Whether you’re cruising down the French Riviera, floating through the sunlit seas of Sardinia, or docking in the Caribbean paradise of St Barths, a superyacht charter is the ultimate in glamour and barefoot luxury. And you’ll want to look the part, with a stylish wardrobe and designer accessories delivering just the right amount of bling for an effortless sense of superyacht cool.
But since superyachts have their own unique dress code, it’s not always easy to decide what to pack!
There are certain high-end fashion brands that are synonymous with the superyacht set and we’ll discuss these ‘brands that belong’ in detail in this guide, along with some practical insider tips on what to bring on a yacht charter, including what luggage to use, what technology to pack, and those funny old rules about shoes.
Top Packing Tips for a Luxury Yacht Charter
1) Superyacht luggage
Unless you’re chartering a very large yacht with plenty of storage space, we strongly recommend that you bring soft-shell luggage that can fit in the yacht’s out-of-the-way places. Hard-shell luggage often ends up cluttering the cabins and hallways of smaller yachts because it can’t be hidden away, so bear this in mind when packing for your charter.
The brands that belong
When it comes to brands for a superyacht charter, your luggage makes a powerful statement. The first name in yacht luggage is undeniably Louis Vuitton, which has dominated the luxury luggage market since 1852 and has some soft-sided bags and cases perfect for the yachting lifestyle, including the Sirius, Carryall and Keepall Bandouliere ranges (pictured).
Louis may be the first word in yachting luggage, but there are several others to choose from. Deluxe luggage brand Bottega Veneta makes a stunning impression with its soft intrecciato leather in a range of black, deep blue, and wine-red Barolo, while Brunello Cucinelli’s Cowhide Boston bag was the one carried by Daniel Craig in the James Bond film Spectre, with a full range in chocolate brown, calfskin, wool, and cashmere.
2) Superyacht footwear
First-time yacht charterers are often unaware that they will not be able to wear their ‘street shoes’ onboard their charter yacht. This is because the teak decks are easily marked and damaged by high heels, dark-soled shoes, and dirt carried onboard from land. Yacht guests generally go barefoot while onboard, but when you’re walking on sun-warmed decks and deliciously silky carpets, barefoot is a luxury experience!
For those who prefer to wear shoes, you do have the option to buy a new pair of flat, pale-soled shoes strictly for use onboard, while some yachts will provide soft white slippers for their charter guests.
But don’t forget packing shoes altogether, as you’ll need nice sandals or flip-flops for shopping and strolling through exotic port towns, dress shoes and high heels for glamorous dinners ashore, and a pair of trainers or comfortable walking shoes for adventures ashore.
The brands that belong
(i) Men’s shoes
Ralph Lauren has been wildly popular with the superyacht set for decades, and their Telford Leather Boat Shoe fits right in either onboard or onshore. Dubarry offers a Corsica suede shoe in striking colours including a deep coral orange, and Orlebar Brown do a great range of casual boat shoes. Tod’s driving shoes are extremely classy additions to your suitcase while, for sailing, Sperry boat shoes are the original and some of the best.
For going ashore in the evening, consider dress shoes from Testoni, Berluti, Edward Green, Brunello Cucinelli or Louboutins… the list goes on and on. Given the glamorous surrounds and decadent atmosphere of yachting destinations, you’ll probably see more bright colours, striking crocodile skin, and even bejewelled men’s shoes than you might see at home. When in doubt, luxury Italian leather in tan shades will always be met with approval.
Miu Miu Denim Espadrilles and Tod's Gommino Loafers in orange
(ii) Women’s shoes
For stylish boat shoes for women, you need look no further than Gucci leather slip-ons, Michael Kors suede moccasins, or Loro Piana’s suede slip-ons, while for those wanting to make an impression, Louboutins really shine with the steckel leather boat shoe in gold lamé.
Women’s sandals are an essential part of the superyacht wardrobe, from the beaded flip flop for an excursion to the beach to soft comfy sandals perfect for an afternoon’s shopping in Saint Tropez. Loro Piana do a gorgeous soft suede sandal in a range of summery colours, Gucci sandals dazzle in gold and beads, while Miu Miu’s Mogador Anemone slides are the last word in feminine colour and chunky, funky bling.
For high heels at night, the usual suspects will make the glamorous impact you’re looking for, typically Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, Louboutins and Valentino, to name just a few.
3) Superyacht clothing - couture and boutique
On superyachts, the daytime wardrobe tends to include lots of linen, light fabrics and fresh summer colours to match the endless views of sky and sea, and nautical details are a popular touch. Evening wear tends to be very dressy, although you may also want to bring some elegant but comfy lounging clothes for those lazy nights watching movies in the salon.
