Most people take vacations to get away from their everyday cares, and that might include the ever-present question about “what to wear.” Whether you vacation on a tropical beach, a mountain top, or in a cosmopolitan city, there are basic ideas about dressing for your holidays that will help you plan stylish, easy-to-pack outfits for your vacation, allowing you to focus on relaxing and having fun!
Living out of a suitcase can lead to a certain crumpled untidiness that might have been charming on a nine-week tour of Europe in college but is mostly just uncomfortable now. However, fibers and fabrics have come a long way! No-iron button-ups are always an option, but knitwear offers relaxed comfort as well as a polished, even sophisticated look. Ponté knit pants and dresses are always a good choice, and you might also consider traditional jersey knits or cotton-blend knits—added modal (a natural fabric derived from beech tree cellulose), polyester or Elastane to help ward off wrinkles as well as make fabric lay beautifully. Another way to avoid looking rumpled when you want stylish, easy-to-pack outfits for your vacation is simply to explore new ways to roll or fold your clothing for maximum stability and minimum wrinkling. I worked fashion retail through my college years, and can still do “store folds” that stand up to anything! If you’ve never received high-end fashion retail training, it’s okay; check out some tutorials on YouTube or TikTok. All the tips and tricks you could ever need about packing well are there for the taking!
Having options always feels good, but that presents its own challenge when you have packed for a trip. You won’t have your entire wardrobe to choose from as you get dressed—just what you’ve brought along. To avoid feeling restricted, take some time to plan your packing as you would a little capsule wardrobe! If you’re not sure where to begin with that, we have several articles on the topic which can help you, or you can just give “capsule wardrobe” a quick Google. Choose a single color story for your vacation wardrobe, meaning rely on a single neutral and a couple of coordinating colors so that you have mix-and-match options on the go. For example, I usually will work with a base of black in cooler climates but prefer navy in the summertime or in tropical locales. Then, I will work in gray or white, and stick to perhaps pink and blue or pink and yellow for my brighter pieces. This can work for anyone if you have defined your style; my sister will always turn to a dark grey as her primary neutral and then mix in lots of teal, purple, and mustard yellow. When done perfectly—which I freely admit I have yet to achieve—every pair of pants will go with every shirt, every dress will go with every sweater, and every scarf will work with every piece. Don’t worry if you’re not there; life is about progress, not perfection!
Another facet of versatility is deciding what kind of outfits you want to wear. When I go to Chicago, for instance, I will stick with good jeans, stylish and comfortable shoes, and comfy tees or lightweight sweaters topped with an elegant blazer. In Bermuda, though, I wear lightweight dresses and have a cardigan for evenings. Using the aforementioned capsule wardrobe concept, I can make sure I only need one blazer or one or two cardigans, but here we’re talking about the choice of how one wishes to present oneself, and you’ll want to consider this when packing. Taking time to think about this will save you from realizing you only have slogan T-shirts when you’re in a dressy city (happened to me when I went to a fan conference!) or a bunch of pants when the weather is terribly warm. Packing for versatility ensures that you have options, because the ensembles in your head will all share a vibe as well as an aesthetic. Even if the colors match or coordinate perfectly, joggers will never “go” with a velvet blazer and splashy-print leggings will never “go” with a beaded cardigan. Style is just as important as silhouette and color when it comes to real wardrobe flexibility.
Consider these comfortable, stylish, easy-to-pack outfits and think about how you might create them for yourself. Then think about how you might build a travel wardrobe for maximum vacation versatility!
· Leggings topped with a dressy tunic, complemented by bold jewelry and chic heels.
· Those same leggings topped with a relaxed tunic, worn with minimal jewelry and sneakers.
· Those same leggings topped with a long button-up and blazer, worn with either heels or sneakers.
Now, take it back and consider it all again, with skinny jeans instead of leggings. Now, with straight-leg jeans and hip-length tops. Now with a cardigan instead of a blazer. This is how you fill a bag or case with stylish, easy-to-pack outfits that will help you look and feel your best, so that your vacation can be all about relaxing and having fun. With a little thought and a little planning, your vacation wardrobe can help you be the star of your own adventures, looking and feeling fabulous!