9 Complete Summer Looks That Fit in 1 Tote Bag

9 Complete Summer Looks That Fit in 1 Tote Bag

Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, summer is unofficially here. The real start of summer doesn’t arrive until the 20th of June but hot temperatures and long sunny days don’t wait for a date. Here in California’s Wine Country, temps are well into the 80s – in fact it’s supposed to be 91 today.

Dressing both stylishly and comfortably in summer weather can be a challenge. At 48, I choose not to show a lot of skin like I did in my younger days. Short, sleeveless sundresses and miniskirts aren’t really my thing anymore – though you may catch me in denim shorts once in a blue moon. Instead I lean towards light, flowing fabrics and lightweight layers to keep me comfortable when the temps rise and fall, as they are known to do around here.

You may have seen a few of my earlier posts on foundational dressing. I take one base outfit – like a black dress – and create several different looks using other items from my wardrobe.

Employing the same overall idea of getting as much wear as possible out of my favorite pieces, I came up with a summer capsule wardrobe using just 10 clothing items from my summer wardrobe. And it all – even the shoes, jewelry  and one handbag – fits into one tote bag so it’s an ideal capsule for a 9-day trip!

Stella Carakasi Summer Look cover text 2

Creating the capsule took a bit of time. First, I chose a color combination I wanted to work with. I love white for summer so that was a no-brainer. Rather than pick my go-to shade – black – I decided to mix things up a little and selected brown as my complimentary shade.

Next I went about selecting the pieces that would work well together. After a lot of experimenting, here is what I came up with for my 10 pieces:

3 Bottoms (a pair of white wide-legged pants, white capri leggings and jeans)

Summer pants

3 camisoles (white, bone and brown)

stella carakasi camisoles

2 blouses (a long brown button-up tunic, and a white cardigan/top)

stella carakasi summer tops

2 summery sweaters (a long white cardigan and a brown lightweight asymmetrical sweater)

stella carakasi summer sweaters

Then I chose my footwear:

Two pairs of summery sandals (a white sandal with an ankle strap and a block heel and a pair of suede gladiator sandals with a low heel in a versatile cognac shade)

Stella Carakasi Summer Look shoes

Next up, accessories:

2 handbags and a pair of sunglasses (a clutch similar, a bone colored satchel similar and a pair of brown sunglasses)

Stella Carakasi Summer Look bags

Lastly, I chose my jewelry:

3 necklaces and a bracelet (long beaded/chain necklace with a geode pendant by Janet Harrer, a leather choker from a boutique in Sonoma, a white flower necklace from Kelley Hollis Jewelry and a druzy bracelet from Kay and Star)

Stella Carakasi Summer Look jewelry

Time for the outfits!

Look #1

Breezy white pants with a white camisole underneath make up the foundation of this outfit. I added a lightweight knit sweater and wore chunky-heeled white sandals. I carried my bone-colored handbag.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look 5

I kept the jewelry to a minimum and wore the white druzy bracelet.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look Kay and Star

Look #2

Same pants, same shoes and same handbag as in Look #1. I changed my camisole to the Stone color to add contrast but still keep the neutrals light.

I added a layer to my look with a long white cardigan and wore a soft leather choker that matches the color of my camisole.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look 3

Look #3

Same pants, same shoes and bag as looks #1 and #2.

I switched out the camisole/sweater combinations and wore a white button-up blouse.

Stella Summer Look 1

A white flower statement necklace is all I needed as far as jewelry goes.


Look #4

This time I wore white capri leggings, a great alternative to shorts and summer skirts.

I wore a long camisole in brown with a sweater in the same col0r. I kept the flower necklace and the white shoes and carried my Louis Vuitton clutch.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look 2

Look #5

Another capri legging look with a long tunic over the same camisole I wore in look #4.

I changed into gladiator sandals for a more casual look, carried my small clutch and wore the druzy bracelet again.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look 4

Look #6

Time for some denim!

I wore girlfriend jeans with the white long cardigan and white camisole.

I added my long geode necklace, white sandals and carried my bone-colored handbag.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look 7

Look #7

Here is a casual look with jeans and the brown sweater with matching camisole.

