Fashion: The 10 style essentials for a spa break

First rule of stylish spa dressing: A swimsuit with attitude ... and comfort. Figleaves Icon Bianco swimsuit, �50, at Figleaves.com.
First rule of stylish spa dressing: A swimsuit with attitude ... and comfort. Figleaves Icon Bianco swimsuit, �50, at Figleaves.com.
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There’s a certain etiquette to spa dressing. Stephanie Smith has advice for those who want to stand out in the chicest way, without breaking the rules.

It’s hardly surprising that the health and beauty spa has become the short break of choice for many of us. It offers rest, relaxation and full-on pampering without ever having to leave the environs to do all the sightseeing and culture-catching stuff that you feel obliged to engage in on a short city break.

Rule 2: Take chic 
jersey and cotton leisure wear: Athleisure is a trend thats here to stay for the forseeable, and matching loose-fitting bottoms and tops are perfect health spa attire, ideal for popping on after a swim, spa experience or treatment so you can chill, have a drink or a wander around the grounds.Cotton tee, �27, and joggers, �29.50, from Hush at John Lewis and on Hush-UK.com.

Rule 2: Take chic jersey and cotton leisure wear: Athleisure is a trend thats here to stay for the forseeable, and matching loose-fitting bottoms and tops are perfect health spa attire, ideal for popping on after a swim, spa experience or treatment so you can chill, have a drink or a wander around the grounds.Cotton tee, �27, and joggers, �29.50, from Hush at John Lewis and on Hush-UK.com.

Plus, there are so many companion options – a friend, close relative, a hen party. Even your partner, if you have to.

But there is a certain etiquette to spa style that needs to be adhered to, in order to enjoy the break to the full.

Spas can have varying rules about what to wear in different areas, usually for very sensible reasons (no one wants to acquire an infection, or an eyeful of unexpected nudity, on a spa break).

On a recent visit to Ragdale Hall, I noted that, although many guests wandered around in the provided bathrobes and slippers during the day, an equal number, at least, did not, preferring to wear their own chic athleisure attire. In the evenings, the restaurant was really quite swish, and dress for this was smart-casual, with an edge of glamour (very suited to the country house backdrop).

3. Another easy, flattering swimsuit (and maybe another one): The beauty spa is supposed to be a place of care-free abandon (within reason), so that last thing you want to be worried about is how you look. Its fine to take an old favourite, but a new one will make you feel more pampered. You need two swimsuits at least, especially if you know youll be visiting the pool, the spa pool and the water-based spa experiences a great deal.
 Ombre Lagoon swimsuit, �76, at Seasprayswimwear.com.

3. Another easy, flattering swimsuit (and maybe another one): The beauty spa is supposed to be a place of care-free abandon (within reason), so that last thing you want to be worried about is how you look. Its fine to take an old favourite, but a new one will make you feel more pampered. You need two swimsuits at least, especially if you know youll be visiting the pool, the spa pool and the water-based spa experiences a great deal. Ombre Lagoon swimsuit, �76, at Seasprayswimwear.com.

Titanic Spa in Huddersfield, which has recently had a refurb, has the following advice on what guests should bring for a short stay, beginning with “suitable swimwear” and exercise wear, if you want to use the gym or join in classes. It adds that swimwear is obligatory in the Titanic Heat Experience and recommends a change of swimwear so you don’t have to attend treatments feeling damp. Robes and slippers are also provided for all day guests and overnight breaks and own footwear cannot be worn at the poolside or within the Heat Experience. Like Ragdale, there is an informal dress code for lunch which includes being able to wear your robe, but dinner is smart casual dress, so no robes.

Anyway, here’s what to take for the perfect spa break:

4. A towelling hoodie: If you want to be really spa cool, take your own personalised bath robe. EverythingTowelling.com has them with two-way zips, which means you can have treatments without taking your robe off, plus deep pockets and a small arm pocket for room keys and credit cards. The brand was launched in April this year by Yorkshire PR guru Lara Grylls, and offers products for all the family including kaftans, hoodies, towels and sponge bag rolls. Bathrobe, �38, from Everythingtowelling.com.

4. A towelling hoodie: If you want to be really spa cool, take your own personalised bath robe. EverythingTowelling.com has them with two-way zips, which means you can have treatments without taking your robe off, plus deep pockets and a small arm pocket for room keys and credit cards. The brand was launched in April this year by Yorkshire PR guru Lara Grylls, and offers products for all the family including kaftans, hoodies, towels and sponge bag rolls. Bathrobe, �38, from Everythingtowelling.com.

