WTF To Wear… For Your First (And Possibly Last) Holiday Of The Year

Step away from the bikinis


by Bertie Brandes |
Published on

Unless you’re one of those people constantly jetting between Deia, Lamu and the Cotswolds, chances are you’re as bad as I am at packing for a beach holiday.

I just got back from Ibiza, for which I stuffed my dad’s ‘cabin safe’ holdall full of several thousand items of totally unnecessary clothing. The ‘how many pairs of shoes are you taking??’ texts fuelled a manic squashing of TEN shoes into the case (for a six-day trip), followed by a boned, corseted D&G top (didn’t wear), four bikinis (two mismatched, didn’t wear) and a selection of pencil skirts. Pencil skirts. For a beach holiday. Add in three woolly jumpers, a winter coat and the world’s tiniest halter-top and we have a classic case of schizophrenic packing.

Luckily, judging by the very few things I took out of the holdall and wore on rotation, I am now a fully fledged packing champion. Take note.


Two at most. You could alternate between a swimming costume and a bikini, but to be honest you really don’t want to confuse those tan lines so I’d stick with one. I feel like I’ve spent my life in frilly, badly fitting, awkward triangle bikinis that make your bum look huge and your boobs look minimal. Those days are over. Welcome to your (well, my, but tbh, it should be yours, too) new favourite swimwear and underwear brand in the whole wide world. Not only does BASE rangemake everything in flattering simple shapes, their fabrics are sustainable and organic, too. A pink towelling bikini with a proper fastening on the top and bottoms that won’t fall off, and that’s ethical, too? See what I mean about never needing another swimming costume ever again? Email to order.


Pink bikini, £44, Opening Ceremony


I know you invested in all those itsy-bitsy Versace T-shirts on eBay, but once you’re actually on your way to the beach in a mini-van, eating a Maxibon, listening to The Strokes – looking like an extra in the new Iggy Azalea video is really not approp. Stick to the basics, things you can fall asleep in/under/on top of and things you can wear to swim in when you’re a bit sunburned. It turns out pretty much all you do on a beach holiday is wake up, go somewhere, fall asleep, eat, go somewhere, fall asleep, drink a cocktail, fall asleep, repeat. All of these things can be done in a big T-shirt. In a metallic denim boob tube, not so much.


All I Need T-shirt, £15, T-Shirt Party


Which brings us nicely to what to wear underneath your T-shirt. Hint: it’s not a pencil skirt. No it’s not that pencil skirt, either. Look, just stop trying to bring a pencil skirt on holiday, OK? Denim shorts are a holiday necessity. Not only do they have pockets for your euros, they also zip right up over that bump of pizza and chips you’re going to maintain for the next week. Bambi & Manson do the ultimate pair, high-waisted without squashing into the pizza bump, short enough to guarantee thigh tan without being like the pair I used to have which felt like I was permanently sitting on a bicycle seat, and in a whole bunch of great colours. Get two pairs if you must. Just don’t bother taking anything else.


Shorts, £60, Bambi & Manson


While coasting on SPFoliveoil for your bod doesn’t phase me, what you put on your face does. Sunburning your T-zone on the first day will make you feel shit even if you’ve managed to pack the perfect suitcase of holiday essentials. Red forehead, tight skin and ultimate worst, sunstroke, is a holiday ruiner. SPF100 is your friend. Spend time with it, get to know it, learn to trust it, and then rub it all over your damn face. Especially under your eyes. And cover your parting at all times too because it will burn and it will flake and you will get sunburn dandruff. Not fun.


Sunblock, £12.96, Neutrogena


Because you deserve a week of total fucking silence, not a glorified day off where your boss sends you threatening emails and you hyperventilate every time you check your phone. When in doubt, switch it off and pour yourself another sangria. And another. And one for me, thanks.


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Follow Bertie on Twitter @bertiebrandes

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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