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  • Elle Sten

Mid/ plus size vacation outfits

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

3-2-1 list of packing essentials and outfit ideas for a mid-plus (12-14) body.

In my planning for my trip to Hawaii, I scoured Pinterest to plan what I would need to bring. I came up with this list after a lack of body diversity in Pinterest wardrobe capsules. I took things I already had, my summer clothes, and a few pieces and accsessories I bought for the trip.

This 3-2-1 list simplifies packing and shopping if appliable. I found it to be perfect for our 10 days on the island, but would also work for either a 7 day or 14 day itinerary!

To see this plan in action on my Youtube channel, click here.

The looks on the go, mixed and matched pieces.

3 Swimsuits:

Two two pieces, one one piece.

Personally, I am most comfortable in a tankini and swim skirt. I like to use them interchangeably to make less feel like more and have different looks. I also like a one piece for more involve activities, and just worn under shorts or jeans.

Old Navy, Target and Land's End are where I got my favorite swim pieces.

Old Navy makes fantastic supportive tankini tops that aren't the frumpy square sillouhette.

Target has the cutest vintage inspired prints and my go-to for one pieces.

3 nicer tops

I wanted something to ever so slightly elevate my look from just bumming in jeans and a t-shirt or plain tank. It paid off as I look back at photos and think about how I felt after getting dressed for the day. My shorts and sandals always kept the outfit perfectly casual, but the nature of the tops and sometimes accsessories kept me from feeling dumpy.

This Lucky Brand Blouse

My key lime top from Lulus, very gauzey and summery. Shop here.

My Madewell Gauze top, get 20% off your first order

3 casual dresses

Sundresses, sleeveless or not, but flowy cottony dresses are a must-have. I felt hippie-ish and pretty in mine.


and Shein.

3 tees

Hiking, quick beach coverup, and casual lounging. I was glad to have a few options and they worked perfectly!

3 tanks

More if you wear them daily under your shirts, but three was perfect as a casual throw on top or to lounge in.

3 bags

Yes, this sounds like a lot. But hear me out: One is your personal item on the plane, your largest. Stuff your crossbody full of acsessories and small items (like underwear) and put it in your suitcase. The farmers market bag weighs nothing and takes virtually no space and can be stuffed into any nook or cranny in your suitcase.

Travel/ carry all bag

My daily carry, Large Crossbody tote from Portland Leather Goods. Get 30% off your first order! I added a leather monstera charm for Hawaiian flair.

Going out smaller crossbody

This was perfect for evenings we would go back out after a full day. The kids no longer needed snacks or clothes and I just needed to bring my phone, coin purse and lip balm.

Farmers market/ beach bag.

I especially loved this one for the shakeability of sand. It held sunscreen, swimsuits, sunglasses and a few other beach essentials on those days, and all my fabulous farmers market finds when shopping. I was asked where it was from (people hoping it was somewhere nearby). Nab it on Amazon for only 7 bucks ahead of your trip, you will be so glad you have it!

2 Shorts:

1 denim, 1 chino

Or both of only one type. For me, denims were perfect for beaching and beachside activities, while the chinos were great for sightseeing and comfy for driving.

Torrid supplied the jean shorts I wore on this trip, while my Chinos are from Banana Republic.

2 bodysuits:

ASTR the label and Forever 21 sell these very summery and tropical feeling bodysuits. Both are thong which I preer for the sake of lines, and can be worn with jeans, shorts or skirts. Both were pieces in my two favorite outfits of the trip, first and last full days.

2 pants:

1 jean, 1 beachy pant

Full disclosure, I brought several pairs of jeans. I only wore my loose light wash beachy pair however and I wish that's all I brought! My tropical floral pattern pants were a hit. This was my favorite outfit I wore. These came from Lulus. If patterns and color aren't your thing, linen pants or gauzy beach pants are a great option. I find Old Navy to be my go-to for that.

2 sandals:

1 casual and 1 nicer for luau and going out. My vionics SAVED my feet with all the walking here and was perfect for the beach too.

2 hats:

A ballcap and a wide brim hat:
Both from Amazon, one is nice for outdoor casual activities and one for beachside and farmers market. Both necessary in the intense Hawaiian sun!

2 yoga pants:

One for travel, one for hikes and outdoor activities. If we were hitting a trail I made sure to have pants on to protect from mosquitos and other bugs.

2 hair accsessories

These I highly reccomend buying ahead of the trip. The ones found in souvenir shops are much more cheaply made and don't look like real flowers. In the months ahead of my trip, I scoured online and came across this Etsy shop. What I love is that she is local to Hawaii so you can support Hawaiian artists without sacrificing quality. Her shop states that she is inspired by the local florals and it shows in her work. I received compliments on these all week long.

I chose a red hibiscus for days I wore red or earth tones, and the pink orchid for days I wore cooler colors and pinks.

Etsy shop here.

2 sleep shorts:

It is warm in Hawaii and even with AC in the rental, these kept me comfy or lounging. One from Target, one from Free People on Amazon.

1 nicer dress

This was planned for the luau, if that or a special dinner or date night is in your itinerary highly reccomend packing one. Something not too formal, and tropical is even better. This one was from ASTR the label, and I felt fabulous. I received compliments all night on this one.

1 Sarong

My Monstera leaf sarong fit right in on the big island. I happened to get mine from my Fabfitfun box. They offer it from time to time in boxes (especially summer!) and during sales. If interested, get 20% off your subscription by signing up here.

1 beachy shawl

My favorite ever cover up or casual cardigan in my power color is from Torrid. It was light, flowy, and breatheable.

1 pair of sneakers

I was so glad to have these for walking when the ground was rough and bug laden.

1 thin jacket

This I really didn't end up wearing. It is warm and warm when it rains. HOWEVER, if you are in a nice outfit you'd like to keep dry, it might be nice to have on hand to zip and protect.

1 shapewear (if desired)

I wore mine for my first day outfit and for family pics. My skims bodysuit was surprisingly comfortable and breathable! In the humid Hawaiian weather I didin't notice it as I wore it the entire first day! I brought a waist trainer that I chose not to wear (my Skims suit would've shown under my luau dress), and I regreted wasting the suitcase retail space on the corset I didn't wear! I was however very glad to have my Skims for days I wanted to feel extra good.

Undergarments and toiletries as usual. Socks aren't necessary for every day, just those with heavy duty walking in sneakers. I was so glad I didn't bother with the boots I usually wear back home! I thought about adding necklaces to this list but decided that accsessorizing how you see fit is the way to go. You don't want to over pack, but plan what works with your outfits you've created.

Be well!


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