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Bali Travel Guide 2023: Packing for Paradise

It's that time of year again: winter is getting a little too cold for comfort here in Melbourne and I'm migrating far, far north-west to magical Bali, Indonesia. I'm fortunate to have a tight friendship group from university that has a growing tradition of meeting in Bali for a girl's trip. One of our friends lives there, and the other goes for a 2-month surf and sunshine sabbatical. As a small business owner, it's not so easy for me to take a lot of time off work, but two weeks is still a wonderful reset in paradise.

So what am I packing this year? Read on to find out.

Get Organised

I'm a list maker. It keeps my overactive brain in check and gives me a lot of satisfaction crossing things off (plus stops me forgetting essential things!) I have been using Notion to keep note of a lot of my ideas, and it has both a desktop and mobile app to keep you organised.

Travel Light: Create a Capsule Travel Wardrobe

I make a list of the essentials that can be worked back together to create a chic capsule collection and save space in my suitcase.

Bali is sweaty most of the time (good sweaty!) which means lightweight, breathable fabrics and sun protection. 

Cotton On do great basics at an affordable price with sustainability in mind. I like to flick through their leisure or vacation edit for ideas and start mentally building a collection that can easily be paired back with pieces I already own.

Dissh are my leading choice for really well-made—yet affordable—classic essentials you'll reach for over multiple seasons.

My Top Picks

Haven Wide Leg Pant
COTTON ON
$49.99 at time of publishing 30/7/23

A blend of linen and viscose, these classic drawstring pants are an obvious choice for both hot days by the pool and balmy nights at chic and boujeé restaurants. Add an open linen shirt and your swimmers for day; and a cute top, slick hair and bold earrings for night.

I've gone with a pair of black and a pair of white for classic styling.

Haven Long Sleeved Shirt
COTTON ON
$49.99 at time of publishing 30/7/23

Make it a set with the long sleeved Haven shirt, a light-weight, sun safe option that works with everything else on the list. I've got both black and white (for matchy-match, chic sets) and I love to wear the white one tied at the front with denim shorts or bike shorts and velcro sandals.

Picot Maxi Slip Skirt
COTTON ON
$44.99 at time of publishing 30/7/23

Simple A lines and lovely soft and breathable rayon, this skirt is flattering on most body shapes (especially if you've got hips, hi) and slips on equally well for a day at Finn's or dinner at Skool.

I'll wear this with a one-piece swimsuit (see below) or a simple tube top to channel my inner Rachel Green.

Always Sunny Black One-Piece Swimsuit
GOOD AMERICAN
$84 on sale at time of publishing 30/7/23

I usually look terrible in a one-piece. I think it's a combination of a long torso, stretch marks on my butt that I'm only now, 20 years later, becoming comfortable with, and an hour glass figure that errs on the side of a pear.

Which is why I was looking specifically for a low scoop back, skinny strap one-piece with a centre back seam. I find the Brazilian style bottoms, although more revealing than full coverage, are a lot more flattering as the centre-seam acts a bit more like a thong and doesn't cut across your cheeks at the widest part.

Sometimes I look at clothing and think: is it stylish or is she just slim? For me, real style and creative talent comes from making all bodies look and feel sexy.

The 'Always Sunny' one-piece from Good American is a super flattering design with a low scoop back for that 90s supermodel appeal. Good American is Khloe Kardashian's brand, and purchasing from the US felt a bit stressful without the ease of returns, but everything I've bought from them has been great quality and fit like a glove! Her ethos is around body positivity, and you can really see that with glowing reviews and a range of inclusive sizing.

High-Waisted Mom Denim Shorts
COTTON ON
$39.99 at time of publishing 30/7/23

I was never really a denim shorts kind of gal growing up—probably because in the early aughties they were tight, low waisted and super short, which was never going to work with my teenage physique or angst. But these high-waisted 'mom' style shorts are the most comfortable and flattering for wider hips.

Chuck them on with a bikini and a tank top or linen shirt for hot days and rides on the back of a scooter.

90s Velcro Sandals
TONY BIANCO
$159.95 at time of publishing 30/7/23

My parents bought me a pair of light up velcro sandals on a family holiday to Disneyland mid-90s and they hold a nostalgic place in heart. For a while they seemed super daggy (dad hasn't stopped wearing his 'to let his feet breathe' and nagging us to do the same for 20 years, which put me off them) but I'm thrilled they're back in style.

I invested in the Hiranni Black Sheep Nappa sandals from Tony Bianco 2 years ago and they have easily been my favourite lockdown purchase. Comfortable and weirdly stylish, they are the perfect Bali shoe as they let your feet breathe (thanks, dad) and won't slip off while you're scootin' around town.

Cotton Tank Tops
DISSH
$39.99 at time of publishing 30/7/23

Dissh do an array of great sleeveless tank tops that are lovely quality with a finished hem. Cotton On also do these, but the fabric is quite thin with an unfinished hem and becomes a bit shapeless fairly quickly. Invest in quality tank tops that you'll wear for years to come.

Scarf Top
DISSH
$89.99 at time of publishing 30/7/23

I love a cute scarf top. It reminds me of Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) from Charmed and it's so easy to turn any old silk scarf into a wearable piece of art. Dissh happen to do some really cute designs, and they look great with wide leg pants and a statement necklace.

Hats
ASSORTED

I have a collection of hats to stay sun safe while I'm on holiday. My top three:

  1. Straw Hat — Great for lazing by the pool.
  2. Bucket Hat — Protects your neck and ears.
  3. Cap — Hot Tip: Wear it backwards under your communal helmet when you ride GoJek.

Gold Filled Jewellery
MAISON DE FEMMES

This one's a no-brainer: all of the jewellery designs featured in this post are gold filled to withstand balmy, sweaty, salty vacations. Tarnish resistant and shower safe, so they stay golden.

Featured:

  • Lune Croissant Hoops: A classic design, these twist hoops with a freshwater pearl will work back with everything you've packed.
  • Dome Hoops: An easy, bold hoop, these gold filled earrings look chic against classic black, white and tan. Also available in petite and midi sizes.
  • As Above, So Below Necklace: Your everyday manifestation necklace, this statement piece adds a dreamy touch to your neckline.
  • Initial Necklace: A truly personalised, signature design you'll wear daily. Gold filled, so you can wear it swim, sweat and shine. Add your birthstone to make it meaningful.

Save Room for Bali Designers

Don't forget to keep an eye out for cute pieces while you're on holiday! I have my eye on a super cute set from Lokoa the Label that will pair back perfectly with other pieces in my capsule collection.

Planning a holiday? Shop the Vacation Edit.

AUTHOR

Jess Kumanovski

Maison de Femmes founder and creative director.

A hopeful romantic, Jess lives and works in Melbourne, Australia and has always had a particular knack for untangling jewellery and dating idiots. She started Maison de Femmes in 2018 as an escape from the 9-5 office grind, and it's been a magical ride ever since.

Find out more about our humble origins on the About Us page.