Guide to Your Summer Holiday Wardrobe

From: 18th July 2023

Well, it’s that time of year again and I am on countdown to my summer holiday. Summer holidays are something we all look forward to, however you want to spend them.  Whether you are the adventurous type who wants to climb mountains, sail boats, or go diving or, more like me this year, it is all about the relaxation! I am so ready to lie on that sandy beach, gazing out over the crystal blue waters, sipping cocktails, and reading my pile of books. Can you tell I’ve been thinking about it? (first holiday in 22 years without my sons which will be weird and wonderful at the same time) Whatever your plans are, organising your holiday wardrobe plays a crucial role in ensuring you make the most of your time away. Whether you're heading to a tropical paradise, exploring a vibrant new city, or holidaying in the UK, packing the right clothes and accessories will help you look stylish while staying comfortable.

So, whilst I’m planning my suitcase selections, I thought I would share my thought on creating a versatile capsule wardrobe including tips on packing efficiently, choosing the perfect accessories and selecting the best colours and styles to maximize the limited space in your suitcase. (I’m going hand luggage only for 2 weeks so packing efficiently is going to be very important!)

Let's dive in!

Packing for Your Summer Holiday

The first thing to do is clearly to look at where you are going and what you are going to be doing. Before you start thinking about what to take, consider the weather and the kind of activities who will be doing. This will help you try to work out what type of clothes and accessories you need to include.

You do need to start with an essentials checklist which will clearly vary depending on where you are going but think about swimwear, comfortable footwear, a lightweight jacket or cardigan, shorts, t-shirts, dresses, and versatile bottoms like skirts or trousers.

Once you’ve sorted the essentials, think about how long you are going for and research and plan what outfits you will need (incorporating the essentials you have already chosen) – if you have a list of outfits for every day then it will help you stop overpacking and also make sure you have enough clothes to last the holiday.  Choose versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. Aim for lightweight, breathable fabrics such as linen, cotton, and silk.

You can also pack multipurpose items such as a sarong that can be used in a number of ways from beach towel, to cover up or scarf. 

Creating a Summer Holiday Capsule Wardrobe

So, I’ve given some suggestions for the kind of things you could include in your capsule wardrobe but let’s look in a bit more detail at some of the things that I think are important and will definitely be in my very small suitcase.

Firstly, it’s important to choose a colour scheme – you can’t take things in every colour because you can’t include shoes, underwear, and accessories to match, so it is best to stick to a cohesive colour palette to make sure your outfits all coordinate, and you can mix and match tops and bottoms. Neutral colours such as cream, white, navy and beige all work well, creating a fresh breezy look especially when teamed with bright vibrant colours such as hot pink, coral or turquoise blue – all fabulous summer colours. You could opt for powdery pastels – maybe baby blue, mint green, and blush pink which all exude a cool and serene feel, perfect for the summer months.

If you like to stand out with bold summer prints, make sure you include some playful tropical prints featuring palm trees, flowers, and exotic fruits. Or you could go for some summery nautical stripes - classic navy and white stripes bring a seaside feel to your holiday wardrobe and are easy to mix and match.

Pack a mix of vest tops, T-shirts and breezy blouses to match with comfortable loose fitting shorts, lightweight or linen trousers or summery skirts. Remember to choose lightweight, breathable fabrics to help you keep cool.

Do focus on versatile styles that you can mix and match and also that you can dress up or down. Maybe a flowing maxi dress which you can wear during the day with flat sandals and a sunhat and then you can dress up in the evening with sandal wedges, a wrap, and some statement jewellery. Flowy sundresses in floral or solid bright colours are perfect to take you from night today without any worry.

Think about the weather – and remember that it may get cooler in the evenings so make sure you pack a few lightweight layers for flexibility. Maybe add a lightweight jumper or pashmina to make sure you don’t get chilly sitting out on that balcony with your late-night glass of something.

