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What To Pack: Must-Have Women’s Clothes For Six Summer Vacations

What To Pack: Must-Have Women’s Clothes For Six Summer Vacations

You’re heading out on vacation, maybe next week. And you realize that after too many summers of Covid staycations your travel clothes could use some updating. Or maybe you just want to celebrate your first real vacation in a long time with some trendy new threads.

Here are a few outfits that you’ll want pack for six types of vacations. I also include accessories that are invaluable wheny ou’re traveling.

Easy, Affordable Outfits For 6 Summer Vacations

1. For resorts and cruise ships: A skort with pockets!

Lp monica skort

Does this sound familiar? We’re on one of those vacations where all I don’t need to carry much more than my phone and my room key. But I’m carrying a tote everywhere I go because none of my clothes have pockets. Enter the Lily Pulitzer Monica skort

This clever skirt is a stretchy, comfortable spandex mix with built-in UPF 50 sun protection. It has a small front pocket and a hidden pocket tucked underneath in the shorts for keeping cash or a credit card secure.

Plus, the light blue and pink paisley print has the right vibe for a tropical getaway—even if you don’t always clamor after Lily P’s colorful prints.  

Adidas polo

Pair it with a basic top

Pair it with this comfortable, go anywhere polo shirt from Adidas Golf.

The Go-To Primegreen collared t-sirt is stretchy, fitted but not clingy and looks great all day long.

Basic black, white and blue will go with everything you pack. Why not buy all three?

2. For beach & pool days: A go-anywhere cover-up

Tommy bahama

If women’s summer clothes rarely have pockets, cover-ups never do. This is why I love this Bretton stripe cover-up dress from Tommy Bahama.

It has a high neck and built-in UPF for sun protection The nylon-spandex blend dries quickly and is easy to rinse and wear. 

Plus the crisp-nautical stripes and knee length make it neat enough to wear away from the beach, maybe to a waterside bistro, too.    

Ray bans original

Pair it with timeless sunglasses

Pair it with a pair or original Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses.

They’re scratch-resistant, light-weight, durable and still as classic as a pair of shades can be.

And there is a mix of frame and lense colors. They’ll carry you through summer vacation for a few years to come.

3. For city weekends: The perfect sightseeing dress

Columbia freezer dress

Columbia is not the first brand you think of for cute sundresses, but the brand’s Freezer III dress has a secret: It disperses your body heat to cool you down as the day heats up.

It also wicks sweat away from your skin and has built in UV sun protection. See all the city sights you want while keeping cool and ready for a break at the nearest cute café.

If you like a longer dress that can go easily from day to evening, Columbia makes a Freezer maxi-dress from the same clever fabric.

This summer-wright coral wrap will pair well with almost any sundress.

Pair it with a summer cardi

Pair it with this summer weight wrap-style cardigan from Volcom. Perfect for AC or chilly night breezes.. And it rolls up without wrinkling.

Pop it in your shoulder bag and take it everywhere. It comes in black, white and stone, but the coral works especially well with summer colors. 

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4. For outdoor getaways: hiking Shorts you can hike in

Arcteryx konseal shorts

Too many so-called hiking shorts are too short or too stiff to spend the day hiking in them. But outdoorsy women love these Arc’teryx Konseal shorts because they’re made for movement

They’re cut just a bit longer than most hiking shorts, without turning into bulky cargo shorts. They have side pockets and a discreet adjustable elastic waiste.

They come in a deep black that hides the day’s trail dust well or classic khaki. 

Royal robbins travel shirt

Pair it with a technical shirt that fits well

Pair it with this Travel Tech shirt from Royal Robbins. It’s lightweight and long-sleeved, made from fabric that is UPF treated and has thermoregulating technology to keep you cooler.

It will keep you free of sunburn and sweat. Plus the slightly long cut and stretchy fabric makes it comfortable all day long.

5. For the road trip: Slim-cut joggers

Life is good pants

Summer road trips often mean sitting in a car for three, five, even eight hours and refereeing backseat disputes while helping to navigate.