5. 
A kaftan: Ideal for slipping over your swimwear as you come down to breakfast, and then again for dressing up with heels, jewels and pashmina for evening dining or cocktails. Silk dries quickly, which is useful, and if you choose a colourful print, its the perfect way to stand out against a sea of white robes in the cafe. Silk floral chikan kurta, �159, from a selection at East.

5. A kaftan: Ideal for slipping over your swimwear as you come down to breakfast, and then again for dressing up with heels, jewels and pashmina for evening dining or cocktails. Silk dries quickly, which is useful, and if you choose a colourful print, its the perfect way to stand out against a sea of white robes in the cafe. Silk floral chikan kurta, �159, from a selection at East.

6. A loose easy dress: Preferably a tunic or shirt dress in cotton or light jersey, so it doesnt cling to damp, fake-tanned or newly massaged bodies. You need an easy throw-on you can dress up for night with a gold belt and heels. The tunic dress here is by Hush, from the Vogue Recommends looks at John Lewis Leeds. More than 50 pieces have been selected by outgoing British Vogue fashion director, Lucinda Chambers.
 Stripe tunic, �75, Hush at John Lewis.

6. A loose easy dress: Preferably a tunic or shirt dress in cotton or light jersey, so it doesnt cling to damp, fake-tanned or newly massaged bodies. You need an easy throw-on you can dress up for night with a gold belt and heels. The tunic dress here is by Hush, from the Vogue Recommends looks at John Lewis Leeds. More than 50 pieces have been selected by outgoing British Vogue fashion director, Lucinda Chambers. Stripe tunic, �75, Hush at John Lewis.

7. 
A wrap or pashmina: Essential as a cover-up as you transfer from spa pool to relaxation or cafe areas. Look for natural fibres such as cashmere and merino, or modal which dries quickly. It can double up as a chic wrap for evening dining. Giant wrap in blush cashmere mix, �89, from www.tollymcrae.co.uk.

7. A wrap or pashmina: Essential as a cover-up as you transfer from spa pool to relaxation or cafe areas. Look for natural fibres such as cashmere and merino, or modal which dries quickly. It can double up as a chic wrap for evening dining. Giant wrap in blush cashmere mix, �89, from www.tollymcrae.co.uk.

8. Cool trainers: Trainers have become the footwear of choice and so the spa provides a great opportunity to show off your fashion credentials. Try Adidas Gazelles, Minna Parikka Bunnies, Lacoste Carnaby Evo Metallics, updated classics from Adidas, Nike and Lacoste, and One of Kate Middletons favourite brands, Superga. Air & Grace trainers have three layers of memory foam cushioning, so you feel as if youre walking on air.
 Air & Grace pink Copeland leather trainers, �139, at www.airandgracelondon.com.

8. Cool trainers: Trainers have become the footwear of choice and so the spa provides a great opportunity to show off your fashion credentials. Try Adidas Gazelles, Minna Parikka Bunnies, Lacoste Carnaby Evo Metallics, updated classics from Adidas, Nike and Lacoste, and One of Kate Middletons favourite brands, Superga. Air & Grace trainers have three layers of memory foam cushioning, so you feel as if youre walking on air. Air & Grace pink Copeland leather trainers, �139, at www.airandgracelondon.com.

9. Personalised jewllery: Jewellery is tricky on a spa break and is easily lost amid all the clothing changes, so invest in a personalised leather cuff bracelet which might stand a chance of making its way back to you. 
Personalised leather bracelet, �90, www.babatude.com.

9. Personalised jewllery: Jewellery is tricky on a spa break and is easily lost amid all the clothing changes, so invest in a personalised leather cuff bracelet which might stand a chance of making its way back to you. Personalised leather bracelet, �90, www.babatude.com.

10:  Personalised flip-flops: Those little extras make a difference, so make sure you take along your own towelling headband for treatments and the spa pool, and your own flip-flops (check out the personalised ones here) if you dont like the provided ones. 
Personalised flip flops, �14.99, GettingPersonal.co.uk.

10: Personalised flip-flops: Those little extras make a difference, so make sure you take along your own towelling headband for treatments and the spa pool, and your own flip-flops (check out the personalised ones here) if you dont like the provided ones. Personalised flip flops, �14.99, GettingPersonal.co.uk.