There’s a lot of uncertainty for everyone this summer. But, no matter whether you’re able to travel this year, to dine al fresco or socialize with friends in the way you want to, there is at least some certainty when it comes to summer style. There are certain summer essentials that you can be sure are an investment you can wear for year upon year.

Summer classics like the perfect pair of white jeans, a great t-shirt, a lightweight jacket and a pair of low-heeled sandals will never date. In this article, I’ve teamed with Nordstrom to create a summer wardrobe made up only of Nordstrom exclusive brands.

What to think about when choosing your summer essentials

Your lifestyle and summer plans

Think about your summer essentials in terms of what you will be doing this summer, and tailor your choices accordingly. If you’re likely to be spending time at home, or walking, for example, rather than at parties, you will want more casual options.

Will it last for a number of seasons?

Not even the Duchess of Cambridge wears her clothes only once. If you’re opting to make a purchases this summer, you’ll want to be able to wear it next summer, and the one after that. Look out for brands which create timeless styles. We like Nordstrom’s own brand such as Halogen, Zella, Treasure & Bond, and Chelsea28. which are affordable yet have a high quality.

What colors will you choose?

If you opt for a palette of colors in your summer essentials, this will make it easier to put plenty of outfits together. Opt for three or four colors.

How about your fabric choices?

If you’re anything like me, you will prefer to wear natural fabrics during the summer. Look for items in linen to keep you cool.

26 summer essentials

Below are the clothes and accessories which should see you through many summers to come. You’ll find 26 items – including shoes and accessories that you can create countless outfits from.

I’ve concentrated on more tops and pants than other pieces in this capsule to give you more versatility when it comes to mixing and matching your separates.

1. A flattering t-shirt

Every wardrobe needs a great t-shirt. And this t-shirt (below) from the Caslon brand is a little bit different thanks to the ruching, but it will go with just as many outfits as a “plain” t-shirt would.

Summer essentials - Caslon ruched knit t-shirt |

Caslon ruched knit t-shirt

2. A draped blouse

You’re also likely to want a dressier top in your summer closet. This wrap style (below) from Chelsea28 is super flattering because of the draping around the hemline.

Summer essentials - Chelsea28 drape waist top|

Chelsea28 drape waist top

3. V-neck top

Another flattering option is a V-neck top. By choosing a V-neck, you can create long, lean lines to elongate your figure. You can always alter exactly where you tie the belt to get the most flattering effect for you.

Summer essentials - Chelsea28 tie front v-neck top |

Chelsea28 tie front v-neck top

4. Striped tunic

My final top choice in this Nordstrom summer capsule is this long striped shirt, which would be fabulous worn over leggings. To change the styling, you could always cinch the waist with a belt, or wear a shorter jacket or cropped sweater over the top.

Summer essentials - Treasure & Bond stripe woven tunic |

Treasure & Bond stripe woven tunic

5. Summer blazer

No matter where you live, you’re likely to need outerwear even if it is summer. This Caslon lightweight blazer (below) is perfect for warmer months as it is made from breathable linen.

It would look great worn with other neutrals, or to make your little black dress or jumpsuit look more summer friendly.

Summer essentials - Caslon boyfriend blazer |

Caslon boyfriend blazer

6. Cardigan

What could be more perfect for keeping the chill at bay on cooler evenings than a cozy cardigan. Ideal for nights at home, or for casual days, worn with white jeans.

Summer essentials - Caslon stripe cardigan |

Caslon stripe cardigan

7. Denim jacket

A denim jacket is one of those closet staples that will always be on trend, particularly if you opt for a mid-blue in a classic shape, such as this jacket (below) from 1901.

You can wear over your summer dresses for a little extra warmth.

Summer essentials - 1901denim jacket |

1901denim jacket

8. Longline vest

Layering is often key to creating flattering looks. You can use layers to hide a belly, for example, or to look taller than you really are.

One way to layer in the summer without adding a lot of extra bulk is to opt for a sleeveless vest. You could either wear this vest (below) from Chelsea28 tied at the waist, or you could leave it open. Sleeveless vests look best worn over other sleeveless tops or dresses, or with long sleeves underneath.

Summer essentials - Chelsea28 longline vest |

Chelsea28 longline vest

9. White pants

Now onto the pants in this Nordstrom Made capsule! A pair of white pants or jeans is a summer classic that you can guarantee won’t date. If you want to create the illusion of longer legs, a high-waisted pair such as the pants style (below) from Halogen is a great option.

Summer essentials - Halogen high waist crop pants |

Halogen high waist crop pants

10. Flattering shorts

Depending on the weather where you are, or if you manage to head somewhere warmer this summer, you’re likely to want to add a pair of shorts to your summer closet.

This utility-style pair (below) from Caslon are timeless and would look just as good at home or on vacation, with sandals or sneakers.

