A reader asked recently for a summer version of our Complete Capsule Wardrobe, which proved so popular back in 2020. 

As with that one, the challenge with today’s capsule wardrobe is knowing who it is aimed at, particularly how smartly or not they dress. So again we’ve aimed in the middle, with the hope that some of it will be relevant to everyone. 

The most specific summer point, for me, is in the first section: the value of an outer piece like a linen overshirt, and a linen suit that can be split up. Something like an overshirt is good with both tailored trousers and shorts; while the three-way suit is something linen is particularly good for. 

Remember that all the summer pieces on PS are gathered in their own section of the website here. That includes summer and high summer, both smart and casual. 

And all of the capsule wardrobes we’ve done over the years – over 20 of them – are in the Wardrobe Building section. 

 

 

Jackets and outerwear 

1. A linen overshirt, guayabera or jungle jacket
2. A darkish linen suit 
3. A chambray or denim shirt with chest pockets 

The value of a linen overshirt in covering both smart and casual combinations is made above. Summer jackets that are similar but perhaps a little narrower are a jungle jacket, which is more casual, and something like a guayabera, which is just more unusual. 

For the linen suit, you’d naturally think of a cream or pale stone/biscuit colour, and this could work well broken up too. But you may find a dark brown or dark green more versatile – for example with white shirts or white T-shirts below. Examples at those links. 

Number three is something I always bring on holiday, because a casual chambray shirt can be worn over a T-shirt and perform the same role as an overshirt – or be tucked in on its own. A shirt over a T-shirt is also a good option with shorts, as it achieves that thing of having a longer length on either the legs or the arms. 

 

 

Trousers 

1. The linen trousers from the suit above 
2. High-twists
3. Pale jeans or lightweight chinos 
4. Khaki shorts 

So we’ve covered the linen trousers. The high-twists are clearly the smartest option, but should go with the jacket from the suit, as well as the linen overshirt. Worn on their own with a knitted polo and some sockless loafers, there also a nice casual-chic option. 

I always have jeans with me, as I don’t get too hot and am usually fine if they’re a loosish fit and I have bare ankles. But some might prefer chinos – the looseness still applies. 

For most people, there will always be shorts, and it’s just a question of which colour fits best with everything else in the capsule. For me, that’s usually khaki.

 

 

Shirts 

1. White linen, able to be worn tucked and untucked
2. Short-sleeve polo, perhaps knitted
3. Long-sleeve polo, wear tucked or untucked
4. White and grey T-shirts

I wear white-linen shirts a lot in warmer weather, because I think they suit me and they go with everything. If I was putting together a capsule and wanted something particularly versatile, I’d take one that had a straight hem and so could be worn untucked with shorts as well. The long-sleeve polo like our Friday one, is the same. 

White and perhaps grey T-shirts are obvious, even if they’re just for layering. The short-sleeved polo, for me, can be a regular piqué but is also an opportunity for something a little dressier, so perhaps a knitted one. The kind of thing you can vary depending on how smart you need to be. 

 

 

Knitwear

1. A cotton crewneck 
2. A fine merino crewneck or a shawl-collar cardigan

This is the area where you probably need to pack the least. It may just be a question of one knit that you can put on in the evening when the weather cools. My favourite there is a cotton, in navy or cream depending on which goes best with the trousers and shorts. 

If there was another option, there’s definitely an argument for a fine merino, as it’s a little smarter and makes a good layering piece (under the jacket or overshirt for example). However, I tend to take a merino shawl cardigan on holiday, even if it will be quite warm, as it’s effectively a jacket substitute (and dressing gown substitute) as well.

 

 

Shoes 

1. A loafer than can cross smart and casual 
2. A deck shoe, tennis shoe or trainer  
3. Espadrilles or sandals

Summer shoes is a whole new category in a way that most of these areas are not. Fortunately, it has already been covered in a dedicated post here, in the summer section of PS. 

I also plan to update that post in the coming weeks, and do a dedicated article on the now increasingly popular category of deck/boat shoes. 

