Make a getaway in style. Lisa Haynes reveals the holiday staples you should be packing in your suitcase.


With holiday season upon us, it's officially time to pack for the great escape.

But whether you're driving to the British coast or jetting away to foreign climes, make sure it's a glamorous getaway.

For Europe-bound Brits, the average suitcase is packed with £580 worth of stylish clobber, according to recent research by

"A summer holiday represents the perfect chance to showcase a hot summer wardrobe," says Julie Donnelly, head of womenswear at the website.

But it's important not to go overboard and risk losing your holiday spending money at the excess baggage counter.

Pack a capsule wardrobe to impress with our practical guide.

Plane thinking

Never leave your packing until a few hours before you're due to check in. Cue snap decisions, highly impractical pieces and forgotten underwear/swimwear/shoes.

Some pre-vacation planning will make pulling holiday ensembles together a breeze on arrival.

"When it comes to luggage, aim for streamline," advises Rachel Zoe, stylist to the stars and author of Style A To Zoe.

"Go with cases you can haul effortlessly by yourself and resist over-packing."

Think about where you're going, for how long, what you'll be doing and, most importantly, the weather outlook.

Your travelling companions should also determine your suitcase essentials. Think accessories aplenty, dresses and heels for a girly trip away and comfort, practicality and flat shoes for active family hols.

Assess how travel-friendly fabrics are and how they'll fare after a stint in the suitcase - nobody wants to spend their holiday at the ironing board. Fine knits, chiffon and denim travel more easily than linen, silk and heavy cotton.

Glamour on the go

You don't have to pack everything but the kitchen sink to look vacation-chic.

The trick is to select versatile pieces that double up and have more than one purpose.

If your destination's hot, hot, hot, try sheer dresses that you can wear over swimwear by day and over a slip teamed with heels for sunset evenings.

Zoe suggests: "Look for tunics, kaftans and sundresses that can serve as dresses or tops.

"A fabulous belt can turn a sarong into a dress, so pack one that sits on the waist, in leather or raffia, or a coloured woven or gold chain."

You're on holiday so ditch the black and dark colours and aim for a suitcase of white and lighter, brighter shades that you usually wouldn't dare to wear at home or in the office.

When it comes to accessories, sandals in pretty metallics can be worn for day or night. Espadrilles and open-toe wedges are also ideal for puddle-free destinations.

"Clothes might be minimal, but not jewellery," Zoe suggests. "Stockpile hoops, anything ethnic and bangles - island cheapies are a great addition."

Best of order

Say bon voyage to chaos and hello to suitcase order for a super-stylish vacation. Zoe has these packing tips:

:: Start with shoes on the bottom. Protect their shape by stuffing them with socks or tank tops. Protect any favourite shoes in drawstring cloth bags so they don't get scratched.

:: Layer in denim, folded in half.

:: Layer in everything else, laying it flat with as few folds as possible: trousers, sweaters, dresses.

:: On top, place the more fragile items - anything chiffon, beaded or sequinned - and turn inside out so they won't catch. You can also wrap these in plastic or tissue paper to protect them.

:: Don't overstuff your bags. Clothes and even shoes can end up badly creased and you'll risk paying extra pounds at check-in.

:: Keep jewellery and other valuables on board with you.

:: Always unpack your bags as soon as you arrive at your destination. This gives clothes and shoes a chance to air out and regain shape - and enables you to see everything you have right away.

Get the look

Actress Freida Pinto shimmers on the red carpet in a Rachel Roy embellished dress. Be the belle of your summer party in Monsoon's Cleopatra dress, £99 (0203 372 3000/

Buy it now

Taking inspiration from the sporting event of the year, Warehouse's Olympic-themed collection is a fashion front-runner. The capsule collection of five Grecian-style occasion wear dresses take direction from Ancient Greece with elegant pleats and draping. Priced from £80, available online and in selected stores from late July.

Fashion flash

:: Ri-Ri for R.I.

She's stormed the music charts, now Rihanna is hoping for a fashion hit with River Island. The singer is designing her first clothing collection for the brand, launching in Spring 2013. "River Island loves to have fun with clothes. I'm looking forward to working with them and creating something really special," she says.

:: Well heeled

British women loom large over the rest of Europe - thanks to their heels. Female Brits have tottered their way to the tip of the heel charts with an average height at 3.3 inches, according to new research by Compeed. Some take it to even greater heights, with a quarter of women surveyed (25%) wearing heels four to six inches high and a skyscraping 3% braving heels that are more than six inches. Perhaps they are just making up for their lack of stature - British women are amongst the shortest in Europe.