It’s travel season! Whether you’re backpacking through Europe, or lounging poolside in Cancun, having a functional (not to mention insta-ready) wardrobe is one of the most important parts of planning your vacation.
I am a chronic overpacker. I spend hours packing a suitcase so stuffed, it barely zips. Then I get to my hotel and realize I don't need 80% of the things I packed & that I probably could have saved myself $$$ on the luggage fee. So if you are anything like me, I think I have found your new best friend. The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method! Yes; it's that easy. 5 shirts, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses and 3 shoes, 2 swimsuits and 2 bags, and finally, 1 hat/ watch/ belt. This simple suitcase of items can make weeks worth of unique outfits for all types of outings.
The key to this packing method is using versatile pieces. A pair of denim shorts can be styled with almost any top in your suitcase, while a white t-shirt can be worn shopping, to lunch, and to the beach. At the same time, keep in mind what events and outings you have planned for your trip. If you are planning on going to a formal dinner, opt for a higher-end dress. The beauty of the 54321 list is that it allows room for one or two outfits for specific events, but still covers every base for the rest of your trips. Different accessories and combinations could make dozens of different outfits.
Below, we made our dream suitcase ready for any tropical beach vacay (using our 54321 method!!
When choosing your five tops, it’s important to take style, climate, and versatility into account. I chose light-weight or smaller tops, wrinkle-resistant tops, and tops that could easily be mixed/matched/layered. I chose our Boardwalk Button Down Top for its convenience. Throw this piece over a swimsuit and shorts for an easy cover up, or pair with white jeans for a classy and casual look. Our Good Times Babydoll Top is the perfect top to pack because it’s lightweight (AKA leaves you more packing space) and is the perfect way to spice up your simple denim shorts. We chose the Sweet Feelings Bodysuit because it is a simple piece that can be layered, or dressed down. A huge bonus: the Bodysuit is featured in a more wrinkle resistant material!! I love love love our One Shoulder Crop Top! I added this to the list because it could be worn with baggy joggers or even our cutest Hampton Wrap Skirt. Finally, I added my old faithful High Neck Ribbed Crop Tank. It fits PERFECTLY and goes with everything.
Four bottoms can cover all of your bases. I tried to choose basic pieces that contrasted each other enough to be useful for all occasions. All four bottoms could be worn with any of the five tops above. I opted for our Molly Paperbag Denim Shorts for a basic, dependable pair of shorts. Then I chose the Hampton Wrap Skirt, paired with a simple tee or tank and sneakers, this skirt could be worn shopping or for daytime activities. If paired with jewelry, heels, and a bodysuit, this dress could be a gorgeous nighttime piece. I chose the Drawstring Crop Linen Pants because they have the coverage and length that a pant would have, but are lightweight enough to easily be packed and cool enough to be worn on a hot day. Finally, I chose my favorite High Rise Ruffle Hem Shorts- not just because they are my favorite, but because they are classy and add dimension to any plain top.
Dresses/sets are the easiest pieces for me to pack. I try to pack a night-time dress, a day dress, and something that I could wear pool-side. I could see myself lounging poolside in the Breezy Wide Leg Pant Set or throwing the bottoms on over my bikini, this set is comfy & cute!! The Havana Nights Midi Dress screams vacation vibes to me. I packed it for an upscale dinner, dancing, or whatever excitement your vacation may hold. Finally, I chose the Twisted Front Midi Dress because it’s perfect for outings that aren’t exactly candle-lit dinner, but are slightly more formal than sitting next to the pool. For a 7-14 day vacation, these dresses should cover almost all of your needs. As far as shoes go, I chose a pair of casual sandals for the beach, a pair of sneakers for walking, and a pair of wedge sandals for dressy occasions. Opt for neutral shoes so they can be worn with every outfit.
I’m grateful for this list because without it, I'd forget a bag! I chose a simple purse for day-to-day travels/ excursions and a backpack for the beach or for any heavy-duty day trips. Pro-tip: bring this bag as your carry-on to save space! Make sure to bring two swimsuits, so one can be worn while the other dries, plus this gives you added variety. I chose two suits that contrast each other, I wanted one more conservative for any situations where I'd want added coverage.
Aim to bring one of each type of accessory. A small accessory or two can bring an outfit a long way and can be incredibly useful. Belts are non-negotiable for me- so I chose a neutral belt that can be worn with any of the outfits above. Next, I chose our Emperor Coin Necklace- simple gold jewelry goes with everything and could even be worn the entire vacation. I love the Raffia Straw Bucket Hat, it has a nice brim to keep the sun out, but at the same time is the perfect size to throw in a suitcase. On top of these accessories, I would opt to pack a pair of sunglasses, a jacket, and a watch if those are your personal non-negotiables.
Packing doesn’t have to be as tedious as we make it! This simple, yet extensive packing list makes travel a breeze, and our favorite Olive and Paix selections make packing almost as exciting as your destination.