 

 

Accessories 

1. Sunglasses 
2. A straw hat 
3. A cap (maybe colourful) 
4. A couple of belts (good for adding interest)
5. A tote bag that can also go to the beach 
6. A vest (coolest option under those overshirts)

Sunglasses are pretty straightforward, but hats are not. A baseball cap is all very well – it certainly works, and works with a lot of styles – but finding a straw hat that doesn’t look too smart or old-fashioned is hard. The closest I’ve come is here for a really beaten-up straw, and here for something a little smarter (note: in the same straw colour). 

Everything else is self-explanatory I think, except to advise that if you are putting together a clothing capsule – as you inevitably are on holiday – accessories are the thing that can stop it all getting rather repetitive. A coloured canvas belt or bright cap can make all the difference. 

Further reading:

 

 
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Rob

Hi Simon, lots of resource value to this article, thanks!

I was wondering whether drawstring linen trousers should have a place here? I recall you have a pair from the Anthology – do you still wear them?

I have a pair from Informale, but they are very messy around the front, due to the double pleats. They are great for being able to just pull on a light and breezy trouser, though.

Will

An exceptionally helpful article, Simon. 🙂

What do you think of the idea of a pair of hidden drawstring or – gasp! – partially elasticated linen trousers, pleated or not, where the loosening or tightening of the waistband would be limited to one’s sides and thereby hopefully achieving a mostly clean waist, especially at one’s front or back? (Off the top of my head, I don’t know of any such trousers…)

Will

Oh exciting… that was actually one of the things in which I expressed interest in last week’s survey. 🙂

Caleb C.

While I do not own them, they are not necessarily for summer, and the elastic goes around the back, The Armoury’s City Hunter Trousers, are pretty close to what you are talking about.
https://www.thearmoury.com/products/wool-city-hunter-trousers?variant=39478327705671

j

Rota Easy Trousers in linen are available at no man walks alone

Emil

Obviously not up to the usual PS standard but Uniqlo has a cotton/linen blend trouser that’s similar to your description.

Markus S

I have the Luca Faloni drawstrings, where the string is intended to be hidden. This works well. The problem is that the trousers are too slim (and too low in rise) for my liking.

Will

Sorry: I meant to mention in my comment just now that the idea draws of course from that of side adjusters…

Rob

Great to hear you might develop a pair of these. Apart from the messiness, one thing I really struggle with is pulling the blasted things over my hips – eslaticated waists only allow a certain amount of give (compared to a normal trouser opening), but if there is too much material there then they look messy. For example, to get a good fit in the waist and legs I sized down in the Informale ones, and they fit well, once they are on. But getting them on is a real struggle (and highly amusing to my wife). Hopefully you can solve this!

Rob

I agree on the Informale. I absolutely love mine (i have khaki, navy and black) but i think the journey you have to go through with them is they are not what I thought they were when I bought them. They are much more casual once worn and washed as the relatively heavy but open weave linen gives and fades to make them like summer workwear. The khaki and black are much better than navy for this as they develop more of a worn in patina, but i find navy linen never does this and just looks old.
Great article as ever Simon. I am just wondering what the collective noun of 20 capsules is?!

Jamie A

A bit late but I agree with this. Informale linen stuff (I also have the shorts) is great for wearing the heck out of, ideally with a simple t-shirt tucked in and casual loafers or canvas trainers. Makes casual-but-still-tasteful dressing in hot weather much simpler. (In fact, if I wear them too often I get that ‘back to school after the summer holidays’ feeling of normal trousers feeling a bit restrictive!)

Nils

Hey Simon, do you have any recommendations for lightweight chinos? I’ve purchased Rubato’s officer chino on your recommendation and really like them, but find them too warm when the temps go above 20-ish degrees

Robert M

3sixteen Work Pants are ok for that. I have a pair in caramel twill, they are not particularly lightweight so not exactly a tropical weather trouser, but are soft and wide-legged, which makes them alright up to, say, 25 degrees. For comparison, I wouldn’t wear any jeans above 20 degrees.

