Susannah Frankel: A suitcase for all seasons

Ready To Wear: What to pack for that hard-earned fortnight in the sun

Sunday 23 October 2011 04:37

Summer might be over for high-fashion purposes, but that still leaves the issue of what to pack for that hard-earned fortnight in the sun. The overall requirement is to resist the urge to look like you've tried. The luxury of not caring is what this particular fashion moment entails. Any major statements are the preserve of the autumn season, and that's true for designers and fashion followers alike.

In order of importance, I will be packing: two pairs of big black sunglasses. Beausoleil and Ray-Ban Wayfarer are my frame of choice – and not the screamingly fashionable coloured kind that are now so over-exposed that only teenagers shopping in Oxford Circus need apply.

Next, two one-piece swimming costumes courtesy of Eres. The fashion insider's best kept secret, this label is to swimwear what Azzedine Alaia is to the cocktail dress: all of the benefits of plastic surgery and none of the mess.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: sun-care products by Sisley are the best. Nivea is a more reasonably priced back-up, however, and it smells lovely, bringing back childhood memories in a pleasingly Proustian way. The two sun-dresses by Ghost that I have owned for so long that they might reasonably qualify as vintage travel with me wherever I go. In the summer, they're worn poolside. In the winter they make the best night-dresses in recent fashion history, as anyone who has ever owned one of these unusually versatile garments will know.

A pale beach towel shows off a tan but is high maintenance. A white beach towel looks like it belongs in the bathroom. I've got a bright pink one – the only bright pink thing I have ever, or will ever, own.

As far as cover-ups are concerned... never trust a woman in a beaded kaftan. A fine cashmere cardigan is my constant companion, surprisingly breathable by day and perfect for balmy evenings. Brora is the purveyor of some of the most desirable cashmere. It's not cheap but it is sustainable.

Finally: sandals. I've three pairs, all flat – heels and high summer are a little too Miss World circa 1970. The best basic flip-flop is by Muji: the upper is transparent, adding length to the leg, and they never rub. More of an, ahem, investment buy is a pair of woven leather sandals by Bottega Veneta. To travel, Birkenstocks remain my sandals of choice.

That's it. Now all that's needed is the money to cover the air fare. Or, failing that, I'll wait for the sun to come out and go straight to the park.

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