Out of office: What to pack for your summer holiday

Mhairi Mann

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14 April 2022

Planning your next escape? Refresh your holiday wardrobe with our edit of dresses, bikinis, sandals, mini skirts and more

14 April 2022 | Mhairi Mann | If you purchase something via our website, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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ummer holidays are back in a big way in 2022. Create a warm-weather capsule wardrobe by investing in versatile, quality pieces that you will wear for years to come. Discover dresses, beach cover-ups, shorts and sandals in our edit of easy, elegant outfits for sun loungers and sundowners alike. Pack it all in a keep-forever piece of luggage (with a personalised bag tag, natch).

Suitcases, holdalls & travel accessories

From top left: City Weekender in khaki, £1,350, mulberry.com; Medium suitcase in taupe, £179, antler.com; Double zip case with strap in Panama, £340, smythson.com; Bespoke Walton canvas bag, £995, anyahindmarch.com; Passport cover, £60, aspinaloflondon.com

A good piece of luggage will travel with you for life. Leather and canvas holdalls only look better with age, imbued with memories of a life well-lived. The world of luxury luggage is now an expansive one, ranging from monogrammed designer kit to personalised designs. For far-flung adventures, British brand Antler specialises in capacious cases that are robust enough to check safely into the hold. These are crafted from scratch-resistant hard shell in appealing tones, such as blush, taupe and teal. Cases are available in three sizes and each one nests neatly inside the next for practical storage.

When it comes to luggage accessories, Aspinal and Smythson are hard to beat. Find gift-worthy holders, organisers and notepads in patent, matte and croc-embossed leather, all of which can be stamped with your initials. Add a distinguished bag tag to your case to make sure you can easily spot it on the carousel.

 
 

Bikinis and beach cover-ups

From top left: Hunza G Jean lilac bikini, £145, harveynichols.com; Etta embroidered kaftan, £140, reiss.com; Maygel Coronel Luisa one-shoulder ruffled bikini, £205, matchesfashion.com; Oséree Shine one-shoulder glitter swimsuit, £193, net-a-porter.com; Missoni zigzag fine knit kaftan, £595, harveynichols.com

Swimwear can often put a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Combat this with supportive, standout pieces that will make you feel your confident best. Eschew triangle cups in favour of sculpting swimsuits and flattering high-waisted bottoms.

Hailing from Columbia, Maygel Coronel’s handmade swimwear is flourished with Latin American flair – think exuberant ruffles, voluminous puff sleeves and a sunshine-fueled palette of peach, lime and cobalt blue. Elsewhere, poolside mainstay Hunza G crafts swimwear from seersucker fabric in primary colours and pastel tones. Its super-stretchy handle means that one size fits all, so you don't need to deliberate when ordering online. Designs are ethically made in the UK and delivered in biodegradable polybags. Top it off with a retro-suffused kaftan. Lightweight fabrics pack easily and will hold their own by the beach bar.

 
 

Mini skirts

From top left: Batsheva Vivien patchwork crochet-knit mini skirt, £300, net-a-porter.com; Faithful the Brand Eridani layered printed linen shorts, £169, net-a-porter.com; Oséree ruched mini skirt, £172, farfetch.com; Jacquemus Bagnu wrap-front terry mini skirt, £195, matchesfashion.com

You may have heard of the hemline index, which suggests that skirt lengths rise or fall in line with stock prices. Well, forget all that. As the economy dips, our hemlines have risen. The mini, steeped in nostalgia, is set to rival the ubiquitous midi skirt this summer as the fashion set’s go-to length. For those not brave enough to bear that much leg in the city, make your bold foray into thigh-skimming fashion on holiday. Faithfull The Brand's 'Eridani' shorts are layered to look like a mini skirt at the front, while keeping your modesty firmly concealed should the wind blow.

 
 

Woven bags

From top left: Chloé large leather-trimmed tasselled raffia basket bag, £750, net-a-porter.com; Gucci Ophidia medium raffia tote, £1,060, net-a-porter.com; Straw circular shopper, £59, thewhitecompany.com; Loewe x Paula's Ibiza small leather-trimmed woven raffia tote, £495, net-a-porter.com; Saint Laurent Panier studded leather-trimmed woven raffia tote, £1,475, net-a-porter.com

The irrepressible trend for all things straw and raffia continues with a new season slew of woven wonders, elevated by embossed branding and metal hardware. The usual logo-centric suspects are here: Loewe, Chloé, Prada and Gucci. Saint Laurent is also majoring in raffia this summer, from signature crossbody styles to roomy totes, toughened up with studded leather straps. Durable options are big and strong enough to hold a laptop, beach towel or anything else that the day might throw at you. 