Kevin

RRL is my go-to for this. Their Officer Chino is a great lightweight (but still substantial) casual option and comes in useful colors. Their Field Pant has a significantly looser cut.

m

Well Simon, this question has come up multiple times in a short while, maybe it’s time to introduce the PS Lightweight Chinos… a gap in the market and all that jazz. Now all that is left to figure out is whether they will be flat front or double pleated.

PS: I think the link to smart straw hat article is wrong, I can’t see any straw hats in that there. Also another weird issue is that current article has comments block displayed twice, I scroll to the bottom and under related articles the comments are displayed again.

Pierre

These Vetra chinos in lightweight fabric are great for summer. I own them in navy since 2019 and wear them at least once a week 4-5 months a year, so good on durability compared to many lightweight summer fabrics. They also tend to fade a bit which looks nice over time. https://www.vetra.fr/en/french-workwear-pants/2648-pantalon-en-tissu-leger.html#/25-colour-hydrone/88-size-33

Jonas

Incotex Chinolino are great for all those who don’t mind the Incotex fit.

HC

I have a pair of chinos from “Japan Blue”, which I’m guessing its around 10-12 oz.
A regular cut, made like old American military chinos.
I get fairly hot myself, and they work fine up to around 20 degrees celcius.
Link:
https://japanblue-jeans.com/blog/2023/12/08/new-chino-pants-aw2023-collection/?___store=japanblue_en

Luke

Community Clothing has lightweight chinos. I’ve not tried them, but their chore trousers are built like a tank.

Not sure what Simon thinks of them quality-wise, but I’ve been impressed. I think they’re great value for money.

They have a bit of a policy of using non-models as models, which I personally think they should drop, and the name doesn’t exactly shout high end.

Certainly being run by Patrick Grant of E. Tautz and Norton and Sons would suggest that they would have something to interest a PS reader.

Anonymous

Simon do you feel the PS linen Overshirt (depicted here in Olive) goes best with cream/ecru/light beige trousers in the “Olive” or “Tobacco” version? It’s hard to sometimes detrmine how colours will look/match on a computer screen. Thank you.

Robin

Nice sum up list .

Just a question about linen shirts .
I notice from looking at the measurements for various (higher end) RTW linen shirts that despite different shirt collar sizes the body measurements of the shirt have relatively little variances.
Therefore is it a case of ignore the collar size and go with best chest , waist fit ?

Also , there’s alot of ‘crappy’ linen about (much like cashmere) is there a particular weight one should look at for shirts ?

Lindsay McKee

Simon, I had been thinking, when’s the next wardrobe building article coming?
Very Good indeed.
Here’s a question, I’ve booked a commission at W&S in September. A Summer trousers commission.
CHALLENGE!!!- to match a jacket being commissioned presently in Dugdale Fabric Tropicalair Mock Leno no. 4609 Bright Blue.
I had in mind the lovely lighter greys in Drapers Ascot or H&S Airesco high twists.
What are your thoughts there Simon?

Lindsay McKee

I’ve a sample of that cloth and yes, it’s a bright and IMO a beautiful almost Royal blue but not an intense Electric Blue as say, Smith Botany or Harrison Frontier examples.
You mentioned cream for trousers.
I was hoping you would, but not a horrible yellow cast, more colder.
Any favourites in cream, maybe even oatmeal examples?
What do you think there?

Lindsay McKee

I quite agree,It would definitely look odd….certainly not a harmonious look

Aaron

After the shorts article feat. beat up straw hat I bought a sisal trilby from Bate’s. However as I’m used to buying much cheaper things I’m a bit afraid of getting it beat up. Once it’s got to a certain point I’m sure it’ll be fine, it’s just that initial bit.
I have a linen safari but I definitely want a linen overshirt instead sometimes. I’d quite like an OG-107 shirt also for my capsule wardrobe.

Phillip

I’d also suggest swimming shorts as an option for pool side lazing or beach days. Especially a pair that would go well with those loose layers up top.

