“Everything but the kitchen sink” is usually a very accurate description of my packing style, regardless of whether I’m going away for a weekend or a month. You never know what you might need, right? Wrong. I usually end up wearing about a 1/5th of what I packed, meaning a heavier bag to carry around and less room for any new purchases I might want to bring back with me.
It’s no question that summer holidays are often the best – living in bikinis and only requiring a quick throw on to be able to swap the beach for the bar. Clothes are lightweight, easy to wear and colourful, so it’s not too difficult to cut your packing list down to just the essentials. To make it even easier we’ve done all the researching and testing for you, bringing you the ultimate list of the basics you need for your summer holiday –plus a few extra “build” items for those who aren’t quite ready to go cold turkey yet.
1. The Bikini
It wouldn’t quite qualify as a summer holiday without a bikini now, would it? Suitable for lazy holidays by the beach or for more adventurous activities in deeper waters, a nice printed bikini will see you through. Styles you can mix and match will give you a range of options or go for this Missoni reversible crochet-knit bikini which gives you four bikinis for the price of one.
Missoni Mare Reversible Crochet-Knit Bandeau Bikini, $427 – available at Matches Fashion.
2. The Cover-Up
Another essential is something that you can easily carry around and throw over your bikini to look and feel instantly glam for cocktail time at the bar. It’s all about colour, print and detail – and who does those three better than Camilla?
3. Shorts + Shirt
For days off the beach, nothing says effortless summer style like a linen shirt and tailored but comfortable shorts. We say stick to the breezy summery palette of white, cream or blues.
4. The Sandals
Slip-on sandals are practical for both day and night and a slight more stylish option than your standard thongs. Choose a bright and bold colour or a neutral pair with beading or pretty details. If minimalism is more your style, a pair of the season’s favourite shoe, the slide, will do too.
5. The Beach Bag
Large enough to fit in the essentials, small enough to discourage you from ending up being the one carrying everyone’s belongings, a tote is indispensible. Nautical colours in beach proof fabrics are always great, or go traditional with neutral coloured straw styles.
A beach towel should not be scrimped on – the bigger, the better. Choose a bright colour or print to ensure you know which one is yours when returning from a swim.
7. The Hat
Sun safety is no joke when it comes to a summer holiday, so luckily hats can look as pretty as they are practical. Forget the standard baseball cap and try some more stylish options like the oversized floppy hat or model off-duty straw fedora.
Sunglasses are easily the number one accessory in summer, so take time to find a pair you really like. If you’re spending time in the sea, look for a strong and sturdy pair – rayban, aviator and cat eye shapes get our votes.
It goes without saying that sunscreen is a must-have on any summer holiday packing list. Always buy it before your holiday and take it with you, just in case you can’t find the one that you’re used to when you get there.
A few little extra items to expand your summer holiday wardrobe. Great for longer trips or those who like more options when they get dressed in the morning.
10. A Sexy Playsuit or Maxi Dress
For special evenings spent at the resort’s best restaurant or a romantic dinner for two watching the sunset, a slinky playsuit or plunging maxi dress will have you feeling totally glamorous (and the perfect opportunity to show off your developing tan!).
A mid to high pair of wedges is a more practical summer equivalent than heels which won’t leave you feeling crippled after a night dancing under the stars. Go for cork or straw in a neutral colour to maximize their wearing potential.
A pair of statement earrings and a set of gold bangles are really all that are required to lift your basic summer outfit into something a little more fancy. Sweep your sea salty hair up into a messy but stylish bun to show off your earrings, while gold will highlight any hint of a tan you may have picked up.
13. Pink Lipstick
A slick of bright lipstick is another easy way to lift your daytime look to night. We love the summery feel of a bold pink rather than traditional red. Coral or orange shades work well too.
Revlon Super Lustrious Matte Lipstick in Paradise Pink, $21.95 – available at Priceline.
Summer holidays are the perfect opportunity to finally read that book that’s been sitting untouched by your bed for months. Biographies, new release fiction or a good old chick lit book make for easy reads.
15. Moroccan Oil
If you’ve got curly hair and are heading to anywhere humid, argan oil based hair products will be your holy-grail summer product. Taming flyaways and combating frizz, use liberally and work into curls for manageable hair.