How To Dress For A Summer Holiday Without Looking Like You’re Going On School Camp

How To Dress For A Summer Holiday Without Looking Like You’re Going On School Camp
Carly Jacobs

ummer is a huge struggle style wise. Frizzy hair, insect bitten skin, sweat patches. I’m going to be super honest here and talk about thigh rub too. I’m fine up until 29 degrees but the second it hits 30, my thigh region turns into chafe town. I also have pale skin so I need to be super careful about sun protection. I probably shouldn’t leave the house in summer at all, I’m such a such precious little porcupine in the heat.

Travel is a huge part of my life and so is walking so I need to be prepared to do lots of both nearly every day. Even though I’ve cut back on caring about fashion, I just can’t bring myself to be Active Wear Girl. It’s just not my bag. Some women look totally ace in active wear but I look like I’m going to paint a house. So here’s my formula for a fool proof, walk all day in the sun, chafe-free, super comfortable summer travel outfit.


* Marimekko dress – I bought this in New York in 2011 and it still looks brand new. It was $300 but the cost per wear on this baby has been out of this world * Scarf from Sportsgirl – I bought this about 10 years ago and I love it. I’ve never found another scarf in the same muslin style fabric. If I ever do, I’ll buy a dozen. * Shoes from Merrell * Sunglasses from Randolph * Bag from Nancy Bird *

Here’s what you need to create the ultimate summer travel outfit formula

1 x pair of thin bike shorts

To be worn under a dress. Stops chafing and sets you up for spontaneous fence climbing without flashing everyone your grundies.

1 x cotton or linen dress

Breathable fabrics are key. Wearing polyester on a 35 degree day in a European city is like walking around wearing plastic wrap. Why do you think Italians are so in love with linen?

1 x thin cotton scarf 

I always start the day with my hair wrapped up in a turban scarf and then through out the day the scarf will move. It might end up on my shoulders to shield the sun, I might wrap around my waist for modesty if I’m visiting a temple or might end up sitting on it on a river bank. Always travel with a cotton scarf.

1 x pair of walking shoes

The key here is not to wear comfortable shoes, you must wear walking shoes. It’s difficult to find stylish ones but I have two pairs of Merrell Mimix and they’re the best things I’ve ever bought. I will cry a thousand tears if they ever discontinue them.

1 x good quality sunglasses

Make sure you buy good quality, high UV protection sunnies. $5 market sunglasses usually aren’t very effective.

1 x wrap around and foldable sun hat

Wrap around sun hats won’t squash your hair and you can pop them on when you’re in the sun and take them off again when you’re in the shade.

1 x light weight shoulder bag (do not over fill!)

I have a light weight leather handbag and I carry my passport, a tiny tube of sunscreen, a bottle of water, lip balm, my phone and a my tiny travel wallet. Try hard not to over fill your bag – it gets mighty heavy after 10 straight hours of city wandering.

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What’s your favourite travel outfit formula? Do you try to go stylish or do you go hardcore comfort?


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  1. Missy D 1 year ago

    Hahaha, nice use of the word ‘grundies’. Haven’t heard that since high school! That flashback cracked me up. ;D

    I started travelling at 21 and throughout all my travelling in my twenties I was all about the cargo pants and jeans, but as I get older (and have more cash) I try to be more stylish. I’ve already planned out my capsule wardrobe for my upcoming trip in September. 🙂

    I’ve decided to go for long thigh shape wear to go under my dresses, but others have suggested bike pants too – though I can’t seem to find them anywhere.

  2. For my first overseas trips I tended to go straight comfort but looking back at all the photos made me lift my game for subsequent trips. I am not a capsule wardrobe person so whatever I brought with me I pretty much want to burn by the time I get home.

  3. Kathryn 1 year ago

    Yep, pretty much the same. So many people recommend synthetics for travel because they dry easily! No way am I wearing that on a hot day. I’m pretty sure cardigans are a Melbourne thing. No matter how hot the weather is, I always take one out with me because, even if it’s been consistently hot in that location for the past however many weeks, there might be a sudden change!

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