Stephen

Hi Simon, A very good steer. When wearing a denim/ chambray shirt with shorts would you suggest a white T-shirt underneath? Also tucked in or outside? I know this question is a bit temperature dependent, so it’s to get your view on an optimal look.
I will be taking my Real McCoy’s tropical jacket- to wear with jeans and chinos- great for travelling with the button pockets. Another idea that I picked up previously on PS, so thanks for that too

Joshua

Do you like to wear pique cotton polo and for that matter even normal t shirts on its own with chinos or trousers? I have always thought that normal pique polos and cotton t shirts just don’t look that good on their own and therefore always liked knitted polos and tshirts

HC

Hi Simon,
Unrelated to this post, – but how are your Seiji McCarthys coming along?
I am so curious!

Nick

Hi, I always struggle with trousers for when it’s really hot (25C+). Tailored linen ones are nice, but if you want something more casual it very quickly becomes too much like pyjama bottoms. Any recommendations would be appreciated!

Burt

Seersucker?

Paul K

25C? That’s still firmly pants weather for me. I will always wear pants unless it’s 35C+ in arid climates, or 33C+ and very humid. I avoid shorts at all costs except when at the beach, the pool, or exercising.

Jack Linney

As I’ve been slowly moving through your archives, I’ve been impressed by your style evolution, and particularly the thoughtful way you’ve explained it.

Georgios

Great list without any surprises since all of the mentioned clothes fit really well in many situations. The shoe problem though is something with a very difficult solution. Winter shoes are very easy and one can rotate 3 nice shoes( a loafer, a boot and a sneakers) and always look good. In sommer loafers look to me too formal if you live in a warm land where the whole summer lasts more than 100 days and most people wear a lot shorts. With linen and jeans and other trousers loafers fit very well. But with shorts it seems a little strange to me. Sneakers like the ones of doek serve me for 2 years very well. And of course sandals are very difficult and dont fit with many outfits too nice. What do you think of some low end loafers like the ghbass for summer ? Maybe if worn out the could give a chill style.

Evatt Gibson

There are a few alternatives to loafers. Perhaps a Grecian slipper like the ones Brycelands produce? Or you could go more casual with something like a Sabah (chunky Turkish loafer/slipper). I think the latter are a kind of bridge between loafers and espadrilles although not to everyone’s taste.

Georgios

I agree with Simon on that. But if someone likes the Grecians he should also take a look at stoffa shoes since they look very similar.

Peter K

Maybe some deck or boat shoes. Simon’s upcoming article could help here.

m

I had the same issue as you Georgios, I was looking for nice but casual summer loafers/slip-ons to wear with shorts. I found my salvation with Italian maker Marsell. Now at first glance this is not a company I’d usually consider, most of their designs are a bit too unusual for me but few of their loafer designs might be fitting for the role you need.
The model I purchased ( twice in different colours ) is unfortunately unavailable currently but the fit -for me- was like a glove, not a bespoke shoe, but a bespoke glove. The leathers they use are thick, supple and buttery soft, some of the best I’ve ever experienced. Make is also first rate. They have slim Blake stitched sole, comfortable and flexible but not going to last forever. Pricing has unfortunately gone up but you can usually find them at steep discounts like the one here (also available in less bold beige):
https://www.farfetch.com/ee/shopping/men/marsell-steccoblocco-slip-on-suede-loafers-item-22338319.aspx

Georgios

Thanx for the suggestion, the actual models are not my kind of tase but ill keep a look on them from time to time since a plainer model could fit me well too. The problem with summer shoes to me is that i spend most of my time in Greece at summer so everyone is wearing really casual clothes to a level that loafers look easily out of place. That changes rapidly with trousers of course since even a thin chukka works fine. But with shorts someone can get associations with wannabe jacht owner, dante type who looks strange, too casual guy who wears only sport things etc. I am also curious about the boat/ deck shoe article, something tells me the brands paraboot, Saman Amel will be there :p

Denis

Hi Simon, I was reading one of your post about holiday dressing and packing and I believe you mention, that sometimes you carry more than one hat. I would appreciate any tip for how to travel (pack) with hats. I mean one is probably on my head in plane, but can´t imagine pack it inside a luggage though….

Rowan Morrison

What is this “summer” you speak of?

Alec

Thanks for the suggestion of a merino shawl collar cardigan as evening / lounge wear. I’d never thought of that. Have you come across any you liked?
My wife will be angry. Shawl collar cardigans seem to top her women repeller list!