For these trips I want clothes that are comfortable and just right for a climate-controlled auto. My answer is joggers that don’t look like joggers. Like these crusher flex pants from Life is Good.

They have an elastic waist and draw string for comfort but the flat front and cuffed bottoms let you hide that they’re joggers when you want to.

Carly linen shirt

Pair it with a fun summer top

Pair it with this Carly linen button-front shirt in sherbet-colored stripes from Lisette L. Montreal.

It can be a three-quarter sleeve shirt or roll up to a cuffed-short sleeve. It gives you a neat look that’s summery and extremely comfy.

6. The Go-Anywhere Item: the Dress-up/Dress-down Dress

Toad sleeveless dress

This Toad & Co. Rosemary sleeveless dress has an organic cotton/Tencel/Spandex mix that means it moves with you.

It will unpack wrinkle-free, is moisture-wicking and has a discreet zippered side pocket, making it perhaps the idea travel dress.

Plus the V-neck and A-line skirt flatter most figures.

Pop on sneakers or walking sandals for day-time sightseeing, then dress it up with great earrings and a cute wedge at night.  

It comes in a a half dozen colors and patterns that suit a range of complexions.

Ralph lauren wrap

Pair it with a gorgeous wrap

Pair it withjacquard wrap scarf from Ralph Lauren.

The light caramel color makes any outfit look a bit more feminine and stylish.

Use it as a wrap with a sleeveless dress. If you’re in Europe you might drape it around your neck for that unexpected chilly summer day. 

6 Really Handy Travel Accessories

Sun scarf turquoise

1. A sun scarf: You read right. I discovered these on Ripskirt this summer and felt like I had to try them. These light-weight gator scarves are wider on the bottom so they cover part of your chest that gets too much sun when you wear all those summer scoop-necks and V-necks that leave it exposed. 

I bought one in bright pink and another in a deep blue, each with a subtle Hawaiia-inspired floral pattern. One or the other works with most of my summer clothes. 

Compact rain jacket. Jpg

2. A compact rain jacket: I always packs a lightweight travel rain jacket. If you buy one that packs up into its own drawstring compression pouch it takes next to no room in your suitcase.

It’s come in handy often. Buy a size with room to layer under it when you want to. 

Real pashmina. Jpg

3. A do-it-all shawl: A wrap or large scarf is handy for wrapping up in chilly air conditioning, on an overnight flight or on an unusually cool day. It’s also great for covering up from the sun at the beach and throwing over a sleeveless shirt when sightseeing calls for modesty.

light pashmina scarf is perfect to throw in your suitcase in the summer. Splurge on real cashmere, treat it nicely and you’ll have it for many summers to come. Choose from 19 colors with this one. 

Peacock saron

4 A Sarong has the similar versatility and can usually be tossed in the washing machine.

Use a colorful sarong as a beach blanket, evening wrap, kids blanket, airplane blanket, baby sling, swimsuit cover-up or an easy wrap skirt.

Flight hoodie

5. A cozy hoody: For me the perfect hoodie is soft and cozy to put on when evenings turn cool or the airplane AC is too much. It shouldn’t be too bulky and I should look like an adult, not a college student, when I throw it on.

I love this Thermal Flight Cardigan/hoodie from Splendid. It doesn’t take room in a carry-on or shoulder bag. You can really wrap yourself up in it. And it’s that rare cozy hoody that makes you look like a grown-up, not a college student.

Ex officio mens. Jpg

6. Perfomance underwear: High-tech underwear was new to me until recently, but now that I’ve tried it I don’t know how I lived without it. The fabric breathes, wicks sweat, resists odors and dries quickly after you wash it; perfect for travel. 

Several travel writers I know (myself included) are big fans of ExOfficio which makes a full line of travel clothes including boxer briefs for men and bikini briefs for women in 19 colors. 

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6 easy summer outfits for 6 summer vacation styles. Plus 6 smart accessories that are really handy for travel. Start shopping and start packing.