By: Angela Harrison

The best part about summer is vacation!  Everyone loves a good summer getaway — time with friends, fam, sunshine, and nature. With a trip comes packing and trying to organize all of the things you want to wear without bringing the whole closet. And while we all deserve to pack enough for three costume changes a day, life is so much easier when it’s simplified. You can pack just the basics and still be able to turn out a fully fabulous vacation wardrobe.

No matter where you go this season, whether it be a fun getaway up north or lounging seaside, this wardrobe capsule will show you how to build a functional wardrobe for any week-long adventures you’re taking. Every great working wardrobe starts with easy basics, interchangeable layering pieces, a chic dinner look, and fun accessories to dress up any moment. Regardless of your style, everyone can use this footprint as a sure way to keep your vacay looks fresh and the packing easy.

Basics: Creating the Canvas

Your basics are the pieces that create the foundation for your looks. These are neutral pants like denim, white denim, black pants, jean shorts, linen pants — anything solid and in a muted color. Basic tops are tees, tanks, button-downs — pieces that can be great backgrounds for fun layering pieces. These kinds of simplistic looks are perfect for daytime touring. All of these pieces can be paired with a more dressed-up top or bottom to create an entirely different look. When it comes to packing your basics for the week, stick to around three to four jeans, pants, shorts, or whatever makes sense for your style. These will be your go-to bottoms for daytime looks and then spruced-up for evening activities. Pack four basic tops, whether they’re tees or tanks; these can vary in color, but keep itmuted.

Evening: Dinners and Nightlife

Evening looks on vacation are usually more causal than we imagine, unless you’re going somewhere with a formal dinner or event planned. I find I can always get away with a classic black dress (which can also be worn daytime with a denim jacket), and dressed-up tops to pair with basic white or dark denim. For a standout moment, bring a fun jumpsuit along; these also look really fab with waist-length denim jackets and long duster cardigans. Both layers can be re-styled with daytime shorts or pant-looks and additional evening options. If you’re not a dress person, try one of our summer-trend items like print wide-leg pants and a solid tee or tank tucked in.

Layering: Day to Night

Layers are the easiest way to pull together any kind of look. Daytime or evening, it can all be done with a simple layer. For your basic daytime looks, try a loose linen blouse with the shirttails tied over your tank and jeans (or shorts, tees — you get it). This creates an easy vacation look and also makes a nice style moment, taking your standard button-down shirt up a notch. Another easy daytime layer is adding a denim jacket, any color or style, to finish off a look. For dinners out and evening excursions, try a colorful kimono with your denim or layer over a dress.

Shoes and Accessories: Don’t Pile On

Don’t overthink your shoe choices. Make your travel shoe the same shoe you wear for daytime touring — something light but supportive, like a slip-on espadrille or Birkenstock-style sandal. For beach time, throw on a metallic thong sandal, and for dinner, pack a low block heel like a mule or double-strap heel. You don’t need to load up on footwear; two daytime walking-around shoes, one beach, one evening pair, and you’re covered. As for sunglasses, hats, and jewelry, do what feels like you. Accent your daytime and evening looks with a few colorful earrings and a couple necklaces. Bring a scarf that can double as a shawl. If you’ve got the space, pack a smaller purse for dinner and nights out.

Make these packing tips your own by subbing in pieces that are more you — dresses and skirts instead of pants and shorts, or vice versa. The universal key is keeping your base neutral, whether it’s dark or light, and bringing in prints and color with summer layering pieces like tied shirts, kimonos, and denim jackets. Take the guess and stress out of packing and start your vacation early! Bon voyage!

*All photos belong to Nordstrom.com

Angie Harrison
Angie HarrisonAuthor
Angie Harrison received her BS degree in fashion merchandising from Western Michigan University. After merchandising for a large retailer, she went on to start Angela Harrison Style: a personal, print, and film wardrobe styling service. Her experience has led her to build a diverse client list of people from various professions and backgrounds. Angie has also styled wardrobes on local and national TV commercials and has started a visual merchandising branch of AH-Style, providing styling and merchandising expertise to Michigan retailers.