November 16, 2016

A Vintage Gal's Guide to Packing for a Beach Vacation

Until earlier this month I had never been on a beach vacation. To be fair, I spent the first thirteen years of my life growing up in San Diego California, very near nice beaches where we spent tons of time every summer, so it wasn't like I was beach deprived back then! Still, as an adult I tend to go for more city based vacation spots with museums and historical buildings, rather than off the grid style relax-on-a-beach style vacations. That's why it took a good friend of mine getting married to get me down to a tropical beach ;)

Of course there was no way I was leaving home without my retro style! Be it traipsing through cobbled streets from museum to museum, or lounging near the crashing waves, traveling in vintage glam style is always extra fun! So what are some packing tips for a beach bound vintage gal? 
Retro sunglasses are a must. You could be wearing a modern bikini and have wet hair, but with retro sunglasses, the whole look suddenly seems more vintage and glamorous! I brought two pairs with me to Tulum, one rounder 30's-ish style in black, and some angular cat eyed 50's shaped shades. Sunglasses are a beach essential anyways, and the more retro the shape, the more glam you'll feel I promise :)

Other essentials include: Retro styled swimsuits! These are from Amazon of all places, and the two I bought for my recent vacation were much cheaper than the similar styles offered at Modcloth or other "vintage" retailers. Since retro swimsuits can easily set you back $75+, I knew I wanted to try the less expensive Amazon versions first, and it turned out they fit well and were totally great! Plus I got two swimsuits for less than the cost of one from pricier brands. Find the styles above (the black is the same style I was wearing in my outfit post from the Tulum ruins) here, here, and here.

Then of course you probably don't want to walk around in your bathing suit all of the time (although you can certainly get away with it!) you will want something to cover up with. A sarong is always a nice option, and a fun Hawaiian print sarong is so 40's pin up and fun! Still, for my trip I packed my black cotton circle skirt to serve as a cover up over my printed swimsuit (see Monday's outfit post). The top half of your swimsuit will make a totally cute top when paired with a skirt, and a full skirt is just a super chic option for the beach that not enough people choose these days! Great to wear to breakfast and then out to the sandy shores.

Cute retro styled high waisted shorts (the ones above are from Vivien of Holloway) are another super cute option, as are wide legged cotton or linen trousers a-la 1930's beach pajamas! Light weight tops (the peasant number pictured is from Vivien of Holloway again) in vintage styles are great too if you are looking for a little more coverage on top.

The last must have is a large straw (or that packing friendly paper that they weave to look like straw but folds well) hat. Hide your tousled wet hair under a wide brimmed hat and feel suddenly Grace Kelly, it's magic! 

While I packed swimsuit+skirt outfits for daytime, I also packed simple dresses and big earrings for evening. Every vintage gal loves a good summer dress and they are a perfect option for nights at a beach side restaurant. Just because your beach vacation may involve a lot of lounging, swimming, and falling asleep mid day to the sound of rhythmic waves doesn't mean you need leave your vintage style at home!

How do you pack for a beach vacation? Do you tend to go totally casual, or do you keep the glamour at 100%? I certainly had fun surprising people with my waterproof cat eye liner and swishing full skirts even with sand between my toes ;)


  1. A girl after my own heart - glamour is number one on my packing list every time! Huge retro sunglasses are essential for hiding a sweaty, makeup-less face. I do need new swimwear next year, I like the styles you chose x

    1. I have noticed how stylishly you pack for your travels! It just adds an extra layer of fun I think :)


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