The brands that belong
(i) Men’s clothing
Take a peek in the man’s side of the superyacht closet and you will almost always see certain brands. A colourful range of Ralph Lauren polo shirts, dress shirts, and casual shorts are a superyacht stalwart, while Ermenegildo Zegna, Salvatore Ferragamo, Billionaire, Loro Piana, Hugo Boss, Alexander McQueen, Dundas, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana are also big favourites of the superyacht set.
For those who favour the traditional luxury sailing brands, it’s hard to go past Henri Lloyd, while for those who have done a French Riviera yacht charter in the past will almost certainly have something from local boutique Kiwi St Tropez in their luggage.
(ii) Women’s clothing
As for the women’s side of the wardrobe, it’s another fabulous jaunt down luxury lane, with hugely recognisable high-end brands combined with a few select pieces from iconic, one-off boutiques well-known to the superyacht fraternity. Even if you’re staying onboard rather than going out, guests normally dress for canapés and cocktails on the sundeck at sunset followed by a candlelit dinner on deck, so be sure to pack enough glamorous evening wear as well as plenty of light, comfortable fabrics for the daytime.
Capri pants (preferably tailored at La Parisienne boutique in Capri), a floaty Dolce & Gabbana kaftan and La Perla lingerie all announce you as an experienced yacht guest. A fresh nautical-inspired piece from Zimmerman or a sundress by Gucci works well for an elegant lunch by the water while, for evening wear, the world’s high-end brands are on full display, with gowns by Givenchy and Gucci, Versace and Chanel gracing the decks as the sun sets.
For lounging around on a casual evening onboard, Juicy Couture sweatpants are the iconic brand that started the luxury sweatpants revolution on yachts two decades ago, and they remain popular today.
A final note on clothing: You don’t need to have all branded gear, just an item here and there. You might be surprised at just how many billionaires’ wardrobes contain an item or two from Zara and other high-street brands.
Swimwear by Orlebar Brown
4) Superyacht swimwear
As you might imagine, swimwear is rather important on a superyacht charter. You’ll be spending long, blissful days lying around on deck, diving off the swim platform, or lounging at some of the world’s most stylish beach clubs, so it’s important that your swimwear is an outfit in its own right. Pack lots of it!
The brands that belong
For men, the brightly coloured Vilebrequin swim trunks have resoundingly cornered the superyacht market in recent years, although there’s some tough competition from Ralph Lauren, Orlebar Brown, Thorsun, and Valentino. For those who want a tailored swim trunk perfect for a stroll around the local port as well as swimming, Onia makes a tailored trunk, as does Sunspel.
Vilebrequin shirt and shorts
For women, the competition to dominate the women’s luxury swimwear market is intense, resulting in a stunning range of designer pieces to choose from. Sauvage, Aqua di Lara, Zimmerman, Eres, Dolce & Gabbana and Melissa Obadash are just a few of the brands you’ll frequently see onboard, while La Perla also asserts its dominance in luxury bikinis.
5) Superyacht sunglasses to complete your look
On a yacht charter you’ll want several pairs of designer sunglasses to complete the superyacht look. It’s not unknown for charter guests to have a different pair for every day of the week but, if you don’t want to go quite that far, then it can be a good rule of thumb to have a pair of sunglasses for each deck of the yacht so there’s always a pair close by.
The brands that belong
All the high-end brands battle it out for the luxury sunglasses market, with major players in the men’s market including fashion designers Tom Ford, Dior, Thom Browne, and Chopard, as well as specialist sunglass brands such as Mykita and Linda Farrow. In the women’s range, Prada, Dior, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana continue to reign supreme.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that many top-end sunglasses actually don’t offer much in the way of sun protection, so if you want polarised glasses with high UV protection then do your research for specific models, or buy from high-end polarised brands like Maui Jim or Costa del Mar.
Superyacht shades: Tom Ford and Prada
6) A few insider tips on practicalities
The rules of packing for yacht charters are not all about making the right impression, there are also some insider tips on practicalities that will greatly enhance your experience onboard.
For example, you'll appreciate glare-proof screens on electronic devices such as phones and tablets and you can also buy glare-proof screen protectors to put on your existing screens. We also suggest that you bring along a couple of international adaptors if the yacht has different sockets than the ones at home - the yacht will carry a few extras but probably not enough!
Finally, closet space on yachts tends to be at a premium, so if you’re chartering a small to medium sized yacht, pack cleverly, with shoes that match several outfits and light, versatile wraps for lounging onboard during the day.
Bespoke Yacht Charter is based in London and the south of France, offering luxury yacht charters on motor yachts and sailing yachts from 25 metres, along the French Riviera, throughout the Mediterranean and worldwide. As independent charter brokers we offer clients totally unbiased advice matching you to the yacht and crew that best suits your needs.
*Images courtesy of Bespoke Yacht Charter; thumnail: Ragazza con la valigia, public domain via Wikipedia
*Written by Joanne Morgan