Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: Bottoms

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Bottoms

Get More Fun and Variety This Time of Year in your summer capsule wardrobe bottoms

Beyond the basic summer capsule wardrobe bottoms

Black. Dark wash denim. Navy. White. Three seasons a year, that’s about it when it comes to my pant colors. Sometimes I want to wear red pants, but I have to be in the right mood. Most seasons I tend to get the most color and variety from my tops and keep my bottoms neutral, but in the summer the clothes are smaller and wearing color on my lower half is not only doable, it’s downright craveable! Finally, my bottoms get to share the fun!

Overall my summer capsule wardrobe is more colorful than the other seasons of the year because… it’s summer and we feel like celebrating when the days are hot and long. The sun shines, the patios open, and that puts us in a good mood. 

When considering which bottoms to add to your summer capsule closet, I’ve got you covered.

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Cover Your Basics

Honestly, if you love classic style, you are drawn to neutrals, especially on the largest pieces of clothing, like your bottoms, so at the risk of sounding like a broken record, get your basic neutrals taken care of first. That’s right, the wardrobe heroes, the glue to your outfits, the things you never ever text your best friend about. Not a lot of fun, but CRITICAL to your summer capsule wardrobe success.

 Any neutral works, but in the summer, your lighter neutrals instantly lighten and brighten any outfit. 

We just talked about how to shop for white clothes and wear them confidently, and summer is when your white bottoms want to shine! Tan, linen, wheat, oat, flax, all the grain-family colors are perfect for lighter summer bottoms if white is not working for you.

Below I’m wearing two nearly identical outfits, but the white jeans instantly lighten and brighten my outfit, and I look more summery even though I’m wearing a cardigan.

Favorite Things Summer Guide: white shorts
Favorite Things Summer Guide: navy shorts

Navy is the slightly lighter, friendlier, less intimidating sister to black, and can lift a summer outfit if lighter bottoms aren’t for you.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Navy Shorts

If you struggle to get your edgy on in the summer like I do, or you just need that grounding, silent neutral, black is a great option. Summer is the one season of the year black seems to be frowned upon, like it’s depressing to wear it when it’s fiesta season, but for some of us, it’s not optional. We will wear the black.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Black Shorts

Spin that Color Wheel!

Basically any color goes in your summer capsule wardrobe bottoms, so it really depends on what you like. I stocked up on colorful summer bottoms this year (and you can too with the Classic Summer Wardrobe Guide) because there were so many great options in my color palette, and I have my go-to neutrals when I’m ready to wear my colorful tops.

Colorful shorts are a great way to experiment with color blocking, color stacking and monochromatic looks in a lower impact way. If chin-toe red is like running a marathon, then the summer version of shorts and a tee is more like speed walking, low impact cardio most of us can handle. 

Wearing a cobalt blue sweater and Kelly green pants is usually outside my comfort zone, but a short-sleeve tee and shorts? That I can do. A winter monochromatic red look is not something I’ve been comfortable trying (yet), but red shorts and top I will definitely do.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Monochromatic red
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Summer Monochromatic
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Red Monochromatic Summer Shorts

4 Basic Bottom Types for Your Summer Capsule Wardrobe


Unlike jeans, which reign supreme 3 seasons a year, shorts really only get summer in most parts of the country. This is their season, and we love the extra air circulation. These days they come in every inseam length, so you can cover as much or as little as you like.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Colorful Shorts

Anything from just below the knee (pedal pushers) and higher count as shorts in my book, and in the Stunning Style Classic Wardrobe Guide there is a length for everyone.


Skirts are a year-round favorite, but my summer capsule wardrobe has more than the other 3 seasons together. They are the perfect dressed-up alternative to shorts while getting even more cool air moving around your nether regions. Just like dresses, even though they are supremely comfortable, you automatically look more dressed up.

I prefer a slight a-line skirt for maximum ventilation, comfort, and ease of movement. I can sit in the grass, squat, bend over, and function in my life without feeling restricted or it riding up. It’s also a universally flattering shape for all body types.

Like shorts they come in every length from mini to midi to maxi, and you can get as much or as little coverage as you like.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Red Skirt

Cropped Pants

Not everyone wants to show some leg in the summer, and cropped pants are a great option. Opt for the wider leg cuts to get some breeziness literally and visually. Choosing something that hits at the narrow part of your lower leg, below the calf muscle, is the most flattering length. Add a lightweight summer fabric like linen, and your summer look is complete. If linen is too casual for your lifestyle, a lightweight gabardine is a great choice.

Is it just me, or are restaurants, movie theaters, malls, and all indoor public places basically refrigerated in the summer? If you get cold as easily as I do, or you want to look a little more dressed up than shorts, cropped jeans are a great option. My cropped white jeans continue to get a workout throughout the summer, especially if we are going out to dinner or a movie.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: White Cropped Jeans
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Navy Crops
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Wide Crops


Some women still want or need to wear pants in the summer, and linen pants or palazzo pants are a great, summery option. With wide-leg pants coming back, it makes wearing summer pants so much easier. They will look and feel breezier than skinny jeans. Just thinking about wearing skinny jeans in the summer makes me sweat (or glisten, as my mother says).

Choosing light and bright colors will visually lighten the look of a pants outfit as well, helping you catch that summer vibe.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Linen Pants
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Linen Pants white

No matter what your preferences are, there are summer bottom options for you, and I’ve done all the wardrobe curating, outfit making, and shopping for you in the Summer Wardrobe Guide. Whether you need basics or the specials, I’ve got some of everything for you!

5 thoughts on “Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials: Bottoms”

  1. You are so right about bright colors and monochromatic outfits somehow working better in the summer – maybe because there is some skin to balance it out. I, like you, would never wear head to toe red, but a tank top and shorts I would do! I love how you have chosen outfits to show that women will actually WEAR – your style is a great reflection of mine. I lok forward to reading and learning lots more here!

    1. It’s these little details that can make or break a style, color, pattern for us! Thanks! My #1 frustration of reading style blogs was it was so out of reach for my normal life. I aspire to make it wearable for all of us! Thanks for reading and commmenting!

  2. Thank you for all the great information you share! The question I had was mostly answered at the end of the video… you don’t seek out long/tall lengths specifically. I love wearing shorts and skirts, but I am 5’9″ and I have an extremely hard time finding items (specifically dresses and shorts – I have to make my own from pants) long enough (I need actual knee length – not a few inches above the knee when standing as you wear them). Bermuda shorts, although they should be longer, are never tall enough to cover what I need. Will any of the bottoms in the guide work for me? You mentioned finding more variety in lengths this year, are there any lengths in shorts/skirts longer than what you wear offered in the guide? I’ve tried to shop Boden chino skirts, but am scared because the comments say that even the long lengths aren’t tall enough, and their “longer” shorts are still too short for my needs. I worry that it’s not just a summer thing too since all of the sweaters I found and purchased on my own this year from J. Crew and Banana Republic all had to be returned since they were all too short on my torso. Sources for Tall/Long in the guides would be a game-changer and a much easier YES for me! Sorry so long – Thanks again for the help!

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