Lauren Laverne on fashion: holiday packing

Globetrotter Suitcase

I'm not the best person to advise you on holiday chic.

I can't do chic travel. Or louchely glamorous travel, like Kate Moss lolling atop a super yacht with a fag on the go. I'm just back from holiday. I was assembling Lego as our plane took off, and the only thing I wished I'd packed was a pair of rubber gloves (the lone spray cleaner available was not kind to naked hands. To paraphrase a noted philosopher: "Bang! And your skin is gone!")

It seems impeccable globetrotting and small children just don't go together. Alas. Alack. And yet my experiences have taught me how to survive a family holiday with my sartorial spirit (mostly) intact. I can't stop a toddler wiping their yogurty mouth on your shoulder, but I might prevent you getting done for excess baggage or ending up with photos that make you want to set fire to your wardrobe when you get home. Here goes.

1 To pack (and dress) fast, limit yourself to three (complementary) shades. Then everything goes together without being too matchy.

2 Like sportswear, Holiday Clothes are performing a function, especially on a family holiday. Don't feel obliged to maintain your usual look. Simplify, and don't pack anything you can't wear three times or three ways (er… apart from knickers).

3 Layers. If you are holidaying in the UK keep them light but numerous, and you should be climate-proof and able to close your suitcase. Dresses you can wear with leggings, a rainproof poncho to go over a light jacket, a big multifunctional scarf (sarong, baby blanket, extra layer in the evenings).

4 Shoes. Even if you're going for a month, you only need three pairs: flipflops, ballet pumps and a pair you can walk all day in. Wear the latter during travel.

5 Crease-free fabrics. Jersey, Lycra and a couple of light wool bits are your best bets. Ironing on holiday is illegal.

6 Don't forget the things your family routine demands. Holidays with kids are much like every other day, after all. If yours wake early or you might be up in the night, a robe might be worth taking. (Fist bump of solidarity)

7 A sun hat is not an investment purchase. They always get ruined and/or you'll have to wear it on the plane home and feel like a knob. Buy one you can abandon.

Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenLaverne

Powered by article was written by Lauren Laverne, for The Observer on Sunday 28th April 2013 07.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010