by Camilla Ridley
Leading fashion director and stylist Liz Cocozza shares her smart packing and holiday styling tips and shows you how a few flattering and versatile holiday dresses are really all you need
Sammy @theturquoiseflamingo pictured here (left) in St Tropez in a Ridley London Isla dress in white broderie anglaise cotton. (Right) Heidy hits the riviera beaches in a Serena maxi dress in the Buena Vista print
With temperatures hotting up and school holidays just around the corner, there is no better time than now to start thinking about your perfect holiday wardrobe, and those stylish essentials you need to pack. It’s important to think about versatility and choose dresses and separates that will keep you at your coolest and most comfortable in the heat of the day, while taking you effortlessly from a beach club lunch to cocktails, and work for supper and beyond as well.
In my opinion, successful holiday dressing starts with no extra baggage and simply a suitcase packed with the outfits you want to and will definitely wear. The ideal holiday wardrobe will prevent you wasting valuable free time, while you're busy deciding what to wear. We’ve all been there, packing for every eventuality only to discover that we wore only a handful of the items we brought with us. It’s also worth remembering that in today’s eco conscious, fuel short world, no one wants to get caught out tipping the scales with pointless kilos and having to spend extra cash. Plus an upside of smart packing is you make room for those all important holiday purchases.
Sammy @theturquoiseflamingo pictured here (left) in a best selling printed floral Savannah sundress (top left). (Top right) our super easy Ridley London Sadie swing dress shown here in the stunning floral ballet silk print. (Bottom) Becky @bricksandstitches and Heidy head into town in a pink broderie anglaise cotton Isla dress and printed floral cotton Lola shirt dress in the turquoise and red Edith print
The Key is to pre edit, before you leave, pack the essentials and take the stress out of holiday dressing. An edited holiday wardrobe, tailored to your itinerary can save time and stress and allow you to enjoy doing what you love and spending more time with family, friends or loved ones. Start by choosing something different for each day you are there, (the average, I would say is a week to 10 days.) And choose pieces that will work for various activities and occasions. Spend a few hours trying on and styling different pieces with a selection of accessories and jewellery. I always try to pack in complete outfits or looks. A good stylist's tip is to take a quick snap of how you’ve styled it and refer to it when you’re away.
Your packed holiday wardrobe should compliment your destination and of course climate. And make sure you love the pieces you pack and that they are flattering, versatile and mix and match well with your summer accessories. Also think about the hotter colours that will flatter your tan for later in your trip.
I like to begin with 7 to 10 dresses or combinations to wear in the evening, and it's important to have an idea of the kind of places you may be going to. Are they relaxed beach side tavernas or more glamorous, formal restaurants? If it's mostly the first I always pack one versatile holiday dress that can be easily dressed up with a pair espadrille style wedges and jewellery for a surprise dinner but equally look more relaxed with a pair of flat sandals or flip flops. I'd also think about bringing a simple clutch bag for make up and accessories.
Kat Farmer @doesmybumlook40 pictured here (top left) heading to cocktails in a statement Ridley London printed floral cotton Hettie Dress. (Top right) Sammy @theturquoiseflamingo wearing an on-trend Ridley London printed geometric silk kaftan. (Bottom) Kat opts for a versatile Ridley London printed floral Serena maxi dress for a holiday lunch out
For daytime it's also worth thinking about the kind of thing you are likely to be doing, and you certainly don't need an outfit for each day. For beach trips I always bring two or three relaxed sundresses that are easy to throw over a swimsuit and double up for a beach bar lunch. Kaftans are great alternative and very on-trend this season. I also like to pack a relaxed daytime dress like a shirt dress for an impromptu trip into town, lunch, or spot of sightseeing. All of these are great with flip flops or flat sandals. Finally don't forget a summer basket for all your beach essentials, and a great wide brimmed sun hat to keep you cool and looking effortlessly chic in the heat of the day.
As a bit of holiday inspiration, here's my check list of the holiday dresses, outfits and accessories I'll be packing for different occasions this summer. And if you're in need of anything, I've also included my recommendations from Ridley's stunning new holiday edit. Every Ridley dress can be customised in your choice of floral print or plain fabrics for your most flattering fit, so you'll step onto the beach looking and feeling your absolute best.
Daytime holiday dresses
Two Sundresses for beach / day / shopping / lunch
These both the Savannah Sundress and Sadie dress feature easy relaxed styles and can be thrown over swimsuit or double up for a beach bar lunch. The three quarter length sleeves on the Sadie dress are particularly flattering. Team with flip flops, a summer basket and hat for your perfect chic riviera look.
This season's on-trend holiday kaftan is perfect for beach to bar and beyond. Made from super cool silk, just add flip flops or slides and kick-arse shades for a super comfortable, high fashion style.
Daytime lunch dress
An easy, lightweight dress for when you are not at the beach. Team this super comfortable Lola shirt dress with summer slides and a structured raffia day bag.
Daytime Maxi Dress
Great for beach bars and long lazy lunches, wear with Birkenstocks or strappy leather flats. Ridley London's Serena Maxi dress comes in a range of beautiful printed floral silks and cottons and can be worn both on and off the shoulder for added versatility. This holiday maxi dress would work perfectly well teamed with the right jewellery and wedges for an evening dinner, giving you two wearing opportunities in one dress.
A Ridley London soft cotton midi dress if perfect for walking around a Mediterranean town on a warm summer day. The stylish Isla dress comes in a range of broderie anglaise cottons in this summers must have brights.
Sammy @theturquoiseflamingo pictured here (top left) in our popular printed floral cotton Manon dress. (Top right) Kat Farmer @doesmybumlook40 enjoying evening drinks in her made to measure tomato red Serena maxi dress. (Bottom) our statement Ridley London Tam maxi dress in the kaleidoscope silk satin floral print is the perfect show stopping holiday dress for special occasions, dinner and dancing
Evening holiday dresses
Cocktail dress for summer beach bars
A beautiful maxi printed dress is the essential cocktail and dinner dress for a beach holiday. Like Kat Farmer, I love the new Hettie dress from Ridley London. The style is incredible easy to wear and elongating, and can be worn both on and off the shoulder.
Relaxed midi dress
I always like to pack a midi dress for early drinks or a relaxed dinner, that can also be worn during the day. I love this Manon dress with flattering capped sleeves and ruffle details, great with espardrilles and a raffia clutch.
Two evening holiday dresses
The perfect dress for dinner and dancing in a hot climate should be comfortable, glamorous and full of holiday romance. A lightweight silk maxi dress is both chic, cool and incredibly flattering and perfect for hot balmy summer evenings. I love the halter neck style of the Tam maxi dress which would be stunning in any of Ridley London's beautiful floral prints. The Bettina maxi dress is another great special evening dress and both comfortable and glamorous, with flattering sleeves that finish just above the elbow.
The show stopper dress
Sometimes you need to pack a real statement dress for that special holiday event, summer wedding or party abroad. If you're looking for a real show stopper try the Miranda maxi dress in this season's on-trend one shoulder style or a Tansie maxi dress. Pack your strappy gold summer heels and statement summer gold jewellery it's time to make a high glamour holiday statement.
Ridley London's new collection of made to measure statement holiday dresses 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: 01730 823097