Beat the Heat: Packing for a Hot Destination

August is here, which means one thing no matter where you are: it's likely to be hot! Although some students are already back-to-school shopping (what!), the summer temperatures and humidity are far from over. If you're headed on a summer vacation abroad, getting in one last weekend trip to the lake, or attending a wedding in the thick of wedding season, your wardrobe can help you manage the weather without sacrificing style—and without overpacking! 

Last summer, my newlywed husband, Anthony, and I traveled to Rome and the Amalfi Coast of Italy for our highly anticipated honeymoon. Anthony, being the romantic gentleman that he is, planned the entire honeymoon on his own, in order to surprise me. (I highly recommend this for engaged couples!) He decided, however, to let me know the location—and only that—of our romantic getaway before the big trip so that I could pack appropriately. And good thing he did—the temperatures were in the 90s the entire trip, and as we were leaving, we were told that we were "lucky to be missing the upcoming heat wave"—scusami?

Regardless if you are going on an exotic vacation in the tropics or if you are taking a weekend road trip to where the temps are equally tropical (ahem, right here in Chicago!), what clothes you pack are key to beat the heat. Take a peek into my suitcase to see what I packed for a couple weeks under the Italian sun.


What better to match the scorching weather than equally hot, bright colors? There certainly is no better time for brights than warm weather, so pull out all the stops! This top, made to be a swim cover-up, was not the only bright piece I packed. You'll notice other bright ensembles in my Italian wardrobe.



swim cover-ups

Perfect for taking your swimsuit from beach to dinner, cover-ups can also double as a shield from the sun when you run out of sunblock on your day-long boat excursion. Not like I am speaking from experience, of course. . .
(Packing a swimsuit goes without saying if you are going to be near a pool, lake, ocean, or even a swimmable pond. Check out this post for one-piece swimsuit ideas.)



There is a reason linen is called the "summer fabric" and is sold all over Italy's Amalfi Coast. It looks light and feels lightweight, perfect for hot and humid days. I actually bought this dress in Positano, so of course I had to wear it as soon as possible.



Okay, okay, you caught me. I will find any excuse to wear a dress, but dresses were made for the heat! You get to bare your arms and legs while keeping it breezy (just watch out for those Marilyn moments!) and there is certainly a dress for every occasion. Fancy dinner? Check. Lounging poolside? Check. Playing tourist in the city or sea? Check, check.

I got the headband I'm wearing as a scarf for 2 Euros outside the Vatican because I needed something to cover my legs before I went in. Being the thrifty gal that I am, I noticed it matched this dress and opted to use it to complete this outfit so the dress didn't stand alone.

Thanks to Colleen + Annie for the adorable dress + sunnies, and Erin for the monogrammed bag! You all know a thing or two about style...

Thanks to Colleen + Annie for the adorable dress + sunnies, and Erin for the monogrammed bag! You all know a thing or two about style...



With humidity so thick you could cut it, layering is a death sentence. So shoes, scarfs (that double as headbands or towels), jewelry, sunglasses, and bold lipstick are the best way to make your look a put-together outfit.


These retro-esque sunnies and a "little bit of lipstick" take my outfit from functional (hopping on a vespa with my Italian stallion!) to fashionable.

big sister tip: Try to pack accessories that go with multiple pieces, like this red and pink necklace, so you save space but multiply the amount of unique outfits you pack.

Wedges are a great choice for heels in the heat—no sinking into the mud or grass.


a wide-brimmed hat

Okay, this accessory is important enough that it made its own category. Wide-brimmed hats are key for protecting your face and neck from the sun if you are going to be outside all day, especially when the sun is most intense (typically between 10am and 3pm). Bonus: These hats are also perfect for the days you want to let that beachy hair from all the time in the sea go an extra day. . . or two . . . or three? 

Donning my hat at the beginning and end of the boat ride: pre- and post-swim and sunburn.



What are your tips for packing for a sunny vacation? What would you include that I forgot? 


With a little grace,