Packing for a vacation is an exercise in attempting to expect the unexpected. Inevitably we end up regretting not bringing an extra sweater, forgetting to throw in rain gear, or packing too many pairs of shoes. However, trial and error has taught us a few tricks, and we’re fortunate to have a network of experts at our fingertips to help us arrive at our destinations in style. Here, we share our hard-won wisdom, as well as advice from the fashion experts at Sarasota, Florida-based Lotus Boutique (who know a thing or two about dressing for a warm-weather getaway).
Start with a Strong Foundation. The best approach is to bring a few key pieces that you can mix and match and build off. “That way you’re all set for anything your vacation throws at you,” says Harmoni Krusing Bens, owner of Lotus Boutique, which carries chic, easy-to-wear pieces (think: stylish athleisure apparel, modern yet feminine dresses, and shoes that are on trend but stand the test of time). Our basics are generally neutral items in a similar palette—summer tends to be very blue-and-white heavy—so jeans, shorts, tees, tops, and skirts are easily interchangeable. The same logic applies to our daytime footwear (neutral sandal, neutral sneaker). Once you have your basic daywear down, you can start selecting your must-have pieces.
Must-Have #1: A Versatile Dress. “A dress that can go from day to night is a must-have item in your suitcase,” Harmoni says. “You can pair it with sneakers for daytime or a great wedge to dress it up for dinner or a night out. One in a boho, flowy silhouette looks great on many different body types.” Get the look with: Misa Lizbeth Dress, pictured above.
Must-Have #2: A Neutral Wedge. “Shoes are always the hardest thing to pack for vacation, but a wedge in a neutral color is always the way to go,” Harmoni advises. “They’re comfortable and can be worn with jeans or dresses, and they match everything. Plus, nude is a nice alternative to plain black and can be worn from summer into fall (not just on vacation).” Get the look with: Pedro Garcia Nude Fama Wedges, pictured above.
Must-Have #3: Mix-and-Match Jewelry. Over-packers, rejoice. This is where you can go overboard selecting an eclectic mix and not feel like you’re wasting precious space in your overnight bag. “Jewelry can change an outfit in a second, allowing you to repeat an outfit without a worry,” says Harmoni. “Druzy jewelry pieces add a little something to whatever you wear because they add just the right amount of sparkle to dress up an outfit but are subdued enough to wear with a t-shirt and jeans.” Get the look with: bracelets by Miami-based jewelry designer Cimber, pictured above.
Must-Have #4: A Cross-Body Purse. This style is perfect for travelers—with a comfortable cross-body, you won’t be burdened with a big bag by day and you’ll have a small, stylish, hands-free option for night. “Choosing one in a neutral leather adds versatility,” Harmoni says of this vacation essential that’ll tuck neatly into a corner of your carry-on. Get the look with: the Jerome Dreyfuss bag, pictured above.