Beyond Your Swimsuit: How to Dress for the Beach

June 22, 2016

It’s beach time here and I live one block from the ocean. About two weeks ago, with the first signs of temperatures above 70 degrees, I watched hordes of people flock to the beach to enjoy the sand and surf–nevermind that it was completely fogged in! They were all excited to feel the sand between their toes.

This begs the next question: are you ready for the beach?

Attractive Woman Sunbathing

The summer is really not that long. In the northeast, we are lucky if we get just over two months of beach-worthy weather before it starts to cool down again. And, by the time it gets warm enough to snooze on a beach blanket the fall clothes are beginning to infiltrate the stores.

If you wait until you need your beach accessories to get them, you could be out of luck.

I am not going to talk about bathing suits here. There are so many variables and personal preferences that it would be the length of a short novel. Instead I am going to share some ideas for how to accessorize your beach attire—you know…those little things you forget about until it’s time to go to the beach and then you panic. With these ideas panic will be a thing of the past.

Beach Cover-ups

If you are resorting to a long button down shirt or an old oversized T-shirt to cover your bathing suit when you want to walk through the hotel or grab a bite to eat, it’s time for a change.

There are a number of reasons for choosing a particular type of cover-up. Let’s talk about two of them:

1. Appropriate for Restaurants, etc.

One reason is to feel comfortable going into a casual restaurant even though you still look ‘beachy’ with your bathing suit on. Here are a few ideas:

How about this pretty style in beautiful colors:

Pink Aqua Striped Coverup

Or, how about this one:

Open Front Beach Coverup

I had to include this one for those of you who want glamour and drama:


You will find over 30 more ideas in a huge variety of styles and price points HERE.

2. Extra Sun Protection

The other reason for a cover-up is because you are fair-skinned and have had enough sun. You want to stay in the sun or outdoors but don’t want to get sunburned.

Years ago as a teenager (before sunscreen existed), I used to spend about 45 minutes to an hour on the beach uncovered. At that point I had a severe sunburn and would spend the remaining hours swathed in beach blanks, pants and sweatshirts. Not exactly fashionable, as you can imagine, but I was with my friends who tanned and I wanted to stay on the beach with them—especially since we had driven over two hours to get there. Sadly, there were times when I would wake up the next morning with my eyes swollen shut from too much sun—not to mention the agony of bra straps rubbing the burn on my shoulders all day.

These days that is totally preventable either with sunscreen or covering with prettier beach cover-ups than I used decades ago. And, even if you do leave the beach you might still be walking around outside in the sun.

What do you do?

Here are some ideas for pretty cover-ups that have UV protection. Although, short of being in a protective bubble, some skin is still exposed.

Here’s one idea—a casual sweatshirt-inspired cover-up with sleeves:

Stripes Long Striped SPF Coverup

Or, if you want to protect your legs as well, try a pretty maxi with an SPF50:

Maxi Dress SPF Coverup

The above maxi dress comes in a variety of colors and sizes from XS to 3X. Of course, you will need to be sure to reapply sunscreen to your arms and chest.

You will find many more cover-ups with sun protection HERE.

Important Reminder: With most cover-ups you will be able to see your bathing suit through it or at least the straps will be visible. So, if your cover-up is blue and green tie-dye and your bathing suit is red and purple polka dots you might not like the two together. It’s very important to consider this when choosing a cover-up.

Beach Sandals

When you are on the beach you want a sandal you can slip on easily—no fussing! And, you want a pair that you don’t have to worry will be ruined by the sun, sand, water and salt (if you’re at the ocean). A traditional flip flop works well, although be sure to take a look at the pair you wore from last year before you wear them this year. They might need a little sprucing up or to be replaced. Here are some ideas:

A very fun flip-flop that is perfect for the beach (and comes in other colors):

Aqua Flip Flop with Starfish

And if you enjoy sparkles, try this pair (comes in other colors):

Sparkly Flip Flop

If, like me, you prefer a slide to a flip flop (and even a with a slight wedge), how about something like this:

Colorful Slide

There are many more (nearly 30) ideas here in all colors, styles and even a few wide widths. Find them HERE.

Protect Your Head

We forget that our head can get burned and our hair color (whether natural or not) can fade from the sun. Plus, a hat with a wide enough brim can offer your face added protection. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the sun also reflects off the sand and water so a hat will only do so much to keep you protected.

Here is a fun floppy hat:

Beach Hat with Flowers

Or, how about a hat with special UV protection like this (comes in other colors):

Hat with SPF

This hat seems to have it all—UV protection, a variety of color options and it’s crushable so it will pack easily.

Crushable Hat

Find more ideas for hats at all price points including one specifically designed to protect your neck HERE.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing a cover-up or a hat. Dark colors absorb the heat and light colors reflect it. So a dark colored hat or cover-up could make you warmer than you want to be. Just something to consider.

Have fun putting together your beach ensemble. Explore all the ideas HERE. Just be sure to do it soon (if you haven’t already). Believe it or not, the summer clothing season is ending and fall clothes will be arriving in the stores any minute!

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A Note About the Clothes: All of the garments pictured here (and in the catalogue) are vegan (made from fabrics that did not harm any animals). Please note that I am passionate about ending animal suffering and choosing cruelty-free clothing is just one aspect of a vegan lifestyle. If you have any questions about being vegan or what fabrics are vegan please let me know. I am happy to help and will answer any questions with kindness and compassion.

Some of the affiliate links may generate commissions for Total Image Consultants. This helps support the time spent creating these very specific recommendations.

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