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10 summer holiday packing must-haves for chic suitcases

Everything you’ll need for the most stylish vacation, curated by fashion stylist and writer Alexandra Fullerton

26 June 2024

Alexandra Fullerton is a stylist, writer, fashion consultant and founder of my3words.co, the online shopping platform that helps you discover your authentic style via three keywords. Formerly fashion director-at-large of Glamour UK and fashion director at Stylist magazine, she contributes to Sunday Times Style, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and The Telegraph. Here, she provides her insight into expert holiday packing.

If every holiday starts with the journey, why wouldn’t you want to begin your break in high style? Visualise your dream airport scenario (it’s not an oxymoron). The chicest voyagers always travel light and glide through the queues with minimal luggage (rather than juggling a case that is about to pop open, with liquids scattered throughout their belongings). Start by stowing those lotions in one of Anya Hindmarch’s clever pouches, and remember that when it comes to holiday packing, less is always more.

A week in glorious sunshine can be executed with polish if you stick to a colour palette to ensure all your pieces ‘go’ together. Pack outfits based on your planned activities rather than filling your case with random items, and for every bottom, take three tops. Rolling your clothes means they take up less space and won’t be as creased on arrival – meaning you can head straight out in style. And the best summer clothes on Sloane Street right now? Our suitcase is packed (we’re using this new, perfectly compartmentalised one by Anya Hindmarch) and here’s what is going inside…

The day dress

Whether you’re sightseeing, wandering around the local markets or heading to a harbour-side lunch, a simple cotton dress will work for every occasion. Bottega Veneta’s timeless take on summer chic is an ideal warm-weather uniform that will work year after year for sustainable style.

Bottega Veneta checked cotton dress, £2,960

The extra layer

When you need to add a layer of warmth on a fiercely air-conditioned flight or cover up against the sun (or, indeed, a chilly evening), a shirt is the smartest choice. Worn as a shacket over a white ribbed vest, this will be a versatile packing addition.

Loro Piana shirt, £625

The swimsuit

Apart from looking devastatingly chic when you’re lounging by the pool (and most practical for actual swimming), a one-piece swimsuit will double up as a top, too. Wear it with shorts in the day or a poplin skirt or linen trousers for evening glam. Just add statement jewellery after dark.

Dior Dioriviera swimsuit, £1,350

The evening dress

Right now, asymmetric details are a catwalk perma-trend, and none do it so beautifully as Saint Laurent. In fluid silk, this column dress will be your after-dark saviour whether you’re sipping cocktails or tucking into tapas. Gold jewellery would look particularly incredible with this khaki shade.

Saint Laurent one-shoulder dress in silk, £2,220

The sandals

How many times have you taken a dozen pairs of shoes on holiday, only to wear your favourite sandals on repeat? It’s time to edit your case, and the only pair of sandals you need for any summer holiday is Hermès’ iconic – and practically flat – Oran style.

Hermès Oran sandal, £610

The market tote

A roomy basket or jute tote bag will be the perfect size for your carry-on essentials, but it will also multitask as an excellent beach bag or shopping accompaniment when you arrive at your destination. Raffia and natural fibres are a great match for holiday dressing.

Gucci Medium jute tote with Gucci patch, £1,580

The shorts

Men wearing shorts can become a divisive point. How short should they go? We suggest stowing them away a pair you actually approve of – case in point, Tom Ford’s elite version of the summer staple. These khaki shorts look particularly polished when teamed with a matching-colour shirt, for a streamlined look that says ‘chic’ rather than ‘Club Tropicana’.

Tom Ford Technical Faille tailored shorts, £650

The crochet top

Anything crochet will instantly upgrade your look to a summer-worthy outfit. Pop into Club Monaco on Sloane Street and you’ll find a selection of calming neutral essentials and this sweet crochet vest top. The knitted finish means it’s less crease-prone than crisp cotton or linen, too.

Club Monaco Bouclé stitch tank, $128

The sunglasses

This year, retro styles are the biggest story in eyewear. Whether you choose a bug-eye millennial design, or a retro sporty visor silhouette will depend entirely on your face shape – and your personal taste – however, Oliver Peoples’ collaboration with cult New York fashion brand Khaite is perennially chic, whatever your summer style.

Oliver Peoples x Khaite 1979C, £364

The accessories

Start your holiday as you mean to go on – in impeccable style – with Anya Hindmarch’s cult Labelled collection. There’ll be no more scrabbling at security when all your liquids are stored in this pouch – and your hotel bathroom will be Instagram-ready, too.

Anya Hindmarch Logo in-flight case, £245

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