David

Wouldn’t a wool cardigan look out of place in summer? I have a linen one that is great but the A&S ones all look like winter pieces.

Martins

Just tell her you’re wearing one to repell “other” women.

Alec

Ha ha. Good advice Martins.
I’m living in Singapore so I have experience of high heat and humidity. I have an Inis Meain linen relaxed jacket (1×2 db cardigan). Linen isn’t a great material for a jumper. It drapes like a saggy wet towel. But I find the look works if I leave it loose and open over a t-shirt. The linen is cool in hot weather and Inis Meain are good at making interesting melange fabrics. It’s rare to find hot weather fabrics with some depth in the colours.

Paul K

If it’s a successful repellent, wouldn’t she be relieved, instead? 😉

Relatedly, Simon, how come no one makes a cotton or cotton/linen shawl collar cardigan for warmer seasons? I have a nice cable-knit sweater for spring/summer, but would love something with a collar. Isn’t there a place for something like this, given that it’s smarter than a cotton sweatshirt?

Ville

I have been thinking of commissioning a casual summer suit that could be weared in 3 ways like you mentioned. I don’t need to wear a suit so it would be something that I could mostly dress down with casual shirts, polos and even tshirts but could still look nice dressed up with a shirt and tie. I have been going back and forward with 100% linen and wool/silk/linen mix from Solbiati (like in the lightweight English jacket article by Aleks) but can’t decide which would be more versatile. Colour would be something dark (brown or even navy). Which cloth would you recommend?

Xy

Simon, I wonder why you advise against the Irish linen here? Do you think it would look too formal to wear separately?

Charlie

W Bill 12/13 oz cannot be beaten Simon. Not sure how you can suggest it would look too formal. Choose the colour carefully and formality is the last thing you would think.

Charlie

Someone I met who knows you told me that you don’t publish comments if they undermine your position as an “expert”.

You not publishing my comment on W Bill linen may well prove his point.

Ville

Thank you Simon for your thoughts, this helps a lot.

Chris

Simon – is that a new Cartier? It’s lovely – what model is it and what’s the backstory?

Chris

Really cool, thanks for sharing.

Jack Thorson

Do you have any thoughts on cotton vs. linen sweaters when it comes to summer knitwear?

Dimitris

Hi Simon. I understand that the topic is about summer capsule wardrobe, but i didn’t know where to put the question. I recently made a cream db suit from a Loro Piana worsted fabric, at 270gr/m. I wonder, is there any older article of yours that mentions the cream suit? And if not, what is your opinion, do you see it only for spring and autumn, or for summer and winter as well? Morning, or even evening (for recreational activity only). I don’t think that the rules are “written on stone” (you certainly don’t go to a funeral in a sky blue suit) and can be overturned regarding the norms for the season of the year and the time of day. If there is no related article, could you provied a brief opinion? Thank you!

Dimitris

Thanks a lot. very helpfull

Dan James

Great article Simon and perfect timing as I am just making the change over to high summer with the temperatures reaching high 20s and low 30s over here in Japan.

I have some questions about the suit or more particularly the cloth and the style. First, what would you say are the relative pros and cons to linen suit versus a wool/linen mix? I have jackets in both and find the linen ones work well on a very casual basis but the former seem ‘airier’ and obviously go better in work situations.

Secondly, what is the upper temperature range you can wear a double breasted linen suit.? Always strike me as the smarter and more stylish option but struggle to be wearable over 20C or so.
Thanks.

Anonymous

I find the navy seersucker suit I got a few years ago from Proper Cloth to be one of the most useful pieces I’ve ever purchased. I got it shortly before a trip to Italy, which included a wedding. I wore the suit for the wedding but was then was able to wear the jacket on its own on a number of occasions, particularly in the evening. (In the past, when I traveled with a suit to a wedding, I wore the suit only a single time. Was frustrating to have a single use item take up so much room in my suitcase.)

More broadly, the navy color gives it a touch of formality that a tan colored cotton or linen suit wouldn’t have, but the seersucker makes it easy to “dress down.”

