Pack your bags: These are your 5 key holiday essentials

Words: Maxine Dillon | Photographs: The Seppis | Styling: Mandy Nash

It’s official: summer’s finally here. Not in any meteorological sense or anything, but it’s here in the way that we’re done wearing coats, and are already planning bi-weekly sundowner events. Our minds are permanently fixated on December, and how we’re going to welcome in a summer of endless parties, pool sessions and garden get-togethers. Whether you’re preparing for Matric Rage, hitting Cape Town, roadtripping up the coast, or are set for a summer of night-time pool parties in Joburg, we suggest that this season, you pack light but party hard. Here are the five holiday-ready essentials that’ll ensure your Instagram feed transitions seamlessly from beautifully-styled daytime looks, to head-turning party ensembles – there’s no need to drag your entire wardrobe on vacation with you.


A timeless classic, the plain white tee might be your most overlooked and underrated wardrobe staple, unfairly treated as a workout top or slouchy, couchy number. This item, truth be told, is the key to your holiday styling – it’ll pair with high-waisted bodycon midis, flowing maxis, and will lend an unapologetic 90s edge to blue denims and heels. Day, night, casual, formal – it doesn’t matter, you’re safe with this one.


A playful throwback, this on-trend design is fueling our furious appetite for all-things retro. Originally reserved for lovers of boho style, thanks to its free-spirited silhouette, this top takes on a whole new feel when worn with unexpected separates . Surprisingly versatile, it pairs easily with any kind of denim, can be tucked into a leather skirt for an edgier take or worn with athleisure designs for something totally fresh. As the temperatures rise, dare to bare in this season’s most irresistible styles – just don’t forget the sunscreen!


When the day’s agenda involves pools, beaches, lunches, sundowners, rooftops and dancing, there’s only one item that can tie all of your looks together. The one-piece swimming costume is the single best holiday essential, as it acts as a foundation for just about any look. A functional go-to for sun-seeking daytime adventures, it’ll double as a form-flattering bodysuit on balmy nights out. Just switch out white denims or a sarong for a skirt, and you’re sorted.


How to pack shoes for summer holidays: heels for the party, another pair of heels for the next party, a pair of sneakers for exercise that will never happen, and one other shoe for literally every single other conceivable occasion. Havaianas will do, you’re on holiday after all, but if we had to really punt a pair – it could only be the Birkenstock. Everyone’s favourite ‘ugly sandal’ is back in a big way, having led the ugly trend more successfully than your high school gym teacher's polyester tracksuits and running shoe combos. An ideal shoe for travelling, thanks to its comfortable platform sole, it’s good for the beach, for walks, and will even pair with socks for a sporty look.


Just like the one-piece, we’re packing our T-shirt dresses because of their ability to take us from beach to bar. Keep it simple for day wear, with low tops or sandals, and prepare for your big night out with the addition of chunky heels, statement jewellery and a few cocktails.