What to Pack for a Beach Vacation


Beach bound? I’ve found everything you need, right here. The key to packing right, and packing light, lies in selecting multi-functional pieces in a coordinated palette of colors. Here I’ve chosen classic blue and white with gold and an occasional pop of color for a palette that’s as fresh and pretty as your destination.

This 22 piece beach edit includes: 2 swimsuits (a sleek white one piece and a blue and white bikini), a coverup, 2 tunics, a tee, a beach skirt, shorts, a pair of flowy beach pants, a dress, a hat, a pair of sunglasses and a sleek pair of eyeglasses, 3 bags (beach bag, tote, and crossbody, though you could certainly lose the tote if you wanted to), a cardigan, a kimono, a pair of flip flops, sandals, colorful flats and a necklace.

I’ve started from scratch here to create a fantasy beach vacation wardrobe, but in real life, we would just start with what we have and add what’s missing. Happy vacation-ing!

  1. A Maillot

This sleek style doubles as a halter top when worn with the shorts or skirt. Look for a piece that does double duty, so you don’t have to change to go from beach to bar.

Vanilla Beach scallop high neck one piece, $39.99, Target

2. A Beach Skirt

This skirt features a stretchy waist and an easy shape. I chose a conventional pull on style, and not a sarong, because of its coverage and versatility.

Gauze crochet waist skirt, $39, Venus.com

3. Tunics

Tunics offer an easy way to inject color into your vacation wardrobe. This one from Tory Burch is gorgeous. Try it as a coverup, or pair it with the beach pants or the shorts. I’me also obsessed with the fun tunic from J. Crew, which doubles as a dress.

Main Image - Tory Burch Tory Embellished Sheer Poplin Tunic

Tory Burch Tory Embellished Sheer Poplin Tunic, $275, Nordstrom

Gallabia embroidered tunic, $250, J. Crew

4. A Coverup

The best coverups can be worn as tops or even dresses, but are still cool enough to wear over your suit.

Embroidered linen cotton pom pom coverup, $79.50, J. Crew

5. A Bikini

This classic style is flattering and supportive, and the blue and white stripes make it an easy match for the separates shown here.

Shoshanna bra halter top, $143, and classic bikini bottom, $95, ShopBop.com

6. Beach Pants

Choose long flowy pull on pants in a neutral that coordinates with your pieces.

Lilly Pulitzer Beach Pant

Lilly Pulitzer Beach Pant, $118, Zappo’s

7. A Necklace

A go with everything necklace is a must for adding glamour to your easy, breezy beach looks.

Kendra Scott Cory Necklace

Kendra Scott Cory Necklace, $55, Zappo’s

8. Shorts

Choose an easy, pull on style in a lightweight, wrinkle-resistant fabric.

Vitamin A “Capri” petal shorts, $85, Revolve.com

9. A Dress

A lightweight dress is a perfect beach vacation look. Choose a style that can stand alone or be worn over a bathing suit. Add pretty sandals and the necklace for a night out.

Carolina K “Marieta” dress, $258, Revolve.com

10. A Sun Hat

Your best pick is a floppy, packable style that shields your skin from the sun while making a style statement.

Chase the Sun hat, $28, ASOS

11. Sleek Sunglasses

A sharp pair of shades is the finishing touch for every beach-friendly look, and these from Warby Parker are beautiful and affordable.

Aubrey sunglasses, starting at $95, WarbyParker.com

12. A tote

A sleek leather carryall doubles as a purse, a shopper or even a carry-on.

Madewell The Transport Satchel, $188, Madewell.com

13. A Crossbody

This smart, summery bag goes from day to night with ease.

Kate Spade Cameron Street straw Byrdie colorblock saddle bag, $278, Saks Fifth Avenue

14. A kimono

The easiest coverup around, this also doubles as a cardigan and adds color and pattern to your beach wardrobe.

Sisters Gulassa Sunlight silk kimono, $148, Anthropologie

15. A cardigan

A neutral cardigan is helpful for cool evenings and for travel.

Free People Ribby Rib Maxi Cardigan

Free People Ribby Rib Maxi Cardigan, $78, Macy’s

16. Chic eyeglasses

These cool blue specs are a summery update to your everyday pair.


Emmert Eyewear The Brittany, $138, EmmertEyewear.ocm

17. A beach bag

I spotted this beach bag on a friend of a friend, and instantly fell in love with its preppy style and its practicality. It comes in a range of colors and easily doubles as a carryon. It’s large, however, so if you don’t plan on carrying it aboard, a more packable straw beach bag might work better.


Original Bogg Bag, $64.95, BoggBag.com

18. Sandals

Nothing says summer like a pretty pair of colorful, strappy sandals, and these are polished enough to wear out at night.

Suede pom pom sandals in Bright Grotto, $138, J. Crew

19. Flip flops

Sure, a rubber pair would work just as well, but these are more chic and more versatile.

Rio metallic sandals, $50, J. Crew

20, Colorful flats

A bright pair of flats adds the perfect pop of color, and this PVC pair from Melissa is eco-friendly and waterproof.

Melissa Jean + Jason Wu Flats, $105, ShopBop

21. A tee

You’ll need a tee to pair with all your bottoms, so keep it neutral and solid or subtly striped.


Eileen Fisher stripe linen tee, $138, Nordstrom


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