 
 

Platform sandals

From top left: Castañer Amaia jute espadrille platform sandals, £210, matchesfashion.com; See By Chloé Viviane leather platform sandals, £330, matchesfashion.com; Mit Miu floral platforms, £645, mytheresa.com; Castañer Chiara 80mm espadrille, £105, farfetch.com; Jimmy Choo Dellena 100 raffia and leather monogram wedge sandals, £575, harrods.com

Continuing the trend for all things woven and jute, ground your look with a pair of platform sandals, which are as comfortable as they are attractive. Miu Miu’s retro florals equate to sunshine in a shoe, with a mighty five-inch heel. Further leg-lengthening styles include See By Chloé's stacked heels and Castañer’s perennially popular wedge-spadrilles.

 
 

Shorts & T-shirts

From top left: Ninety Percent organic cotton-jersey T-shirt, £35, net-a-porter.com; Linen shirt, £34.90, uniqlo.com; Ruslan Baginskiy chain-strap embroidered-logo straw hat, £260, matchesfashion.com; Cotton frill stripe T-shirt, £45, whistles.com; Agode Parker high-rise denim shorts, £145, selfridges.com; Raey cut-off denim shorts, £95, matchesfashion.com 

Denim cut-offs are the epitome of summertime insouciance. Alexa Chung has worn hers on long-haul flights, but we rarely find a pair that delivers even close to that level of comfort. There is hope, however, with Raey’s roomy, relaxed-fit shorts, crafted from subtly distressed denim to sit easily on the waist. Agolde’s offering of love-worn shorts includes a flattering longer length. And for on top? Ninety Percent crafts the perfect organic pure cotton T-shirt, while Uniqlo is your high street go-to for linen shirts and foundational basics.

 
 

Flat sandals

From top left: Birkenstock 1774 Arizona brown and cream canvas sliders, £380, harveynichols.com; Oran sandals, £510, hermes.com; Valentino RRockstud braided-strap leather slides, £630, matchesfashion.com; Dioract sandals, £850, dior.com

Invest in a pair of warm-weather flats that offer endless mileage – whether styling with swimwear, summer dresses or denim. Chanel, Hermès and Dior have refreshed quintessential silhouettes in colour-popping shades, which are perfect for balmy climes. Minimalists rarely stray from the reliable Birkenstock, which is now considered a bonafide fashion icon. This season, find souped-up iterations in its 1774 collection, which features collaborations with designers including Manolo Blahnik and Stüssy.

 
 

Floral prints

From top left: Summer resort playsuit, £178, reiss.com; Rixo Selma floral-print silk de chine dress, £315, harrods.com; Horror Vacui Luke floral cotton-poplin wide-leg trousers, £310, matchesfashion.comZimmerman Postcard belted floral linen and silk-blend mini dress, £995, net-a-porter.com

No summer round-up would be complete without a veritable garden of flirty florals. Zimmermann is known for creating the perfect wanderlust wardrobe and translates zingy prints onto breathable linen dresses and coordinating shirt-and-short combos. Rixo is lauded for its flattering, floaty cuts and vintage-inspired prints, which work for both weddings and sundowners.

 
 

Beauty, skin and haircare

From top left: Tan Luxe The Face rejuvenating self-tan drops, £40, net-a-porter.com; Malin & Goetz SPF 30 high protection sunscreen, £32; libertylondon.com; Chanel Les Beiges healthy glow luminous colour, £46, harveynichols.com; Moroccanoil Treatment Light, £13.85, lookfantastic.com; Hourglass Ambient Lighting blush, £39, hourglass.com; Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF 50+ sunscreen, £75, harrods.com

Restock your cosmetic case with hardworking, hybrid beauty and skincare products. Malin & Goetz has released an SPF 30 water-resistant gel-cream, which glides onto the skin for quick absorption. On a similar note, Eve Lom’s Daily Protection SPF50 cream is exalted for its strong defence against UV rays, as well as its brightening properties. Also highly recommended is Moroccanoil's thirst-quenching hair treatment, packed full of vitamins and antioxidant-rich argan oil, and Tan Luxe’s Face Illuminating Self-Tan drops for a buildable bronzed glow.

Read more: The ultimate wedding guest dressing guide