Winter sun is always a tricky thing to shop for. The stores are filled with coats and beanies, and you’re torn between spending on the jumper you’ll wear all winter or the bikini you’ll wear for a week. The answer should be an obvious one I guess but it never is is it, because part and parcel of looking forward to a trip, for me at least, is what you’ll be taking in your suitcase and feeling good once you get there.
One place I always turn to for holiday bits whatever the time of year, is Free People. I know that when other places don’t deliver, I can rely on this U.S export to offer up all the beach dresses, oversized shirts, flares and spaghetti straps a wanderer could want. Earlier this year, Free People and I ran a competition together offering you guys the chance to win your own holiday wardrobe which I know lots of you loved, so as soon as the flights were booked for India and the Maldives, I figured it would be a nice time to do exactly that again. Thankfully, Free People were just as excited as I was at the idea of doing another competition together, and let me do a bit of shopping of my own ahead of the trip… So before I start bombarding you all with shots from our epic holiday, I thought I’d give you a little taster of where we went and what we got up to via this editorial.
One of our favourite stops in India was the blue city of Jodhpur. Fast-paced and frantic, this little pocket of blue is nestled under one of the best forts in Rajasthan. Apparently painted blue to ward off mosquitoes, it feels like an export from Aladdin, full of winding streets, spice-filled markets and stores laden with antiques.
I’m never far from a stripe and this shirt dress had to have an outing next to all that classic Jodhpur blue. There are very few times you can get away with wearing a oversized shirt and nothing else, but in the frenetic heat of an Indian city it feels like the dream thing to throw on and take on the day.
Free People Shirt Dress – Out January 5th.
From Jodhpur we travelled north west to the Agra desert and the walled city of Jaisalmer. Brisk, icy nights followed by sun-drenched days made this one of my favourite bits of the trip. The landscape was totally different to the rest of Rajasthan and being out in the middle of nowhere, driving through the remotest farming villages on our way to the dunes, felt very peaceful after the hectic pace of the rest of India.
There was no better place to live out all my Out of Africa sartorial fantasies. Scarf, wide brim hat and the stripy duo of dreams, the outback of India suddenly felt very old Hollywood.
Last but by no means least, we flew to the Maldives for a final week of nothingness, spending as much time as we could with sand between our toes. There’s nothing like crochet bikinis and breezy white shirts to make any beach feel like your own Blue Lagoon. Even after a week, we still couldn’t fathom how bright the water was or how powdery the sand was… We found this little private corner of beach one day and discovered couples had surreptitiously carved their initials into an ancient Banyan tree. I’ve always been obsessed with these weird and wonderful trees and was that annoying person who pointed out every single one as we were driving through India (there were a lot). We couldn’t bring ourselves to scrawl our own mark into the tree (always was a goody goody), but loved the idea of reverting to loved-up teenagers while cocooned away on the island.
Ph. by Jamie Wright on the Olympus OM & Olympus Pen