Here are the twelve must-have fashion items French women wear on vacation. When going on vacation, whether tropical destinations or beach getaways, it’s essential to pack the appropriate clothing to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable trip. By selecting the right pieces, you can have a vacation wardrobe that is both stylish and easy to carry, especially if you’re limited to a carry-on.
That is why to help start your holiday off in style, being French, I’ve listed below the twelve essential items to create the ultimate vacation capsule wardrobe. These pieces can be easily mixed and matched to create chic vacation outfits. So if you’re going to St-Tropez, Ibiza, Mykonos, or any other coastal getaway this summer, I rounded up the perfect closet for every summer escape.
Whether you’re looking to redo your vacation wardrobe entirely or simply add a few more things to your luggage, keep reading below to find out how to put a Parisian twist into your vacation closet. Bon voyage ;)!
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1. Linen Button-Down Shirts
For a polished vacation look, a linen button-down is versatile enough to wear in various ways. You can wear it over your swimsuit as a cover-up at the beach, or with denim while traveling, or pair it with wide-leg pants for an elegant summer evening outfit. Also, you can wear it with matching linen trousers, either as a set or individually, depending on your preference for the day.
In addition, linen fabric is very breathable, making it ideal for wearing even during the hottest days. This season, I love this Loro Piana linen shirt in army green and this white appliqué linen shirt.
2. Beach Cover-Ups
A chic cover-up is definitely the one piece to pack for any summer escape. Whether a kaftan, breezy button-up, or sarong skirt, a stylish cover-up is a piece that is effortless to throw on and which can elevate your look instantaneously. It also makes transitioning from the water to an afternoon lunch effortlessly elegant.
This summer, I absolutely love this Pippa Holt embroidered cotton huipil (these colors remind me of my last trip to Mykonos) and this bohème-chic Caravana Mahahual cotton-gauze maxi dress. If you don’t feel comfortable in a dress, opt for this très chic Eres Abby stretch-jersey halterneck jumpsuit.
3. Long Shorts
A great pair of shorts is the item that probably gets the most use throughout summer vacations. And if chosen well, shorts can definitely look chic and polished. Consider opting for long and tailored shorts or bermuda in high-quality, breathable fabrics (like cotton, linen, or silk) that hit the knee or fall just above. They can be close-fitting but not too tight.
This summer, I recommend these chic Totême belted shorts or Loro Piana pleated twill shorts. For a summer soirée, consider opting for these Frankie Jazz sequined tulle shorts. And when it’s really too hot to wear pants, prefer these Totême embroidered shorts made from soft, lightweight silk-twill.
4. White Pants
Whether in ecru, ivory, or cream, white pants are undoubtedly a vacation wardrobe essential. Paired with even the most classic pieces, like a white T-shirt, an oversized shirt, or a striped sweater, white pants can add sophistication to any look. It’s the perfect versatile piece for these colder summer evenings, keeping you smart and cool. This season, I love these très chic Totême cotton-gabardine tapered pants and white high-rise tapered jeans.
5. Wide-Leg Silk Pants
There is nothing chicer than a nice pair of wide-leg silk trousers! Wear them to the beach with a one-piece swimsuit or to an evening soirée with an oversized white shirt. These pants suit almost every occasion, thanks to their relaxed and wide-leg silhouettes. I love these Totême striped silk wide-leg pants or Anine Bing silk-satin straight-leg pants in terracotta.
Sundresses (“les robes d’été”) are undoubtedly one of the most versatile pieces to wear on vacation, as long as you have the right accessories to dress them up and down. When I’m in the city, I tend to opt for polished shirt dresses. However, when I’m on vacation, I love to wear comfortable yet bohème-chic (bohemian-chic) dresses like this stunning Farm Rio embroidered crochet-trimmed linen dress or this très chic Bondi Born belted voile maxi dress.
Pair your favorite sundress with leather sandals (like these Chloé Rebecca leather sandals) or chic espadrilles (I recommend these Castaner Chiara 80 or these Marie Marot x J.Crew espadrilles) and a raffia tote.
Consider opting for a sophisticated and well-tailored swimsuit from a renowned French swimwear brand like Eres, which can also be worn as a bodysuit with wide-leg silk pants for a chic evening look. This season, I love the Eres Cassiopée bandeau swimsuit in ecru. A swimsuit in ecru is the perfect swimwear style to emphasize your slight sun tan or slightly tanned skin tone. I also have this beautiful Eres Show bandeau bikini top on my wishlist.
8. Leather Sandals
Flat leather sandals are definitely one of my favorite footwear options on vacations! Not only are they extremely comfortable, but thanks to their easy-to-wear silhouettes, they can also bring any outfit to the next level. This season, consider opting for these beautiful Chloé Rebecca sandals or these A Emery x Matteau Spargi sandals.
Also, I highly recommend the shoe brand Ancient Greek Sandals, I’ve bought these gorgeous Victory Of Samothrace sandals. All their sandals are handmade by highly-skilled craftsmen using traditional, centuries-old techniques.
Despite being Spanish in origin, espadrilles are the ideal shoe style for summer vacations! Whether flats or with a bit of heel, espadrilles can cover all occasions and go with any vacation outfit. Also, they are one of the most comfortable shoes to walk in. This summer, consider opting for these fabulous Castaner Chiara 80 or these Marie Marot x J.Crew flat espadrilles.
10. A Raffia Tote
Easy to carry and versatile, a raffia tote or straw bag in summer can be used on all occasions —whether for shopping, picnics, or days at the beach. It’s the perfect bag to carry all your daily essentials and make your vacation outfit look classic and chic. This summer, I have this lovely Loewe x Paula’s Ibiza leather-trimmed woven raffia tote on my wishlist. Check out Sézane’s Justine basket for a more affordable option.
11. A Sunhat
Whenever I embark on a summer vacation, this accessory is always the first thing I pack in my suitcase. This season, consider a boater, straw boater, or classic straw hat. Lightweight, breathable, and great for keeping the rays off your face, straw hats can elevate any vacation look. I have this beautiful Maison Michel Virginie straw sunhat on my wishlist.
A great pair of sunglasses can elevate your style and add sophistication to any vacation outfit. This summer, consider opting for pairs with an oversized shape with chunky, round frames that feel decidedly retro (like these Chloé Gayia sunglasses). Or consider cat-eye shapes evocative of French Riviera vintage glamour like these Bottega Veneta Edgy sunglasses.
Et voilà! I hope this list of the must-have fashion items French women wear on vacation will help you create your own vacation capsule wardrobe. If you have any questions, please add your comments below.
Leonce is the founder and editor of Leonce Chenal, a lifestyle platform launched in 2018. Originally from France, Leonce offers a fresh perspective that comes from her experience at top tech companies in Paris and London. Having spent several years in Paris and now residing in Amsterdam, she combines her professional expertise with a personal passion for French and Parisian styles. Leonce is committed to guiding her readers through the intricacies of Parisian chic, empowering them to embrace the elegance and sophistication of French style.