what to pack for the beach

I love packing.

I have waytoomuch fun trying to whittle down my belongings and pack the least amount of stuff possible. There’s so much joy in experiencing the world lightly, with less stuff in tow. It always reminds me that it’s not about what I bring, it’s about what I experience.

Aaron and I are heading to the beach this week for some much needed R&R — so I thought I’d chat about how I approach packing + what I’m bringing.

I approach packing for a trip the same way I approach creating a capsule:

I check the weather.

I make a mental list of my activities, making sure to note special events, dress codes, etc.

I settle on a color palette.

And then I start packing with what I already have in my closet. Because nothing brings out Shopping Caroline like packing for a trip.

See, when I travel, I find that I want to be this different, aspirational version of myself  — and I want a wardrobe to match. But … after the trip, I know I’d just be left with clothes that don’t really work for my regular life + style.

So I try to fill up my suitcase with things I already own first.

Then — oops! — I guess there’s no room for that gauzy dress I was tempted to buy. 😉

Here’s what I’m packing:


• Chambray shirt: I wasn’t planning on bringing this shirt, but it’s just too versatile to leave at home — I can style it on it’s own or layer it over a tee if I get chilly. I can also wear it as a pool cover up — unbuttoned + knotted at the waist + swimsuit top peeking out + high waist jean shorts.

• Crop tee (old) / similar (made in USA) / similar in solids colors (made ethically): Hello sightseeing outfit: crop tee + high waisted denim shorts + sneakers. And I can always add my chambray shirt if I get chilly.

• Stripe tank / similar / similar with tight fit (made in USA) / similar in longer length (made in USA): For drinks at night, I can pair it with my black shorts and dressy sandals.

• Silk-like tank (old) / similar (made in USA) / similar with lace up detail (made in USA) : While real silk is too delicate to take to the beach, this plain black silk-like tank does just fine and looks fancy. I can tuck it into my black shorts for a romper-like look, like I did two years ago.

• Beach bag (old) / similar

• Dressy shorts (old) / similar (made in the USA): Hot days, you don’t scare me. At least not since I discovered these dressy + soft + flowy shorts.  I’ll pair them with … just about anything in my bag.

• Denim shorts (old) / similar (made in the USA): Perfect for sightseeing or a pool cover-up.

• Straw hat: Now, you may be wondering how I’m going to pack this structured hat in my suitcase. This tutorial to the rescue!

• Mix and match swimsuits / high neck swim top (eco-friendly) / bikini bottoms (eco-friendly) / leopard swim top (old) / high rise bottoms (eco friendly)

• Maxi dress (old) / similar / similar for less / similar for less (made in the USA): This will be my fancy dinner dress.

• Midi dress (old) / similar / similar for less: A simple black dress is amazing on it’s own, but I can also add casual vibes by tying my chambray shirt around my waist + adding my straw hat.

• Sneakers / similar with slimmer fit: Thank you, comfortable sneakers, for keeping my feet happy while sightseeing.

• Sandals (made ethically)

• Dressy sandals: Repeat after me: Two inch heel. Bless my precious feet — I can do a two inch heel! I’ll pair these with my midi dress or my dressy shorts.

• Sunnies

And finally, a few things that aren’t pictured: Yoga pants + jacket for the airport. Toiletries. PJs. And my trusty travel steamer — I never travel without it.

Are you traveling any time soon? What are your favorite packing tips?



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