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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at App State chapter.

Without a doubt, summer takes the top spot as my favorite fashion season. After enduring months of bulky jackets and snowy weather (yes, even into spring here in Boone), the onset of summer brings a welcome change. It’s a time for packing vacation-worthy outfits, styling concert-ready looks, flaunting chic swimwear for poolside lounging, and indulging in countless other summer activities.

Yet, dressing for warm weather isn’t always as effortless as throwing on a dress and sandals. If the familiar struggle of feeling overwhelmed or underwhelmed by wardrobe choices resonates with you, consider simplifying your closet with a summer capsule wardrobe. While trends certainly spark excitement, no wardrobe can be deemed complete without essentials.

The secret to curating the perfect summer capsule wardrobe lies in prioritizing fabrics and shapes. Just as you opt for versatile essentials in spring that layer well, in high temperatures, focus on breathable, lightweight materials. These fabrics allow for easy movement and provide comfort against the skin — without trapping heat.

From timeless jewelry to elegant maxi dresses, these staples are indispensable for every summer wardrobe. To elevate your style game this sunny season, familiarize yourself with these must-have essentials!

1. Statement Top

As a fashion writer, my gig essentially involves shopping online day in and day out. It’s all about sifting through heaps of products and narrowing them down to the real gems. Today, I’m highlighting a particular category of tops: “do-it-all tops.” Simply pair them with jeans, and voila, you’ve effortlessly assembled an outfit. Essentially, these tops do all the heavy lifting for you. With summer on the horizon, my wardrobe could certainly benefit from a few more of these versatile and standout pieces. Take Dynamite Clothing’s Pleated Open Back Halter Top (39.95), One Shoulder Ruched Top ($34.95) or Semi Sheer Ruffle Halter Top Green for example. With these flattering fits, they’ll go well with everything from denim jeans to flowy skirts. Similarly versatile, take Tilly’s adorable RSQ Women’s Espresso Martini Baby Tee, and Petal and Pup’s Lyles Knit Top Avocado (39.95) as your go-to summer-ready tops!

2. Go-to shorts

When it comes to summer fashion staples for your college wardrobe, one item that should not be overlooked is a versatile pair of shorts that can offer both comfort and style in warmer weather. Among my favorite pairs for summer are Tilly’s LEE Loose Cut off Rider’s ($87.99) for their adorable light wash and below the knee style, and Dynamite’s denim Mom Shorts ($54.95) for their timeless appeal!

3. favorite maxi dress

No matter the season, an elegant maxi dress is a forever closet classic — and this summer the choices are as cool as ever. You can’t beat Dynamite’s Elena Tube Maxi Dress (59.95) with its core colors and sleek frame. Then, there’s Tilly’s multicolroed maxi with beautiful hues and perfect summer florals. Whichever you choose, they’ll become forever staples in your summer wardrobe.

4. Flowy white skirt or dress

A white skirt is a must-have in any summer capsule wardrobe, versatile enough to dress up with minimalist sandals or dress down with a chic sneaker. Adorable options from Garage Clothing — like the shorter Lily Smocked Skort (44.95) and Eliana Smocked Peasant Midi Skirt (59.95) will undoubtedly become my go-to options this summer. Not a skirt girl? Opt for Current Air’s Cara Sleeveless Pleated Mini Dress ($135). It features a flattering V cut neckline and fluttery tiered skirt that can be dressed up or down. Perfect for those summer transition outfits!

5. Airport fit

My advice for the ultimate Airport Fit? Embrace comfort. Start with the Tillys Active Women’s Romper ($30) for effortless chic, offering the perfect balance of comfort and sophistication for your travel adventures. Or, opt for the SL Nue Tank ($62) paired with the SL Original Leggings ($88) from SecondLeft Sport for added coziness and versatility. Made with Nandex fabric, these pieces ensure optimal stretch and breathability, ideal for long flights or exploring new destinations. Alternatively, choose the IM Halter Tie Tank ($49) and pair it with the IM Jersey Flare Pant ($64) from CSB for a simple yet flattering look. For a touch of luxury, consider the Oasis Knit Hoodie ($149) paired with the matching Oasis Knit Pants ($199) from LILYSILK. These cozy knitwear pieces offer both style and comfort, perfect for staying warm and relaxed during your travels. Whichever you choose, these outfits are stylish and practical airport ensembles that transition seamlessly from the runway to your destination, making them must-have additions to your summer fashion staples.

