Fire Island Capsule Wardrobe: What I Packed for a Week in August

fire island capsule wardrobe
My daughter and husband at Davis Park, Fire Island.

As I mentioned in previous Weekend Reads posts and shared on Instagram, I just got back this weekend from a week-long trip to Fire Island, Davis Park to be specific. We went with relatives and it was a great getaway before our kids head back to school. I have an Instagram Highlight sharing the trip, but today I wanted to recap my Fire Island capsule wardrobe. My Instagram Stories featuring what I wore to Fire Island got the most questions and desires for links, tips on fit, and more so I wanted to consolidate the info in one spot.

Our trip was in August, which is a hot and occasionally humid month on the East Coast. It's also hurricane season, and we drove up the coast along with Henri on Friday, which was luckily downgraded to a tropical storm when it hit Fire Island Saturday night. Not knowing how bad it would be (locals were worried it would be another Hurricane Sandy situation), we booked a hotel on the mainland for Saturday and Sunday.

We traveled with our dog and could not find a pet-friendly hotel. My husband stayed at the beach house with our dog during the storm. He prepped the house, constantly in contact with the owner. Luckily it was only a tropical storm and due to my husband's preparations, the house had no damage or water issues. We returned Monday afternoon to beautiful weather (sunny and 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit and most days had a nice breeze) until late Friday night/Saturday morning when we had a thunderstorm. It cleared enough for us to take the ferry home Saturday morning.

What I Packed for a Week at Fire Island

Fire Island is a long, narrow island with different communities. We stayed in Davis Park, which is a very quiet community of families, most of who have owned their homes for decades. There are few rental homes, and to be honest, little to do in Davis Park beyond resting and relaxing.

To get to Davis Park, you need to take a 20-minute ferry ride. Everything you need you bring with you; while there is one store at Davis Park, it is essentially a convenience store with some touristy merch mixed in. There are no cars, no street lights, and you take boardwalks to get around.

the best beach wagon
Heading to the beach with our cart, chairs, bag, and dog

We already owned this collapsable cart, which was a necessity to get our stuff from our car to the ferry and from the ferry to the house. Our rental house had a large cart locked up at the marina, but there is nowhere to store it at the house so we couldn't rely on it. We were so glad to have our cart because it also made it easy to bring chairs, umbrellas, and even our dog to and from the beach. This cart is extra nice because the plastic (not inflatable) tires made it roll well on sand.

best beach umbrella

We purchased this umbrella for the trip. We knew the house had chairs, but weren't sure about an umbrella. We felt this one could be used in so many ways. It could be a table umbrella, it could be stored in the car and used for sun shade or rain protection for games, festivals, and other outdoor events. I am 5'3″ and wore this as a crossbody as one would wear a quiver of arrows and it didn't drag on the ground. I also found it easy to screw it into the sand alone and open it up and close it alone.

I packed all my luggage in my Tom Bihn Aeronaut and my Dagne Dover large Dakota backpack. Clothes, shoes, toiletries, and electronics including my laptop all fit and were protected. I brought an XL Lands' End zip-top tote for beach things (towels, a sand sheet, paddleball, an Aerobie, sunscreen, etc.) and we brought another with non-perishable food. Since we are plant-based, we brought our electric cooler with some perishable foods.

best toilitries bag

To keep toiletries light and taking up the least amount of space, I purchased a 12-pack of these reusable pouches and they were fantastic. They were sturdy, didn't leak, and I used a Sharpie to write what was inside each. I took 11 of these pouches for me and my family's products and they combined took up less space than two 8.5 oz. bottles.

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My Fire Island Capsule Wardrobe

This was not a vacation where I would be dining in nice restaurants, visiting tourist attractions, or needing nicer looks for public outings. The only places I went were the Davis Park store and one afternoon two of us went to the outdoor beach bar where we felt comfortable in our swimsuits with shorts or casual dresses over them. The house didn't have a/c so I wanted items that would be comfortable when it was hot. I knew things would be casual and since I had to carry everything I was bringing on me, I had to pack light.

Below I share what I actually wore. I brought a pair of lightweight shorts and a matching UPF jacket/windbreaker I didn't wear (though my husband ended up wearing the shorts – a perk to us having the same waist size!). I brought a rain poncho but my husband used it; I ended up wearing his rain jacket and share a similar one below. I kept in the long-sleeved tee and the sneakers; I didn't wear either of them but under different circumstances, I likely would have.

wardrobe oxygen
At the beach bar with my trusty bandana and sun hat!

