Vacation Capsule Wardrobe with Chico’s Zenergy Collection: 6 Pieces, 12+ Great Looks

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vacation capsule wardrobe featuring Chico's Zenergy Collection by Wardrobe Oxygen

I am an ambassador for Chico's, which means each month I choose pieces from Chico's New Arrivals to style and share on Instagram. For this month, I decided to style pieces from Chico's Zenergy line, which has been a favorite for a while. And receiving these pieces, I realized they could make a fantastic vacation capsule wardrobe. I took six pieces of clothing (and a few accessories) from Chico's and created 12 vacation-ready looks.

And unlike most of my capsule wardrobes, this one is modeled on yours truly! Since I had the clothes, I could them wear them, style them, and provide better visuals on how the outfits will actually look when worn. I hope you like this!

What is Chico's Zenergy Collection?

Chico's Zenergy Collection is a line of lightweight, stretchy, UPF protection clothing that doesn't wrinkle and is made for an active lifestyle. But unlike a lot of similar fabrics that are seen in activewear, the Neema fabric that encompasses most of the Zenergy collection has a matte finish that makes it extremely versatile. I have worn Zenergy pieces from Neema fabric kayaking, and I have also worn them out to dinner at nice restaurants.

You may also like: Chico's Zenergy Jumpsuit

Zenergy's Neema fabric can take a beating (I've scraped against a brick wall without a snag), are easy-care (pop in the washing machine), and don't wrinkle even if you shove them into that little gap in the corner of your suitcase. While made from a poly/spandex blend, Zenergy pieces feel breathable, dry super quickly, and I appreciate they have built-in UPF 50+ sun protection.

And what I love in a capsule wardrobe and with Chico's in general… the pieces from Chico's Zenergy collection match one another from season to season. I've mixed Zenergy from 2020 with 2021 and now 2022 pieces. And they hold up; my Zenergy shorts from last summer were worn and washed dozens of times and still look and perform the same.

You may also like: The Best Skorts for Grown Women (featuring a Chico's Zenergy skort!)

Vacation Capsule Wardrobe with Chico's Zenergy Collection

Three pieces from Chico's Zenergy collection, two of Chico's must-have microfiber tanks (seriously, these are genius and the black one in this collection is two years old showing how well they hold up), a pair of Chico's super comfy and genius no-stain white Girlfriend jeans and then some Chico's accessories (this ruana, this scarf which sadly is now sold out, this belt, this necklace, and this carry-on bag) I created 12 different looks.

vacation capsule wardrobe chicos

black jacket | white and black tanks | printed ruana | quilted travel bag | faux leather baseball cap | goldtone link necklace | gray belt bag | black pants | printed scarf (no longer available; other scarves from Chico's; another scarf that may work with this ruana) | black shorts | white stretch jeans
not pictured: black LISSOM flats, white EVA Birkenstocks, HOKA sneakers, black adjustable belt with gold hook clasp | cream pouch purse | swimsuit

how to style an oblong scarf
I turned the oblong scarf into a top by putting it over one shoulder and grabbing two pieces of the edge and tying them into a small square knot under my arm.

I know it's frustrating the scarf is sold out, but it's the same size as any of the other Chico's oblong scarves. And if this ruana isn't the right look for you, Chico's has several others to choose from. There are some great scarf/ruana combos at Chico's now like this and this or this and this. But really, looking at this vacation capsule wardrobe you can see how having two matching pieces isn't really necessary except for two looks, and those two looks the scarf can be replaced by a hat and a belt.

ways to style a ruana
A ruana can go from being a casual topper to an elegant addition to an ensemble

You may also like: Switch up your wardrobe with 3 ruanas from Chico's

The swimsuit is the Lands' End Tugless Tank. I figured some would ask about it; I have written an extensive review of the Lands' End Tugless tank at this link. It's a fantastic suit I highly recommend!

Ten Looks from my Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

For size reference, I am 5'3″ and wear a size 14 in most mall brands, a 16 in higher-end labels. With Chico's I am consistently a size 2 and everything you see here is a size 2 except the shorts which were sold out at the time so I'm wearing a 1.5. The jeans are 2 petite. I think the pants are a bit big on me; a 2 petite would have been perfect.

To view these images larger, click any image and a carousel will appear. Use the arrows to scroll through, and then click the “X” in the upper right corner to close it and return to the original screen.

The two tanks, the shorts, and the jeans have all been laundered prior to this shoot (I'm not only a Chico's ambassador, I am a fan who wears Chico's clothes alllll the timeeeee). I didn't find laundering affected fit or style. Chico's usually has fantastic quality that lasts.

