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Memorial Day weekend: what to pack for your getaway

Memorial Day packing made easy.

Memorial Day packing made easy. (Credit: iStock)

Sunshine, barbecues and the sweet smell of summer's impending arrival -- there may be no three days of the year more full of promise than Memorial Day weekend.

While some can't see spending the holiday anywhere but in their own backyards, many will be taking advantage of the extra day off from work and fleeing town for a mini-getaway.

And because it's just plain un-American to celebrate Memorial Day somewhere cold, we're willing to bet you jet setters are beach bound. Before you hit the surf, make sure your suitcase is stocked with these five style essentials.

1. A flattering swimsuit

Good news for the barbecue fans: Retro suits are in this season. That means more coverage no longer equals less style. No, that doesn't make it OK to bring back that shapeless, frumpy one-piece your kids politely asked you to burn, but it does mean it's fine to pass on the bikini. Just think ruching, boy shorts, sweetheart necklines, belts and even skirts -- all flattering to women with curves. To really have fun with it, try one in pin-up-worthy red or polka-dots. 

This Natalie one-piece is $148 at select Anthropologie stores and anthropologie.com.

2. A showstopping cover up

A cover up is no longer just an afterthought you throw on as you head out the door to the beach -- it's a fashion statement of its own. Memorial Day celebrations make the beach or pool the main event, so think of this as your party dress. Feel free to go bold whether it's a bright color, wild pattern or sexy cutouts, just leave the oversized T-shirt at home. 

This L*Space Camilla cover up dress is $146 at shopbop.com.

3. A fun pair of wedges

After suffering in heels all fall and winter long, it's time for the equally as flattering but more comfortable alternative that resurfaces as temperatures rise . . . wedges. Whether you're grilling with family or continuing the party after hours at the nearest bar, you can't be seen without them. Go for color-blocking, a printed platform or a neutral pair you'll wear all summer long. 

These “Winner” embroidered wedges are $109.95 at select Steve Madden stores and stevemadden.com.

4. A sturdy yet stylish beach bag

Memorial Day festivities require plenty of supplies, from hamburger buns and six-packs to sunscreen and juicy beach reads. You'll need a bag big enough to fit all the bells and whistles, but it pays to invest in a style you'll proudly make your main companion for the next few months. Go for a summery straw tote, a playful neon hue or a beachy print, and remember to pick something in a water- and sand-friendly material with zippered pockets inside to protect your iPod, wallet and other valuables.

This Kate Spade “Lounge Ladies Harmony” tote is $198 at katespade.com.

5. A floppy hat or head wrap

Sure, beachy hair looks hot in magazines; but in reality, chlorine, sand and sweat make summer a tough time to tame your locks. Want a simple solution that will also protect you from the sun? Throw on a straw hat with a wide, floppy brim, or try a wraparound headband for a funky, bohemian style. Find a festive one in red, white and blue and you'll instantly be the center of attention at any Memorial Day party.

This “Cheap Monday” floppy straw hat is $30 at urbanoutfitters.com.

Tags: holiday travel , packing , travel fashion

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