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Fashion: Stop over-packing... Here's eight essential items for every holiday

Curb your suitcase-stuffing habits by curating a capsule holiday wardrobe

White Stuff Shipwreck Embroidered Kaftan and Laurie Tassel Tote Bag,, all available from whitestuff.com

NO-ONE really needs 35 outfits for a seven-day break, but we're all guilty of over-packing at times, particularly for summer holidays.

If you're limited to cabin baggage it's even worse, and planning for a relaxed weekend away can result in a bedroom floor strewn with clothing and a full-blown tantrum when you should be in chilled-out holiday mode.

But it doesn't have to be that way. By compiling a streamlined capsule collection of items you can wear in multiple ways (plus a few basics and accessories, of course) you'll have enough outfits to last the week without lugging your whole wardrobe on the plane.

Here are eight essential holiday fashion buys to help you pack with precision...

1. The swimsuit

No longer reserved for the beach or pool, a swimsuit can double as a sexy body top when tucked into shorts or a high-waisted midi skirt. Block colour cossies work best, and you can layer over an unbuttoned blouse if you feel a little too exposed.

Marks & Spencer Autograph Pleated V-neck Long Sleeve Blouse, £39.50; Collection Secret Slimming Lace-up Swimsuit, £29.50; Collection Pure Cotton Rolled Hem Chino Shorts, £15; Collection Shopper Bag, £29.50

Marks and Spencer Autograph Pleated V-neck Long Sleeve Blouse, Collection Secret Slimming Lace-up Swimsuit, all available from marksandspencer.com

2. The shirt dress

By night, a cute dress paired with metallic accessories, by day, a poolside cover-up (wear it unbuttoned), a shirt dress will come in very handy on hols. Just be sure to choose a neutral tone that works with all your swimwear.

East Silk Jersey Combination Dress, £89

East Silk Jersey Combination Dress, available from east.co.uk

3. The metallic sandals

As for metallic accessories, a pair of minimalist flat sandals in silver, gold or rose gold offer maximum day-to-night potential.

Hush Sasha Sandals, £55

Hush Sasha Sandals, available from hush-uk.com

4. The Little White Dress

There's something about a white gypsy dress that makes it chic enough for evening with heels and a clutch, but relaxed enough to re-wear for the beach or strolling around town - and in warmer climes, it's cooler than an LBD.

Long Tall Sally Ladder Trim Cold Shoulder Dress, £50

Long Tall Sally Ladder Trim Cold Shoulder Dress, available from longtallsally.com

5. The in-between sandals

Practical and pretty, a low block or wedge-heeled sandal will feel smart enough for a fancy restaurant but not too dressy for a day of sightseeing in the city.

Dune Jany Tan Sandals, £55 (reduced from £70)

Dune Jany Tan Sandals, available from dunelondon.com

6. The kaftan

Not just a beach cover-up, a midi or maxi length kaftan will take you from the beach to the bar to dinner – as long as the fabric isn't see-through!

White Stuff Shipwreck Embroidered Kaftan, £22 (reduced from £45); Laurie Tassel Tote Bag, £29 (reduced from £59.95)

White Stuff Shipwreck Embroidered Kaftan and Laurie Tassel Tote Bag,, all available from whitestuff.com

7. The statement shorts

Denim cut-offs are great, but if you want to get more mileage out of your separates on holiday, choose a pair of city shorts with trendy detailing, like a scalloped hem, paper bag waist or bow belt. Pair with a blouse (or swimsuit) for sundowner cocktails.

Miss Selfridge Stripe Flippy Shorts, £25

Miss Selfridge Stripe Flippy Shorts, available from missselfridge.com

8. The bardot blouse

If there's one print the fashion pack can't get enough of this summer, it's gingham. The high street has about a hundred versions of this cotton off-the-shoulder top, which is a real holiday hero. Dress it down with denim shorts or dress it up with a city shorts and silver sandals.

Simply Be Gingham Bardot Blouse, £16.50 (reduced from £25)

 SimplyBe Gingham Bardot Blouse, available from simplybe.co.uk

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