From the does-it-all dress to swimwear that can handle the British weather, here are the holiday heroes you need to pack for a perfect UK break
How does the song go? We’re all going on a summer… stay-cation. That’s the theme for this year anyway as we’re finally able to get away from home. With holidays abroad still potentially problematic, we’re looking to take our precious summer breaks on UK shores heading for hotspots in Cornwall, the Welsh coast and Dorset, among other beautiful British coastal locations.
‘The way we live and the way we holiday has changed’, says Billie Nichols, Partner and Womenswear Buyer. ‘Many of us are taking time to appreciate what the UK has to offer and spending more time outside with our friends and family. And though we cannot always rely on the sunny climes of abroad, we still want to channel that holiday feeling with special pieces that are versatile and practical.’
So what to pack? The list doesn’t have to be much different to what you might take if you were boarding a flight, just add in a few extra layers (and definitely a showerproof jacket!). The joy of a ‘holiday wardrobe’ lies in its laidback state of mind. You want clothes that make you happy and have that unmistakable off-duty look and feel, as well as – crucially – allowing you to roll from one fun activity to another without the need to change.
‘We are all trying to be more sustainable and considered in the way we shop’ adds Billie. ‘A big part of this is buying items which can be styled in many different ways to increase their wear time in our wardrobes.’
Read on to discover our best buys for your best-dressed UK holiday.
The key to a successful holiday wardrobe is versatility. You want to pack a collection of pieces that work well together, enabling you to create different outfits depending on your mood or where the day takes you. This is where the relaxed shirt really comes into its own (try something textured or checked). You can throw one on with skirts and shorts, layer it over swimwear on the beach or use it as a jacket over dungarees (see below) or sundresses.
What about swimwear? OK, so there’s probably less call for a skimpy bikini but this is where your fancy one-piece really comes into its own. A swimming costume is actually a brilliant foundation piece to your outfit – pair with your favourite skirt (or jeans) for a blustery day on the beach and layer over your textured shirt or cashmere sweater when the temperature drops. Opt for something with stylish detailing like a subtle stripe with knot-front detailing, a fun print or a logo.
When it comes to layering, more is more, and mastering the art not only means you’ll be ready for changeable weather but you’ll also have the ability to style up outfits in myriad different ways. Pack vests to go under dresses and blouses when it’s a bit nippy, then if it hots up, you can strip down to your camisole and soak up the sun. Long-sleeved jersey T-shirts (think Breton stripes or neutral colours) are perfect to layer under dungarees, dresses and even shirts, and don’t forget to pack a warm sweater or cardigan for when it inevitably cools down in the evenings. Top it off with a rain coat for the showers and you’ll be ready for anything.
What we’re calling the ‘does-it-all dress’ is also a worthwhile investment – it’s laidback and comfy enough to wear whatever you’re doing but also has standout appeal so you feel like you’ve made the effort (look out for boho embroidery, tassels and ruffles).
Dresses are the definition of easy dressing on holiday because you just throw on and go. This summer look out for gingham smocks, checked sundresses, pretty white broderie anglaise numbers and minimal linen tunics in bright shades.
‘I love the gingham dress by Kin which is a key trend for SS21,’ says Billie. ‘The oversized fit makes it suitable for all shapes and sizes, with the blouson sleeve adding a fashion element to your look. I would wear it with sandals, sunglasses and a raffia bag for a warm afternoon, but it could also be styled with trainers and a cross body bag on return to the city.’
Not just for childrens TV presenters, dungarees offer something completely unique in your wardrobe – and they can be styled in loads of different ways.
‘A dungaree is a fantastic option’, says Billie. ‘The fit is relaxed and easy, giving you the freedom to go on adventures. It is created to be layered by pairing with either a short sleeve T-shirt, long sleeve Breton or even a light knit should the temperature require.’
Holiday accessories can sometimes be the most fun part of packing for a trip. It’s time to bust out the new sandals, beach bag and statement sunglasses. And maybe the completely impractical wicker clutch. Check out our sandal guide for a comprehensive guide, but going for flats that will take you from daytime activities to dinner seems like the obvious choice here. A pair of plimsolls will be indispensable too.
And why not treat yourself to some new sunglasses – a different pair to your usual choice can give your look a whole new spin – and then the holiday bag. Oversized totes never go amiss too whether you’re beach bound or perusing the shops.
Staycation beauty packing tends to be a rather more relaxed affair than grappling with an arsenal of insect repellent while decanting various lotions and potions into their obligatory 100ml incarnations. But while there may be less call for heat-proof products or makeup that will withstand the scrutiny of a swim-up bar, staycations still call for time-saving, suitcase-friendly staples.
Despite offering a decidedly less reliable weather forecast, a broad spectrum suncream is non-negotiable, even in the UK, as harmful UV rays can penetrate the cloudiest of skies. For an SPF that the whole family can use try Ultra Sun’s SPF30 Family Ultra Sensitive Sun Cream. It’s always worth packing a few trouble-shooters too and you’ll thank us for Philip Kingsley’s 1 More Day Dry Shampoo which soothes the scalp while allowing you to eke out another precious wash-free day without the faff of unearthing hairdryers and styling tools.
Similarly, you can’t go wrong with Shiseido’s handbag-friendly Oil Control Blotting Paper. It allows you to ditch the oil-quashing foundations and powders whilst still sporting a holiday glow that’s just the right side of shiny.
And for a bit of (practical) pampering – you are on holiday after all – there’s still plenty of space left for Aromatherapy Associates’ Bath & Body Relax & Sleep Edit gift set. It contains a beautifully scented Relax body wash, Deep Relax Bath & Shower oil, Hydrating Nourishing Face Oil as well as a De-stress Muscle Gel perfect for those overly ambitious pre-pub walks.