What to Pack Series

What to Pack: Cape Town

Posted by Bee Shapiro on January 27, 2014 at 2:00:00 PM EST | Post a Comment

With sunshine most days of the year, Cape Town is a pleasant destination in nearly any season. The city, positioned on the southern tip of Africa, also serves as a melting pot, melding European sensibilities with local Khoisan and Xhosa flair. Add on nature’s own touch (namely, the beach) and excellent vineyards nearby, and you can see how a trip here could entertain you for a weekend or much longer. Below, some ideas for what to bring to enjoy the city's many splendors.

Women

Beach Hopping

The city is fringed with three sections of beaches, so sun-lovers will easily find a sandy stretch tuned to their liking. Slip on these horn sunglasses ($200) to scope out the surf conditions on the West Coast, home also to kite boarders.

A gauze hoodie can serve as cover-up in the earlier hours. This style comes with zesty orange stripes ($238).

A bikini set in paprika red spices things up (top, $67.95; bottom, $61.95).

For lunch, pull on a pair of denim cut-offs ($154) for a dip into one of the many excellent fish restaurants like Gaaitjie, which has seats overlooking the beach.

These flat, tan t-sandals with a beaded motif ($68) round out the beach-to-restaurant look.

A Night on the Town

Though downtown is studded with slick skyscrapers, Cape Town, like the best beach cities, maintains a relatively laid-back dress code. Go for light jeans in a breathable slouchy cut. This pair, particularly, comes with leather details ($295).

A dash of color on top brings your wardrobe palette alive. To wit: a rose print livens up this silk top ($190).

Change up patterns by adding this suede animal-print clutch ($242).

Or choose a new look entirely with this black, blue, and orange mixed-print shift dress ($298).

For heels, a thicker stacked version offers more stability and this mule shape ($350) is a versatile piece for outfits both floaty and structured.

Men

Atlantic Breezes

Looking for a toned, attractive crowd? Head to the Atlantic beaches, where the water is slightly colder, but the scene certainly is not. Lined with million-dollar homes and home to Cape Town’s social scene, Clifton’s and Camps Bay are lively choices. Be prepared for a dip in the nippy waters in these Liberty green and blue trunks ($195).

On top, a basic tee or tank are no-brainers. For a preppier look, wear a polo ($64.50) instead.

For covertly scanning the crowd, these acetate aviators have just the right kind of gradient lenses ($335).

With plenty of beach bars, the afternoon crowd often lingers into the evening hours. Bring a change of clothes if necessary, including these poplin shorts in light blue ($185).

And stripes never go out of season, especially in maritime navy and white ($85).

Fare Trade

Along with Xhosa fare, the local gastronomic tableau includes excellent Malay-inflected and pan-African menus. Not quite ready for springbok and kudu steaks? Myoga offers a fancy 7-course fusion menu option that’s probably more familiar to the palate. For the occasion, pull on these light, sun-faded jeans ($205).

An oxford shirt with contrasting gray sleeves is a playful way to dress up without going too far out on a limb ($114).

If your late-night plans include a stop on Long Street for a drink or three, a more casual rugby shirt nods to the much loved local sport ($41.99).

You can get away with neat sneakers at most venues, especially if they’re less sporty than street, such as these mustard Jack Purcells ($75).

Finally, note the details: Protect your smartphone with a striking case (which is an excellent conversation starter as well) like this gold-colored, metal-and-wood iPhone case ($70).

Photo Credit: Women Day: Courtesy of illesteva; Lemlem; Gap Inc.; Backcountry.com; Anthropologie. Women Night: Courtesy of TENOVERSIX, LLC; NASTY GAL INC.; Heist; Anthropologie; Zappos.com or its affiliates. Men Day: Courtesy of BOP LLC.; BOP LLC.; Mr Porter; BROOKS BROTHERS GROUP, INC.; BOP LLC. Men Night: Courtesy of BOP LLC.; Unionmade; Mr Porter; TENOVERSIX, LLC; Ralph Lauren Media LLC.

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