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Traveling Light: 8 Vacation Essentials

Eight pieces of clothing that will keep your suitcase light—and you looking fashionable—all summer long.

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If you’re guilty of hauling a couple of large suitcases along for a 10-day vacation, then it’s time for a packing revolution. Even the most high-maintenance fashionista can travel for a week or more with a carry-on alone. The key is proper planning (and a working color palette). Here are eight chic items every summer packing list should include:

A dress is the cornerstone of any summer travel wardrobe because it’s easy to throw on and make it look stylish. Pick one that’s versatile, like this embroidered cotton version by Trovata. It can be worn with or without the fabric belt, and comes with its own nude slip. Wear it with a block-heel mule, summer loafer, or wedge sandal. $239, Blush, 1411 Larimer St.; 303-399-7779; shop-blush.com

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A summer-weight poncho is a getaway essential. We like Margaret O’Leary’s linen version because it can be worn multiple ways: Symmetrically covering both shoulders, draped to one side or even as a one-shoulder top. $160, Margaret O’Leary, 250 Detroit St.; 720-419-0202; margaretoleary.com

A comfortable pair of pants is the answer to lengthy travel days and sightseeing trips. Skip jeans—they’re bulky and not exactly cool on a hot day—and opt for a sleek style instead, like these casual knit pants by Amuse Society. $60, Sterre, The Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., #172; 303-999-0718; sterredenver.com

Shorts are a summer favorite, but go for a pair that hits about mid-thigh—especially if you’re traveling abroad. The version by AM Basic Collection is cut in lightweight Italian linen and has an on-trend, high-cut waist. Pair them with a t-shirt and flats or dress them up with a silk camisole and heels. $86, True, The Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., #164; 720-572-4195; kismetaccessories.com

A silk blouse can easily be dressed up or down. We like Miranda Bennett Studio‘s shimmery silk charmeuse. It’s languid shape will look chic with joggers and heels for evening, or with a skirt and flats for daytime. $282, Goldyn, 2040 W. 30th Ave.; 720-489-0580; shopgoldyn.com

Shoulders are the erotic zone of the season. To show them off, pack a sophisticated and flattering one-shoulder statement top. This ruffled one by Rebecca Taylor comes in a pretty blush pink (it’s also available in black) and pairs perfectly with jeans, shorts, or even a midi-skirt. $250, Weekends, 1200 Pearl Street, Boulder; 303-444-4231; weekendsboulder.com

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Bypass your favorite work blazer and instead keep things casual with a novelty jacket. This cropped, fringed version by AG Jeans will look chic with high-waisted pants and shorts, and is perfect for throwing on over a slip dress. $268, Dragonfly, 3615 W. 32nd Ave.; 303-433-6331

Obviously, don’t forget your swimsuit! Go for one that shares at least a few of the colors in your travel wardrobe. This bikini’s on-trend tropical print easily coordinates with several neutral hues. Serendipity Intimates tropical print bikini top, $56, and bottom, $52, Midnight Rambler, 2438 W. 44th Ave.; 303-507-9248; midnightramblerboutique.com

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