This is your definitive guide to summer packing

Posted by
Polly Knight
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Apply a formula to your packing and make life easy…

For most of us, packing for a summer holiday usually results in five failsafe outfits (somehow) turning into 28 dresses, 14 pairs of sandals and eight pairs of sunglasses for a long weekend break. But trust us when we say, it doesn’t have to be this way which is why we’ve found the items you actually need for your getaway - and all for under £90.

Play up, dress down

Shoulder show

This style is perfect for strolling through a scenic market and catching those rays. Then, when you’re ready to show of your sun-kissed glow in the evening, just nip it in at the waist.

£59, Monsoon

Statement sleeves

If you’d rather be a bit more covered up, this lightweight style will work for practically every occasion. Team with neutral tones and touches of gold. Colour palette = sunsets.

£49, Topshop

Multi-use maxi

A floaty, floral maxi dress could be the hardest working piece in your suitcase; team with espadrilles for evening and flip-flops and a bucket hat for the day. See what we’re doing here?

Finishing touches

Ear gear

Jewellery takes up little space in your case, so it’s a great way to style up the same dress from day to evening. Pack a statement pair and classic gold hoops.

Throw some shade 

Sun cream, fingerprints, sand scratches; sunglasses can really take a battering. Have your aviators for day and try cool cat-eye style to amp up an evening look.

£12, Asos

Hats on

The hat conundrum: pack it and squash it, wear it to the airport and feel silly? These fold easily into your case, plus the bucket hat (yes, it’s back) is reversible.

£20, BDG

£29.95, Gap

Bag it all

Beach please

We love this season’s basket bags, but we don’t love trying to pack them. This fit-it-all canvas tote is fold-away and chic, and big enough for your book, towel and sun cream.

£35, Arket

Ditch the clutch

A clutch feels fussy for holiday evenings, when you want something a bit dressy but still casual. Note: beaded bags are a fun summer micro-trend.

£39.99, Mango

Failsafe beach buys

Palazzo pant

Not into shorts or a floaty kaftan? Try lightweight wide-leg trousers. Wear over your swimwear or throw on a cami top for evening.


Not sheer or heavily embellished, this perfect-length cotton number is the ideal companion for your summer hat and swimsuit.

£29.99, Zara

Oversized shirt

A linen mix means minimal creasing and sun cream won’t mark pale blue as much as white. Tuck into cut-offs or knot at the front.

£29.99, H&M

Denim shorts

Denim cut-offs area perennial in any summer wardrobe. Go for a mid-wash blue and wear with everything and anything. Job done.

£22, Next

Essential swimwear

The swimsuit

2018 is the year swimsuits became cool again. Go for a classic style in cool khaki, a great neutral that goes with everything. Imagine this teamed with those palazzo pants…

£19.99, H&M

The bikini

A two-piece that doesn’t give you ridiculous tan lines or fall down when you dive into the pool. It even has thicker straps so you don’t get that dig-in. Looks good, feels good.

Bikini top, £18, and bottoms, £16, both Warehouse

Staple shoes

Old faithful

Yes, we’ve been wearing them for years, but this summer flip-flops got kudos from the fashion pack when they were spotted on the feet of Instagram favourite Pernille Teisbaek. Stick to chic and trusty black.

£20, Havaianas

Magic touch

The perfect pairing for your pedi in metallic sandal, which works with everything from your summer dress to your denim shorts. Adding elegance to any look, it’s an all-rounder.

£65, Boden

Holiday heels

No one wants to totter around on cobbles and sand in heels, so the answer is the wedge espadrille. Yes, they have returned with a bang, and we are very happy about it.

£49, Office

Images: Getty / Courtesy of brands