Why I Chose These Items for my Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

Last summer, I wore a lot of Chico's Zenergy, and took it on many of my travels. I saw how well it performed, how versatile it was, how easy it was to pack and wash and rewear. I used the three pieces as the base of this capsule wardrobe and built upon it with other pieces from Chico's that I owned and also found very versatile.

the best travel pants
These Zenergy Travel Pants have a cargo pocket plus zipper pockets but are polished enough to go from ziplining to dinner.

The pants can be worn on the plane with the jacket and scarf, looking polished and sophisticated. And the next day you can wear them with a tank, baseball cap, and sneakers to go ziplining through the rainforest. And then you can wash them in your hotel sink and wear them with a ruana and nicer shoes for dinner the following evening.

how to style a ruana
A ruana can make for a chic swim coverup!

Ruanas are something I was slow to liking, they felt very “Golden Girls” to me. But gosh are they versatile! Belt them, take the points on each hem at the opening and tie them together to create a different effect. It makes a great swim coverup, a makeshift robe, and will dress up super basic items like tanks, leggings, and jeans.

chicos microfiber tanks
This Chico's microfiber tank is two years old and has been worn kayaking, under a suit, as a camisole under sheer blouses, when gardening, and much more.

These microfiber tanks are genius. They are completely opaque, have a slight sheen so they look dressy but also athletic, and they hold up great in the wash (and I have washed mine by hand in a hotel sink, air-dried on a towel bar, and even sped up drying with a hotel hairdryer). I've worn for fitness, I've worn under a suit, I've styled with a dressy skirt and heels, and I love them under a sheer blouse. Go your regular size for a trim but not tight fit; go down a size for more of a bodysuit effect.

the best travel jacket
Take the Chico's Zenergy Travel Jacket from your flight to a day of activities!

The travel jacket is the kind of jacket you want on any vacation. Sort of like a windbreaker, UPF protection, plenty of pockets and plenty of polish, this jacket is genius on a flight (no wrinkles or bulk but ward off a chill and have all your essentials securely on you). And then it's the perfect way to dress up super basic pieces in your suitcase; a jacket like this adds instant sophistication.

Why I Create Capsule Wardrobes

I create capsule wardrobes because I want to show how you can create more style with fewer pieces in your closet. Sure, this vacation capsule wardrobe makes it easy to fit a week's worth of looks in a carry-on bag, but it also shows how garments can live multiple lives.

same outfit different topper
The same exact outfit, the only change is the topper yet the effect is quite dramatic creating two very different looks for two different kinds of situations.

I keep preaching the “styled three ways” mantra and will continue to, because this is an easy thing to remember when shopping or editing your closet to see if your pieces can live different multiple lives. Some items, like jeans and pants, may not be able to look different, but as you see above, the items styled with them can transform them. Same tank, belt, shoes, and jeans, but the topper gives the jeans two different “lives.”

You don't need a lot of clothes to have a lot of styles or a lot of looks for a lot of different occasions. My hope by creating these capsule wardrobes is you will see that shopping doesn't equal style, and your time, energy, and money would be better utilized getting creative with what you already have and buying the best quality versatile and statement pieces to make your existing closet more cohesive.

I hope you enjoyed this vacation capsule wardrobe and it inspires you for your next getaway. Unless you're heading to a conference or bachelorette party, few will be noticing if you wear the same pieces over and over if the effect is dramatically different. Shop slow, try on looks before packing, and you may find you can have great style in just a carry-on bag with a vacation capsule wardrobe!

Shop the Post:

black jacket | white and black tanks | printed ruana | quilted travel bag | faux leather baseball cap | goldtone link necklace | gray belt bag | black pants | printed scarf | black shorts | white stretch jeans | black LISSOM flats, white EVA Birkenstocks, HOKA sneakers | cream pouch purse | swimsuit

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Alison, between the Spring Capsule post and this one, I think I’m going to go broke! Because of COVID weight gain, a lot of things in my closet are just too small and so it’s hard to shop among what I already have. So I sprung for some capsule pieces and the Mango items in particular arrived super fast and are great! Also planning a trip out West in late July and these pieces really speak to me, too. Great creative styling I never would have considered on my own. Now, the Chico’s website just has to get working again–just as I was placing my order, it crashed!

  2. You look SO GOOD in these outfits! Inspires me to give Chico’s another try – though I previously haven’t found much that fits.

  3. I had to switch from my iPad to my desktop so I could see all the details better. I do have most of the Chicos basics but I need to get more creative with my accessories. I do have a multi-colored Ruana I could use and need to root through my oblong scarves. For me, I’d sub crop pants instead of shorts and add some long and elbow sleeve tops. I do have a black ruffled tankini and just added a leopard print (from Target) that would look great with black pants.

    Allie, I think you just planned my summer wardrobe!

    1. Girl, you look so stunning in these pieces! I love how you have pieced together many different seasons of the zenergy line! I’m a huge Chicos fan due to quality and fit (hello, best leggings ever!!) and I’m an avid athleisure-wearer in my early 30s! I love looking great and feeling comfortable—COVID taught me that both are possible at all times. I love—LOVE—the looks you’ve created here!! Can’t wait to ready your other articles!