I wore the same necklace as in Look #6 with gladiator sandals and bone handbag.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look 8

Look #8

This tunic can always be worn without a camisole underneath.

I wore it alone with jeans, gladiator sandals, a choker and carried the bone handbag.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look 6

Look #9

For my final look, I wore the white blouse with jeans and the druzy bracelet. I carried the bone handbag.

Every other item in this post is inside my monogrammed tote bag (from Toss Designs), with the exception of my undergarments.

Stella Carakasi Summer Look 9

Here is the bag with everything in it – including the jeans, white sandals and white blouse in Look #9.

The only thing it isn’t holding is my bone handbag!

9 outfits one tote

I was able to wear each of the 10 pieces in at least two outfits, in most cases more!

You can follow a similar formula to create your own capsule wardrobe. Whether it’s to make dressing day in and day out easier, save money on clothes, minimize your wardrobe or pack your suitcase, it’s a handy way to make the most of your summer wardrobe.

Don’t like brown? Prefer not to wear wear white on vacation? Simply choose a different color combination  – blue and gray or beige and black, for example. And if you don’t wear heels, substitute them for flats.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. It was fun to put together. And I learned a lot about capsule wardrobe creation through this process. The only downside is now my husband will expect me to pack for vacation in one little tote bag!

stella carakasi summer looks

If you’re in the Bay Area and want more summer style inspiration, register to attend the Stella Carakasi Summer Style Event this Friday, June 3rd, in Berkeley. My stepdaughter, Tori, and I will be walking the runway in the latest Stella Carakasi fashions. I would love to see you there!

Stella Carakasi Summer Event

Reminder: How I Wear My submissions are due by the end of the day on June 6, 2016. Send a photo of you in your “Vacation or Resort Look” to howiwearmy@yahoo.com. Be sure to tell us a bit about your outfit. The post will go live June 8th!

How I Wear My Badge

Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: I was given the Smoky Quartz long tunic, long white cardigan, and the Stone and Smoky Quartz camisoles by Stella Carakasi. The druzy bracelet was a gift from Kay and Star. Everything else I paid for. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always. 


    • Adrienne Shubin
      May 31, 2016 / 2:39 pm

      Thank you, Susan!

  1. May 31, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    🙂 What can I say, Adrienne?
    Excellent! What a great selection of pieces put together so well.
    Love the idea that one can fit all the pieces into one tote.
    Will save this and try something similar that would work for me and my needs.
    Have a very HAPPY week and greetings from Vienna,


  2. Kathy
    May 31, 2016 / 5:08 pm

    So well put together. I’m a real overpacker and end up wearing a few things over and over again anyway. I’m going to try this (a bit more) for a trip we’re taking this summer. I love white and brown too.

  3. May 31, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    Love the new blog style and these styles as well, Adrienne. Both look great!

  4. May 31, 2016 / 6:38 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and I really like your style. I, too, am 48 and while I don’t think I look my age (nor do you!), I want to dress appropriately (and stylishly) for my age. I’m always inspired by your outfits. 🙂

  5. julie
    June 1, 2016 / 7:08 am

    Love your new website look. The post is great – can’t believe how you put all of the looks together and each one is great. Well done.

  6. June 3, 2016 / 8:12 am

    I have pinned this under travel to try and inspire me to pack lighter. I am so bad with that. This is a great selection.

  7. Carol LaRochelle
    June 5, 2016 / 3:54 am

    I am very interested in knowing what brand the two sandals are that you are wearing???

  8. June 5, 2016 / 5:48 am

    I think you did a marvellous job. All looks are great, elegant, well thought through. It isn’t going to help me though…. Sylvia of 40+Style did a similar thing on her site and I found something out about myself. I need more variety. I get bored too easily when a look is similar. I am a spoiled brat. That is what I am. Which is also why I always schlep around a great big suitcase. Even for a 3 day stay. Yep… there is a price to pay for that.

  9. June 7, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    What a great post! The days of travelling with multiple suitcases are long past! Great suggestions

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