Lady who has packed too much in her suitcase

Your summer holiday brings you a well earned and much needed break from the norm. It’s a chance to properly unwind, relax and spend quality time with your loved ones. So why do you create so much stress around getting ready to go?

Do you find yourself;

  • Throwing all of your summer clothes on the bed and wanting to take it ALL?
  • Throwing all of your summer clothes on the bed and not wanting to take ANY of it?
  • Packing 7 pairs of shoes so that you have a pair to wear with each outfit?

This blog post explains how to pack light. I know you’ve probably read it all before, many times over and I have too.

But here is the problem…

The advice that I’ve read in countless articles over the years  just doesn’t work for me and this is why:

  • I love clothes and I need to feel that I look good. This means that I like to be able to wear a different outfit every evening.
  • It’s important for me to feel comfortable but stylish in what I wear, especially on holiday when I am not ‘on duty’.
  • I can’t double up my kaftan as a stylish dress with heels in the evening as mine gets screwed up in my beach bag, covered in sun-cream and once I’m freshly showered for the evening I want to wear something clean.

If any of  this resonates with you and you’d like to be able to pack light but still know that  you have lots of outfit options, read on.

Get the basics right

When you have the right items to begin with, packing  is a breeze. The reason many people struggle to pack light is that they don’t have the basic ingredients for a good capsule holiday wardrobe.

That’s why you end up packing the kitchen sink.

The theory is that if you take everything you own, (including 7 pairs of shoes) there must be several gorgeous outfits in there right? Unfortunately the reality is that most of it comes home unworn.

The fundamental mistake that  many women make when they are shopping for their holidays is that they set out with a ‘matchy matchy’ mindset. They see a pair of shoes that matches the dress so they snap them up – perhaps they were a bargain in the summer sales…

Then the shop assistant ‘helpfully’ shows you the jacket or cardigan that goes with the dress and before you know it you’ve bought an entire outfit without thinking about the practicality of any of the pieces to be worn in any other way.

Approach your shopping with a new mindset

The key to simplifying your holiday wardrobe is to approach your shopping in a more practical way. If you shop using one colour palette, such as sticking to pastels for example, everything will go with everything else. Mixing and matching is really simple when your colours work well together. Don’t feel you have to stick to black and white as coordinating separates.When you stick to one palette you will be able to make braver combinations such as orange or coral with bright blue (as per the pictures below) or pale blue with pastel pink. If you have had a colour analysis session with an Image Consultant, you will know which palette works best for you. If not, start experimenting.

Bright blue palazzo pants

Your footwear doesn’t need to be the same colour as your outfit. I see this issue crop up virtually every time I do a Wardrobe Edit. If you invest in a pair of heels that exactly matches the dress you have, you are unlikely to wear them with other outfits. This means that they don’t get worn often enough so you are wasting money and they are taking up valuable space in your wardrobe as well as your suitcase.

The best option for multi-wear shoes on holiday (and at home for that matter) is metallic sandals. They will go with everything else you have.

I’m favouring flats right now. They are in fashion, easy, comfortable and you won’t look silly trying to walk over cobbled streets in your towering heels. If you can’t be without your heels, I would recommend investing in a metallic pair of  those too.

Rather than packing a different top for every pair of trousers and skirt, see what you have that will work with both. Plain tops look amazing with patterned trousers or skirts and patterned tops look great with plain bottom halves. You can even wear prints with prints if you are brave enough – check out my blog “The 5 mistakes people make when wearing print” for the ‘rules’. And remember to stick to one colour palette to make this really simple.

Here are the ingredients for 9 fab holiday outfits. Each top works well with the skirt, the trousers and the shorts. That’s 9 different outfits made from just 6 pieces! You wouldn’t have time to wear 9 outfits in a week unless you are changing twice a day, but you get the idea!

Buy Jaeger Ink Print Back Top, Multi Online at johnlewis.com

Buy Chesca Ombre Stripe Chevron Jersey Top, Ivory/Turquoise, 12-14 Online at johnlewis.com  Buy Oasis Sashiko Stripe T-Shirt, Multi, XS Online at johnlewis.com

Buy Gerard Darel Cache Skirt , White, 14 Online at johnlewis.comBuy French Connection Arrow Crepe Wide Leg Trousers, Jasmine Pink, 12 Online at johnlewis.comBuy Pure Collection Aubree Laundered Linen Shorts, French Navy, 8 Online at johnlewis.com

Basic ingredients for a one week beach holiday

  • 2 x bikinis or swimsuits
  • 1 x glam (ish) beach cover-up (kaftan or sarong). Throw on for beach bar visits.
  • 2 x old (ish) t-shirts for throwing on over wet swimsuits or to cover up from the sun. Cotton t-shirts are much more comfortable in the heat than a polyester kaftan and if they aren’t brand spanking new you won’t worry about getting sun cream stains all over them.
  • 1 x pair of shorts or a short skirt. Wear these for getting to and from the beach & trips to the mini market.
  • 1 x sundress. Great for sight-seeing and evenings.
  • 1 x pair of trousers. For cooler evenings (or to avoid mosquito bites).
  • 1 x skirt. For evenings.
  • 3 x tops. To wear in the evenings with trousers and skirts.
  • 1 x cardigan or light jacket for cooler evenings. These need to work over every outfit, so a neutral  colour is practical.
  • 1 x pair of flip flops.
  • 1 x neutral coloured or metalic sandal.
  • 1 x pair of plimsolls/trainers.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sunhat.
  • Costume jewellery (leave your good stuff at home).

Method

1. Travel Outfit

Plimsolls/trainers, skirt or trousers and one of your  evening tops.

2. Daytime outfits

Throw on your shorts or daytime skirt over your bikini along with one of your cotton t-shirts and flip flops. Sling your kaftan in your beach bag so you can glam up for a cocktail later should you wish.

For a sight-seeing trip, wear your sundress with plimsolls or flat sandals.

 3. Evening Outfit options –Wear in any order!

1. Skirt with top #1

2. Skirt with top #2

3. Skirt with top #3

4. Trousers with top #1

5. Trousers with top #2

6. Trousers with top #3

7.  Sundress.

Take your lightweight jacket or cardigan for when the sun goes down.

Wherever you are going this summer, I hope that you manage to  relax, unwind and enjoy yourself.

Do you have any packing tips to share? Leave me a comment.