I can’t believe I’ve got this far without mentioning swimwear – and in my opinion if you are heading to the sunshine then you need to have at least two swimsuits for lazy days by the pool or on the beach. I think mix and matching two or three different bikini or tankini tops with bottoms is a great option because you can create different looks to match your mood.

Then when you get up from that sun lounger for a drink or lunch you need an easy cover up – again choose a neutral colour to compliment your swimwear and something that is versatile enough to wear as a dress, throw round your hips or even lie on, on the beach.

Footwear is also important and tricky with a capsule wardrobe as they take up so much space. My suggestion would be – wear the bulkiest shoes on the plain (comfortable trainers or walking shoes maybe) and take with you a pair of flip flops or slides for the day and some sparkly wedge sandals for your evening look.

Accessories for your Summer Getaway

I think holiday accessories are really important as they don’t take up much space but can transform your look from daytime beach or exploring to evening glamour. When packing your accessories, think about:

Sunglasses: A necessity to protect your eyes in the sunshine but also very much a fashion statement now.  You could opt for a classic shape like aviators or wayfarers or maybe some oversized glasses. If you are trying to tan as much as you can go for a smaller, neater style. Whatever you choose, make sure the shape and colour suit your face shape and offer UV protection.

Bags: Again, a little tricky when you have limited space, but I would suggest a rucksack style back which you can take all your bits on the plane in and then use for days out sightseeing or at the beach and then pack a stylish little crossbody or clutch bag which is perfect for evenings.

Hats: Like sunglasses, these are key to protect yourself from the sun and a wide brimmed hat is definitely the best answer. You can get some really stylish soft wide brimmed hats that pack flat, so you don’t have to use much space or look like your granny.

Jewellery: Obviously this is my favourite of all accessories and adding the right jewellery really can transform your look. Silver jewellery is perfect for the summer sunshine and sun kissed skin. Cavendish French has a wonderful summer holiday collection of handmade sterling silver jewellery some in plain silver and many designs set with sparkling AAA* cubic zirconia stones. Choose a couple of bold statement pieces to stand out in the evening – our Silver Ovals statement necklace and matching bracelet look fabulous with a summery evening outfit. Then think dainty necklaces, stackable silver bangles and bracelets, and delicate earrings which are all versatile and can be matched with different outfits. Our Two Tears silver and cubic zirconia drop earrings and matching pendant are very cute and then stack a few sparkling rings – our Oh So Pale Pink Ring looks wonderful worn between a couple of different fine silver stacking rings. Or pick our Mix and Match stacking rings with four rings you can play with. Available in sterling silver or gold plated. Finally, we have a beautiful range of coloured cubic zirconia stone jewellery with lovely soft pastel colours to match your capsule wardrobe. Choose from aqua blues, diamond pinks or citrine yellows, to name but a few.

Make sure you take your jewellery off to swim in the sea or pool as both the chlorine and salt water could damage your jewellery. Also consider packing a small jewellery organizer to keep your pieces tangle-free. 

Tips for Packing your Suitcase

Organize your clothes into different categories and then invest in some clear zippable packing bags which help compress your clothes and make efficient use of space. They also help you to easily see what is where. Rolling your clothes rather than folding them is also a top tip as it saves space and cuts down on wrinkles.

The other item that seems to take a lot of space is toiletries and suncream – if you are going hand luggage only then pack the bare minimum (you can’t take anything over 100ml in your bag anyway) and then buy suncream, body lotion etc in the duty free where you can get some great bargains too. For those things you can’t manage without, decant into smaller travel bottles to save space.

Also, if you have kept your clothes to an absolute minimum, you might need to wash a few things whilst you are away and I have found these brilliant hand wash sheets which dissolve in the water – easy to pack, take very little space and are not a liquid.

Finally on packing, wear all the bulky Items to travel (I’m going to be so hot…) Wear jeans, trainers and a jumper or jacket to free up extra space in your suitcase.

So, we’re all set, all you and I need to do now is follow the advice which should ensure that we are well-prepared, stylish, and comfortable on our holiday.  So, go ahead, embrace the sunshine, and embark on your summer adventure with a smile, ready to make memories.