My Chic Obsession: 7 warm weather packing essentials

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

PHOTO CREDIT: Carolyn Arentson

Whether you have plans to travel far and wide this summer or even just to your neighboring town, these are the pieces that should make it into your suitcase so you can put together versatile, practical and chic outfits.

1. Statement sunglasses

It’s such a small item that sometimes gets overlooked. Not only are they practical by protecting your eyes from the sun, but they also can totally add to your look, too. Though black sunglasses never go out of style, why not switch things up this summer? Lighten up your wardrobe with a beautiful rose gold pair, or try something new like a vintage cat-eye frame.

2. Longer bottoms (such as a maxi skirt or cropped pants)

Even if you’re traveling at a generally warm time, places can get chilly in the morning and evening. To stay warm and not sacrifice style, make sure you bring a couple of chic options that will keep you warm, so you don’t have to reach for your sweatpants. Cropped high-waisted culottes are a great option, especially white ones because that color screams spring and summer. Also, the length is perfect for staying warm but also letting in a little breeze. Maxi skirts are great options, too. They’ll keep your legs covered on a cloudy day, but they’re flowy and easy for when the sun comes out.

3. Fashionable sneakers

Are you someone that can’t decide between style and comfort? Guess what: You don’t have to choose. Nobody wants a trip ruined over something like aching feet, so make sure you have comfortable, fashionable sneakers. Canvas sneakers are great options, and they’ll look just as cute with shorts as they will with a sundress. Avoid shoes that look like you’re going hiking — unless you are, of course.

4. A small backpack or larger purse

Whether you’re headed to a beach or you want to avoid many trips back and forth to your hotel room, you’ll not only want something practical for the number of items you’ll have, but you’ll also want it to complement your look, too. Avoid the college/hiking backpack style, and go for something that is a good size, yet fashionable. Tote bags and straw backpacks are options to consider. This can double as your airport bag, too, if you find yourself leaving on a jet plane.

5. Light outerwear (such as a button-down)

Along with needing some longer bottoms, you’ll want a light outerwear option, as well. Though it might sound dressy, having a button-down (relaxed fit) will come in handy way more than you think. It also can work as a swimsuit cover-up or worn with pants as an outfit. It can be easily stuffed into a bag and worn in different ways, whether you knot it over a dress or tie it on your waist.

6. Multifunctional swimsuit

Of course, no suitcase is complete without a swimsuit. Look for styles that can be worn in more than one way. For example, a one-piece swimsuit can be worn as a bodysuit. In order to make it look chic and not like an accident, look for one-piece swimsuits with shoulder straps, preferably in one solid color. You can never go wrong with black.

7. Linen pieces

Linen is laid back, timeless and makes a great packing essential because it can be worn in different ways. Linen dresses can become swimsuit cover-ups, and linen pants are comfy enough to take you from traveling to brunch. When paired with neutral accessories, you look like you’re vacationing in Cannes.

Carolyn Arentson is a fashion blogger from Dubuque. Find more fashionable tips at

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