Ready to Wear: Never theme a holiday wardrobe to a holiday. No capri pants in Capri

It's the start of the summer holiday season and – as with all debuts – as far as matters sartorial are concerned, the pressure is on.

There are, thankfully, basic rules that most would do well to adhere to and which apply to any destination, whatever the ambience or indeed weather.

Rule Number One. Never theme your holiday wardrobe with your holiday. It is not clever or fashionable to wear kaftans in India, for example, Breton T-shirts in Brittany or, quite obviously, Bermuda shorts in Bermuda and capri pants in Capri.

Rule Number Two. Avoid adopting a whole new persona just because you read you should in a magazine. A cashmere wrap on a plane? You may as well have the word 'Vogue' tattooed on your forehead. Apart from on a long-haul flight, a blanket won't be necessary, thank-you, and, even then, you'll be supplied with a suitably fleecy one. In a similar vein, upon arrival, resist the urge to slip into diaphanous white palazzo pants, a sequinned 'cover-up' (that'll be a jacket), wide-brimmed hat (as seen on Catherine Zeta Jones, below) and turquoise/coral jewellery. They sell most of the above in overpriced hotel boutiques and there's a reason why anyone with integrity avoids these like the plague.

More generally, unless travelling to an entirely metropolitan environment, only the extremely dedicated wear full-on fashion off-duty – risk looking try-hard or even plain insane if you follow this particular path. Balmain cargo pants, Balenciaga quilted leather gilets, laced Azzedine Alaïa ankle boots and so forth are all, in this instance, best left at home. The exception that proves the rule? The muse/creative director, a woman who is never out of fashion and whose commitment must only be applauded. Amanda Harlech, for example, is unlikely to be spotted on sea in Juicy Couture terry towelling trackpants, and this despite proclamations that terry towelling trackpants are currently à la mode.

Ideally, travel light, or why not just wear your entire holiday wardrobe on the journey? If the budget airlines have their way, this might become a harsh and sausage-limb-inducing reality. Seriously, though, hanging around airports waiting for bags is a waste of precious time. Assuming this is a trip to the sun, pack many small, light garments that can be layered on your body and/or rolled in your suitcase – different weights of jersey are good. The extremely well-heeled may carry a freshly laundered, discreetly perfumed linen shirt for each and every day away but otherwise ironing en vacances is for losers.

Finally, carry a handbag that isn't so hardware-laden that a frozen shoulder/ nose-diving Boeing 747 is the inevitable result – the 'It-bag' may be back but not for use on holiday – and keep make-up to a minimum. A full face of foundation is a high-risk strategy, whatever the destination.

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