The 10 key fashion pieces you need for a city break

An all-weather day dress - For sightseeing come rain or shine, preferably in easy-dry cotton, and something that looks good worn by itself on warmer days, or teamed with leggings, jeans or capris when it's cooler. Choose a throw-on-and-go style. Rails Lydia stripe dress, �160, available at, with a selection at Whites in Harrogate.

Clever choices of clothing and accessories can improve the experience of even the most luxurious city break. Stephanie Smith picks out key pieces.

The autumn city break can prove a challenge to even the savviest holiday packer. It’s a treat to get away at this time of year, whether to a European destination or a UK city, and special occasions mean smart dressing.

Smart sweats - Not just for weekends, sleek-looking sweats are city-break perfect, effortless to wear and style up and down. Go for a soft jacket and loose-fitting pants combo to wear together, or to create multiple outfits that will epitomise streetwise chic. Betty & Co Grey sweat jacket, �80, and trousers, �80, at John Lewis and

However, travelling by plane or train for just a couple or three days away means there is little point in ruining it all by taking a large, heavy suitcase. We’re talking minimal, taking versatile clothes and accessories that double up and work from day to night. They have to be able to cope with a variety of weather conditions and layer up and down with ease, depending on temperature, location and activity.

Take only the clothes and accessories that will make your city break easy and comfortable, while always making you feel special. These are the top 10 style essentials.

A leather biker jacket - The day-to-night classic throw-on is a practical choice for city breaks, to wear when travelling and sightseeing and as a cool but cosy cover-up at night over even the smartest party dress. Black leather is a safe bet, but this season sees burgundy take over as the colour with the edge. Burgundy leather biker jacket, �249, at

A dress up/down dress - Simplicity is the key here, so avoid overly fussy styles, and instead choose an easy tunic style with sleeves, in a length that works as well with flats and trainers as it does with heels, and in a colour that makes you feel and look elegantly ready for anything. Eva Herzigova wears pink dress, �140, by Gerry Weber, from a campaign shot in Villefranche, near Nice, in the South of France.

A cross-body bag - Must be small enough to fit in your case, large enough to carry your phone, cash, bank cards, keys, camera and on-the-go make-up, and gorgeous enough to double as an evening bag (detachable chains are good, but can dig in to your shoulder if you overfill). Perforated leather cross-body bag, �75, at Cath Kidston.

Easy, good quality boots- No one wants blisters, so take a pair of shoes or boots that you can walk in for miles, because a proper sightseeing city break means you will be doing exactly that. Flats if you prefer, but dont underestimate the comfort, staying power and versatility of a well-made pair of ankle boots (brown works with everything). Suede ankle boots, �95, at Jones Bootmaker.

A cashmere sweater- Light layers are the way to go for a city break as they take minimal suitcase space, but allow you to create a variety of looks. Layer over tees and white shirts and over (or under) under print dresses for daywear, then wear dressed up with elegant trousers and statement earrings for night. V-neck or crew is your choice, but crew has the edge for city chic evenings. Halo finish cashmere nova jumper, �199; black denim midi skirt, �130. At Jigsaw.

The perfect cosmetics bag - Leave your trusty old containers at home and splash out. Treating yourself to a beautiful bag for make-up and skincare means that, even if your hotel or AirBnB doesn't quite live up to expectations, you will always have something to make the break away feel special and pampering. Madison cosmetics bag, �39, at Hobbs.

A gorgeous cover-up: A large scarf or pashmina is an absolute must, but make sure its wide, long and attractive enough to double as a shawl for evening.There are lots of velvet and brocade printed fabrics this season, or go for trusty cashmere in a rich, jewel-bright tone. Rosa floral wool silk scarf, �45, at East.

A chic cabin suitcase - When you can only take one bag with you, its got to be a good one. Ones with hard shell casing tend to be roomier and durable when being bashed about in the overhead lockers. A sleek, shiny wheelie-case in a beautiful colour is the best way to make the most of every moment on the move. Samsonite Neopulse four-wheel cabin suitcase, �189, at John Lewis.

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