Women's Capsule Wardrobe for a Beach Vacation

Beach capsule wardrobe for women

Beach capsule wardrobe for women

Outfit for the beach or pool

Outfit for the beach or lazing by the pool

Outfit for the beach or pool

Wear on the beach or by the pool

Outfit for day trips

Outfit for day trips

Casual day exploring

Wear for a casual day exploring

Outfit for casual dining

Outfit for casual dining

Alternative wear for casual evenings

Alternative wear for casual evenings

Wear for casual dining

Wear for casual dining

Evening outfit

Evening outfit

Wear for smarter dining

Wear for smarter dining

Things to Consider

  • You won't need much more than swimwear, sunhat and sunglasses for lazy days in the sun. But also consider...
  • Will you be taking day trips away from the beach - and will these need particular clothing or footwear?
  • Are there any cultural obligations in the area? See our destination pages for more advice on this.
  • Is nightlife centred around smart hotels/restaurants where there is an expectation or an opportunity to dress up? Or is it more chilled out and relaxed?
  • If you are a fan of killer heels maybe switch to sparkly flats; the heat can make your feet swell and heels could be really uncomfortable.
  • Whilst it may be hot during the day, how much cooler is it in the evenings? If there is mention of a breeze during the day it will feel even cooler at night.
  • Hotel air conditioning can be fierce too, making it feel cold even when it's very hot outside. A pashmina or wrap is useful to put around you if you feel chilly.
  • Never underestimate how costume jewellery can transform an outfit, and remember - bright accessories show off a tan.
  • Pick a simple color scheme of neutrals plus one or two statement shades. Make sure all your clothes co-ordinate so they can be mixed and matched.
  • Remember you will need an outfit to travel in! Wear your bulkiest clothes and shoes where possible.
  • Download our complete packing list below for all quantities and a checklist of items.
  • Also see our Beach Capsule Wardrobe for Men

What We Would Pack For A Beach Vacation

Swimwear

Swimwear

Essential for lazy days of sun-bathing, and they can also look fabulous with pants or a skirt for an evening look.

Suggested buy: Speedo Shirred Tank One-Piece by Amazon

Kaftan

Kaftan

A loose floaty top looks equally good as a beach cover up or worn with pants or shorts.

Suggested buy: Crochet Trim Cover-Up by Nordstrom

Scarf

Sarong

Can be worn in so many ways - as a beach cover-up for sun or modesty, they work well as a skirt or will cover your shoulders at religious sites, or loop it round as a scarf to dress up a simple top.

Buy from us! Sarongs & Scarves by WhatToWearOnHoliday

Packable Sun Hat

Sunhat

Essential for sun protection in hot weather and it can make a great fashion statement too. Remember you may need to pack it in your case, so choose a style that will fold or roll up.

Buy from us! Packable Sun Hat by WhatToWearOnHoliday

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

These also can make a great statement. Check they have the right protection.

Suggested buy: Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer by Amazon

Sunscreen

Sunscreen

Good sunscreen is essential in hotter climes, and don't get caught out on cloudy days either - you can still get burnt. Remember that water will reflect the sun's rays too. Choose a product with a high SPF (protects from UVB rays) and also look for the star or PA rating which indicates protection from UVA.

Suggested buy: SPF 30 PA+++ Water Resistant Sunscreen by Murad

Casual top

T-Shirts or Undershirts

Pack simple tops in your favorite colors that will match your pants, shorts and skirt. Natural fabrics are best for hot weather - think linen, cotton, silk, and our favorite bamboo.

Suggested buy: Texere Hypoallergenic Bamboo Fiber Tee by Amazon

Shirt

Casual Tops

A shirt (long or short-sleeved) in your favorite color would tie in well here, and could be worn buttoned up or open over a t-shirt.

Suggested buy: Chambray Shirt by Joules

Evening top

Evening Tops

Pick a luxurious top for evening wear that goes well with your skirt and casual pants. Add sandals or heels and you're good to go!

Suggested buy: Lush Roll Tab Sleeve Woven Shirt by Nordstrom

Cardigan

Smart Cardigan or Jacket

A smart cardigan or light jacket will dress up your outfit for evening, and it adds that extra something round your shoulders if the air-con gets too breezy. Choose a color to match or complement your tops and dress.

Suggested buy: Kate Spade 'Somerset' Cardigan by Nordstrom

Shorts

Shorts or Cropped Pants

Choose a fairly smart pair - these can then be worn for days out with a simple top and sandals, and add your smart cardigan and pashmina for the evenings.

Suggested buy: NYDJ 'Ariel' Stretch Crop Jeans by Nordstrom

Smart-casual jeans

Casual Pants or Jeans

A flattering pair of dark jeans works well, but depending on the climate you may want to swap these for a floaty pair of lightweight pants. Dress them up for evenings with pretty sandals and a nice top.

Suggested buy: NYDJ Straight Leg Denim by Amazon

Skirt

Skirt or Tailored Shorts

Flexible for day time or evenings. Loose styles in natural fabrics are good in the heat - and linen particularly packs very well.

Suggested buy: Eileen Fisher Linen Drawstring Skirt by Nordstrom

Dress

Dress

Choose something light and versatile that you can wear sightseeing, but also dress up to dine out in the evenings by adding accessories. These Karina dresses are very flattering and they pack brilliantly - no ironing ever needed!

Suggested buy: Audrey Dress by Karina Dresses

Necklace

Jewelry

Some statement jewelry can really set off an outfit and takes up very little room in your case. Costume jewelry works just fine, and it's often better to leave your valuables at home.

Suggested buy: Multi Row Statement Necklace by Nordstrom

Pashmina

Pashmina

A 'must take' item for any vacation as they are just so versatile: cover your shoulders at religious sites; add an instant touch of style to any outfit; put round you if there's a chill (or air-con) and keep cosy on the plane.

Suggested buy: Large Soft 100% Twill Pashmina by Amazon

Hotter Evie Sandals

Sandals or Flip Flops

A pair of sparkly flip flops or sandals are fun and look great with everything. Do check that they are not too heavy or they could cause blisters.

Suggested buy: Easy Sandals by Hotter

Hotter Leanne Shoes

Walking Shoes or Comfy Flats

If you plan to go exploring you'll need some active shoes. Closed-toe are best on dusty roads, and if you're heading off the beaten track (cliff top or rocky paths, for example) do make sure you have something sturdy and supportive that are suited to the terrain.

Suggested buy: Leanne Shoes by Hotter

Beach Bag

Beach Bag

You'll need a large canvas bag with plenty of room for all your daytime essentials. This Bill Brown bag is stylish and roomy, but folds flat when not in use so it packs easily.

Buy from us! Beach Bag by WhatToWearOnHoliday

The Baglett

Clutch Bag

Choose a simple clutch bag for evenings - the Baglett is light and easy to carry with just the right amount of room for your essentials. The strap can be detached and worn as a belt, too.

Suggested buy: The Baglett by Amazon

Get a Full Packing List for a beach vacation

Our Members can download a suggested packing list for a beach vacation which covers ladies' and men's clothes for all seasons, plus a checklist for must-take items. Sign up or log in below.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.

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