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My boyfriend and I have been together for the better part of eight years and had never been on a real, romantic getaway. The timing was ideal: He had just finished up his first year of law school with all of his hair intact (barely) and needed the break, and I just really, really, really wanted to go.
After finding a dope last-minute package in my budget, I surprised him with an all-inclusive beach vacation to the Excellence Playa Mujeres in Mexico, just outside Cancún. But because we were only staying for five days and four nights, I knew I had to pack my vacation outfits strategically.
Since half of my suitcase was going to be filled with an unreal amount of sunscreen, and I was determined to avoid extra baggage fees, there were two conditions for everything I packed. Each piece had to work with at least two outfits, and I had to love every inch of fabric. I even limited myself to just two pairs of shoes (excluding sneakers for travel days) and two bags.
Surprisingly, it was a success. While I was fully obsessed with every item I brought — including this $35 Amazon slip dress, a dainty floral bikini top and the best terrycloth cover-up — a few looks stood out above the rest. Scroll below to shop the best vacation outfits I wore to Cancún.
Outfit #1: Announcing Our Arrival
When it comes to vacation outfits, I firmly believe the first bikini you wear will set the tone for the entire vacation. I opted for this bright, vibrant green number that basically screamed “WE HAVE ARRIVED!” to the entire property. With my waterproof Birkenstock sandals and colorful oversized button-up, this first look was an obvious choice.
Shop the Look:
Oversized Colorblock Poplin Button-Up Shirt, $45.50 (Orig. $60)
Always Fits Scoop Neck Bikini Top, $24.75-$55.00 (Orig. $55)
Always Fits Good Waist Bikini Bottoms, $18.97-$49 (Orig. $49)
Leia 49-Millimeter Cat Eye Sunglasses, $39.97 (Orig. $150)
Outfit #2: Dressing Up for the Fanciest Dinner
The thrill of getting dressed up for dinner on vacation after you’ve been in the sun and ocean all day is unparalleled. For our second night, we decided to hit up the fanciest restaurant on the property for only one reason: I was dying to pull out this Hill House number from this year’s Nap Dress Summer collection.
Shop the look:
The Isabella Top, $95
The Mirabel Skirt, $125
Emilia Pleated Knot Mule, $227.99 (Orig. $350)
Croissant Dôme Hoops, $78
OUTFIT #3: Claiming Our Beach Spot
Before heading to the beach every day, my boyfriend and I would do the whole resort song-and-dance and plop our towels and books down by 7:30 a.m. to claim our favorite chairs. It might not be fair, but such is life. Anyways, once we had the ideal spot on the beach, we hardly left — including for lunch.
Although it wasn’t the plan, this blue bikini from Monday Swimwear with my brand-new straw hat matched perfectly with the individual pizzas we had every day. And, of course, no vacation is complete without a woven tote, and this $26 Amazon find changed the beach bag game.
Shop the Look:
Copacabana Top, $80
Seychelles Bottom, $79
Wide Brim Packable Straw Hat, $59.50
Oversized Poplin Button-Up Shirt, $45 (Orig. $60)
Poplin Pull-On Shorts, $24.74 (Orig. $45)
Straw Bag for Women, $26.99
Outfit #4: Becoming a Prune in the Pool
Please excuse the terribly blurry elevator mirror selfie! My phone camera was smeared with sunscreen, and I simply needed to send a picture of my sea-creature bucket hat to my best friend ASAP. While I adore my new sea creature bucket hat and the very loud button-down, I was craving an all-black moment.
For a true secret outfit reveal, I decided to pull out an ultra-flattering high-waisted black bikini with my favorite black cat-eye sunglasses from the Adam Selman x Le Specs collab. After all, I am a born-and-raised New Yorker, and the cliché is real.
The Sun Hat, $60
Maui Top, $94
Riviera Bottom, $82
Relaxed Mid-Length Denim Shorts, $69.99 (Orig. $78)
Outfit #5: Going for a Golden Hour Stroll
When I think of vacation, I think of the golden hour. The way the sunlight reflects on the water right before the sky turns pink and orange is the ultimate romantic lighting. I bought this cropped sweater tank from Madewell specifically for this casual (but still put together) moment. Paired with this light green floral skirt, this was a peak vacation outfit out of all the vacation outfits.
Surprisingly, the entire look was lightweight. The wool of the top and the double-layered skirt didn’t bother me as I lived out my favorite rom-com dreams with my boyfriend while we waited for our dinner reservation. Plus, the soft wind is a nice touch for a shameless photoshoot.
Shop the Look:
Dipped Waist Midi Skirt, $52.50 (Orig. $70)
Outfit #6: Heading Home
What’s a roundup of romantic getaway vacation outfits if you don’t include airport looks? Yes, I did throw a full-on little green monster fit when we left. The one thing that kept me from whining like a toddler the entire four-hour flight home was my all-green outfit — even though I looked like Oscar the Grouch with a tan. Go ahead, spot the difference.
Shop the Look:
Daybreak Sneaker, $90
Luka Duffel, $120
Luka Belt Bag, $58
Lennix Plisse Set, $83
The Bigger Carry-On, $295
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