Embarking on a luxurious spa trip is the peak of self-care dreams. But while you might imagine that means you’ll be reclining in a robe all weekend, it’s smart to consider stepping up your wardrobe for all the drool-worthy photo opps. Instagram it or it didn’t happen, right?
Take it from Geri Hirsch, bona fide wellness tastemaker and creator of Because I’m Addicted and founder of LEAF.tv. We tapped the social media-savvy goddess to curate the foolproof packing list for a relaxing (and gorgeous) stay, with a boost from J.Crew’s summer collection.
And she’s got the passport resume to back it up: Hirsch has traveled to Japan, Russia, Sweden, and Argentina (to name a few). “[I] have yet to go to Africa, Antartica, and Australia, but those are next,” she muses, and most importantly, “I always try to spa wherever I go.”
Scroll down for total aha-moment travel tips, a full list of spa-approved resort wear, and a downloadable packing list for your next getaway.
The breezy boho top, $88
Hirsch has a travel mantra that needs to be printed on a tote bag, stat: “Research in advance, plan well, submit once there.” Just consider throwing this airy, embroidered number in your suitcase part of the “plan well” step.
“I’m leaving the vintage denim cut-offs behind this year and opting for something a little more sophisticated, like these feminine and ladylike chambrays that tie at the waist,” Hirsch says. “Easy for day, but elegant enough to pair with a heel for cocktails in the evening.”
Throw this pair on with the top above, and you’ve got a look that can go from morning meditation to after-dinner kale cocktail with the addition of a few key accessories.
Who doesn’t want a pop of gold in her outfit? These metallic gems have just the right amount of wow factor to count as an accessory—which is important, according to Hirsch, since “accessories don’t take up much room and are an excellent way to get more mileage out of looks.”
The flirty gingham dress, $138
Although you’re planning to face-plant into a massage table for the majority of your trip, having a night to slip into a flattering frock and take in the sunset is a must. “Even if you don’t think you need it, bring a fancy dress because you never know where you may end up,” Hirsch advises. “I can picture it now, this dress and glass of chilled rosé—swoon!”
“Pale pink frames are the new neutral!” declares Hirsch, which is definitely the style advice of the summer. And these sunnies will blend right in at any spa spot—really, any. Don’t know where to get started? Hirsch can help you with that.
“All the Aman spas are incredible, especially Amangiri in Utah,” she shares. “The outdoor massages in the middle of a jungle-like setting at El Mangroove’s spa in Costa Rica were heavenly, Ojai Valley Inn’s spa is excellent…and if you’re looking for a rigorous wellness retreat coupled with luxurious spa treatments, The Ranch [in Malibu] is 10 out of 10.”
Look, if you’re going to spend days going back and forth from lounging poolside to steaming in a sauna, you better have a cover-up that can also double as a pretty dress. Plus, easy, throw-on-and-chill looks make it all the more streamlined for you to focus on your wellness routine.
“I honor my wellness practice by meditating, sticking to my skin routine, moving my body and allowing myself to rest when I need it (something that can be hard to do while traveling when you feel like there’s a lot to do),” Hirsch notes.
“Ruffles and stripes and off-the-shoulder?! This is what vacation top dreams are made of!” Hirsch says of this flattering number. And trust, she takes vacation seriously—without throwing her body totally off balance.
“[I] make sure to get in loads of greens whenever I can (I never pass up a juice), limit social media scrolling but contribute as I see fit as a way to share what’s inspiring me, and spa when possible,” the wellness insider says. “Lastly, I have a no-gym rule on trips—it just doesn’t feel right. Instead, I make sure to move my body by exploring wherever I am by foot.”
Whether you’re adventuring in a nearby town or partaking in a day hike by your spa digs, you need a place to store all your must-haves—and this one fits the bill. “If there’s one accessory every girl should add to her wardrobe this summer, it’s a straw bag,” Hirsch advises. “And in this shape? So much yes!”
Organizing your outfits in advance (like pairing these sailor classics with the ruffle sweater above) and storing on hangers is Hirsch’s number-one packing technique.
“Once outfits are planned, I lay them right into my case on hangers (alternating which sides the hangers face every five hangers or so) and when I arrive, I immediately unpack and hang things up. This allows the clothes to unwrinkle, I can see everything I have all in one space, and it makes packing back up a cinch.”
Genius, right? And one more solid-gold tip: “Pack a travel-size steamer. You won’t regret it!”
Click to download the hyperlinked packing guide above, and you’ll be all set to spa. Just take one last tip from Hirsch: “Leave room in your luggage for purchases. You’re bound to see local girls wearing local trends and nothing is better than purchasing those along with way.”