6. Everyday jewelry

As fashion month winds down, it’s clear that 2024 is all about accessories like never before. Bracelets are stacked, statement necklaces are in, and ballet flats are a must. But finding the right jewelry can still be tough, no matter the season. Once you find those perfect pieces, though, you never want to let them go. For your everyday summer look, I recommend going for two-toned pieces and pearls. Ana Luisa  has perfect options, like the  Frida Grey ($55) two toned pearl earrings and Mini Naomi pearl necklace ($50). They’re made with sustainability in mind, high quality, and won’t break the bank. Another lovely option? Astrid and Miyu, best known for their signature ear stacks and innovative designs. Their Infinite Cuff ($120) and Green Topaz Charm Necklace ($120) perfectly exemplify their commitment to modern flair and accessibility in jewelry. Inspired by the vibrant city of London, Astrid and Miyu’s pieces seamlessly blend art and architecture for the perfect everyday pieces.

6. Essential tote bag

Summer demands a bag that’s as flexible as your plans. Enter the tote bag or carryall – perfect for work, drinks, or a day by the pool. Right now, I’m loving eco-friendly choices like Melie Bianco’s Mischa Sky Medium Recycled Vegan Tote Bag ($150). Its trendy blue hue (perfect for summer 2024) and spacious interior make it a standout. And for those beach days, check out the brand’s other sunny options like the Rhianna Yellow Extra Large Tote Bag ($165), boasting a handwoven design that screams summer.

7. Staple shoes

For the ultimate summer footwear, look no further than sandals that tick all the boxes: comfort, versatility, breathability, durability, functionality, and style. Gone are the days of basic rubber flip-flops; today’s options offer so much more. After consulting with our team, fashion enthusiasts, and seasoned beach aficionados, two standout sandals emerged: Zodiac’s Jadon Platform Sandal ($80) and Frida Slide Sandal ($70). Both embody everything you need for a stylish and practical summer shoe. Whether you prefer the elevated look of platforms or the simplicity of flats, these sandals have got you covered. In addition to summer sandals, I’ll be continuing two 2023 trends that I can’t get enough of: mesh ballet flats ($70) and silver slingbacks ($60). While these offerings from Chinese Laundry and CL By Laundry add a new spin to last years trends, they’ve become a staple in my summer closet when I want a more dressed up look.

8. sunnies you love

When it comes to summer fashion must-haves, look no further than Woodys LINDA02 sunglasses ($187). These shades are more than just eyewear; they’re a statement piece crafted for those who crave both style and adventure. With triple lamination on the sides made from premium Italian acetate, they’re built to withstand all your summer escapades, whether you’re hitting the beach or lounging by the pool. Sporting a classic black frame accented with hints of green and white, they add a touch of effortless cool to any outfit. So, whether you’re heading to class or soaking up the sun, make sure you’ve got your Woodys shades handy for those sunny days ahead.

McCall Hope

App State '26

Hi y'all! My name is McCall Hope, I'm one of Her Campus at App State's Co-Campus Coordinators. Originally from Spartanburg, SC, I'm currently a Sophomore at App, double majoring in Political Science and Anthropology. In my free time, I enjoy reading, crafting, exploring art (especially fashion), and all things outdoors!
Madison Bailey

App State '23

Madison Bailey is a national writer at Her Campus Media focusing on all things style, beauty, and lifestyle. She works closely with the style and lifestyle verticals at Her Campus, including reviews, roundups, sustainable style, and pop-culture. After graduating from Appalachian State University in May 2023 where she was Campus Coordinator of Her Campus at App State, Madison has written for Teen Vogue, Modeliste Magazine, Global Garbs, and more. Her time as Head Writer for The Collective Magazine, Appalachian State’s fashion and culture magazine, sparked her passion for the exciting world of fashion. She is currently working in marketing at Modeliste Magazine where she’s able to celebrate her favorite things; fashion, beauty, and travel. In her free time, you can find Madison soaking in all the beauty that the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer. Or, when she’s not writing, you can find her thrifting, sipping a raspberry matcha, or cooking her favorite vegan meals!