Packing for a holiday is always a challenge; especially if you have to try and squeeze a fortnight’s worth of crumple-free clothing into the two square inches of suitcase that your other half has generously allocated. The good news is that if you choose well, a capsule wardrobe of coordinated essentials will make it easy to look good on the beach and beyond.
Obviously, what you pack will depend on where you’re going and what you’re doing when you get there. A city break, with a posh hotel and upscale restaurants requires a more formal approach than spending two weeks in a beachside apartment. Wherever you’re going, choose one colour – say blue or grey – as the basis of your holiday wardrobe and build on that.
If you’re going to need a suit, look for something in a loose, billowing cut in linen. Double-breasted is the shape of the season, but worn open. A relaxed fit single breasted cut is probably more versatile as you can pair the jacket with jeans or chinos during the day. It’ll work equally well with a shirt or t-shirt and you can even roll the legs up if you’re strolling in the surf.
While a straw panama always looks elegant with a linen suit, bucket hats dominated the men’s shows this season. Look for something plain in your base colour, or choose a printed, textured, or patchwork version to add interest.
The catwalk cruise collections were full of short shorts. In some cases, very short shorts. Unless you have a tan and toned legs, it’s probably best to give it a miss. Opt for more forgiving elasticated Bermuda shorts finishing just above the knee. There are some pastel short suits out there, but unless you are on stage with AC/DC, the overgrown schoolboy look is really best avoided.
You can go a bit mad when it comes to swimming trunks. Heavy patterns and neon were standout favourites for men’s swimwear this summer. Say Aloha to vibrant botanical prints; dive back into the 80s with swirly-whirly retro prints, Tetris blocks or Beetlejuice stripes. There is no excuse for budgie smugglers.
Pack three or four t-shirts. A smudgy sage green is the most wearable shade of the summer with its understated sludgy tones which complement blue or grey. Light blue, stripes or a plain white tee work with suits, jeans and shorts. Shirts are tending towards oversized with a new romantic vibe. Wear loosely tucked, part-tucked or with sleeves rolled back for a thrown together finish. For a short-sleeved option, give the Cabana set a bash; the combination of a patterned Cuban shirt with exact match swimming trunks or Bermuda shorts for a flamboyant look on the beach or in the bar.
Pack some plain blue or grey flip-flops for the beach, and some relaxed suede loafers for evenings. Sports and hiking sandals are back in fashion and great for trekking about in cities if you’re sightseeing.
Lastly, roll your clothes instead of folding them and unpack immediately on arrival to avoid creasing. Wrinkles can be steamed out if you just hang things in the bathroom while you shower. Some fabrics are relatively crease free, but not always great for warmer weather. Wool, bamboo, polyester, cashmere, knitted fabrics or those with a little Lycra or Spandex are less likely to crease.
Chuck in your sunglasses and a toothbrush and you’re good to go!