There is tumbleweed blowing through the streets of our village. Everyone we know seems to have packed up and gone away for the Summer… except us. When I booked our holiday, it was such a relief that for the first time in ages our dates weren’t dictated by the dreaded exam results day that I planned it for later than usual. We’re doing our best to have fun in the Lakes which, after all, is a holiday destination for lots of people but we’re desperately in need of some downtime…and some sunshine!

To keep myself smiling as the rain drips down around us, I’ve been starting to pack. So as a few people have been in touch to ask how I create my capsule holiday wardrobe, I thought I’d show you what I’m actually taking. I will also add the links to the previous posts I’ve done on holiday packing at the end.

I go against the advice of sticking to neutral colours. For me it would feel too depressing to be dressing in navy and grey with a splash of taupe every day. I do that through the Winter at home. Instead, the way I work is to take bright separates for daytime. For evening I pack neutral bottoms that can carry a rainbow of tops. That way I can create a completely different combination every night.

So, this is what I’m taking – our destination is still a secret but I think you’ll have a clue from this that it’s a hot one.

Daytime capsule holiday wardrobe for women over 40

I left a note in my suitcase after last year’s holiday to remind me of what I did and didn’t wear. This means I’ve cut down quite dramatically for this year’s holiday which has been hard because despite the Marie Kondo exercise, there are still so many clothes I love that I never have a chance to wear in the frozen North of England. However I need to remember that I spend most days in nothing more than a bikini. These are the items that I know I’ll be happy to throw on repeatedly when it’s hot.

capsule holiday wardrobe


From top, l-r: Havaianas sandals – new; Boden jersey dresses blue, jade green and hot pink (past season); Havaianas slim gold.

Middle row l – r: Boden linen t-shirt (past season); Boden Bistro shorts (past season); White Stuff t-shirt (past season); Boden chino shorts; White Company silver lustre t-shirt (sold out); Boden sandals (past season).

Front row: Zara sandals (past season); Hush gold lustre t-shirt (sold out); H&M Je Suis Heureuse t-shirt (in store only); Mango linen t-shirt – in the sale

Just a note about the Hush lustre t-shirt. I’ve worn mine a lot this Summer and after repeated washing, the lustre has gone so if you have one, be careful with it. The White Company ones which were more expensive but better quality are still gleaming.

I also want to point out these new Havaianas sandals. The reason that flip flops are enduringly popular is because they accommodate hot swollen feet comfortably. These new Havaianas have a strap at the ankle which will make them much easier to wear and great for pebbly beaches too. They come in a range of different colours but rose gold is the winner in my book, on trend and eternally versatile.

Swimwear for women over 40

We’ve already talked about swimwear this year in the hot beach holiday and breezy coastal holiday posts. My Coolsculpting has made my tummy much flatter (progress review here). Last time I went down to the Attune Clinic for my final check up, Sarah, as a perfectionist, did two last small sections on my hips which were much more straightforward than my abdomen. It still hurt for 10 minutes as it defrosted but the recovery time was minimal and after a few days it didn’t even feel bruised or numb.

So, I’ll be feeling much more confident in swimwear this year but I am taking a couple of swimsuits with me in addition to bikinis. Whether I’ll actually wear them who knows but I’m aware that without the cushion of fat to pad it out, my tummy is a bit more wrinkly.

If we’re at the beach we often go to a bar for lunch or drinks. Although they haven’t said anything (and probably haven’t even thought about it), I think it makes it more comfortable for the boys if I have a dress to throw over my bikini rather than just a sarong when we’re out in public.

capsule holiday wardrobe

Hush Grecian dress (now in the sale); Fat Face bikinis – blue and white stripe; pink and blue stripe (past season); Boden swimsuit; Cotton dress bought in Ibiza; Tummy control swimsuit; Kaftan bought at a local boutique

Evening capsule holiday wardrobe for women over 40

I think the evenings are my favourite part of our holiday. Everyone is relaxed and glowing from a day spent in the sunshine. After being in a bikini all day I prefer to wear something loose and relaxed – we don’t tend to go to places where smart dressing is required. Most of these tops, skirts and trousers will mix and match so I have more than enough options for a 14 night holiday. I’ll be keeping it casual with flat sandals and a mix of simple gold and silver jewellery.

capsule holiday wardrobe

From top, l-r: White Company halter neck dress (past season); White Company gold lustre vest (sold out); Mango sequin top (in the sale); Mango halter top (sold out); Boden sleeveless shell (past season); White Company drape top (past season); M&S black halter top (past season); Boden white halter top (past season); Clarks sandals (sold out); Boden sandals (past season); Zara sandals (past season); Mango leopard clutch (past season); Zara flowy trousers (past season); Mango khaki maxi; Mango blue maxi (sold out); Navy maxi – in the sale; Boden pink and orange clutch (past season); Whistles silver clutch (past season)

For the first time, my capsule holiday wardrobe has fitted easily into my carry on bag. For once, I won’t be stealing space from the boys who pack very minimally (apart from the eldest who, in true boy scout mode, packs lots of ‘just in case’ things which we’re often grateful for). I’ll be taking a break from Midlifechic whilst I’m away but I will be posting on Instagram so do follow me @midlifechic to see how I decide to put these various pieces together each day. It will be nice to keep in touch.

It’s going to be a busy week wrapping everything up at work but I’m planning to do one more beauty post before I leave. Have a great week everyone – if you’re on holiday, I hope you’re having lots of fun and if you’re at home, I hope you’re managing to make the most of the Summer when it pops out from behind the clouds.

Other Summer packing posts you may have missed

What to pack for a hot beach holiday

What to pack for a breezy coastal holiday

What to wear for Summer in the city

New Season Posts

I’ll be fully firing with Autumn posts when I’m back but if you’ve given up on Summer and want to look ahead, these are my early posts

Boden – early Autumn 2016 – my picks

A sneak preview of M&S AW 16