10 Essential Items You Need In Your Holiday Capsule Wardrobe This Year

10 Essential Items You Need In Your Holiday Capsule Wardrobe This Year

There's never been a better time to have a holiday capsule wardrobe to hand. After a tumultuous few years, the cost of living is higher than ever – and it's hitting our disposable income pots hard. Factor in the average budget flight's hidden costs (not even Jacquemus' Le Chiquito Mini could get past these airlines), and it literally pays to travel light in 2023.

It's important to invest in a few holiday essentials in order to nail the art of packing. Because, by ditching your over-stuffed suitcase, you can say 'goodbye' to hold luggage delays and 'hello' to that sweet no-bag-drop queue at check-in – and justify buying the cute weekend bag you've been eyeing up. Not to mention, with all of last summer's strikes giving us airport anxiety, it pays to be more mobile when you're travelling. The less stuff you take, the more carefree the trip.

Whether you plan on lounging by the pool or pounding a sunny city’s pavements, keep things simple with a select edit of holiday essentials. And we mean essentials. So when that voice in your head kicks in, telling you one more pair of shoes couldn’t possibly hurt, resist: no one wants to be the person sweating at security, struggling to zip up their suitcase...

1) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: A Knitted Dress

Albaray knit tank dress – £120.00 SHOP NOW

Summer knitwear is the trend you need to know about. But before you envisage getting all hot and sweaty up in this stripey Albaray midi, we'll assure you it's knitted from breathable cotton yarns for effective temperature regulation. Plus, it'll remain crease-free no matter how badly it's folded, and it's super comfy to wear when travelling. It's so practical, it'd be rude not to buy it.

2) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: The Summer Skirt

Reformation midi skirt – £168.00 SHOP NOW

Silky skirts are beautiful, but wholly inappropriate for daytime wearing when it's hot out. Enter: the summer slip skirt by Reformation. This design is still bias-cut, so it hugs your hips and drapes beautifully, but made from linen that's breezier and less high-maintenance. Choose from khaki, black, floral-print or white.

(Courtesy of Reformation)
3) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: Versatile Sandals

Bobbies leather sandals – £129.00 SHOP NOW

If you’re limiting yourself to one pair of shoes for that holiday capsule wardrobe flex, choose wisely. Bobbies' leather sandals are perfect for day-to-night dressing with their 1990s-inspired straps and statement platform sole (it adds height while still feeling comfortable enough to walk in). Go for black over the caramel and cream colourways to get the most wear out of yours.

4) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: An Easy One-Piece

WAT The Brand swimsuit – £150.00 SHOP NOW

It might be tempting to have many a bikini on rotation, but when you’re stretched for suitcase space, an easy one-piece is the way to go. WAT The Brand's black swimsuit has a one-shoulder silhouette, so it'll double as a bodysuit come evening.

5) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: A Cool Co-Ord

Boteh Canar blouse – £174.50 SHOP NOW

Matching skirt – £161.00 SHOP NOW

A week's worth of looks for the price (and space) of two, a good co-ord is a non-negotiable when it comes to hold luggage holidays. Boteh's boho printed set comprises a smock blouse and wrap mini skirt; together they create a day-to-night dress, and the separates work well with tanks tops, denim shorts, maxi skirts and more.

6) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: A Saviour Scarf

COS silk scarf – £79.00 SHOP NOW

While wide-brimmed straw hats might look louche and elegant, but they're also really impractical when it comes to packing (your favourite Jacquemus will no doubt emerge shapeless once it’s been squashed into the depths of your suitcase). For summer 2023 everyone's swapping their headgear for a bandana instead. Buy a silky scarf now and you can style it in myriad ways: as a headband, neckerchief, bracelet, bag strap, bandeau top or a belt.

7) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: A Roomy Bag

Longchamp Le Pliage bag – £70.00


Turtle shoppers are so much more versatile than structured straw styles. Longchamp's Le Pliage string tote can stretch to 40kg capacity (in goes the beach towel, all your books and the bathroom sink) and folds down to nothing – perfect for stuffing into your hold luggage on the flight over. Getting that see-through-bag stage fright? Just throw a few Instagram-worthy lemons in there alongside your essentials.

(Courtesy of John Lewis)
8) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: A Comfy Smock Dress

& Other Stories tiered dress – £65.00SHOP NOW

Thanks to its voluminous shape, balloon sleeves and breezy fabric, & Other Stories' smock dress is comfortable to wear when a) it's hot and b) you're in a post-alfresco-lunch stupor. Thanks to that little thing called WFH, easy dresses have become a staple because they can be thrown on in five seconds flat but look instantly pulled-together.

(& Other Stories)
9) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: Statement Earrings

Tada & Toy gold-vermeil earrings – £185.00


If you only take one piece of jewellery on holiday, make it a pair of statement earrings. Tada & Toy's are perfect for coastal holidays with their scalloped shell design, warm gold tone and light-catching crystals. When you’re making a quick change for dinner post-swim, tie wet hair back into a low bun to draw attention to this playful pair.

10) Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: Linen Loungewear

Deiji Studios The 03 linen set – £183.00


Deiji Studios makes loungewear that's too good to hide at home. This linen set is both comfy, cooling and chic all at the same time –making it ideal for travelling and sleeping in, or chilling in your hotel while on holiday. When you're not wearing this one as a co-ord, style the separates as beach coverups or daywear.


A holiday capsule wardrobe is king. From versatile sandals to multitasking swimsuits, here are 10 holiday essentials for your hand luggage packing checklist.