Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Shoes

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Shoes

There is more to your summer capsule wardrobe shoes than flip flops

Think Outside the Flip flop Box

Shoes have always been my favorite, and while I love winter for the cozy sweaters, my shoe wardrobe is pretty minimal. In my summer capsule wardrobe I don’t have the sweaters and layers, so I make up the numbers by adding more shoes than I have the rest of the year.

There are three categories of shoes I consider when I create the Stunning Style Summer Wardrobe Guide.

3 Shoe Types for Your Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Basic Sandal

Sandals equal summer! Sure, I start wearing them at the end of spring as soon as the snow melts, and I hang onto them in early fall when it’s still too hot to confine my feet, but in the summer it’s officially sandal season! And it feels soooo great to spread your toes after 3 seasons of closed-toe shoes. I’m officially ready to say goodbye to flats and booties and hello to pedicures and foot freedom!

The very first summer shoe you need is a basic sandal in a neutral color that will go with everything in your summer wardrobe. Basics sound boring, but as we’ve talked about before, they are the foundation of every outfit. And they don’t have to be boring!

This basic sandal will be the pair you reach for again and again, goes with everything in your wardrobe, and tells your style story. It’s all about the details.

It’s a lot to ask, but if you are narrowing it down to this one go-to shoe, you want ultimate versatility, which comes by considering color, comfort, lifestyle, and personal style.


Choosing your neutral color is key. What are your favorite summer neutrals? Because of the season, would you rather it be one of your lighter neutrals to keep your outfits more summery? Thinking back to the accessories, when you chose that one amazing, go-to, neutral bag, I would choose the same color.
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Black Sandals
OR if you chose a darker neutral bag and want lighter shoes, I would match the hardware. So I said if I could only carry one bag all summer I would choose this black bag. I would also likely choose these black wedges, or I would choose these silver wedges. Honestly, I would choose both a light and a dark neutral, but if you are being super minimal, I want you to be very thoughtful about your choices. Both will coordinate with my bag.
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Silver sandals


Comfort is the next key point to consider because if they aren’t functional and easy to wear, you won’t wear them, will you? How much comfort are you willing to sacrifice for cute shoes? When it’s a special occasion shoe, maybe a lot, but for a go-to shoe, comfort is critical. You will be wearing these shoes a lot, and you don’t want your feet to hate you for it. I love wedges in the summer, but they can’t be too high for me to walk easily or so heavy that I feel like I have cement blocks on my feet. I also love a little cushion.

I love wedges in the summer, but they can’t be too high for me to walk easily or so heavy that I feel like I have cement blocks on my feet. I also love a little cushion.


Consider your summer lifestyle. With the summer weather I’m more active. I get outside more, go more places, and I need to be able to walk around comfortably. For you that might mean a flat sandal.

When I had a bunch of littles, it would definitely have meant a flat sandal for me because my rule was I didn’t wear any shoe I couldn’t outrun my kids in, just in case one of them bolted for the parking lot.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Blue Slides

Personal Style

My favorite places to tell my style story is in my accessories, and that includes shoes. I personally need edgy details to balance my Minimal Classic style, and it is my number one style challenge in my summer capsule wardrobe. I need all of my summer shoes to have edgy details so I feel like me.

Shoes can make or break your outfit, so be really conscious of the details of your basic summer sandal. What style details do you need to feel like you?

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Studded Black Sandal

Statement Shoe

Statement shoes are staples in my wardrobe any season, but especially summer. Summer temperatures means it is likely to be a sandal, but it doesn’t have to be, especially if you can’t wear sandals to work.

With a selective wardrobe, it’s important that each item in your closet pulls it weight, so when choosing a statement shoe, factor in the comfort, lifestyle, and personal style factors we’ve already covered. But there are some other things to consider when choosing a statement shoe.

Because clothes are smaller in the summer, it’s easier to bring in more color and pattern without feeling overwhelmed. Somehow, when the temperatures rise, color blocking, color stacking, and color combining seem more appropriate, if not downright mandatory!

Not only that, but just like with shoes, the smaller they are, the easier it is to wear something bold. Red sandals? Definitely! Red over-the-knee boots…? Not as likely. If you want to add some extra color, pattern, or both to an outfit, statement shoes are a great option.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Bold Red Sandals
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Tall Red Boots

Color or Pattern?

If you only choose one (and it doesn’t have to be just one, but to really help you get thoughtful), do you prefer pattern or color?

If you want color, choose one that goes with everything or at least most things in your summer color palette. Is there a color you might not wear in large doses but would be a great color combo with the rest of the colors in your summer capsule wardrobe?

Another great choice would be your signature or favorite color, because you can never go wrong there. You are guaranteed to love it.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Red Sandals
If you want pattern, pick one that goes with your summer vibe! For me that would either be stripes or leopard. For you it could be a floral, polka dot, gingham, or fruit. Do you want your pattern to be neutral or colorful? How many colors? On something as small as a shoe, too many colors can be too busy and get lost, but not always.
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Leopard Sandals
You can also get both from one sandal like this pink pair.
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Pink Sandals

Active Shoe

Summer means parks, picnics, barbecues, fireworks, after-dinner walks, and basically getting out and about in nature. While your other two shoes need to be comfortable and fit your summer lifestyle, sometimes you really need an active shoe.

This can be something as sturdy as a hiking shoe, if that is an activity you do often enough to include it as part of your core summer capsule wardrobe, or it can be more like a sneaker.

When we set off fireworks, our family rule is closed toe shoes for safety reasons. Something unexpected like the end of a sparkler breaking off and onto feet can leave a terrible burn.

I also slip into sneakers when we barbecue because I’m up and down the deck stairs to get to the table, in and out of the house going from the kitchen to the grill. Balancing platters of food while navigating the stairs in a pair of wedges is a no from me.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Red Sneakers

My husband and I have already started going on after-dinner walks, and I don’t want to be focused on my feet, I want to enjoy his company and the setting sun. We can walk as far and as long as we want to without my footwear cutting it short.

Unless I want (another) sprained ankle, I’m definitely not wearing wedges to the park, to soccer games, team parties. Again, you can go with a neutral, or you can bring in some color, pattern or both.

Slide or Flip Flop

As a bonus category outside of your core summer capsule wardrobe, if you spend much time at the pool, lake, or anywhere you need to kick your shoes on and off, consider a flip flop or slide, but think outside the foam rubber thong box. They can be stylish and functional.

Choose a color that goes with your swim wardrobe, whether that’s a neutral or something more colorful.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Silver Flip Flops
Summer Capsule Wardrobe Essentials Series: Blue Slides

Are you ready to up your shoe game this summer and get out of the flip flop box? 

If you want help with your classic summer capsule wardrobe, the Summer Classic Wardrobe Guide is coming soon! Be the first to know when it’s available by joining the waiting list.

Stunner of the WEek

Stunner of the week

I have been part of The Stunning Style Society from the beginning and I am amazed that I am still refining my style as I continue to learn more about myself and my true preferences. 

Building a year round wardrobe that I love, then learning how to tweak my outfits for whatever my day holds, has been such a valuable part of the experience. 

Thank you, April, for so generously sharing of yourself, and your talents, with the Society! I now love everything in my closet ❣

– Lori F.

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