For reference, I am 46 years old, 5'3″ tall and usually a size 14 or L/XL. I have a large bust and choose swimwear that will support it. I didn't want to buy anything specifically for this trip, using what is already in my closet and choosing garments that I knew could handle some salt and sand and being all thrown together into a rental beach house washer mid-week.

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These are the clothes that I packed and wore multiple times during my week in Fire Island. A few lessons learned:

  • It rained, so I was glad I packed rain gear. The poncho was helpful for my husband who was there during a tropical storm and prepped the house and had to go outside while it was windy and rainy. The packable rain jacket otherwise would have sufficed and been a good windbreaker for breezy evenings on the beach.
  • I hardly wore shoes the entire week. I brought sneakers thinking I'd want them for walks or workouts, but my Teva Hurricane sandals were more than enough for everything, and they didn't feel grody putting on when sandy or wet.
  • Sharing a house with another family and having no A/C made me appreciate my robe even more. This was worn a LOT when getting ready, walking to and from the bathroom, etc. I recommend bringing a robe on travel for any kind of trip, but it was practically essential on this vacation.
  • A caftan is nice at the beach. Sun or wind burned skin, after a shower, when you want to feel fancy, as a swim coverup, even as sleepwear. I appreciated having one that was opaque, heavy enough to not cling and show everything, had pockets, dried quickly, and a fabric I could (and did) sleep in.
  • I didn't need pants. I brought my J. Crew Foundry pants since they're lightweight and casual, but only wore them one day on the mainland when we escaped the tropical storm for two nights. Same with the joggers, I only wore them on the mainland to be cozy in the hotel.
  • I really only needed two swimsuits; one to wear while the other was drying. However, it was fun to have variety.
  • My belt bag was my purse. I only needed a purse once while at Fire Island, but it was helpful to have when we had to go to the hotel, and for the drive there and back.
  • I actually brought three bandanas (two turquoise and one a navy floral) and wore/used all three. I usually kept one around my neck to protect my decollete, but I'd use it to mop my brow, hold back my hair on the beach and protect my forehead/scalp, and I'd wet it with cold water and put around my neck to cool my core temperature on the hottest days.
  • My graphic tee was worn at the hotel and as a hair turban for my curly hair. Outside of that, the idea of black jersey on me in the heat sounded oppressive.

And with that, some photos of what I wore while at Fire Island:

What I Wore at Fire Island

fire island what I wore

After a six-hour car ride, we arrived at the Davis Park Ferry in Patchogue, New York. As I mentioned, I wore my Trouve dress (previously seen here and here) with a pair of Thigh Society cooling slipshorts underneath for coverage and comfort. On my back is my Tom Bihn Aeronaut, my Girlfriend belt bag around my waist, the Teva Hurricanes on my feet. My sunglasses are ROKA, my mask is Athleta. Not seen is my Dagne Dover backpack which was slipped over the handle of my daughter's rolling suitcase. I wore this same outfit home. This dress is very easy and I don't feel as shlubby if we stop for gas or lunch.

Use WARDROBEOXYGEN15 at checkout to get 15% off your order at Thigh Society!

fire island what I wore wardrobe oxygen

I changed out of the dress upon arrival and switched into an olive green tank top and these J. Crew denim shorts. I am usually a 32 and got the shorts in 32 and they were extremely comfortable, slouchy, but didn't fall down. I bought them in anticipation of this trip and am so glad I did. They were great on the trip and a nice length that looks good with tucked in tops but still shows under untucked ones. The tank is reversible; the other side has a v-neck.

printfresh robe review

Wearing my green cotton robe from Printfresh before taking my first shower of the trip; clearly, I'm feeling Vacation Mode. I'm wearing size L/XL and it has been washed and dried multiple times. I love this robe, it stays closed, has enough coverage, and deep pockets. I don't have any photos of me in the matching pajamas, but I have those in an XL and also love them.

If you are interested in Printfresh, check out my Printfresh review and use promo code WARDROBE_OXYGEN at checkout to get 15% off your order!

hurricane henri long island

I didn't capture most looks while at the hotel during the storm. But this is what I wore when heading back to Fire Island from the mainland. I'm wearing the black tank, the black shorts, my husband's rain jacket (similar), and my Teva sandals. I added a turquoise bandana for color.

best swimsuits for large busts

This is the orange bikini top and matching bottom that I mentioned in this Friday Shop post. I sized down in the cup and the bottom is size Large. If orange isn't your jam, the brand offers other colors and prints and right now each piece is under $30.

chicos linen review

I fell in love with this embroidered tunic as soon as I saw it at Chico's. Not available in petite, I found it was a bit too long to wear as a shirt but it made for a great swim coverup that I enjoyed all summer. It's sold out in yellow, but is available with blue embroidery and it's on sale. I am wearing size 2.

