There are many potential pitfalls a man faces when packing for a holiday. Too much, and he finds himself shelling out on excess baggage, but too little and he’s forced to add a launderette to his list of sights worth seeing.

Worse yet, there’s the chance you pack the wrong things, leaving you sartorially stranded somewhere between a pair of Air Jordans and a wool drop crotch trouser. So to expedite your packing, and streamline your suitcase, we’ve pulled together a holiday hit-list of the pieces that cover all bases. No dead weight allowed.


OK, so kicking off with a tee is almost embarrassingly obvious, but its prominence on this list isn’t to patronisingly tell you what you already know – i.e. that a T-shirt is indispensable in summer – but to emphasise the importance of buying one that’s good.

By which we mean it should be white (or another neutral shade), weighted nicely (not so thick as to leave you slick with sweat, not too light as to #freethenipple) and made from 100 per cent cotton, preferably mercerised, pima or supima.

(Related: How to find the perfect t-shirt)

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Example Styles

  • Scotch & Soda T-shirt With Crew Neck In White
  • Allsaints Figure Crew Tshirt
  • Reiss Ghost Nep T-shirt White
  • James Perse Crew Neck Cotton-jersey T-shirt
  • A.p.c. Cotton-jersey T-shirt
  • Uniqlo Men Packaged Dry Crew Neck Short Sleeve T-shirt

Fine-Gauge Jumper

Unless this trip marks the first leg of your big retirement tour, you’ll likely find yourself outdoors well into the wee hours. Which means you’ll need a layer in tow to take the chill off.

Rather than a hoodie, which can lean too casual, or a jacket, which in many cases ends up too warming, a fine-gauge jumper strikes the right balance, keeping out the cold without cramping your style.

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Example Styles

  • Allsaints Brakken Crew Jumper
  • Allsaints Kamburn Crew Jumper
  • Alex Mill Melange Linen And Cotton-blend Sweater
  • He By Mango Striped Cotton Linen-blend Sweater
  • He By Mango Round Neck Sweater
  • Reiss Emporer Merino V-neck Jumper Grey

Breton Top

This being a ‘capsule’ wardrobe, there’s little room for pieces that won’t mesh well with others – meaning most loud prints, experimental cuts and generally ‘difficult’ wears are out of the question.

A Breton top, though, bridges the gap between safe and unwearably bold, bringing some colour and visual depth to your holiday line-up. Opt for a long-sleeved version in a medium weight (100 per cent cotton styles come recommended), but not so heavy that it’s unbearably hot.

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Example Styles

  • Armor Lux Long Sleeve T-shirt In Breton Stripe
  • Allsaints Minala 3/4 Sleeve Crew Tshirt
  • Scotch & Soda T-shirt With Breton Stripe In Navy Long Sleeves
  • J.crew Deck Striped Cotton-jersey T-shirt
  • Armor-lux 2297 Long Sleeve Mariniere Heritage Tee Dark Navy & Natural
  • Zara Striped Sweater

Lightweight Trousers

Shorts are indispensable in a man’s warm-weather rotation. But that’s not to say there aren’t other options for letting your legs breathe.

By swapping your heavy-duty denim and twill chinos out for a lighter twill, 100 per cent cotton or cotton-blend trouser (in a cut that’s close but doesn’t cling), you can keep your pins under wraps without running the risk of self-combusting.

As an anchor piece in your summer squad, your trousers need to play with other pieces, so stick to light neutral hues (beige, stone, off-white), shades of blue or even pastels if you’re the type of guy that would get good wear out of an ice cream-coloured pair.

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Example Styles

  • Allsaints Stove Lumen Chinos
  • New Look Slim Fit Chino In Burgundy
  • Zara Chino Trousers With Belt
  • Reiss Bennett Straight Leg Chinos Airforce Blue
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Garment-dyed Chinos
  • Hackett Slim-fit Stretch-cotton Chinos

Chino Shorts

Sometimes you just want to let it all hang out. We get it. But, as freeing as it’d be to tour a museum in just a pair of Speedos, social norms dictate at least a modicum of modesty when you’re not by the pool.

Which is where chino shorts come in handy. Only marginally less smart than trousers, chino shorts still work with everything from a T-shirt to a Breton top and a blazer – and, of course, they’ll help you stay cool.

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Example Styles

  • Allsaints Mitre Lumen Shorts
  • Asos Chino Shorts In Skinny Fit In Mid Length
  • Oliver Spencer Cotton Chino Shorts
  • River Island Tan Slim Fit Bermuda Shorts
  • Reiss Wicker Tailored Chino Shorts Burnt Orange
  • He By Mango Cotton Bermuda Shorts

Linen Blazer

Even the most low-key holidays have their scrub-up moments. To ensure you’re ready to cut a smart figure whenever, wherever – pack a blazer that doesn’t make you look like you’re on your way to the office.

