I have an unhealthy obsession with summer holiday clothing. From bikinis to cover-ups, to the perfect summer day dress, my wardrobe is filled with way too many resort-chic looks for someone who lives in Blighty.
But my love for all things linen, printed, crochet and colourful is not only about having the perfect holiday look, but the feeling that comes with wearing them. The sense of escape from the daily grind, the promise of a cocktail overlooking the ocean, and the contentedness of a day well spent doing absolutely nothing. Bliss.
There’s no better way to start getting into the summer holiday mood ahead of time than planning your wardrobe, and where better to start than perfecting your evening outfits?
Whether you plan to be partying it up in Mykonos, having tapas down a quiet Barcelona side street, or watching the sunset with your closest pals in Cornwall, I’ve rounded up seven stylish options to pack. And best of all, they’re all hardworking pieces that will quickly become staples of your summer wardrobe – not only this year, but for summers to come. Here are the pieces you need:
1. Printed trousers
Whether you’re a long-time print lover, or looking to experiment more with your holiday looks, a summer holiday is the perfect time to add a new print to your wardrobe. And whilst a dress is always a good buy, a pair of floral trousers are top of my holiday wishlist. The light, flowy fabric, wide leg design and high waist make for the perfect summer pants.
How to style them: Paired with a fitted black body (that you won’t constantly be tucking in), simple black gladiator-style sandals and a few accessories, it’s the kind of outfit that could work for a romantic waterside dinner or a girls cocktail night in town. And that’s just one look you could create with these fab trousers.
Imagine them paired with a beige crop top and strappy sandals for an island party night, or dressed down with a simple white tee and a denim jacket for a family fish ‘n’ chips eve in Devon. The print might be a statement, but they’d pair surprisingly well with the rest of your wardrobe, both on holiday and at home.
2. The colour block shirt
How to style them: In this bright combination of red and orange you’re sure to make a lasting impression, and just as importantly, stay cool even on the balmiest of summer evenings. The look is bold so keeping your accessories simple is key – a neutral bag and tonal shoe work perfectly to balance the brightness of the look. I’d also opt for classic jewellery style like a simple pair of gold hoops to keep the look modern.
3. The crochet top
If you’ve somehow managed to get Glastonbury tickets or one of the Hyde Park gigs (and all the other options in between), you’ll need a few great outfits – not only for the day, but for the evenings too. And this year’s crochet trend couldn’t be more perfect.
How to style them: For a look that marries style and practicality, this crochet top paired with denim shorts is perfect for dancing the night away – Tevas firmly on your feet. Add a pair of statement gold earrings and you’ll be ready to party.
Best of all, these pieces will fit in seamlessly with your wardrobe – from bikinis to linen separates. If they survive the festival, they’ll be on repeat for summer holidays to come.
4. The cotton co-ord
I love a co-ord on holiday – it’s a failsafe easy outfit that I know will look great with minimal styling. It’s also a great alternative to a dress, and it means having two pieces in your holiday wardrobe that you can mix and match.
A co-ord made from a light material (goodbye summer evening sweat patches) is ideal. It’s the kind of laidback look that’s perfect for an evening walks with your toes in the sand and BBQs with friends.
How to style them: To balance out the femininity of a shorts set, pair it with a chunkier sandal. To maximise the looks you can get out of the co-ord set, make sure to pack some basics that can pair with both the top and the shorts. Think denim shorts, a black midi skirt, a white and a black tee. Suddenly your outfit options will be endless and you’ll find yourself wondering how you ever did a summer holiday without one.
5. The cut-out dress
Cut outs are big news for this summer and there’s no better time to embrace this trend than on a summer holiday evening. However, keep the look classic so it won’t date by next summer by going for a timeless dress in a classic colour rather than hyper bright. A shirred-waist dress with puff-sleeve detail is a stylish option for warm nights both in the country and on the beach.
How to style them: Add some colourful accessories, like beaded hoops and a woven bag, for a simple but playful look. And the best part about this dress? It can easily transition from a night-time look to daytime. Just grab an oversized raffia bag and espadrilles, and this evening look is perfect for a day at the beach.
6. The mini dress
In case you missed it, the mini is back in a big way. But if you can’t quite face re-living the hip-hugging miniskirts of the early Noughties (I’m right with you there), a chic mini dress is just the ticket for a night out on your next holiday.
Whether it’s bar hopping in Bodrum or dancing until the sun comes up in Ibiza, a multicoloured mini will serve you well for party-laden summer holidays.
How to style it: Emphasise the neckline with a statement necklace – and since you’re going out out, you may as well go all out with a crystal bag to match. To maximise your wear of this fun summer dress, don’t be afraid to pair it with brightly coloured heels that complement the tones of the dress or even a pair of boots if you’re festival-bound.
7. The wrap dress
Holiday evenings don’t have to be about showing as much skin as possible. A printed dress is the perfect example of just how stylish you can look with your arms and knees covered. Perfect for a summer city break, it is cut to flatter with its clever draping and wrap detail at the waist, but I particularly love that it’s cut from a lightweight fabric, making it perfect for warm summer nights.
How to style it: Complement the summery hue with gold accessories and you’re good to go for a relaxed dinner in the city. This eye-catching dress would look equally as chic dressed up with a pair of strappy heels (I’d counsel you to stick to metallics or neutrals) for a summer holiday date night.