Vacation Time: Making Your Wardrobe Work!

Get ready for the beach with help from Image Consultant Beth DivineA lot of my Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist clients often ask me: How do I pack for a trip? I always have to think about that question because I think dressing for a trip is really like dressing for every day. You need to have a good mix of basics, accessories, and a little spice to make sure you look great in all your vacation photos no matter what outfit you’ve chosen for the day.

This applies to men as well as women. I always like to see guys dress in a fun print, an unusual color of pants. Adding fun colors will give you a touch of edge for a romantic dinner. Patterns can also be fun for beachwear. The best thing about going on vacation is that oftentimes, locals won’t see you on a regular basis. Play around with your style and if it doesn’t work, then don’t wear it at home. Of course, our shapes and silhouettes come into play as well. If a garment is beautiful but does not flatter your shape, then it’s not a good choice.

Here are my Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist Tips For Dressing on Vacation:

1 – Dress For Your Scheduled Fun

Truly think about your trip and what you will be doing each day. Dress for the activities! If you’re going to be hiking all day, but your hotel has a pool, be sure to bring a swimsuit if you want to relax in the hot tub. Start monitoring the weather for where you’re going. Don’t forget to pack a rain parka or umbrella if it will be rainy.

Make a list of activities you’ll be doing throughout the whole trip. Will you need a different outfit for every activity?  Making a list and consulting the weather will help you get in the right frame of mind for making outfits. For instance, my husband and I are planning a trip where we plan on hiking 17 miles on a major city trail that may be rugged since it’s manmade. We have other plans to will tour the city and go to nice restaurants during the trip too. We may take a sideline trip to a state park. This area is in the Pacific Northwest, so the weather may be very cool at times. So I will be taking hiking clothes, like Patagonia (which are both stylish and functional for rugged activities), but also some dress-up clothes for going out. I always make sure to pack a least one dress and outfits that include pants and a top.

2 – Pack Your Everyday Essentials

Look for travel, packable versions of everything, including toiletries. One of the best tips I read is to keep a suitcase packed with an extra bag of needed toiletries, including makeup in the back of your closet. Then, when you go on a trip, your bag is ready to go with all your everyday essentials. I cannot tell you what a timesaver this is. When you get back, restock your bag and have it on hand for your next getaway.

3  – Dress For Going Out

If you go out to restaurants and do some sightseeing, dress the part. Go beyond comfy sneakers and jeans. Think comfortable, but stylish. Your Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist recommends a  colorful dress with a hat and flats for ladies.  For men, wear a casual blazer and some dark-rinse jeans or chinos. If you’re a more sporty guy buy some new athleisure clothing. I recommend pairing elegant joggers with a fun shirt and knit jacket. I always think I am representing my country when I travel abroad. I strive to look like the “fashionable” American.

4 – Update Your Beach Wear

Indiana Image Consultant recommends updating your swimsuit before hitting the beach

For the beach, really evaluate your swimming suits, coverups, hats, and sandals. Do they still look pristine? Many times swimwear has faded or stretched out.  Even if your sandals are only 1 summer old, they might look even older when next to brand new sandals.  If you’re beach-bound, buy a new swim ensemble with hat, sandals, sunglasses, and coverup. It feels so fresh and fun! You can still bring along older swimsuits since it’s a great idea to have 2-3 swimsuits if that is the predominant activity. Then you can have a dry suit to wear each day.

Guys, don’t be afraid to find fun swim trunks as well. Invest in some SPF protected T-shirts for you. The entire family can benefit from SPF swimwear that can be worn during the hottest part of the day when you’re adventuring in the sun. I recommend checking out Lands’ End for good deals. For women, my favorite swimsuits are from Lilly Pulitizer (coverups are amazing) and Tommy Bahama.

5 – Look For Items That Can Last Longer Than Your Vacation

As the Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist, I want you to get the most out of your clothes. Look for beach coverups that also double as a going out dress. You’ll get more wear out of it. Also consider some summer pants in a lightweight, cheery print. I find myself wearing these fun pants more and more each summer. Your beach clothes don’t have to stay there, think of how your vacation style can be incorporated into your everyday summer wear.

Try to pick clothes in colors that “play” with each other. You will get more mileage out of them. For example, if you find a pair of cute navy shorts they will go great with coral, turquoise, white and yellow tops.  They say black goes with everything, but I think black looks best with red, khaki, cream, or white. Any jewel-toned shirt would look adorable with white pants. Make sure you’re not packing only shorts. Change it up with pants or a skirt. This is not only a good way to change up your outfits, but it also might come in handy for unexpected cold weather.


6 – Bring A Little Bag or Purse

Ladies, your home purse and your vacation purse are two different bags. Bring a clutch for dinner dates, and a small crossbody bag you will be comfortable site-seeing in. Having a small bag that is close to you at all times helps keep all your personal belongings together and safe from pick-pockets.  Guys, perhaps you’d like a backpack in a neutral color where you can stash snacks for long hikes.

I always like to have a cute, colorful straw bag when going to the beach. They’re great for carrying around your small items like sunblock and your wallet or reserving your spot in the sand. You don’t have to spend a fortune on these. Think Target, Marshall’s, and Kohl’s for bags. Then you can afford to replace them year after year.

7 – Shoes For All Occasions

Above all, wear shoes that are comfortable, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of walking. And be sure to bring a pair of stunner shoes for those nights out on the town! Even if you’re staying at a beach resort, pack more than sandals. Some resorts require closed-toed shoes for restaurants or certain activities.


Bon Voyage! Keep it sassy, Indy.

Beth Divine Style, MA, AICI Certified Image Consultant & Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist