Summer holiday outfits: packing tips for when you want to feel fabulous

summer fashion

Everyone wants their holiday outfits to be fabulous, right? But when you’re hard pressed to find the time to shop judiciously, picking gorgeous holiday clothes that work well can be difficult.

The trick, I’ve found, is to dress from the inside out. Start with a basic piece, like a decent swimsuit, and hang everything else around it. And then – bingo! – you have a quick and easy beach wardrobe, that you can take with you on a sunshine break, whatever the weather’s like back home.

Spend some time choosing your swimwear

A swimming costume or bikini can be a ‘hero’ piece for a sunshine holiday wardrobe. Choose something that you can dress up or down, and which looks good with other items in your wardrobe. Halter-neck or bandeau tops give a chic, 1950s look. They work well with skirts, if you want to slip easily from the beach to the bar. Swimsuits that are cut straight at the top, with wide straps, send out more of a sporty vibe, as do tankinis. They can help also keep those boobs in check when you dash into the waves! Whatever you choose, imagine how your swimwear would look when worn by itself, or peeking out from under a shirt or kimono.


Decent swimwear can be the cornerstone of a fabulous summer holiday wardrobe.

If you pay attention to colour, your hero swimsuit or bikini can make an impact. Or it could be in more neutral colours, to merge into the background to help make your other pieces stand out. Which brings us on to……..

Pick a statement beach dress or kimono

You’ll be slipping your beach dress or kimono on over your swimwear. It’ll be a bright, sunny day, and everyone around you will be in relaxed, happy holiday mode. So this is a chance to pick something that really stands out. A swishy, see-through dress that you’d never dare wear on the streets back home. Or a mega-bright kaftan with a daring pattern. It might look ostentatious and wrong in an urban setting. But it’s exactly the sort of thing that would work well when set against a peachy coloured cocktail, and a palm tree or two.

Select combos that work well for sightseeing AND lounging

couple walking along in bright clothes on holiday

The best holiday clothes work well on the beach AND when out sightseeing.

Once you have your killer swimwear and kimono/shirt beach dress, the other items are straightforward. You just need to think about versatility. How many different holiday outfits can you get out of these piece?

Here are some capsule wardrobe basics that work well for both sightseeing AND lounging – on the beach, by the pool, at the bar….just tailor each one to your own particular style.

  • a midi dress that’s relaxed enough for browsing in the local markets, but dressy enough for the evening.
  • a cool, swishy skirt that can be dressed up for the evening. Pleats work well.
  • Flat sandals with just a little bit of bling, so you can walk straight off the beach and into the bar.
  • Fun sunglasses
  • A floaty sarong that doubles up as a scarf, in case the temperature drops in the evening.
  • An elegant beach hat.
  • A large bag, with wide handles so it’s sturdy enough for sightseeing as well as sitting next to you on the beach.
  • A comfortable shirt or t-shirt, for covering up on the beach, or to pair with your skirt on ‘dress-down’ days.
  • Some shorts or leggings, for cycling round the island, or doing yoga on the beach at dawn.

You don’t have to take a ton of luggage if you pack a capsule wardrobe.

Pack some clothes that make you feel zingy

So once you’ve done your sensible packing, and added your statement beach kimono together with your killer swimwear, take a moment to think. What would you really like to wear on this holiday? Is it a glam, elegant evening dress? Some dangly chandelier earrings? Or does your idea of holiday style involve letting go of it all? Just slouching round, in some harem pants that you’ve worn so many times they’ve become baby-soft – but which are the most comfortable trousers you’ve ever worn? Whatever the case, go for it. To feel genuinely fabulous in your summer holiday outfits, make sure you pack at least one or two items that spark joy.

What do you pack to make you feel fabulous on holiday?

This post is in partnership with Simply Beach and may contain compensated or affiliate links. All views are my own. All images are from Pixabay.

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1 Comment

  • Claire at Tin Box Traveller
    February 3, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks for the packing inspiration Nell. I’m starting to think about what I really need to pack this year. I usually end up taking much more than I need and want to change that!


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