Summer essentials - Caslon linen shorts |

Caslon linen shorts

11. Wide leg pants

One of my favorite brands for athleisure wear is Zella. It’s a good option for leggings and t-shirts, and I also love these wide-legged pants (below) which could easily be dressed up or down.

Summer essentials - Zella flowy high waist crop wide leg pants |

Zella flowy high waist crop wide leg pants

12. Bright pants

Neutrals are fabulous, and tend to form the base of any capsule wardrobe so that you can mix and match plenty of different ways.

But you could also think about adding a pop of color, such as red to your summer capsule.

Summer essentials - 1901 skinny pants |

1901 skinny pants

13 . Versatile leggings

A pair of leggings are perfect for casual days. Wear with longer tunics for the most flattering effect.

Nordstrom high waist leggings |

Nordstrom high waist leggings

14. Jumpsuit

A jumpsuit is a perfect item to add to your summer capsule as it’s a full outfit in one. This Chelsea28 black jumpsuit (below) is ideal as you can wear casually with sneakers and a denim jacket, pair with sandals for warmer days, or add heels and a clutch bag for more formal evenings.

Chelsea28 faux wrap jumpsuit |

Chelsea28 faux wrap jumpsuit

15. Tie front dress

Even if you are usually a jeans and pants kind of person, you probably want at least one dress in your summer closet.

This Chelsea28 tie-front dress (below) is versatile and flattering. You could pair with sandals and a rattan bag for daytime, or with black heels and a clutch for evening. If you want to cover your arms or need extra warmth, you could wear with the denim jacket or blazer.

Chelsea28 tie front dress |

Chelsea28 tie front dress

16. Asymmetrical skirt

I love asymmetry in any outfit, so I couldn’t resist including at least one asymmetrical option in this capsule. This Chelsea28 skirt below could be worn for summer with sandals. But you could also pair it with a sweater, moto jacket and booties for fall.

Chelsea28 asymmetrical faux wrap skirt |

Chelsea28 asymmetrical faux wrap skirt

17. Classic pumps

A pair of classic pumps are a style staple for any closet. Choosing a paler color helps to keep your capsule looking summery and fresh.

Caslon pump |

Caslon pump

18. Sandals

One pair of shoes that every summer capsule absolutely needs is a great pair of sandals. If you choose a neutral or metallic pair, they will go with everything in your closet.

Caslon elastic sandal |

Caslon elastic sandal

19. Sneaker

A pair of sneakers is another good shoe choice to keep in your summer capsule. Sneakers have never been so on trend, and you can wear with everything from your jeans to your dresses.

1901 sneaker |

1901 sneaker

20. Classic tote

No matter what you are doing this summer, you’ll need a bag to carry your day-to-day essentials in. This Nordstrom tote is totally timeless.

Nordstrom leather tote |

Nordstrom leather tote

21. Crossbody bag

If you’re looking for a travel bag, or just a day-to-day bag, this Nordstrom nylon crossbody (below) is perfect.

Nordstrom nylon crossbody bag |

Nordstrom nylon crossbody bag

22. Pendant necklace

Of course, every capsule needs its finishing touches, and this necklace (below) from Nordstrom will give a contemporary touch to your outfits.

Nordstrom open circle pendant necklace |

Nordstrom open circle pendant necklace

23. Drop earrings

Do you tend to wear earrings everyday, or just for special occasions? Either way, these Halogen teardrop earrings (below) will go with pretty much everything in your closet.

Halogen large teardrop earrings |

Halogen large textured teardrop earrings

24. Summer scarf

A scarf looks just as stylish for summer as for the winter months. Simply choose a lightweight material and you can drape around your neck for a nonchalant look, or use as a wrap around your shoulders.

Nordstrom print modal & silk scarf |

Nordstrom print modal & silk scarf

25. Sunglasses

Some accessories are both cool and practical. Sunglasses are one of them! You’ll want to make sure that your eyes are protected from the suns rays while adding some extra style to your outfits.

Catseye sunglasses are particularly on trend right now, and can be great for women over 40 as they turn up at the corners, drawing the eye upwards.

BP. cat eye sunglasses |

BP. cat eye sunglasses

26. Summer hat

A summer hat is also vital for protection from the sun, and can definitely add the “cool” factor to your outfits.

Treasure & Bond wide brim panama hat |

Treasure & Bond wide brim panama hat

Now let’s put the summer essentials from above together into a capsule.

Item list from Nordstrom summer capsule |

A capsule of summer essentials from Nordstrom

A capsule of summer essentials from Nordstrom |

Shop all items:

Will you create a new capsule wardrobe for summer this year? What kind of items are you looking for?

Like this post? Share it on Pinterest!

A Nordstrom own-brand capsule to see you through summer and after summer |

This article was sponsored by Nordstrom

Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.

You can also connect with 40+style on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!