Pack smart, holiday better


by Nathalie Riddle

Leading fashion stylist Nathalie Riddle shows you how some clever packing tricks and only a few silk sun dresses will change the way you holiday forever 


Two examples of easy to pack, on-trend summer dresses from the new Ridley London holiday collection. Every Ridley dress can be customised to flatter in your choice of stunning printed and plain silks and cottons including the latest floral and zebra prints

We all want to make the most of those precious few weeks a year, when we can get away from it all and enjoy spending some much needed stress free, quality time with our loved ones. And unless you’re a constant jet setter, this is also the time we’ll be glowing with health and feeling our absolute best thanks to a much needed vitamin D boost. So the temptation is there to pack all of our most flattering outfits, giving ourselves the best possible opportunity to look truly glamorous for every eventuality. Think again. Overpacking not only contributes to unnecessary environmental impact, in my opinion it actually adds stress as we spend unnecessary time worrying about what to wear when we could be enjoying ourselves. Not to mention the unnecessary fines for tipping the scales with pointless kilos! A 2019 study revealed American Airlines made more than $1Billion in revenue from baggage related fees.

After years of traipsing the globe as a fashion editor, I’ve learnt a thing or two about packing and looking stylish in the heat. Probably the two biggest insights I could pass on are: Number one, carefully plan your holiday wardrobe well in advance. Think about the sort of things you might be doing and choose a few clever, versatile pieces that can be easily accessorised for different occasions. In reality you’ll need to pack a lot less than you think, I’d recommend only four to five great dresses for a week’s holiday. Let’s face it you’ll basically live in two day dresses and have 2 or 3 evening options. Then 2-3 pairs of shoes, wear another onto the plane, your swimming stuff, some carefully chosen jewellery, cosmetics and a great summer hat. Anything more really is over complicating it. And practicality really is the key to freeing yourself for holiday serendipity. We’ve all had those moments when we could have gone from the beach to the bar to dinner, but instead went back to the hotel or villa to change and missed that perfect sunset moment. If only there had been a cocktail dress that could have been pulled out of the beach bag crease free!


You can literally hang your beautiful silk summer holiday dresses right by the shower and any creases will magically drop out. The best fabrics also pack better. Simple. So you can easily fit five to six silk dresses into a small cabin bag and still have ample space for all of your accessories and cosmetics

Number two, silk dresses rule in the heat. While we tend to associate silk dresses with special occasions like weddings, or Royal Ascot, in reality they make the most perfect hot holiday dresses and once you try one, I’m confident it will change the way you holiday forever. First off, I love the simplicity and versatility of a dress. It's a whole outfit in one that requires just a few accessories to complete the look. Not only do they banish the ‘what do I wear with with this skirt/top/trousers?’ quandary, silk dresses are perfect in the heat. By their very nature, silk fabrics are magically insulating, so cool in the heat of the day and warm when the sun sets. Silk dresses are incredibly hardwearing, age beautifully and fade far less in the sun than cotton. So while they may seem a little pricier at first, if a silk dress is made well, it really will become an investment piece you’ll wear time and time again. Also, and crucially, quality fabric packs better - it’s that simple. Silk creases less and is lighter and folds smaller, so you’ll reduce the size, weight and impact of your luggage and leave room for those all important holiday purchases. And finally my biggest benefit of silk holiday dresses is the fact they’re just so low maintenance. Over the years I’ve learnt to look for the sort of pieces that make my life easier when I couldn’t be guaranteed the presence of an iron at the other end! No iron….no problem. Simply hang your silk dress in the bathroom, take a shower and as the humidity builds up  you can literally watch the creases magically drop out. It couldn’t be simpler. 

Some of the more progressive designer and high street labels have started to introduce silk dresses within their holiday and cruise collections for these very reasons. But not many of them can guarantee a unique dress that really will make you look and feel your absolute best. And this is where a Ridley silk holiday dress really is a cut above the rest. Not only are they made to last from the finest silks with traditional tailoring techniques, perhaps the most special thing of all is how they can be ingeniously customised/ tailored to flatter your individual size and shape, in your choice of print or colour to enhance your natural colouring and holiday glow. How often I have found a great dress only to find the colour doesn’t suit my skin tone, or the cut is not right for my long torso. At Ridley the attention to detail and personal tailoring process ensure you have a silk holiday dress that is not only perfect, but perfect for you. So whether you’ve spent a day at the beach and are heading onto a beach bar to enjoy a sundowner, hitting the town for lunch and a spot of shopping, or heading out for that glamorous dinner or party, you can confidently throw on your customised Ridley silk holiday dress and know that it’s crease and hassle free, and you’re always going to look and feel your absolute best. So you really can enjoy those special moments, which surely is what a holiday is all about.

Nathalie Riddle is a fashion editor and leading international stylist whose helped many of the world's most iconic luxury brands, publications and celebrities create compelling campaigns and stand out. Her client list includes: Harper's Bazaar, Conde Nast Traveller, ES Magazine, Numero France, Fabergé, Net-A-Porter, Pomellato, Pandora, Tiffany & Co., Marks & Spencer, Sony music, Mandarin Oriental, Dior, Moët & Chandon and many more. She also styles clients for red carpet appearances including: Salma Hayek Pinault, Kristen Scott Thomas, Elizabeth McGovern, Rosamund Pike and Thandie Newton. Visit Nathalie's Website

Ridley London's new holiday collection of summer dresses, skirts and tops is available to purchase online and in Ridley's Barnes store. Celebrate your individuality this season with a unique piece that's  individually crafted to flatter from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral or solid silks or cottons. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting: 

Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 0203 3367900

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