With it I am wearing this hat from the brand Lack of Colour. I ordered this hat in the spring for myself but didn't love it on me. My husband tried it on and it looked GREAT on him and he kept it to be his gardening hat. When trying to decide what hat to bring on the trip, I borrowed this one from him since it has a large brim and a neck strap to keep it on me even if it's windy. This was the PERFECT hat. It kept its shape, kept me protected from the sun, and the neck strap was also great to wear it on my back when I didn't want it on my head and didn't want to carry it.

wardrobe oxygen fire island

This is the only time I wore the big cream Peloton fleece at Fire Island (sorry it's sold out). The only other time it was worn was at the hotel during the storm. I didn't need this and would have been better off with a lightweight sweatshirt. I'm wearing it with the Universal Standard swim shorts which I reviewed in this post. They were the most worn item I brought on the trip.

universal standard sunny shorts review

Here are those Universal Standard shorts again, this time with my Freya great print bikini (bottom is under the shorts). These shorts were awesome on the trip. Unlike running shorts, these have a crepe-like finish that doesn't cling, even when wet. Deep pockets, a wide waistband that doesn't roll down, they dry fast, and don't gather sand. I wore these almost every day.

The bikini is a few years old but I found the top on Amazon, and here is a link to the matching bottom. However, Bare Necessities has a bunch of Freya swimwear and I have found the fit and quality consistent from year to year with this brand.

what i wore to fire island

The Universal Standard shorts again! Seriously, they were the best item I packed. I know some of you didn't like how voluminous they are in the front, but I appreciated that because it gave me complete freedom of movement. I know one leg is hiked up in these photos but I rarely need to pull down the legs when walking because they are loose, longer in the center, and not clingy fabric.

With it I'm wearing my Evelyn & Bobbie Defy Bra as a cropped tank. I actually wore this bra as a top a couple of times on this trip. I pretty much only wore this and swimsuits for bust support while on the trip. The linen shirt is tied around my waist because I got hot; around my neck is the navy floral bandana. The sunglasses are ROKA.

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Use WARDROBE10 at checkout and receive 10% off your order at Evelyn & Bobbie! This code is valid through September 30, 2021.

chicos linen wardrobe oxygen

Here's the same linen shirt worn as a swim coverup over the Freya gray print bikini. I talked about Chico's no-iron linen in this post from April and this is the same blue shirt seen there. I also wore this same shirt in this post. Unfortunately, this shirt is only available in white now and only small sizes are left. However, if you like the idea of not having to iron a button-front shirt, Chico's has several others available. I have this one and it looks crisp while feeling soft.

freya bikini wardrobe oxygen

Here's the swimsuit uncovered so you can get a better vibe for how it fits. It is not a suit that sucks you in or lifts you up, but it's super cute, well made, and stays in place even in the surf. And more of the straw hat from Lack of Colour.

wardrobe oxygen fire island 1

Wearing the Lands' End Tugless Tank (read my Lands' End Tugless Tank review) with the same J. Crew shorts seen above. I have my Girlfriend Collective belt bag as a crossbody and am wearing my Tevas because this day was HOT and my feet couldn't handle the boardwalks baked in the sun. This is also the day I went to the Davis Park Casino Bar so shoes were a must.

wardrobe oxygen fire island 2

It looks a lot like the previous outfit, but this time the J. Crew denim shorts are with the black microfiber tank I brought along. This tank with the joggers I brought has been a go-to look for summer evenings when I want to keep my legs from mosquitoes. I wore it with the joggers at the hotel, but just like this while on the island.

Clearly, I didn't capture every OOTD (outfit of the day) but this shows a peek into my Fire Island capsule wardrobe and what I wore last week!

19 Comments

  1. Jax
    September 1, 2021 / 11:37 pm

    Great vacation (and va-cay outfits) run-down. I tend to overpack, but the older and older I get, I realize I just need 1 or at most, 2 of most things (1 as backup). Even just 1 of everything tends to work, esp. when staying at a vacation rental with a washer and dryer.
    Love your orange bikini — great price too! You look fierce in it.
    Also, love your coloring with the green tropical pattern robe.
    And you should frame the last pic with your daughter. It’s a piano picture as the Go Fug ladies would call it.

    • Jax
      September 1, 2021 / 11:39 pm

      I never think of using a button-down shirt as a cover-up! But I have found that they can be a great layer (esp when in comfy cotton/linen) for cooler temps or a nicer top for a dinner out.