  4. Had to chime in to say what a fantastic job you did with this! I love seeing you in these outfits & you really show how good Chicos can be. I’ve purchased a few items from there in the past 2-3 years, only after seeing you style (& actually wear some of their clothes. You are a few years younger than me, but I always thought of Chicos as clothes for older ladies going on a cruise. Anyway, I am definitely going to spend some time browsing their site this weekend.

  5. I agree with everyone else that this was a fantastic post! I am going on a 2.5 week family vacation this summer, and I really need to create a capsule wardrobe to maximize our cargo space (part of the vacation is a road trip). I am going to start pulling some ideas together. Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. You killed it, Alison! Absolutely agree with other posters who noted just how much better your styling is than the Chico’s website. I seriously wouldn’t consider buying their clothes if I hadn’t seen the difference a hipper, more updated styling makes. Thanks for this and all of your work on the other recent capsule post.

  7. Wow!!! Thank you for an amazing post. You look radiant and your styling ideas are fabulous. I love that you accomplished such great looks with basics we probably all have and without feeling obligated to add color. Black and white win the day!!!

  8. Thank you so much for this – so helpful to see real bodies modelling (not a flatlay) & I love how different all the looks appear with such simple changes!

    What do you think of that knot bag, though? Have been eyeing up similar ones but couldn’t find one in faux leather until now – does it squeak? And does it hold up?

      1. Ah, thought it looked familiar – thanks, will look for your review post on it!

        Agree with you about a colour being more versatile & less try hard – thinking of getting the gold one!

        1. Just FYI, the post you linked above mentioned that you reviewed the bag in this Friday post, but I could not see anything about it here? 🙁

          No worries, you’ve given me plenty of info already – based on the reviews, 7″ is still a large enough opening for my phone, so I should be good – thanks again!

  9. Really enjoyed this post. Inspiring me to mix up my accessories/clothing pieces to extend my own wardrobe. The Chico pieces look fantastic! Planning to take a couple of road trips this summer but will running up to my local Chicos first. Daily dressing is much more casual and yes may purchase one or two dresses to wear to special events this year.

    1. Aww thank you! I think they’re targeting a certain audience with their models and styling, and then use us ambassadors to attract other audiences. I do think some variety would benefit them (and really any retailer!).

  10. Thank you so much for these outfits and this article. With warm weather approaching this capsule is perfect for week long trips. The only thing I could request, is the ability to Pinterest your outfits/looks, so I could easily put them on my outfit board. With your work and inspiration, I am going to recreate these outfits for future travel/vacations. Have a great and blessed week, and weekend.

    1. My Pin It button “broke” and for some reason it seems no way to pin at all. I am not sure what happened. I know my browser (Chrome) had a plugin I could add where I can now pin from any site, and hovering over my images it says “Save” with the Pinterest logo. Also if you go to Pinterest directly with the link to this post you can pin it as well. But stay tuned, I am updating the look of my site in the near future and a functioning Pinterest button is part of the makeover!

  11. I have been on the hunt for some hard wearing, packable shorts, and these look like exactly what I need. I did a huge closet purge at the beginning of lockdown, but feel like maybe I need to do another one, and try to compose a summer capsule wardrobe. It wouldn’t be quite as cohesive as this beauty you created, but if I can get the motivation to do it, I think it would help going forward.

    1. I didn’t put this in the post because I don’t know if it’s necessarily a selling point for all, but Karl steals these shorts from me all the time. They’re kind of like running short fabric, but less clingy and longer with a wide soft waistband and with the zipper pockets he loves them for gardening, mowing the lawn, and other outdoor activities. We fight over my red pair!

  12. I LOVE when a capsule is modeled, not only flat. I can “see” it more easily. I’m amazed by this one– sooo good!! And you truly made very different looks. Capsules sometimes feel like, same outfit with different accessories… or, same concept but mix and match. This was very different looks altogether.

    1. Thank you! I’d be down for doing more but few brands are willing to gift so much and pay for such content. These days their budgets are towards TikTok and Reels, not blog posts or anything this complicated which is weird, because I find them very successful for affiliate revenue and site traffic. But if brands are down, I am too!

      1. The brands are missing out. Reels don’t grab my attention. But blog posts, GOOD blog posts, do: I prefer to read. And you include lots of details in your blog posts which are invaluable – like your detailed description of the fabric used in the zynergy collection. That would never be in a reel, & it’s a selling point!

  13. Thank you. This is one of the most adaptable capsule wardrobes I have seen. Love your modeling and seeing how good it looks on you. It makes a difference, particularly as their website only seemed to have small/XS size models. Also appreciated the t-shirt modification post.

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