Fashion: Summer holiday style and packing tips

Willow beach robe maxi dress, �69, at Monsoon.

Willow beach robe maxi dress, �69, at Monsoon.

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Clever planning and packing hold the key to effortlessly super-glam holiday dressing. Stephanie Smith has advice.

Blame the Kardashians, blame the Made in Chelsea lot, or blame the ever-decreasing luggage allowance on our airlines.

Floral swimsuit, �30; and skirt dress, �28. Both from M&Co.

Floral swimsuit, �30; and skirt dress, �28. Both from M&Co.

Whatever, the ability to put together dozens of glamorous go-anywhere outfits while on holiday is a key requirement for the modern woman, although most of us have to make do with just the one suitcase (and not a massive one that that), rather than crates of clothes, shoes and bags which have been shipped on in advance.

So, for us mere mortals, we are talking “the capsule holiday wardrobe”. It is no longer acceptable to take items that never make it out of the suitcase. Instead, every piece has to work hard and multi-task to earn its place.

This is made easier and more enjoyable if you mood-board it. You could take this concept very seriously indeed by making up a collage with tear sheets and pictures from newspapers and magazines, either on paper or on your Instagram or Pinterest.

It helps if you first pick a theme for your holiday look, one that might, or might not, be decided by your destination. So, if you are going to Italy this summer, you might choose a Fifties’ inspired Roman Holiday feel, with retro floral and fruit prints, bright ginghams, waisted dirndl skirts, cropped capri trousers and tie waist blouses in white and black – plus, of course, retro sunglasses.

Control swimsuit �30; kimono lace jacket, �32; rimless sunglasses, �10. From M&Co.

Control swimsuit �30; kimono lace jacket, �32; rimless sunglasses, �10. From M&Co.

You might simply pick florals as your base theme, mixing and matching flower and leaf prints for either an Edwardian romantic appeal with lace edging, or a club tropicana feel, teaming exotic bright botanical prints with metallics.

A utility safari look, in shades of sand, cream, black and khaki, is one of the easiest to achieve. In cottons and linens, you’ll need a jumpsuit or shirt dress, a wrap skirt, shorts or crops, a white shirt, a khaki skirt, print and plain tees and a tropical print swimsuit or bikini in shades that go with – and you’re ready for anything.

Choose your colour palette with care and stick to it – for example, white, sand and metallics, plus an accent of fuchsia pink or sunset orange.

Start by choosing your swimwear and make sure it fits from all angles. A beautiful printed swimsuit can double as a top, so take a look at M&Co, which has some lovely pieces, not too revealing and at great prices. The swimsuits with matching skirt dresses to wear with or over are an excellent idea. I’d be tempted to buy two in prints that work together, to mix and match.

Hope print silk shirt dressm, �109, at East.

Hope print silk shirt dressm, �109, at East.

Kaftans and kimonos must be able to double as day and evening wear, as must playsuits and all-in-ones. Smart white jeans or trousers always work well anywhere in the sun, but also consider wide-legged trousers to wear over your swimsuit or bikini at the pool bar.

Roll your clothes, rather than fold them, so that all you have to do is shake them out and hang them once you get to your hotel or apartment.

Scarves and sarongs take up hardly any space and are brilliant multi-taskers, perfect for lying on the beach, covering up by the pool, as a long skirt, a mini skirt, a mini dress, a turban, a wrap and even a bag, if you’re clever.

Plan your travelling outfit with care, wearing pieces from your holiday capsule wardrobe. For a beach holiday, this means no jeans, so wear your wide leg or capri trousers instead, with a vest or T-shirt, with perhaps a longline light cardigan, that will double as your cover-up for al fresco evening dining.

Stripe woven vest top, �42; stripe culottes, �49.50. Both at Oliver Bonas.

Stripe woven vest top, �42; stripe culottes, �49.50. Both at Oliver Bonas.

Don’t forget a loose white shirt, and also a long chiffon shirt dress that you can wear as a jacket. Plus hats, scarves and pashminas, a gorgeous beach bag, sunglasses and footwear that looks good and feels better. And sunscreen, obviously,

You’re good to go.

Cross back strappy dress, �49.50, at Oliver Bonas.

Cross back strappy dress, �49.50, at Oliver Bonas.

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