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Top Tips to Travel Light and Still Look Fabulous- 12 items can create 60 outfits!

Article by Judith Brady

Looking forward to your holiday in the sun this summer? If you are flying off somewhere, packing can be a bit of a nightmare, especially given the airlines strict weight allowances.

Are you panicking about what to take and how you will ever keep within the limits? Does your holiday usually start with your partner moaning about how much you want to take and grumbles when he tries to lift your suitcase? Do you start off sensible and then add a ‘few’ things ‘just in case’??

I’m not one of those travellers that boast about how I can go away for 2 weeks fitting everything in my hand luggage and still manage to look fantastic every day – I really don’t believe this is possible and anyway, I like to have some choice about what to wear, don’t you?  Having said that, my number one tip for holiday packing is:

 You don’t need nearly as much as you think!

Hands up – how many times do you bring back clothes that you have never worn? Is that one or two tops, or half a suitcase? And, everything always seems to need washing and ironing whether it’s been worn or not – not a good way to end your holiday. That used to be me, but I have been trying a different approach and it works!

It really is true – if you plan and co-ordinate your holiday packing, you really don’t need that many clothes.  In theory you only need 12 items to create over 60 outfits – sounds impossible but yes, over 60 outfits!

12 core items is a good starting point and you can then add a few extras to add variety if, like me, you prefer to have a bit more choice. Here are some suggestions for the 12 items:

  • 1 dress – try a maxi, feminine, flattering and versatile (see my last article)
  • 2 pairs shorts/cut-offs
  • 1 pair lightweight trousers
  • 2 skirts
  • 5 tops
  • 1 beach cover-up

 PLUS additional items to pack:

  • 1 pair of comfortable flip-flops
  • 1 pair of dressier sandals to suit colours (gold or silver go with everything)
  • 3 swimsuits/bikinis
  • Colourful bangles, necklaces, sunhat

You can change things around to suit your own style personality and how you spend your time on holiday. If you live in shorts then take 2 more pairs and drop the skirts; if you hate shorts, take an extra skirt and dress. Personally, I find dresses and skirts more comfortable than shorts when it’s really hot.

Stick to fabrics with a mix of natural/synthetic fibres – natural for coolness and synthetic to avoid creases – who wants to iron on holiday?

Take clothes that can do double duty – a maxi dress can be worn dressed up for the evening and then used for sightseeing or as a beach cover-up – it‘s the accessories that convert it from night to day.

Colour co-ordinate your clothes

Colour co-ordinating your holiday wardrobe is essential, allowing you to mix and match everything and reducing the amount of clothes and accessories that you need.

Choose one item to build your clothes around.  I used a necklace that was in my colours – lime green, burnt orange, warm purple and brown – as my starting point.  All my clothes were in variations of these colours together with some light neutrals.

Other tips for travelling light:

Take travel sized toiletries – you don’t need full size for a fortnight!

Use your hand luggage weight allowance – consider getting your travel sized toiletries in duty-free and putting in your hand luggage

Use your beach bag as your flight bag – choose one that is light but strong and is within the hand luggage size restrictions.  There are loads of colourful ones around that will fit the bill.

Wear your heaviest clothes for travelling in – dress in layers to travel. If you think you may need a cardigan for the evenings, wear it together with a couple of t-shirts and roll-up trousers or cut-offs with your heaviest shoes/trainers (only if you plan on wearing them during your holiday).

Put a pair of flip-flops in your hand luggage and just before you land, take off a couple of layers and change shoes to arrive cool, calm and collected.

Happy holidays!


Judith Brady: Style Coach and Personal Style Mentor running Style Heaven Programme with Suzie Rice.  The first introductory workshop held on 20 July 2011 sold out, a second is organised for 14 September 2011 at Champneys, Henlow.  Book now: www.judithbrady.co.uk


Here is a picture taken at the event and comments from some of the ladies there.



‘I learnt so much and it was fun!’

‘It’s really made me think about my style’

I’m so excited, can’t wait for the full programme!’

Style Heaven – so much more than just clothes, it’s a state of mind



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