Nicole Chavez

Nicole Chavez
With the exception of New Yorkers, Virgos, and other such forward-planning types, it's safe to say that most people don't purchase things way in advance. While being "in the moment" is a great way to live, when it comes to buying clothes, a lack of premeditation can be problematic. (Just ask anyone who's tried to buy a winter coat in December or an air-conditioning unit in July-picked-over product is all you'll get, if you're lucky.) This dilemma troubled us recently: we were looking for festive clothes to wear on a summer holiday, only to face a sea of pre-fall products in stores. We had a hunch that this particular shopping situation might perplex our readers as well, so we decided to turn to a far greater power for help: super stylist, Nicole Chavez. While the decidedly darling Chavez is best known for dressing ladies like Rachel Bilson, Kristen Bell, and Scarlett Johansson, we figured that the beloved fashion insider might be able to provide us with a tropical-vacation packing list par excellence-hence today's Stylist's Picks.

We challenged Chavez with this topic and gave her loads of qualifications that her selections must satisfy. Despite the fact that most spring/summer products have been available for six months, we wanted her to sleuth out some fresh pieces for us. At this time of year, that request alone is a monumental task, but it wasn't our only condition. Additionally, we demanded that everything must work together in a harmonious way, showcase her personal taste, and cover a range of price points. Happily for us, and you dear readers, Chavez not only meet our finicky requirements, she surpassed our expectations and produced an array of super-shoppable items. Read on for more details about why Chavez selected these must-pack pieces, how she'd style them, and her secrets for a low-maintenance high-fashion warm-weather vacation wardrobe.


Oliver Peoples Eyewear Zadie Sunglasses ($275) in Gold Spice
Asking a stylist to choose one pair of sunglasses is like asking a bibliophile to select one book from her collection-difficult under the best circumstances. These Oliver Peoples Zadie shades made the cut thanks in part to their subtle shape. "They're really a hybrid," Chavez says. "These frames give you the same coverage you get from a pair of oversized, round sunglasses, plus the cooler, more angular look of Ray-Bans," Chavez says. It's a good combo, to be sure!

Kenneth Jay Lane Gem Gypsy Earrings ($198)
When Chavez takes off on a tropical trip, she brings along an assortment of brightly colored accessories to personalize and dress up her basic wardrobe staples. "I love interchangeable pieces," she says. "You can wear these earrings everywhere, from the pool to a fancy dinner, plus they look great with just jeans and a t-shirt."

Binetti Buck Island Scarf ($94)
A beautiful cover-up is an essential for any sun-centric vacation, so we weren't surprised that Chavez included an amazing option in this roundup. We were delighted by this exact piece because it works both poolside and as a chic travel accessory! The oversized scarf can be worn a number of ways; Chavez would pair it with soft harem pants and an easy t-shirt for the plane or throw it on over her swimsuit for the beach. "I like it mixed with a zebra swimsuit," Chavez says, referencing Michael Kors' Zebra-Print Bikini ($170) as an example. "The combo of the suit and the scarf might be a little chaotic and crazy, but I think it works."

Kain T-Shirt ($90)
Practically everyone we know is smitten with Kain t-shirts, Chavez included! "It seems like such an obvious pick, but it's not," she says. "I've tried every tee out there, and this is my favorite." Why? "It's lightweight and breathable, the scoop neck is a littler lower and therefore very flattering, plus you can wear it with anything: over your swimsuit, with a cute a-line skirt, or even travel in it." If that's not an endorsement, we don't know what is!

Citizens of Humanity Kelly Boot Cut Jeans ($150)
Though Chavez admits that white jeans can be tricky, she swears its just a matter of finding the right fit for your body ("they can be really flattering"). She likes this style because they're narrow through the thigh and have a slightly higher rise. "I would wear these over a one-piece suit, just to grab a drink at the bar," she says. "They'd also look great with that gray Kain t-shirt!"

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Color ($23) in Sand
It turns out that today's fashion fanatic loves more than just clothes and accessories-she's a beauty junkie too! While Chavez is dedicated to all things Chanel, right now she's fond of one of their lovely summer polishes. "Much like the way nude shoes make your legs look longer, nude nail polish makes your hands look really elegant," she says. It's also a low-maintenance shade; unlike dark polish, when nude starts to chip, no one notices!

Giuseppe Zanotti Studded Sandals ($895)
Chavez admits that her shoe selection is definitely pricey, but she also made an excellent case for including them in today's story. She swears they're versatile and says that you can wear them with a mini skirt or little dress now, then pair them with black tights in the fall. The stud details are tough, but the thin nude straps and skinny heel make them refined too. And if that's not enough, they've got universal appeal! "We all dress for the ladies, but I think that they boys will like them too," she says. "My husband would appreciate them just as much as I do-and I'm obsessed!"

Tibi Water Lily Bikini ($190, 323.653.1888)
Of course, the crucial piece to pack for a tropical vacation is a great swimsuit. Chavez flirted with a few different styles and patterns, but finally this classic string bikini from Tibi won out, thanks to its pretty print and simple silhouette. "I love a statement pattern or animal-print suit," she says. "It's either something crazy or just all-black-there's not much in between!" She picked this suit from Tibi because it has that great bold energy she loves, tempered with an unfussy design.

Mad Imports ($100)
We've never been fond of the idea of having a bag that's specifically for the beach. Shouldn't it be so cute that you'd want to take it elsewhere? Apparently Chavez agrees as she selected this woven wool and sisal shoulder-strap bag for her pool tote. "It looks like something you might have picked up in a flea market or in a bazaar somewhere," she says. That vintage-y, lived-in look is something Chavez prizes and we do too!

EXPLORE: Kristen Bell, Rachel Bilson, Scarlett Johansson, Chanel, Giuseppe Zanotti, Stylist's Picks
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