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End-of-summer getaway packing guide

When it comes to prepping for an end-of-summer beach getaway, even the most conservative personalities among us are guilty of crazy excess in one particular area: packing.

Woman on beach with suitcase

As the day of departure grows closer for the week-long getaway, we have more frequent thoughts of “What if the temperature is cooler than predicted” or “What if the dinner on Saturday is more formal,” resulting in towers of clothes pressed into overflowing suitcases. A week later on the return trip, you realize that you wore less than half of your clothes and your back hurts from carrying the multiple bags. Rest assured, the way to avoid this and look great is by assembling a vacation wardrobe of versatile pieces based upon your “True Colors.”

We all possess in our natural coloring a unique set of “True Colors.” These are the tones found in our eyes, hair and skin, which when worn, make us “pop” and come alive. By assembling versatile pieces in a tight palette of these most flattering colors, we not only look fantastic but avoid the risk of over-packing.

The best and most versatile capsule vacation wardrobe is one created with a trio of these “True Colors” consisting of a neutral or “base,” a skin or “essence” tone and an eye or “energy” color.

Base color

Let’s start with a staple neutral or “base” color: To find out which neutral or “base” color to pack, ask yourself what color shorts or chinos you favor on weekends. Khaki? Stone? Wheat? Dove grey? Pink beige? Another way to discover this color is to match the lightest tone in your hair. Use this “base” color for basic pieces such as skinny jeans, a light jacket, shorts or sandals.

Remember that this color is a neutral and while both supportive and flattering to your coloring, it does not “do” anything such as give your skin a glow or pop your eyes. Therefore we will add two “colors” to round out your vacation wardrobe to do exactly that.

Essence color

To add a bit of a glow to your basic wardrobe pieces, employ your skin tone. This “essence” color is most likely the color of your foundation powder. If you were to put this color in the palm of your hand it would harmonize all of the skin tones found in it. Some options for this color include peach, shell pink, alabaster, mahogany and almond. This is a great color to wear on a summer vacation, as typically in warmer climates you will not want to wear as much makeup and this color gives your skin a nice flushed “glowy” look.

Use this “essence” color in a patterned scarf, a tank, a button-front linen shirt, a bracelet or a maxi dress.

Energy color

The third color for your vacation wardrobe should be an “energy” color that pops your eyes. Use the darkest color in your iris. Some candidates for this color include slate, rust, grass, butterscotch and pine. In brown eyes, it is not always an obvious color, so try putting swatches or clothing items up to your eyes to see colors like marigold, aubergine and olive appear.

Use this “energy” color in a bathing suit, a patterned sarong, a string of beads or a tank dress.

Now that you have discovered your “True Colors,” here is a recap and complete breakdown of how to pack them for a seven-day beach vacation:


In the “base” color:

  • one pair of long casual pants or skinny jeans
  • a light jacket
  • a cotton button-front shirt
  • a pair of shorts
  • a casual belt
  • a pair of sandals (try to find them in a metallic version of this color)
  • a pair of heels (platforms are the most practical if walking on sand)
  • a casual purse/beach bag

In the “essence” color:

  • a patterned scarf (the best is if it has your “Energy” and “Base” colors in the pattern as well)
  • two tank tops
  • a linen button-front shirt
  • a short casual dress
  • a maxi dress
  • a bracelet

In the “energy” color:

  • 2 bathing suits
  • a patterned sarong (the best is if it has your “Base” and “Essence” colors in the pattern as well)
  • a necklace
  • a tank top
  • a long open lightweight sweater
  • a tank dress

Using this guide ensures that you actually wear everything that you pack AND you look great in it. Also, packing in this manner leaves you room in the suitcase for any purchases you might make on your end-of-summer getaway!

More packing tips

Tips for packing fragile souvenirs
Stress-free vacation packing
How to fit a week’s worth of clothes in a carry-on

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