David

Call Me By Your Name as a go to summer style resource – https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/fashion/article/call-me-by-your-name-style

Particularly for me points 2 (earthy hues, preppy white socks, slightly oversized Oxford shirt) and point 3 (short shorts with slightly oversized relaxed shirt).

I’d also add a range of relaxed linen shirts(Drake’s, Trunk, Luca Faloni), Sunspel Riviera polo, La Paz baby cord shorts.

Dimitris

haha 🙂

Gilles

Thanks Simon, very insightful article as always. Unfortunately the PS overshirt is unavailable in both olive and brown. Any plans to restock soon?

Joners

Simon,
slightly oblique question here, but do you keep wearing some linen pieces on through the year into winter? Layering as you go along. I wonder whether the linen overshirt is something you might wear under an overcoat in the autumnal months.

Markus S

Simon,
could you recommend a brand for casual straw-hats?

Kathir

Hi, what is the watch you wearing in second picture

Carl

This is a very useful article that I will get back to when I pack for summer travelling.
You mention vests. I have been quite skeptical about these but actually like them for training (maybe to show off some biceps). I wonder if there is anything you would recommend or think I should think about if I would like to replace undershirts with vests?

Peter Hall

Currently shuttling regularly between Barcelona and Rotterdam and I can confirm that the top layer (over shirt or jacket ) is the hardest to get right. Overshirts can be too informal and tailoring too smart.
There is a need for a degree of practicality ,both for flight and weather ,
Always easier if it’s overcast or very hot, but this year seems to be casting multiple seasons each day.

Edouard

Hi Simon. This is a useful and inspiring article as usual. I especially like the point on baring either the arms or the legs but not both. On the chambray shirt as overshirt, would you go for a looser traditional cut, or a more fitted cut?

Iqbal

Hi Simon,
thank you for this amazing post. And wow I didn’t know dark green linen suit is that versatile. But an english cut dark green linen suit is not suitable to be worn with a t-shirt no? Also, If I am not mistaken it would be wise to wear black or dark brown shoes with dark green (burgundy shoes could work perhaps). I’ll consider adding dark green linen suit because of its versatility then.

Michael

Hi, Simon
what do you think would be more versatile, a pair of navy linen trousers or olive? And what other colours would you pair with navy linen trousers other than white? I find that olive is more versatile but would like to hear your opinion

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Simon,

Would you mind sharing which mill you have used to make your white linen shirts?

Thanks

Rupesh

Martin

Hello Simon,

I feel quite ashamed to make this inquiry, but I still want to make sure. Is it absolutely necessary to wear linen trousers only with espadrilles or loafers, or I can still pull it off with sneakers (white)?

Best wishes,
Martin

Doogie

Sorry for asking Simon.

For a Linen Overshirt.. would you recommend something like this: https://mobile.yoox.com/de/10409230UV/item#dept=men&queryID=ee04030b0aeb0b3650f76385f6f9aa8c&cod10=10409230UV&sizeId=5 or more like some sturdy material as: https://editorialist.com/p/lardini-linen-shirt-jacket/

I would appreciate you help.

Alexander

Dear Simon, have you tried the buzz rickson shorts in their 1945 cut?
https://sonofastag.com/products/buzz-ricksons-1945-chino-short-olive
I found the olive really useful since I bought them last summer and I ordered the beige one as well.
Really nice relaxed and rather short cut. Somewhat in the same way like the short Patagonia baggies. I just very recently realized how much more comfortable (and more stylish to my eye) wider leg shorts are. Especially if they finish on the lower thigh.
The only strange thing about the 1945 cut, is that it has normal side seams, not a double seam like you would expect from a standard chino. This detail held me back on trying their standard (long) chinos in the 1945 version. But I don’t mind it on the shorts. Do you have any rules on whether double seams are necessary on chinos from a style point of view? Thanks

Mimi

Hello
Unfortunately I don’t fully understand “High-twists”. What does it mean exactly ? (I’m french by the way).

oli

The top outfit looks wonderful, effortless and smart. Just the way you want to dress when the mercury rises.