The best beach cover-ups have – literally – got you covered this summer

best beach cover ups
The best beach cover-ups to elevate your vacay fitWith Nothing Underneath

Packing for your summer holiday? Don’t forget to think about your beach cover-up. Sure, a bikini is no doubt top of your list, next to those chic summer dresses that you’ll pair with wedge sandals for the perfect evening attire. But back to the daytime, where you’ll need a cool swimwear cover-up, a holiday must-have we all tend to sleep on until we need it most.

Picture the scene: you’ve spent the day tanning yourself (regularly topping up your sun cream, obvs) by the pool, a good book in hand, and are about to enjoy the last of the day’s rays with a strawberry daiquiri(s). You peel yourself off the sun lounger and throw on a billowing kaftan in the richest of jewel tones with delicate beaded embroidery and a tasselled trim. You look like you've walked straight off the Palm Royale set, and Kaia Gerber is your verified BFF.

More of a minimalist gal? Switch that kaftan for a fashion girlie-approved, pyjama-inspired co-ord. Think a classic linen button-down shirt paired with boxer-style shorts. Alternatively, for an equally laid-back vibe, you simply can’t move for crochet designs RN thanks to the boho revival. Or, if you’re keen to tap into the Y2K aesthetic, the sarong is *back* and better than ever.

Yep, there are endless options. But what the best beach cover-ups all have in common is the ability to instantly elevate your soggy swimwear. So put down the tee you wore on the plane and are now wearing for the third day running. Your micro 'kini deserves better. It’s time to turn your walk back to your hotel or the beachside bar into your own personal runway.

Shop our round-up of the best beach cover-ups below. Golden hour pics incoming!

Sun-soaked in a sarong

Banish mental images of David Beckham in his 'sarong over trousers' look from 1998. And we’re also not talking about the garish neon bright scarf à la your mum on hols either. This season, the sarong is officially shaking off its bad rep. Block-coloured iterations in sheer fabrications are still on offer, but we’ll be reaching for printed versions that sit low-slung on your hips.

Oversized beach shirt

A classic button-down shirt is easily the hardest-working item in your vacay arsenal. It can be worn in a multitude of ways – open over your swimsuit, knotted with your high-waist denim shorts, tucked into wide-leg palazzo pants. It can take you from sightseeing on your city break to island-hopping on a boat tour to dinner with a view. Whether you spring for a longline design, patterned delight or coordinate with your cossie, you can’t go wrong. And the best part? You can keep wearing it long after your holiday ends.

Boho kaftans

There’s equally as much choice when it comes to kaftans. Personally, we can’t get enough of the longline designs that will add plenty of glamour to our poolside persona. Of course Free People has nailed the style, the bohemian aesthetic central to the brand's sartorial DNA. But high street faves like Monsoon and Accessorize also have you covered – literally – if you’re wanting to simply pay homage to Sienna Miller without fully channelling her look.

Fashion girlie approved co-ords

Scrolling our Instagram feeds, we can’t help but notice almost *every* influencer’s beach ’fit of choice is a co-ord. While a shirt (either long sleeve or short) is the standard top half style, for your bottom half pick between shorts, trousers or skirts. As long as they match, you’re onto a winner that will see you through from dawn til dusk.

Breezy beach dresses

What sets a beach dress apart from your standard summer dress is the silhouette and fabric. The last thing you want to be throwing on over the top of your swimwear after a dip in the ocean and not enough time to adequately air dry is a figure-hugging design that will cling to every damp patch. Instead, loose and flowy is the M.O. here. Similarly, save your silks for evening and opt for natural fabrics like cotton and linen that will survive getting dripped on and sandy shores.

Cool crochet

Dua Lipa and Kylie Jenner have given the crochet bikini their seal of approval, so we’re taking that vibe and running it with. Topshop’s mustard knitted maxi will look just as good layered over a bra and shorts for a cute festival outfit as it will your bikini for an alfresco lunch. Or make a statement in colourful crafty styles. Celia B and Missoni’s designs work just as well for daytime adventures as they do dressed up for evening. You know what they say, crochet all day!

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