So you've got a trip to Hawaii booked. First—can I come with? Second—what are you going to wear? Packing for some island time can feel like a bit tricky because after you've thrown in the bikinis, sandals, and sunscreen, it is so tempting to fill your suitcase with literally every floaty dress you own. But before your packrat tendencies carry you away, stop yourself, and think What would a fashion girl wear?
The answer is surprisingly, not much. As the following 11 outfits attest, a tightly edited capsule travel wardrobe is really all you need. Limit yourself to just two flirty dresses, a sturdy pair of shorts, and some cover-ups that will do double duty, and you are good to go. And the best part is that with a bit of strategic folding, everything will fit into your carry on with room to spare (hi, souvenir shopping). Island living, here you come.
Let's start with the basics here: A pair of jean shorts is an absolute no-brainer on your packing list. Keep the summer style staple feeling modern by going for a pair with an oversize, slightly longer fit. The ability to roll them up to show a little bit more leg means you practically get two different styles in one, and they'll balance out minimal tops (bikinis included) nicely when worn either way.
Go for cover-ups that can work far beyond the beach—think a dress that will work just as well over a bikini as it will at the bar—and you'll be able to squeeze the most out of your travel wardrobe. Packing wizard, who?
A boldly patterned cover-up will work for just about every occasion on your itinerary.
Floaty pants are perfect to pull on over your one-piece for a quick trip to the pool, and come dinnertime, you can dress them up with a strappy pair of heels.
A rash guard should be a non-negotiable in your island wardrobe. It'll protect your skin from sun and surf, and tucking it into those jean shorts is the ultimate Hawaii outfit idea.
Round-the-Clock One Pieces
Like with those wear-everywhere cover-ups, packing a few one-piece swimsuits that can double as bodysuits is an easy way to maximize space in your suitcase. Go for styles that are nicely detailed but still pair with absolutely everything like the two below.
In addition to the dresses you're willing to get covered in sand and saltwater, it's worth carving out space in your bag for a couple of more pulled-together minidresses. They'll be perfect for days you plan to spend away from the water or fancier nights out.
Lots of Linen
Linen is your best friend when it comes to packing for Hawaii (or any beachside destination, really). The lightweight fabric will keep you cool on even the stickiest of days and will dry quickly when thrown over a swimsuit. You can't ask for much more than that.
Hawaii is so low-key that you likely won't need a showstopping dress, but should you want to rev things up for a romantic dinner or night on the Waikiki strip, a slinky slip will do you no wrong (and won't take up any extra room in your suitcase).