The ultimate holiday packing guide

holiday_packing_2Do you ever wish you could have one of those perfect holiday wardrobes? The kind where a simple change of shoes or a top creates an entirely different outfit, where everything mixes and matches and you look effortlessly stylish all holiday? (I’m going to assume the answer to all of this is yes – I can’t imagine there are many of you sat there shaking your heads and saying ‘nah, I like my bag lady chic, actually’).

Wouldn’t it be rather fabulous to not only have all of that for a two week holiday but also be able to fit the whole lot into one small suitcase? I’ll let you debate whether it’s going to be cabin baggage, as frankly I’m never going to manage the requisite liquid requirements so I always check in my bag, but the ease of having one small wheelie suitcase rather than a great big one plus a vanity case plus a handbag makes life an awful lot simpler.

Packing the perfect holiday wardrobe is basically just picking a capsule wardrobe. However, with the more limited number of clothes you’re taking, you need to apply capsule wardrobe rules even more strictly:

  1. Knowing both your colours and personal style will make this process infinitely simpler. If you don’t know your best colour palette and your personal style, go find yourself a consultant and come back when you’ve done that.
  2. OK, so you know your style and your colours. Now you need to limit down your palette even more for the purposes of holiday packing – even though pretty much every colour within your palette will mix and match, narrowing down your holiday wardrobe to an even smaller palette will help you dress easily and stylishly every day with absolutely zero effort. I would recommend choosing one dark neutral, one light neutral and three colours – although obviously don’t panic if an extra colour or two sneaks in within a pattern or accessory!
  3. Look at the weather forecast for where you’re likely to be going, and allow for some shifts either way (i.e. if you’re going to Majorca for a two week summer break, allow for the fact that it might (a) rain and (b) have a small temperature drop at some stage). This is normally fairly easily done if you are travelling from the UK to somewhere hot, simply by wearing UK-appropriate clothes on the day you travel, so you will automatically have something to wear if the weather suddenly drops down to the same levels as our temperatures here.
  4. Think through the products (skincare, sun protection and make up) that you’re packing and whether you really need them all, whether you need full sized bottles/pots of them all, and whether anything can do double duty while you’re travelling (i.e. you probably wont turn into an insta-hag if you use your day cream as a night cream too for a fortnight). Boots, Amazon and Muji are great for travel sized bottles. I’m a big fan of GoToob ones, as they are soft so don’t crack, have wide fill mouths but a narrow squeeze dispenser, and have a clever identification system so you don’t put shampoo on your toothbrush.
  5. Remember accessories. These are the easiest way of changing the look and feel of your outfit without packing tons of different clothes. An oversized clutch can work brilliantly as an evening bag and an alternative day bag if you aren’t going out for an entire day and need to carry half your life with you.
  6. If you’re taking on your suitcase as cabin baggage, remember to double check liquid, weight and additional handbag limitations (you may need to pack your handbag into your suitcase too)

So what have I packed for our hypothetical holiday capsule wardrobe? In my imaginary holiday I’m a Spring with a fun preppy style and I’m going somewhere hot with my family, with the expectation of the odd dinner out as well as plenty of sightseeing and lounging by the pool. Here goes:


You can see that we have loads of mix and match potential. All of the tops will work with the skirt or all of the shorts, the dress gives you a nice alternative look if you get bored with separates, and can be dressed down with flat sandals or up with heels and the sarong as a stole. Changing the accessories from the elegant nautical themed to fun colourful ones will completely change the look of even an identical outfit, and the trousers and long sleeved top give you more options if the weather isn’t great one day. I’d also be inclined to throw on a lightweight jacket or blazer for travel so you’re totally covered for any weather eventuality (plus unless you leave the UK in a heatwave, you’re unlikely to want to be jacket-free for the trip to and from the airport, given the almost inevitability of early morning starts).

Details of all the items shown can be found on our Polyvore page – NB some Kettlewell items may show incorrectly as ‘Sold Out’ – please check our website for availability.

One thought on “The ultimate holiday packing guide

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  1. Really useful guide pointing out some things that should be obvious but often aren’t… I love your choice of colours for the holiday wardrobe too.

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