Grab your mobile and pack like a pro

With the help of your mobile phone, plus a little planning, you can pack the perfect holiday wardrobe. Fashion Editor Stephanie Smith tells you how.

Suki striped maxi dress, £55, at Monsoon.
Suki striped maxi dress, £55, at Monsoon.

It’s a downright dishonour to come back from a holiday with a suitcase containing unworn clothes and accessories.

Clearly, this means that not enough care and planning has taken place before the holiday, in order to avoid carting around items that you simply don’t need.

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The way to prevent this is by considering, realistically, what you will actually want to wear. But first, find your case and lay it open in your bedroom a few days before setting off, so you can throw items into it as you remember them. Then, about two days before the holiday, you can assess the contents and start packing properly.

Striped linen top, £35, and skirt, from a selection, at Monsoon.

Begin by putting together outfits, trying on or laying them out on your bed, complete with accessories, and taking photos of them on your mobile phone, making switches of tops and cover-ups to create a capsule wardrobe of outfits. On holiday, you can refer to your phone each morning to remind yourself of the looks you have already planned. Simple.

For a week-long holiday combining sun and sea or pool, you will need: four/five day tops (a mix of tees, strappy and vests); two/three cover-ups, including cotton and linen long shirts, kaftan and kimono tops; three/four bottoms, including long, light trousers, fluid skirt, shorts (if you wear them); two swimsuits or bikinis; two maxi dresses, sun dresses or jumpsuits; pareo or large piece of cloth that doubles as sarong and cover-up; an evening top or dress; underwear (make sure you include flesh-toned bras and pants); a pair of flat or low-heeled sandals that you can walk in and work with everything; a pair of low to medium heels for evening; a pair of trainers or pumps; a tote bag for daytime and a cross-body bag for evening; jewellery in a roll or make-up bag; hat; pair of cotton socks; possibly a belt; definitely sunglasses.

Take your nail polish, too. I mention that here with outfitting, rather than beauty packing, because it’s essential for sandal-wearing, and must not be forgotten.

To pack, put shoes in first, each pair in a thin plastic bag, at the sides of the case. Push in belts, books (if taking) and bags to create a bit of structure and protection. Make a layer all across the bottom in the middle with your underwear. On top, pack clothes in outfits, if you can, starting from the bottom of the case to the top. Roll crease-prone pieces such as shirts, but tees and skirts can fold flat. Then I usually make a layer with my hair, make-up, skin-care and sun-care products in a variety of wash bags, and cover that with a final layer of swimwear and cover-ups.

Black palm print maxi dres, was £42, now £30, at Wallis.

Long trousers that clasp the ankle are ideal if mosquitoes are a problem for you in the evening, Wear on the plane along with one of your tees, shirt, hat and a wrap. Or you can stuff a couple of tees or a make-up bag in the hat in the case, if you don’t want to wear while flying.

Perhaps I’ve made all this sound a little regimented, but it does save bother, and unworn pieces, while on holiday. Don’t forget the glamour, though – tassel earrings, sparkle tops and sequins are a must.


Friday, July 27: York Castle Museum Kirk Room, 2pm-3pm. Curator’s Talk: The Queen of Extreme, exploring the work and influences of Vivienne Westwood, £5.

John Lewis Lucinda slider bronze sandals, £39, at John Lewis.

Friday, July 27, 2018: York Fashion Week 2019 planning coffee morning, 8.30-11am at Gray’s Court Hotel, York. Register on:

Sunday, July 29: Harvey Nichols Yoga Kula 55 minute Hatha yoga session followed by a Discover Meditation session. brunch, 9am-12noon, Fourth Floor Brasserie, Harvey Nichols, Leeds. Tickets cost £30. Call 0113 204 8000 to book.

Now to Sep 22, 2018: The T-Shirt: Cult | Culture | Subversion. Exhibition at the Civic Barnsley.

Figleaves Zanzibar kaftan, was £60, now £42, at
Striped cotton shirt, £15; striped trousers, £35. Both at Marks & Spencer.