I am, one, terrible at buying holiday clothes (I just never quite get round to it on the basis that they tend to get worn for about three weeks out of fifty two) and, two, until recently I have been terrible at packing. I have been known, in despair, the night before I fly, to tip practically everything I own into a suitcase, cross my fingers and hope for the best. I’ll be frank, the best isn’t great. I’m the self-confessed queen of slightly off kilter outfits. Clothes I’ve had for ten years, which looked great when I was backpacking, teamed with odd pieces that caught my eye when I was passing through a shop doesn’t quite cut it in the 30+ category. Nothing is ever quite pulled together. There’s no cohesion; an accessory might be lacking or the outfits jars. It never seems to be quite right. To be completely honest, I just don’t put enough effort in and you get out what you put in. I could do better.
However, I am reformed.
I should also probably add in that I never tend to look my best on holiday. When I see women looking impeccably groomed and full of joie de vivre, I’m in awe. One, I’m ill-prepared (something of a running thread; hair cut and colour, waxing, nails; B- room for improvement) and, two, more than likely I’ll have run myself ragged in the weeks before only for it all to catch up with me when I stop (cue bad skin and overwhelming fatigue). Hmm, hardly an alluring combination. And, let us also not forget, the hair that’s very similar to Monica from Friends in the Bahamas. Oh, and my blonde hair tends to clash with the colour of my face when tanned. Other than that, I look great.
Having decided to take (substantial) evasive action due to an impending holiday in the sun, the problems I have pinpointed are, one, a lack of coordinating pieces and, two, insufficient neutral items which bind outfits seamlessly together (white T-shirt, grey T-Shirt, tan wedge, denim shorts). I have also booked three (okay, four) different beauty treatments.
In my opinion, in summer, there is nothing quite as attractive as a white sundress accompanied with pared down make-up. I was lucky enough to nab a beautiful Elizabeth and James number in the sale (which is sadly sold out but the skirt version is called Avenue and there are a couple left on the Outnet if you are quick). Topshop, Mango and ASOS all have a good selection and I am presently coveting every piece in the latest Faithfull The Brand collection (a potentially very dangerous discovery – my favourite, the striped Cape Town dress, can be seen above).
I cannot wait to wear my Mara Hoffman rainbow sundress. I have had my eye on her pieces for ages and, happily, it went (and still is) in the ASOS sale. The Tribe & Fable beaded necklace, which is actually available in a multitude of colours from the independent boutique The Dressing Room, will add a fantastic pop of colour to my outfits as well as being an easy way to add some extra glam to an outfit.
Top of my wish list, and given the vast amount of lacking key pieces it will probably need to stay that way, is a Sophie Anderson bag (or any bad from the Sensi Studio collection) and the Sophia Webster mules. Swoon. Sob.
This bad boy from Whistles. I love.
For a complete wardrobe, I’d also recommend the following:
- LINGERIE: Lots of nude colour underwear – bright knickers and a rather sheer white skirt have inadvertently been worn (more than once – cringe) in the past (it wouldn’t be so bad if it were a bright bra) and a multiway bra (versatile, practical, wear under anything). Also, take something terribly pretty like this red set from & Other Stories. If you sign up online you can get 10% off your first order. And, not to sound too much like a granny, a slip. I know.
- LAVENDER BAGS: These keep your clothes and suitcase smelling fresh and Liberty’s are delectable in the most gorgeous fabrics. You can also buy them tied with ribbon which makes them very easy to slip over clothes hangers in your wardrobe.
- LAUNDRY BAG: Beats a carrier bag. This one from Not On The High Street can be personalised. Next Level.
- COTTON PYJAMAS
- CASHMERE SOCKS: Perfect for the plane. A real indulgence.
- TRAVEL JOURNAL: I’ve been keeping one since I was 18 and I never go on holiday without it.
- PEASANT BLOUSES: Again, one that I have shied away from in the past. Bit hippie, not really me. However, there is a lot to be said for a cool, loose fitting blouses. Pick one with lots of embroidered detail and team with denim shorts (Monsoon always stock very pretty ones (here and here) as does Madewell).
- BLUE SHIRT: Marks & Spencers is currently stocking a lovely linen blue one and Madewell has a great chambray number.
- TRAVEL WALLET: Sophisticated organisation courtesy of Kate Spade.
- SUNGLASSES: Which I always forget. Not this time.
SPLURGE VS STEAL
On the left is a pair of Stuart Weitzman Minx cork wedge sandals (£365) and on the right is a pair of Carvela Kay cork wedge sandals (£95). Or is it the other way around? (Answer: it’s not, the Stuart Weitzman wedge is on the left). I bought the Carvela sandals last year after deliberating for quite a while as wedges have never really appealed to me. I also thought they looked clunky and would be difficult to walk on. But, after seeing a similar pair on Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam here (where she has written a weekend packing guide for visiting the U.S.’ wine country), I was more than convinced. These shoes have been a great addition to my wardrobe – they make my (shortie) legs look so much longer and they are really easy to wear. And, really, there is not much between them at all (except £270).
If you’ve got any packing tips, I would love to hear them. I by no means have this 100% sussed but hopefully this time I’ll have made a drastic improvement!