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.
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.
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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.
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).
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).