Well if the UK’s future was unclear when I left you last time, it is even more so right now! However, as women over 40, we know things will sort themselves out one way or another. In the meantime after a week of unsettled news and weather, I’ve found myself focusing hard on the thought of escaping it all for a sunny holiday.
I had an email from a longstanding reader saying that she keeps a print out of this very old holiday packing post in her suitcase. I cringed a little as I always do when people mention my early posts but then thought it was time to update it. So here we go, what to pack for a co-ordinated look and I’ve even included a printable packing list for you to download. I really hope it’s helpful.
So, I’m starting with things to wear in the day. I find that dresses are often the most comfortable thing to wear when it’s hot. I always admire women who can wear very loose cuts but being an hourglass, I need to cinch things in otherwise I look like a tank.
I’ve tried to include dresses that will cover all body shapes. I know they are all sleeveless and some people don’t like the tops of their arms very much. When you’re in a hot location it matters less though, bodies are on display in all their glory.
I have also tried to keep prices low – I hate spending a lot on something that I will only wear for a few days a year (although some things, like well cut shorts, are an investment). Besides keeping you cool, the other good thing about dresses is that you can break away from the colour palette you have chosen for separates. Here are my top picks.
Apron halterneck dress. Coral flatters most skintones, with or without a tan so you’ll be able to wear this at different stages of your holiday.
Dobby sleeveless dress with curved hem – a very chic French look in a lovely mid-blue.
Woven vest dress with frilled hem – easy to throw on over a swimsuit, a simple dress in a light jersey fabric.
Pom pom detail dress with tie straps – I know I’ve featured this before but I’m still very drawn to it. I particularly like its length and, of course, the pom pom trim.
Knee length dress with ladder stitch waist detail – this one has a Grecian look to put you into an instant holiday mood
Crochet top dress with tassel ties – another dress that is easy to throw on but the tassel ties make it special enough to wear in the evening too
Loose ruched dress with side twist – one of those dresses that looks better on than off, I suspect the lower waist would be especially good for apples or columns. You could wear it with heels in the evening too.
Shorts for women over 40
Moving on, shorts are versatile because as well as wearing them during the day, you can dress them up for relaxed holiday evenings too. All you need to do is add a slightly dressier top, a block heel and a bright clutch and away you go.
On the whole I don’t think you can beat Boden for shorts, specifically because they have four choices of leg length. I know they’re a bit more expensive than others you can find but the thing about shorts is that the cut rarely changes so you have them for years.
The ones you can see in the collage below are the very shortest (3 inches). By all means if you have great legs, go for them. I tend to go a step longer and wear the 4 inch length. You can also opt for 6 or 9 inches. To give you an idea, I have the 4 inch length on here last year.
These are the chino shorts, they have a slightly more relaxed feel.
My favourites are the Richmond shorts here because they are made from a slightly satinised cotton that doesn’t rumple in the heat.
Red chino shorts – everything chino related is on its way back into fashion
Khaki patch pocket shorts – the pockets on these give good proportion to the longer length
Geo patterned shorts – these have a texture to the fabric so would look particularly lovely dressed up in the evening
White linen 50s shorts – I have these, they look really elegant worn with a pretty top in the evening. They come up small though so size up, also available in navy and they are now in the sale.
Pink shorts – there’s something really youthful about pink shorts
Black shorts – endlessly versatile, especially for evening
Relaxed t-shirts for women over 40
Easy dressing for the daytime – wear these with shorts or throw them on over your swimsuit at the beach. On holiday it’s always nice to wear something that has a chilled out vibe. The one I’m wearing here is an old favourite, it says ‘je suis heureuse.’ For dressed down evenings you can pair them with the maxi skirts or trousers below.
Heart t-shirt, more stock available here
Dressy holiday tops for women over 40
As I’ve already said, adding a dressier top to shorts instantly makes them work for an evening stroll to a beachside restaurant.
Gold sequin cami (also available in silver)
Statement sleeve t-shirt (also available in white or pale blue)
Tassel top also available in bright blue
Ivory linen top with scallop edging – also available in pale blue
One shoulder top with tied hem
Alternatively you can wear them with a skirt or trousers.
Hope silk trousers in sale
Trousers and maxi skirts
When it comes to evenings on holiday, relaxed and loose is the chic way to go. A pair of flowy black trousers is great to travel in and looks good in the evening too. A maxi skirt makes a nice contrast after having your flesh exposed all day.
