Packing for a vacation can be a task if your agenda is to wear comfortable clothes and accessories that also look trendy and chic on your Instagram account but don’t exceed your aeroplane baggage weight allowance. The trick lies in creating an ultimate travelling wardrobe of sorts: light, with the key ingredients suitable for your destination, allowing for a mix and match so that you have a new outfit each time you step out.
We reached out to some experts to help you create a holiday bag, depending on where you are going—the mountains, beaches or plains. Their suggestions include known, practical options as well as those inspired by the current trends dictated by fashion houses and social media, like mixing streetwear with sportswear.
If the beach is on your mind, have a trendy “beach tote” ready. “It’s the new trusty sidekick and now as sought after as the leather tote,” says stylist Sukriti Grover, recommending raffia, bamboo and canvas beach bags. “Loewe’s basket bag and the Prada raffia tote bag are all over social media right now, proving that such bags work just as well in the city as they do poolside.”
Now, let’s fill the beach tote. For starters, you need a resort rug, sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses. “Besides these three items, an ideal beach bag for men should include swim shorts or trunks, depending on the man’s comfort, and a vest and a relaxed silk shirt, just in case you decide to head to a restaurant later,” suggests Shivan Bhatiya, head designer of Shivan & Narresh.
For women, he suggests, a set of maillots, trikinis or bikinis, with a paneyo for layering (or you can mix and match with linen shirts or flowy skirts) to go from the beach to a bar (remember Tanya McQuoid’s many beachwear looks in The White Lotus?)—a good way to reduce baggage load. “A versatile shirt dress with a belt can also help in getting that effortless mix-and-match morning to an evening look,” Bhatiya says.
Another simple way to add zing to a simple, casual outfit for the beach is a fun, round neck tee, a casual linen shirt or breezy beach dresses. “Just remember to carry light and breathable fabrics like linen and cottons. It will also help you reduce the baggage weight,” says Yuv Bharat Ram, creative director and founder of the label Primal Gray. “And experiment. Just because you are at the beach doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish. Experiment with different cuts and silhouettes or patterns, prints and colours for a tropical vibe. Add a hat, a comfy pair of slippers, speakers or headphones, and a book to your beach bag.”
One last thing: a waterproof mascara. “And waterproof eyeliner, bronzer, eyebrow pencil, lip balm, setting spray, make-up remover wipes, moisturiser. Keep your look relaxed,” suggests Esha Bhambri, co-founder and creative director of the brand House of Fett. “And sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Don’t ever step out without sunscreen.”
With temperatures rising, many people are headed to the hills, in India or abroad. All you need are chic layering separates, including warm and functional trousers, pullovers with an added layer of Merino wool and a statement jacket, and, of course, moisturiser and sunscreen. “It can be a faux fur jacket or a hand-knitted woollen jacket. You can accessorise with a faux fur muffler or a shawl to make a statement,” says Bhatiya. “Essentials like sunglasses, gloves are must-haves.”
Keep a beanie handy as well, suggests Ram. “It’s also a good idea to have some extra layers to adapt to changing temperatures. Like full-sleeved shirts and puffer jackets, to layer up or down depending on the time of day,” he says. “Even perhaps a raincoat, in case of unexpected rain. And good, comfortable shoes and bag.”
As Grover points out, a backpack is essential gear when it comes to trekking in the mountains. You will have to carry it for hours when you go hiking. Comfort, capacity, size, padded straps, water-resistance and durability are some of the factors to keep in mind before buying one.
“You should invest a fair bit of money and research on the one that suits you best before getting a trekking backpack,” says Grover.
While flowy maxi and shirt dresses add that element of chic to a vacation wardrobe, they aren’t the most comfortable when climbing up and down in the hills.
Instead, pack joggers and T-shirts made from lightweight and breathable materials, like the ones you find at Uniqlo or North Face. You can amp up the style with sturdy yet stylish hiking boots or walking shoes. “Add layer- ing options like a cardigan or lightweight jacket for that chic look. For make-up, carry a tinted moisturiser, waterproof mascara, cream blush, lip balm with SPF, brow gel or pencil, and a setting spray,” suggests Bhambri.
In case you are planning to head to a landlocked city somewhere in Europe, don’t forget your cross-body bag. “Dedicated travel bags come in all different shapes and sizes, fanny packs, laptop backpacks, cross-bodies, work totes and more, but generally feature multiple compartments to help you stay organised,” says Grover. “A bag that has a convertible strap, is com- fortable enough to wear all day and has anti-theft features is usually a good go-to,” adds Grover.
Just ensure it—and your wardrobe—has a pop of colour, says Bhatiya. “Printed pants and shorts with solid coloured polos can make quite a statement. For women, pop-coloured silk shirts with panelled pants and dresses in vibrant hues would look chic on city streets,” he says, adding, “Pack a scarf, a floral fragrance and face mist sprays to feel fresh and hydrated while you explore the city.”
Maybe throw in some light, printed shirts as well for that fun look, says Ram. Meanwhile, keep your dresses short, if you are comfortable in them, suggests Bhambri. “Long dresses are a great choice in case you are looking for effortless style and comfort but shorter dresses are better for more active pursuits. Consider packing a few accessories, like a wide-brimmed hat or a lightweight scarf, to complement your dresses and provide sun protection. Have comfortable walking shoes for exploring, a pair of sandals or open-toe flats for warmer days. Slip-on shoes are also good for versatility,” she says.
A piece of advice from Ram, no matter where you go: “Comfortable shoes and small bandages, in case of blisters.”