Five easy pieces to make a summer holiday more stylish

— by Alyson Walsh

Anatomy of a holiday outfit, part one. All these old favourites (details below) have been washed and returned to my Holiday Box till next year. Both body and brain are rested and currently in transition mode, or post-holiday slow-mo, which is actually quite nice. Time to read, time to talk, time to walk and swim, time spent outdoors and offline – all incredibly beneficial. As Jane Austen said, ‘No person… could be really in a state of secure and permanent health without at least six weeks by the sea every year.’ * Six weeks seems like a long time to a freelancer but I’m working on the life hacks necessary to maintain this laid-back mood.

The ‘what to pack for a summer holiday’ feature crossed my mind while lounging one evening at our Italian B&B. But I figured that maybe the ‘It Takes Two’ approach works well here. Just take two of (nearly) everything: two swimsuits/bikinis, two kaftans, two cotton dresses (for travel, evening, sightseeing), two tops (one cotton shirt for day, one silk for evening), two maxi skirts – I have varicose veins and don’t get the legs out very much, make that once a year on the beach. You might have legs that don’t look like a relief map of the Dolomites and prefer shorts or culottes or a shorter skirt.

More shoes and knickers and books are obviously required. Further details of which coming soon.


Here are five useful items that will add mileage to a holiday wardrobe:

The Lovely Blue Shirt

This is one of my favourite summer pieces, at home and away. The effortless way to add a Grace-Kelly-in-Capri vibe to any holiday situation. I’m a huge fan of the cotton shirt and slightly boho-ish skirt combination for beach, sightseeing and travel. The Lovely Blue Shirt I’m wearing is at least a decade old from Gap, and there are similar styles at Boden and J.Crew.

The go-everywhere leather sandal

The sandals just about captured in the photo are old and re-soled and still worth putting in the hold (sorry). Not that I’m in the market for a replacement just yet but Ancient Greek Sandals Kaliroi is a fine looking specimen. More on summer sandals you can sightsee in HERE.

The hands-free, cross body bag

A small leather or canvas bag is perfect when travelling or commuting – no last-minute, sweat-inducing panic at the airport when all the essentials are close at hand. And for holiday evenings it certainly beats a sand-filled beach basket.

The cotton maxi skirt

Much more reliable than a slippery sarong, this lightweight summer item is one of my go-tos on a getaway. In the snapshot, I’m wearing a patterned skirt from 1990s brand Anonymous that is always in my suitcase. (I’m not sure Anonymous exists anymore but you may remember their pointelle knit cardigans with lace or velvet trim that were popular back in the day).

Statement sunglasses and silver jewellery

That’s two for the price of one. Bonus. Silver hoops, bangles and a chunky signet ring, are the accessories I wear most days and so they come with me on a trip, regardless of the fact that one of the bangles is impossible to remove and often sets off the alarm at airport security. And we all know a pair of decent sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory…

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*Jane Austen quote from the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

Here are five top tips on travelling light and five ways to feel closer to nature.


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Anatomy of a holiday outfit, part one. All these old favourites (details below) have been washed and returned to my Holiday Box till next year.