An unstructured linen or linen-cotton blazer in a neutral colour like beige, grey or even slate blue will instantly sharpen up even your most laid-back looks.

(Related: The complete guide to linen)

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Example Styles

  • Vito Skinny 100% Linen Blazer
  • Reiss Monty B Linen And Cotton Blazer Soft Blue
  • Reiss Ample B Linen Blazer Natural
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Linen Blazer
  • He By Mango Unstructured Linen Blazer
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Linen Blazer

Cuban Collar Shirt

Even the leanest suitcase needs a sartorial talking point. For a seasonal piece that makes a statement, consider the Cuban collar shirt. Proffered by designers from Dries Van Noten to E. Tautz, this is hands-down SS16’s key piece.

A plain-colour style is a safe bet but we’d suggest taking yours in a subtle floral or print to add a point of difference to the rest of your look. Just sidestep Tommy Vercetti-level Hawaiian and polyester styles. You want this shirt to turn heads, not wrinkle noses.

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Example Styles

  • Topman Multicoloured Geo Print Revere Viscose Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Reiss Palma Printed Blend Shirt Stone
  • Reiss Falcon Cuban-collar Shirt Navy
  • Topman Selected Homme White Revere Collar Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Officine Generale Camp-collar Polka-dot Cotton Shirt
  • A.p.c. Slim-fit Striped Cotton And Linen-blend Shirt

Tailored Swim Shorts

Whether you’re diving in or not, swim shorts are de rigueur when lounging poolside or on the beach. Choose the right pair, and you won’t even have to change when you leave the deck chair behind for a bar stool.

Look for a tailored style in quick dry polyamide fabric, and stick with a solid colour, stripes or a similarly subtle pattern. That way, all you need do is pull on a polo shirt and a pair of loafers to make good on that dinner date.

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Example Styles

  • David Gandy For Autograph Tailored Fit Mid Length Quick Dry Swim Shorts
  • Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-length Swim Shorts
  • Orlebar Brown Bulldog Swim Short Flint
  • Orlebar Brown Bulldog Mid-length Printed Swim Shorts
  • Frescobol Carioca Tailored Copacabana-print Swim Shorts
  • He By Mango Striped Swimsuit

Sandals (Or Slides/Flip-Flops)

As above, at least some of your holiday is going to spent wearing as little as possible. A pair of black or brown leather sandals or some minimal, non-branded slides or flip-flops will keep your tread steady when couriering cocktails around the pool, and cover your feet when going between sand and gravel.

They won’t, however, cut the mustard anywhere else. Which brings us to…

(Related: 10 of the best men’s sandals)

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Example Styles

  • Zara Strappy Leather Sandals
  • Allsaints Flax Leather Sandal
  • Aldo Cramton
  • Zara Embossed Slides
  • Adidas Originals Adilette Textured-rubber Slides
  • Nike Benassi Leather And Rubber Slides


Sandals, slides or flip-flops are fine when you’re sun-worshipping, but you’ll need something a little smarter, and offering a little more coverage, for evening meals and nights out.

A style in plush suede lends any look a little of the Riviera, and won’t make your feet sweat as much as leather either. Beige, dark brown and tan rank first for versatility (complementing most other colours in your capsule line-up) but grey, beige and pastel blue are solid options too.

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Example Styles

  • River Island Suede Loafer In Stone With Tassels
  • Asos Tassel Loafers In Suede
  • Leiston Penny Loafer Oliver Sweeney
  • Topman Grey Suede Tassle Loafers
  • He By Mango Leather Loafers With Tassels
  • Reiss Cooper Suede Penny Loafers Sand


Sunglasses, obviously. And a sturdy enough case that’ll protect them from clinking vodka bottles in your carry-on.

Also worth packing are a few pairs of no-show socks (so as to not stink up those loafers), a suede or woven belt, a hat if you’re a hat man (or particularly thin on top) and a bag (preferably a leather weekender or tote) to carry it all in.

  • PERSOL D-Frame Acetate Polarised Sunglasses
  • RAY-BAN Round-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses
  • ASOS 5 Pack Invisible Socks In Mono
  • Ted Baker SHALALA Raised edge leather holdall
  • River Island Tote Bag In Leather And Suede
  • Selected Homme Straw Hat

Final Word

What’ll make the cut for your suitcase this summer? Have we got all bases covered with this list, or is it missing essentials due their airtime?

Let us know below.