As InStyle’s Senior Fashion Editor, Violet Gaynor oversees InStyle.com's fashion and accessories stories. Every weekend in the summer, she escapes New York City and heads to the Hamptons to soak up the sunshine. Follow her on Twitter @VioletGaynor and on Instagram @theglowdotcom.
The Hamptons have been part of my life since I was born. I grew up going to Montauk in the summer, staying at the classic East Deck Motel overlooking Ditch Plains beach. Some of my favorite childhood memories are running around in my floaties, splashing in the waves.
Fast forward 30 years, and the East end of Long Island has a whole new meaning for me. As the Artistic Director for the Hamptons International Film Festival, my husband spends part of his year living out East, so a few years back we decided to look for a little house of our own. We ended up finding a little 1930s fisherman's cottage that is one mile from the ocean. We spend every summer weekend there with our now one-year old daughter, Plum, and 15-year old terrier, Sadie.
My off-duty wardrobe is all about ease: swimsuits, denim cut-offs, and sun hats. For Plum, I'm taking full advantage of this phase where she lets me dress her up in whimsical outfits—think flower crowns, ruffled bloomers and feather headbands.
Each weekend when I pack a bag for Plum and myself, I have two rules in mind: stick to one oversize L.L. Bean canvas tote, and always be prepared with one fancy outfit for both of us. While summer weekends are meant to be casual and effortless, there's nothing worse than not having a pretty dress and heels to throw on in a pinch.
1. The Essentials
"I've worked hard to streamline the packing process, and always make sure I have the following essentials: sunhat, sunnies, cutoffs, bikini, something fun for my daughter to wear, a top for me that can be worn on and off the beach, and my go-to beauty items (I keep it simple in the summer with coverup, blush, and sunscreen)."
Striped Picnic Blanket, $110; chanceco.com
Straw hat, vintage
Wildflower Top, $59; tutudumonde.com
Wovenplay Feathered Headband, $52; poppyscloset.com
Bright Top (similar to the style shown), $119; cool-change.com
Corey Slouchy Slim Jeans in Bourbon (cut into shorts), $248; citizensofhumanity.com
Square Cat Eye Sunglasses in Marbled Milk, $98; kamalikulture.com
White Musk Libertine Eau de Parfum, $24 for 1 oz.; thebodyshop-usa.com
Lady is a Tramp Nail Polish, $18; deborahlippmann.com
SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion, $19; neutrogena.com
Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF 15, $190; sephora.com
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, $36; sephora.com
Joues Contraste Powder Blush, $45; chanel.com
Opal Kitten Heel Sandal, $295; loefflerrandall.com
Zimmermann Bikini (similar to the style shown), $260; net-a-porter.com
2. A Gorgeous Wetsuit
"I learned how to surf 10 years ago in Bali at a weeklong surf camp?the experience was anything but glamorous (think full-body wetsuit and a helmet!). Now that I have the hang of it, I love getting to wear something that functions but also feels really cool. This Cynthia Rowley x J. Crew style ($210; cynthiarowley.com) is flattering and the colors look great with a little tan."
3. Farmstand Shopping
"One of our favorite weekend rituals is going to our local farm stand, Balsam Farms, to pick out fruits, veggies, and flowers. August is the most amazing time to stock up on sunflowers and peaches."
On Plum: Rikshaw Design Romper, $39; poppyscloset.com
Also pictured: Square Cat Eye Sunglasses in Milk, $98; kamalikulture.com
4. Plenty of Sunscreen
"Coola is my summer obsession—not only does it absorb instantly, but the whole product line is all natural which means I feel comfortable putting it on myself and my daughter. This pink necklace by Chewbeads has been a game changer. They not only look cute, but also serve at a great toy and teether."
From left to right:
Body SPF 30 Unscented Moisturizer, $32; coolasuncare.com
Madison Jr. Teething Beads, $19; chewbeads.com
Sport SPF 30 Citrus Mimosa Sunscreen Spray, $32; coolasuncare.com
Almond Supple Skin Oil, $42; loccitane.com
5. Silk Flower Halo
"Plum recently turned one, and I couldn't resist getting her this silk flower crown by Stone Fox Bride to wear at her party. Now I put it on her every chance I get, and plan to get a matching one for myself."
7. An Iconic Swimsuit
"I grew up seeing my mom wear Norma Kamali's iconic swimsuits and I always dreamt of the day I could wear them, too. The great thing about this one-piece style (Norma Kamali Ruched Swimsuit, $350; net-a-porter.com) is that I get lots of mileage out of it, which means I can pack less. I wear it to the beach, and then with jeans or a maxi skirt for a night out."
On Plum: Wovenplay Feathered Headband, $52; poppyscloset.com
8. Opal Kitten Heel Sandal
"While you'll most often find me barefoot or in flip-flops, I always like to have one pair of versatile heels that I can wear to cocktail parties, film events, and dinners out. This kitten heel style is comfortable and goes with everything."
Opal Kitten Heel Sandal, $295; loefflerrandall.com