At This Moment: Beach Holiday

Mix and match for the perfect beach-to-party ensembles. Image by Saimah Ashraf via Polyvore.

It’s that time of year again. The cold. The dry skin. The frenetic shopping. And of course, the sunny, beachy vacation to get away from it all. If you, like many of us, are jetting off to some faraway warm locale this holiday season, the transition from boots and fur to summer dresses and flip flops may be a rude awakening. But rest assured, you can make the shift from brrr to balmy without sacrificing on style…or cramming your entire closet into a tiny carry-on, for that matter.

To minimize packing angst, choose a cohesive element that runs throughout your vacation wardrobe. The goal is to easily mix and match to create outfits. For lots of women that means sticking to a limited color palette. Neutrals are a good bet, but I like throwing in that pop of color and zhuzh with some brights and metallics.

For other women (read: me), cohesion means planning a thematic holiday wardrobe that complements your destination. Exotic floral and palm tree prints scream “tropical vacation!” like no other. Unfortunately, they also read as hopelessly touristy and won’t get you much mileage when you’re back home come January. A nautical inspired wardrobe, however, inspired by a 1930s screen siren, is elegant, relaxed, and versatile enough to wear year ’round–even on your own turf.

To get the look, go glam in a retro style bathing suit, with a big floppy hat, oversized sunglasses, and a raffia tote to double duty when you’re off the beach. Wedges and espadrilles are a comfortable footwear option when you need a little height but want to keep the look casual. I love them with a wide leg trouser a la Greta Garbo or high-waisted shorts paired with an airy, feminine blouse. Accessorize with a silk scarf tied around your head, neck, or handbag, and some chunky chain link jewelry tossed on whether you’re poolside or party hopping. As for those warm nights, don’t forget the killer heels, shimmery cocktail dress, and requisite red lips no siren would be caught dead without.

And when you’re back home, feel free to throw on a peacoat over your vacay wardrobe, add some wooly tights and booties, and channel that Hollywood screen siren for many (frosty) weeks to come.

Saimah Ashraf is a contributing writer at She blogs about fashion and style at Street Number Eight.