfortable. It would look great with either pair of shorts, and I am also picturing it with the white jeans and either the kimono or the denim jacket. It’s also the perfect layering piece under the striped sweater for chilly nights.


3. Old Navy Sleeveless Swing Dress

Old Navy Sleeveless Swing Dress

You probably already have a tank dress, t-shirt dress, or jersey-knit swing dress like this one already in your wardrobe. It can be worn alone or topped with the kimono or denim jacket. You could also wear the sweater over it or tied around your waist for some color. Since it’s basically just a cheap jersey material (totally washable and packable), you could wear it as a cover-up at the beach, too. I can see dressing it up or down by going with a wedge sandal vs. a backstrap sandal.


4. Target Universal Thread Freeborn Denim Jacket in Light Wash

Target Universal Thread Freeborn Jacket Light Wash

Even if you don’t end up wearing it much, it’s always been my policy to take a jacket with you on vacation when you’re traveling someplace warm. You just never know when a storm or cooler day is going to blow through, and it’s good to have something to pop over whatever you’re wearing to add a little warmth. Honestly I’ll be totally okay with it if I never have to put this jacket on when we go to the beach or the theme park, but if I do need it, it’ll be there.


5. Gap Panama Resort Hat

Gap Panama Hat

I’m not a huge hat person in general, but when I’m on vacation someplace sunny I do tend to wear hats to keep the sun out of my face. This one is pretty neutral and would look really cute with any of these outfits.


6. Natural Chic Ring Handle Woven Tote

Natural Chic Ring Handle Woven Tote

This is my favorite tote right now! I like it so much I gave one away in my 3-year blogiversary giveaway a few weeks ago. It’s lightweight and just the right size to hold your stuff, but not take up too much space. It looks great with beachy outfits and espadrilles.


7. Old Navy Relaxed Boho V-Neck Top

Old Navy Boho Relaxed V Neck Top

A bright floral tank goes perfectly with all of the bottoms in this capsule. With the white jeans and wedge sandals you’d have a cute dinner look, and with either of the shorts and flat sandals you’d be all set for a day of exploring.


8. Gap Navy Stripe High Neck Criss-Cross Back Bikini Top

Gap High Neck Lace Back Bikini top Gap high neck lace back bikini

Again, “high neck” rules my summer world. This bikini top would be perfect for actually having FUN at the beach or a water park, not just lying around looking pretty and worrying about what might fall out of your suit. Sorry for that visual, but it’s true: you will never see me in a swimsuit that you can’t actually swim in. You’re welcome, by the way. 😀

Gap Hipster Swim Bottom

I would wear this bikini top with some navy hipster bottoms that would also do a pretty good job of reigning in the muffin top and holding everything basically in place.


9. Old Navy “Oh Hey Vacay” Tee

Old Navy Oh Hey Vacay Tee

I have this tee and wearing it makes me feel like I’m on vacation even when I’m not. A white and black graphic tee would look great with any of these bottoms, as well as with the jacket, the kimono, and as a layering piece with the striped sweater.


10. Sole Society Carima Tie Espadrille Wedge

Sole Society Carina Tie Espadrille Wedge

These are SO cute with their bows and espadrille slide style. They don’t have much of a change in grade from toe to heel, so they’d be comfortable. They come in 4 colors and I do love the striped ones, but for this capsule I’d get the red ones to have a little pop of color with my outfits, most of which aren’t too colorful.


11. Vionic Kirra Backstrap Flat Sandals

Vionic Kirra Sandal in Snake

Vionic sent me a pair of these shoes to try and I love, love, love them! They feel like I’m walking in a pair of sneakers: cushy, flexible, and with plenty of arch support to keep my feet in natural alignment. I chose the snake print because the colors are neutral, but they also add a little bit of texture. Trust me when I say you could walk all day long in these. I plan to wear them the days we’re at Universal Studios. Bring on the miles!


12. Gap Midrise True Skinny White Jeans

Gap True Skinny Midrise Jeans

A good pair of white jeans can take you anywhere. I mean anywhere. They look dressy when paired with a pretty floral top or a kimono, and they look cute and casual (think nautical) with tees and sweaters. The only downside to white jeans on vacation is that sometimes when you’re eating your yummy vacation food, you dribble and get your white jeans dirty. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen, or if it does, that there’s a short line at the washing machine exactly when you need it.


13. Target Crochet Kimono

Target Crochet Kimono in Plum

I chose a solid color kimono to include in this capsule because that way you could wear it with the floral tank. I don’t actually have a solid color kimono: mine is a floral print, but depending on your blouse it might still work. I could definitely wear my floral kimono with the white tank and the graphic tee. Also, a kimono makes a great cover up for walking to and from the beach or the pool in your swimsuit. It looks dressy when paired with the white jeans, and more casual with either pair of the shorts.


14. Gap U-Neck Raglan Pullover Sweater

Gap U-Neck Raglan Sweater Stripe

The colors in this sweater are so pretty and fun, and the material is lightweight enough for summer. It looks perfect with white jeans or blue denim (as well as the tan shorts, for that matter), and will layer well with the tee and the tank.


15. Old Navy Everyday Khaki Mid-Rise Shorts (5″)

Old Navy Khaki Everyday Midrise Shorts

There are SO.MANY. pairs of 3.5″ or shorter shorts out there. What’s the deal? Am I the only one who does not want the top parts of my legs hanging out when I’m walking around? Maybe I am, but I sure appreciate shorts that are 5″ or more in length. These tan khaki ones from Old Navy are a great basic that pair well with anything and everything.


My Exact Items (-1)

Here are all of my “real” items. As you can see I do have everything shown above except for the following: (1) my kimono is a dark red floral print; (2) my bikini is just plain navy blue; (3) my floral dressy tank is bright red; and (4) I don’t have the red espadrille wedge slides. I practiced packing all of this and if I carry the bag and wear the hat, shoes, and one of the shirts/shorts below, I can easily fit all of this plus my toiletries and undies into my carry-on size suitcase. High fives all around!

my exact items



So there you have it! I’ll be posting some flatlay combos of these items over the next few days on my Instagram account @everydayteacherstyle, so follow along if you want to see my capsule outfits.  What are your must-have clothes items for a vacation?

everyday teacher style signature

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on these links may result in my earning a small commission or referral fee. Also, I received a pair of Vionic shoes as a gift from Vionic (they did not ask me to post any reviews or photos, but I loved the shoes so much I wanted to share them with you). I appreciate your support of my blog. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.





  1. I was diagnosed with arthritis in my feet too! The doc wanted to operate. I looked into other options and found that massage work on my feet alleviated most of my pain. Vionic shoes have also helped greatly!

    • I’ll definitely have to look into massage — I’ve never tried that before. I did just recently get my first pair of Vionic shoes and they are SO comfortable! I think they will really help. Thanks for the tips! ~ Jenny

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