The other day, I was chatting to a few friends on the subject of holiday clothes. “I mean, really, it’s all a bit silly,” said one. “You spend a load of money on a bunch of clothes that you’re only going to wear for a week or two.” Good point. “Yes, but there’s something very joyful about holiday clothes. They’re fun,” said another. Again, good point. The third then hit the nail on the head when she said, “The thing about holiday clothes is that they are symbolic. Symbolic of the fact that you are finally, and very definitely, having a bloody break!”
Yes, the magic of a holiday dress – or top or bag – is that it embodies the sheer joy of going somewhere hot and sunny (hopefully) and spending a week horizontal on a pool lounger. Or, at the very least, away from your inbox. Holiday clothes are imbued with the spirit of good times. They shout sunshine and lunchtime drinking. Afternoon naps and cobbled streets. Salty sea water and seafood. They are representative of the fact that you will actually have time to read a book. A whole book. Maybe even in one sitting.
It is for this reason that my holiday clothes are among the most treasured items in my wardrobe. I have a pair of denim cut-offs that will always remind me of the first holiday I spent with my boyfriend. And a blue and white dress that, every time I look at it, makes me think of the summer I spent in Spain with my two best friends. It is also for this reason that I am very much up for adding to my holiday wardrobe each time I go away – a pair of sandals here, a pretty frock there. And, with the summer sales having just started, now is the perfect time to have a look at the shops. What’s better than a new, jolly holiday buy? One that’s 40 per cent off.
Let’s start at the top with, er, tops. If you are looking for something suitably summery with plenty of waft, then head over to Matchesfashion.com where you will find the scarf-jacquard blouse by Danish brand Cecilie Copenhagen. It comes in both green and coral pink and would look as lovely with a pair of shorts on the beach as it would with jeans and flats back at home. If you’re a T-shirt sort of holidayer, then Whistles has a lovely selection of printed tees in the sale.
I have long maintained that Topshop does the best shoes on the high street and this summer’s collection of sandals and slides is no exception. With up to 50 per cent off, you can pick up a pair of slip-on espadrilles, like the below red and navy striped pair, for under £20.
If you are yet to buy a swimming cossie, then have a look at Simply Be for the retro-inspired bandeau swimsuit with a cute, scalloped trim (was £38, now £26.50). Many fashion editors swear by The Outnet for holiday bargains, especially its swimwear offering, which includes premium brands like Mara Hoffman, Stella McCartney and Melissa Odabash at knock-down prices. Though still pricey, this Stella McCartney printed one-piece is one of the loveliest I think I’ve ever seen. Also of note, the red lace-front swimsuit from Love Stories.
For a jazzy beach bag, look no further than Mango’s braided shopper (was £19.99, now £12.99). With a nod to this season’s woven trend, it’s also big enough for a rolled-up towel, sun cream and a book. Stick valuables in DVF’s gingham canvas pouch (currently 60 per cent off), which doubles as a make-up bag.
Alfresco dinner on the cards? Get yourself a fancy frock to swoosh around in. Karen Millen currently has up to 50 per cent off summer styles, which include a cracking selection of dresses. The green, ruffled dress (was £234, now £155), one-shouldered maxi dress (was £225, now £150) and striped midi dress (was £170, now £110) are all winners. It’s also worth having a look at Warehouse, which has up to 70 per cent off. My pick is the spot midi dress, which is down from £65 to £28.
Having trawled the internet, I can confirm that Whistles’ end-of-season sale is one of the best. With several items going for half price, you can pick up everything from pretty midi dresses, smock tops, Breton sweaters, disco sandals and handbags. Among the stand-out pieces is the Lyza Tulip print jumpsuit (was £259, now £149), which would look great worn with a pair of black or tan sandals.
Whether you’re schlepping around the sites or going for lunch in a market square, a pair of wide-leg, cropped trousers always tend to come in handy. Plus, if you’re not into shorts, they are a good alternative. Hobbs Penny Cropped trousers have a touch of the nautical without being naff and are down to £85 from £99.
The finishing touch – a pair of massive shades. Picking up a pair of sunnies in the sale is always a good idea – if you leave them by the pool/lose them in a bar/sit on them, it’s not quite as heartbreaking. Have a look at ASOS for styles by Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Jeeper Peepers and Quay Australia.