  2. Carly
    September 1, 2021 / 6:57 pm

    Oooooh! I can’t wait for your full review of the Ever by X tunic! I had that ad pop up (probably because I follow you!) and have been intrigued. I even considered sending it to you as it seemed like something you’d be interested in! Off to look at the FB comments about it!

  3. JMS
    September 1, 2021 / 11:07 am

    You and your family look so relaxed and happy in these photos! Lovely to see. Those J. Crew shorts really suit you—I’m very tempted to get some for myself.

  4. Lee
    August 31, 2021 / 8:30 pm

    I always love your travel posts! It’s fun to see what you wore & also to see pics of where you went. I’m envious of y’all along the Eastern seaboard—you have so many fabulous beaches & cities within driving distance ! Loved seeing the beach pics & so glad you & your family made it safely during Henri & had a good trip.

  5. Marilyn
    August 31, 2021 / 7:17 pm

    Just here to say that you’re a babe, Alison. Thanks for sharing your vacation fashion! Also, love the photo of you and your daughter at the end!

  6. Bonnie Grove
    August 31, 2021 / 1:03 pm

    So glad you had a quality vacay and the ease of the clothes is a bonus! I love the caftan but wonder about the long sleeves – is it hot or clingy? I just moved from NoVa to Arizona and we are HOT. Like the reader above I also miss the east coast beaches.

    • August 31, 2021 / 1:53 pm

      I will be doing a review soon. It’s a drop sleeve hits to my elbow. I don’t find it hot or clingy at all. I shared a bit about this dress on Instagram when I wore it the first time https://www.instagram.com/p/CSbnFYsLrHo/ and in the Wardrobe oxygen Facebook group two members bought the dress and share their thoughts with photos of them wearing it. I find it an intriguing dress but it may not be right for everyone.

  7. Pascale
    August 31, 2021 / 10:32 am

    I would like to know more about the caftan/One Dress. Have you reviewed it before? Does it really do everything they show?

    • August 31, 2021 / 1:56 pm

      I have not yet, but I will soon. I wore it one time to an outdoor lunch with friends (https://www.instagram.com/p/CSbnFYsLrHo/) and then took it on this trip liking the idea of it being a breezy machine washable caftan but with the tie I could make it look nice if we ended up going to dinner with the relatives in Long Island. I haven’t done all the styling but I really think this dress would be best maybe 3-4 different ways that are unique and wearable, possibly switching out the tie for a leather belt, scarf, etc.

  8. Longing from Texas
    August 31, 2021 / 10:27 am

    I grew up in northern Virginia but now live in Texas – and I so miss the mid-Atlantic beaches that I grew up with! The Texas coast is not the same. Your Fire Island and Rehoboth posts just make me long for them even more. And this is a great time to visit (assuming you don’t have to worry about school schedules). Thanks for sharing your time there with us. Even with Henri, it definitely looked like a nice relaxing time.

    • August 31, 2021 / 1:57 pm

      Our state doesn’t start until after Labor Day and our relatives’ kids’ schools started this week so it worked out for our schedules. I think it’s one reason we were able to find a house available!

  9. Bette
    August 31, 2021 / 9:40 am

    Looks like such a fun, relaxing week away (even with a hurricane!). Love the PrintFresh robe, I have the same one! I find their robes to be total workhorse items — coverup, robe, lounging, post-shower hairdrying, kimono over tank, etc.

    • August 31, 2021 / 1:58 pm

      Right? And the colors are so saturated, I think they get better with each washing!

    • Sierra Delta
      August 31, 2021 / 5:47 pm

      I have questions about the PrintFresh robe! Does it wrinkle if it’s not ironed? If you wear it over jeans and a camisole, does it look too pajama-adjacent? Will it successfully impersonate Of Course I’m Outdoor Clothing if I wear it outside? I love dusters as a third layer when I want to look more put together but just can’t justify completely changing all my clothes to fake casual elegance. . .

  10. Krista
    August 31, 2021 / 9:07 am

    Freya makes some of my all time favorite swimwear. No wonder I liked that suit so much. Nice to see your vacation was an actual vacation and you got some much needed downtime.

    • August 31, 2021 / 1:58 pm

      It was so nice to have a break!

  11. August 31, 2021 / 8:34 am

    I love this post . What a beautiful place, and so many great photos of not only the outfits but the beach, the sunsets, everyone looking happy and relaxed. I’m so glad the tropical storm didn’t ruin it for you.

    • August 31, 2021 / 1:58 pm

      Thank you, Cate! It was a nice getaway.

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