28 Playful Pieces for a Non-Basic Summer Capsule Wardrobe

These items invite personality into your closet. Not uniformity.

A guest wears, blue and red striped pants, a matching shirt, and beige hat, and white sneakers outside Baum und Pferdgarten during the Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 on August 9, 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The summer capsule wardrobe is a concept that's been given a lot of playtime. Across the Internet, you'll find endless guides on curating a minimalist summer wardrobe—typically, neutrals, nondescript shift dresses, and barely-there sandals make the list. You've perhaps even shopped a round-up of the best linen pants or designer tank tops that swear they'll streamline your warm-weather style.

But the truth about seasonal essentials is that they won't magically fix your fashion conundrums. Marie Claire's editor-in-chief, Nikki Ogunnaike, advocates seeking capsule wardrobe alternatives that incorporate personal style and some good old fashion fun.

This is not a formulaic fashion manual. Instead, we've curated an edit of 28 pieces that will inspire your summer wardrobe and inject personality. From trending bohemian crochet espadrilles to quirky sun hats with stop-and-stare potential, discover Marie Claire's picks that harness summer's lighthearted ethos.

Not-So-Basic Basket Bags

A Fashion Week guest is seen wearing black sunglasses with orange lenses, golden necklaces, a black waistcoat, several silver bracelets and rings, a silver watch, a square basket bag form MARNI with black/yellow/green leather, wide blue jeans and black leather boots with silber toe cap outside before the Naeem Khan Show on September 12, 2023 in New York City.

This boxy yellow and green woven bag adds a playful punch of color to this Fashion Week guest's neutral look.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A basket bag has undeniable charm. The style conjures an image of Jane Birkin biking around Paris with a woven carry-all hanging on her handlebars. But don't feel beholden to Birkin's beloved natural raffia iteration—if a flashier style catches your eye, feel free to indulge. A basket bag woven from colorful straw or made of unconventional fabrications, like Marni's or Longchamp's free-hanging style, are worthwhile additions to your rotation.

No Time to Waist

Alyssa wearing very wide blue jeans, knitted yellow and brown belt, beige cropped long sleeves jacket and green bag posing outside Ganni during Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023 on August 11, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (

This yellow and purple woven belt makes an already fabulous outfit all the more intriguing.

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Belts are a staple on the runways and the backbone of many outfits amongst the street style set. They're also having a major summer 2024 accessory moment. If a bold belt aligns with your summer style, consider the options below as easy entry points to help break up your outfit or add shape to a billowy silhouette.

Floral Fun

Tamu Mcpherson is seen wearing a black cross-body Antonio Marras bag, white pendant earrings, a silver watch and a multicolor flowers printed dress woth a matching head-band outside Antonio Marras show during the Milan Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 on September 20, 2023 in Milan, Italy.

Forget just one flower motif here and there—consider committing to the print from head-to-toe.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Florals aren't relegated to the spring season. Keep the botanical momentum strong throughout the summer with a bouquet of pieces that freshen up any look. A strappy sandal with a front-and-center flower makes for a sweet party pump, and a button-down embroidered with rosettes can punch up your summer work outfits.

Happy Feet

Guest wearing pink dress, beige bag and high heels outside HOPE during Stockholm Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2022 on September 02, 2021 in Stockholm, Sweden. (

A pair of black sandals embellished with chunky gold chains steal the show.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Shoe trends come and go, but a pair that boosts your mood has long-lasting appeal. Try a golden wedge sandal, a slide embellished with beachy paillettes, or a chunky and colorful clog with the motto: whichever shoe makes you smile is worth buying.

Rainbow Lenses

Fer Millan Delaroiere wears green underwear, brown leather shirt and a brown leather bag outside Miu Miu during the Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024/2025 as part of Paris Fashion Week on March 05, 2024 in Paris, France.

Step outside your comfort color zone via a pair of sunglasses fitted with vibrant lenses.

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You're familiar with the old adage about rose-tinted glasses. In addition to offering a positive outlook on life, a pink-lensed pair of sunnies can provide a playful punch of color that adds excitement to any outfit. Take the same approach for sunglasses of any shade, from seafoam green to burnt orange.

Tasteful Toppers

A guest wears, blue and red striped pants, a matching shirt, and beige hat, and white sneakers outside Baum und Pferdgarten during the Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 on August 9, 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Nothing connotes a laid-back summertime spirit better than a floppy straw hat.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you identify as a hat person or not, we at Marie Claire strongly believe there's a topper out there for everyone. For those who stay connected to their inner child, a colorful crochet style like Ultraviolhat's will take you back to carefree summer days. Janessa Leone's more subdued black raffia summer hat is a great packable, neutral option for seaside vacations.

Touch-Me Textures

Mona Mali wears a black dress, black shoes, and a red crochet bag outside Remane during the Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 on August 8, 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This round crochet purse in bright ruby red livens up an otherwise all-black outfit.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A fail-safe approach to turning a good outfit into a great one is to invite in unexpected textures. Try touches of crochet as cutouts on lightweight trousers or raffia on the upper of a slip-on shoe. Adornments like seashells exude a carefree, beachy vibe for summer and provide a handmade, crafty feel.

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, where she writes deep-dive trend reports, zeitgeisty fashion featurettes on what style tastemakers are wearing, long-form profiles on emerging designers and the names to know, and human interest vignette-style round-ups. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, where she wrote shopping e-commerce guides and seasonal trend reports, assisted with the market for fashion photo shoots, and assigned and edited fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center and launched her own magazine, Childs Play Magazine, in 2015 as a creative pastime. When she's not waxing poetic about niche fashion topics, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking banana bread in her tiny NYC kitchen.