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How to Dress Like You’re on Vacation Even When You’re Stuck at Home

We’re cleaning out our closets for a trip around the world.

Some of the best memories were born from my childhood home’s costume box, which held old recital outfits, Halloween pieces, and any miscellaneous apparel that turned up. It was a box that had the ability to set any scene—whether you were playing pop star for the day or the doctor of your home hospital, it held the outfits that inspired our play.

As you grow up the costume box begins to slowly dwindle, but, in contrast, your closet grows exponentially. For those of us who never Marie Kondo-ed, the closet is the holder of old outfits we bought for one specific night out, the hat we purchased abroad that seemed to only work there, and the many pieces of clothing that meant something to us at one point and now we can’t really seem to part with. While it might not have the cutesy title of costume box, ultimately, that’s what 75% of our closet acts as.

We’re in a time where I would do just about anything to be, or even feel like I’m somewhere else, and playing dress-up is not excluded. We’re digging through our closet, raiding our house-mate’s drawers, and returning to our roots as we plan the perfect at-home vacation outfits (and know the best accessory will always be a cocktail).

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Paris, France

We’ve all attempted this look one time or another, whether abroad or at-home trying to attain the French-girl aesthetic, and we’ve all tried it because it’s one of the easiest. While we might never have the natural coolness that radiates from the French girls who inspired the look, it’s one simple enough to replicate.

You’ll need a striped top, a pair of blue jeans, a brown jacket (peacoat or trench), and a red lipstick. The outfit is incredibly simple, and the makeup is even simpler–the pop of red lipstick gives an “I tried” touch without the “I tried” time. And don’t forget the French tuck, which can take an outfit from frumpy to effortless (looking effortless always requires at least a little effort).

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Every closet has a “party” look we’ve never found a reason to wear outside of that very specific party—we’re introducing you to its second occasion. It might not be Carnival, but on this night, we are going to pretend it is (I mean, what is time anymore). Carnival outfits are those that spark joy—they’re meant for celebration, making them nothing short of colorful. The perfect outfit pulls the sparkling dress you bought for a girl’s night out years ago from the back of your closet and pairs it with makeup and colors you didn’t know could work on you. It’s your time to experiment and play around—this look is about having fun and feeling confident.

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Milan, Italy

Whether you’ve been re-watching Call Me by Your Name for a taste of summer or binge-watching Normal People, where, in the midst of all the sadness, they presented us with the most fawned over summer-home, Italy has been on the screen (and mind). The summer there, spent biking from the country into the city with nights under the stars (or at least that’s how it goes on TV) is something desperately needed now, but without the transportation or budget, we’ll have to settle for the outfit that makes us feel like we’re on a romantic summer getaway.

The ideal outfit is light-weight, something muted but that still screams summer. Just about any sundress will work—the flowier the better. And if you’re closet is a little less femme, there’s nothing wrong with a simple, breathable pair of shorts and a loose top. If you think of one word when creating this look, let it be linen.

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Woodstock, New York

Any way you decide to tackle this one, it’s a project. The first approach is to dig really deep through bin upon bin of childhood clothes, looking for the tie-dyed tee you swore you made at camp and held onto—the other option is just to make a new one (ask anyone else at home to join). To channel Woodstock and the peace and love vibe, this place has to offer, we have to get together our grooviest ensemble! This means a tie-dye top, a faded pair of blue jeans (the older the better), and a braid or two.

It’s an easy outfit to put together, even if it requires a little DIY crafting. And after we’re looking the part, consider going the extra step and recreating your favorite music festival experience at home—grab a speaker, put on a Woodstock-era album, and head outside for some peace, love, and fun in the sun.

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St. Petersburg, Russia

This outfit is really only suitable if you’re comfortable keeping your AC on blast all day, as it requires a trip to the winter section of your closet. We’re pulling out our thickest wool sweaters, puffer jackets, and—for the few that have them from either a visit or costumer—a classic Ushanka Military style hat (you know the one, it’s fuzzy and sits right on top of the head).

As mentioned earlier, the best accessory to any of these outfits will be a cocktail. Holding a white Russian in hand is the perfect touch for completing this look (as well as keeping you cool from the inside out).

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Cabo, Mexico

We’ll end our week of dress-up in Cabo, sweet, sweet Cabo. While we might not have easy acces to clear ocean waters, a pool, a pond, a fountain, or a hose and a bucket can do for now. We’re parking ourselves outside, in the sun, and by the water in the outfit that reminds us of that perfect Mexico getaway.

This one’s pretty easy—grab your most colorful bathing suit or swim coverup, a floppy hat, and SPF. The look in Cabo is resort-chic, so it’s the time to break out the suit that always felt a little too nice for the public pool or the swim coverup you’ve been wearing as a dress—this is fancy beach time. And the only appropriate thing to accompany your fancy-beach outfit is an ice-cold margarita. Pour one up, position yourself pool-side (or water-side), and enjoy the Cabo getaway brought to you by none other than the untouched section of your closet.