Coral pink flowy maxi skirt (also available in pale blue)
Patterned maxi skirt (other colours / patterns available)
Slim linen maxi with front split (50% off, also available in navy)
So, that’s part one of my holiday packing posts. I’ll move on to swimwear and accessories next week. In the meantime here’s the typed up list that I use for packing. It even has little bars for you to cross off in case you have items that need washing. You can tick pieces off as you add them to your suitcase. Simply click the link below for a downloadable pdf.
Packing list – click to download
Delivery try on
As usual I’ve been shopping as I’ve been researching this post so I wanted to show you a couple of things that have just arrived. These were quick ‘trying on’ photos last night after a long day in the office so I apologise for the quality.
This is the outfit I was thinking of travelling in for our holiday. I was aiming to create a simple jumpsuit look without the associated problems of going to the loo on the plane so I opted for trousers and a top to tuck in.
Loose black palazzo pants; Ros top; Block heeled sandals
Verdict – I love the trousers, they’ll be great for wearing at weekends and for work too. I’m not so keen on the top and might exchange it for the one shoulder top I’ve featured above which has less fabric to tuck into the trousers. I love the sandals – M&S are having a stellar year with their footwear.
And because most of the summer shoes and sandals I’ve ordered have been low price, I indulged in something dressier. These are made of the softest suede so you just know they won’t rub. I’m trying them on with jeans here but they’ll be great with dresses too. They come in a luxurious Italian shoebox and they are just gorgeous. Stock is disappearing so be quick.
And here’s one last holiday related outfit – our friends at Hope have sent me this to show you. When they explained it to me I couldn’t quite see how it would work (you’ll see why in a minute) but it does.
It’s the sort of outfit that would be particularly good for a cruise or a hotel where there is a requirement for a glamorous dressy look.
Bandeau jumpsuit; silk poncho; Ochre sandals; Clutch
So, fundamentally what I have on is a bandeau top jumpsuit with a silk poncho. The jumpsuit is very fitted but the poncho is a little like an Instagram filter, smoothing the silhouette and obscuring any bumps. It was a windy evening and it is fluttering in the breeze in this picture.
Bandeau jumpsuit; silk poncho; Ochre sandals; Clutch
The magical part is that the jumpsuit can also be worn as a pair of trousers making it a perfect suitcase piece. You simply roll the top down so that you have a ruched middle as you would with a pair of Pilates trousers like so…
…and you can create a whole new outfit.
The one image I didn’t manage to get because it started to pour with rain was of the jumpsuit without the poncho but you can see other pictures of the jumpsuit on the Hope site here. You can also see their new summer collection.
So, part two of holiday packing will follow on Tuesday, covering the rest of the items on the packing list. If I leave it any longer there won’t be any stock left and it’s really rather nice thinking about holidays right now don’t you think? For a little more inspiration you can see my last three summer holidays covered below. Hopefully you can see how Midlifechic has changed over the years – by that I mean the blog not me. The blog is looking a little better but I have aged and I’m not as toned as I was, thanks to the shoulder that never heals. Così è la vita – have a good weekend everyone.
2014 – Competa, Spain
What I’ve packed for a holiday in Spain
What I wore for travelling to Spain
The first day of holiday – how it all went wrong
2015 – Kalkan, Turkey
Off to the land of Eastern Promise
A holiday in Kalkan plus – should women over 40 wear bikinis?
2016 – Kefalonia, Greek Islands
A holiday in Kefalonia with teenagers part 1
Kefalonia with teenagers part 2
Disclosure: ‘Holiday packing for warm climes – women over 40’ is not a sponsored post. Thank you to Hope for sending me the jumpsuit and silk shrug that are featured in this post.
Sales that have started
Boden 30% off dresses and accessories
Pure Collection – up to 60% off
Key Spring / Summer Style Posts
Summer city dressing – dresses
Chelsea Flower Show and Madeleine
A holiday wardrobe from Marks and Spencer
What to buy from Boden and Hush
Uniqlo – linen and denim review
How to update your capsule wardrobe for Spring
The Midlife Series
Simple 50th birthday celebrations
How it feels to reach your 50th birthday
Midlife loneliness – a follow up
Loneliness and the midlife woman
What is midlife in the twenty-tens?
Survey results – what you are experiencing