The heat has set in and it’s definitely time for a quick vacation. We all love a little getaway to a sunny beach with minty cocktails and a beautiful aqua sea – but let’s not burst that bubble by packing inappropriately. Packing light and still having stylish outfits with you for a short getaway might sound overwhelming, like something that could suck the fun out of the vacation before you even get there. But the trick is to just pack the key elements.

So, how do you do that, you would ask? And what exactly are the key elements for a summer 2012 vacation? Read through this clever guide for selecting just the right amount of garments out of your wardrobe and into that suitcase.

packing for a beach holiday

The easiest, on-trend way to start packing your getaway suitcase, is to simply choose one color and to match it with all sorts of staples and accessories that fit within that color family – we need not remind you how big of a hit trend ton-sur-ton was and still is.

After choosing your color palette, and we assume it will probably be based on the color of your bathing suit, start hand picking key pieces that you know you will need. Airy fabrics and relaxed fits are the way to go for unnecessary hassle.

Make sure to pack a two-piece bandeau suit for when tanning; as fashionable as cutaway and high-waist swimsuits are, staying away from weird tan lines is best. Reserve a plunging v-neck or an asymmetric one-piece for any after hour cocktails by the beach bar.

swimsuits for resort holiday
Two piece bandeau suit by Laura Urbianti, via Far Fetch; one piece swimsuit by Tara Matthews, via net-a-porter.

Maxi skirts are the trickiest members of their family but you’re in luck if you’ve never gotten the chance to wear a maxi skirt – now is the time to pack it for your vacation. Pair it with nothing but a bikini and wooden bangles and go for a walk along the beach. On the plus side, you can always take that skirt over your bust, belt it at the waist and simply turn it into a little gathered dress.

maxi skirt and bangles
Coral maxi skirt at Mango; wooden bangles by Bing Bang, via Shopbop.

The scarf is definitely an essential when on vacation; you will be surprised how useful and handy it can be. Wrap it around your waist as a skirt or on your head as a turban when by the beach. Wrap it around the handle of your purse and use it as a cover up in case it gets chilly when you’re out at night. The key is to opt for a light, see-through scarf that is at least 100cm x 100cm. An exception falls here; a scarf is usually much more fun if it has got a print, so don’t shy away from one that has more color than the rest of the items you’ve packed.

scarf emilio pucci
Emilio Pucci printed scarf, via net-a-porter.

Don’t underestimate the kaftan either. This piece can serve you at the beach, for lunch at the pier (with shorts paired underneath), or even as a dress for salsa night (put your hair up in a bun and wrap that scarf around for a boho-chic take on both).

resort holiday kaftan
Diane Von Furstenberg kaftan, via Matches.

Keeping in mind the hot weather at the holiday destination, without question a pair of shorts goes into the suitcase. Classic cut or cut offs can always serve you from day to night just by altering around your accessories.

crepe shorts
T-Bags crepe shorts, via net-a-porter.

Now we need to top off the maxi skirt and the shorts with tops. The bottoms are the highlight of the outfit, so anything will do here. A buttoned shirt is always the best choice since it’s easy to style- tuck it in to your shorts, tie it up with the maxi skirt or unbutton it like a vest over your one-piece suit.

equipment shirt
Equipment shirt, via Far Fetch.

Shoes usually take up a bulk in a suitcase so choose wisely- limit your selection to a pair of strappy flats and a pair of fun wedges. Flip flops are very specific to the beach so aim more for a sandal that you can still go out in without feeling too underdressed. You can always change around your clothes to dress up/down the shoes.

sandals for a resort holiday
K Jacques sandals, via net-a-porter; Jimmy Choo wedges via net-a-porter.

Last but not least, you also need to limit your bags, clutches, beach bags and evening bags to only two- one that you will carry as you travel, and a smaller one in your luggage. A good-sized everyday tote is the best option to fit your passports, water bottles, makeup kit and whathaveyou. You can also use it to fit your belongings when at the beach/pool. Carry the satchel when your going for a walk or casual drinks at sunset and don’t forget to take advantage by tucking in the shoulder strap inside the satchel and carry it as a clutch for a fun night out.

bags for a resort holiday
Tote by 3.1 Philip Lim, via Matches; Proenza Schouler satchel, via Far Fetch.

Share some style:

Want to keep up with fashion?

Once a week, we send out an update with the latest fashion trends, styles and collections.
Get yours direct in your inbox and keep ahead of fashion.

Our newsletter is spam free and your email address will never be shared or sold.