Help! I Need A Summer Holiday Wardrobe For My 3-week Trip To Asia …

Hi Chantelle,

You have been so generous with my past agonies (and all others). I hope you
can help me with my ultimate dilemma!

I am planning my first 3-week trip to Asia this August, and am *terrified*
of the sweltering hot/humid/wet weather!!! The itinerary is more touristy
than backpacker, and will include exploring big cities, walking about
famous national landmarks, eating lots of amazing food, and visiting more
conservative locales.

The tentative plan is Hong Kong, China, Thailand and Japan. Ideally
everything should fit into a standard carry-on, to minimize en route lost
luggage headaches and transport aches. I leave in about 2 months.

What should I pack? What can I buy when I get there? (BTW, I am UK 6/8,
162.5cm, flat on top, curvy on bottom, 36-37 shoe). Blending in would be
great (I am Vietnamese/Anglo, though people assume half-Japanese, among
others). However, projecting a respectful yet stylish image as a guest is
more important.

I feel so overwhelmed, but excited nonetheless.

Thanks again for all your help, I look forward to viewing your site every

Lisa, California, USA – by email

Hi Lisa,

Thank you so much for your email – I am jealous! 
What a fantastic trip you have planned …

Ok, the main issue we have think about is space for you and also knowing that you are a student we also have to consider your budget. I am going to suggest some items which you can mix and match with one another and also suggest what you can buy out there to make up your outfits.

Essential Holiday Wardrobe for 3 week Asia trip:

1 x Bikini
2 x Kaftans
1 x Linen Trousers
1 x Shorts
1 x Daytime Summer Dress
1 x Pair of comfortable sandal / pumps
5 x Vest tops
2 x T-shirts
1 x Skirt
1 x Evening Summer dress

It doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s amazing what you can buy out there. I recommend that you buy the following items out on location in addition to the above to make up the perfect holiday wardrobe.

1 x Kaftan – maybe two
3 x Necklaces – choose to compliment your outfits, maybe two for day and one for evening.
2 x Pairs of embellished flip flops – they are cheap as chips but very individual.
1 x Daytime Summer Dress – optional
1 x Evening Summer dress – optional

How to Mix and Match …

Bikini – I know that for most of your trip you will be undertaking the touristy trails but you never know when you will need a bikini. The top is an essential for wearing under your kaftans and tops especially in the humid climate. Buy separates as this will accommodate your pear shape easily and it is recommended that you wear a brighter, patterned or detailed top to draw the eye upwards and wear a darker colour on your bottom half.

Kaftans – Kaftans are lightweight and fantastic for wearing sightseeing. They are comfy and can be worn by themselves or over your shorts and linen trousers depending on the site. On some site seeing tours you may have to be more covered up than others, especially your shoulders when visiting temples. Go for brighter colours or patterned kaftans with embellished detail. There will be a fab selection of kaftans in Asia at bargain prices so see how the mood takes you on how many you buy before hand.

Linen Trousers – Again, great for wearing sightseeing and can be teamed with vest tops, t-shirts and kaftans. They are lightweight and also great for packing up into your carry-on. It doesn’t matter if they crease and can be worn casual for day or smarter for evening. Go for a plain colour which is not too dark but a good neutral that will go with all other tops.

Shorts – Sounds like you can get away with short shorts so go for it! There are some cute denim ones out there which can be teamed with anything, bikini, vest tops, t-shirts and kaftan. A great alternative for wearing sight seeing or wearing on the beach.

Daytime Summer dress – You need a daytime dress for sight seeing and could be good for those days when you can’t be bothered to think about what to wear – just throw it on and off you go! Another a good option for wearing to a casual bar or eating place in the early evening.

Pair of comfortable sandals / pumps – I recommend that you wear the comfortable sandals / pumps on the plane travelling and whilst sightseeing until you find some that you want to buy on location but choose carefully. They need to be worn sightseeing, so comfy and they need to have a little bit of individuality for more dressy occasions. Try and match the best you can with all other items, it may be that you go for a metallic neutral or bronzed colour which will go with pretty much everything. Take into consideration the embellishment and colour of items and match accordingly.

Vest tops – Pick a selection of vest tops that will mix and match well with your linen trousers, shorts and skirt. V-neck, slash, halter or square necks are recommended. If your going for neutral bottoms then splash out with colour and patterns on top. Also the vest tops don’t have to be cotton, be adventurous and look around for other light weight alternatives but make sure they aren’t dry cleaning only …

T-shirts – Puff or cap sleeve with polo or v-neck will suit your body shape. The t-shirts will be useful for wearing on cooler days when sightseeing and they will obviously cover your shoulders so perfect for wearing inside temples.

Skirt – Choose a skirt which you can wear for both day and evening, not too smart and not too casual.

Evening Summer dress – It is always best to be prepared. There may be a few times when you want to avoid the touristy trail and go up market eating and drinking. You know that it fits you perfectly so there’s no need to spend ages thinking about what to wear and it leaves more time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the food. Wear with purchased embellished flip flops / sandals and necklaces.

Hope this has helped you out a little and don’t forget to check out my article on How To Pack The Perfect Crease-free Suitcase which will save you loads of space in your carry-on for essential toiletries. I would love to see some pics when you get back including some of the items you bought for the trip.

Have an amazing time!

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