What To Wear To The Beach: 7 Beach Outfit Ideas That Go Beyond Swimsuits
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Warm weather is nearly upon us, folks, which means—if you’re lucky—there’s an ocean or pool in your immediate future. Whether you’re able to visit the sunny shores once in your lifetime or once a week, you’re bound to come across the ultimate conundrum: Other than a cute bikini or one-piece, what outfits do you wear to the beach?! Seriously—This question has bugged me for years.
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Sure, we all don swimsuits and sunnies while sitting on the sand, but sometimes, you’re in need of something a little more. For times when you’re unsure of what the hell to wear while leaping away from (or into, depending on the situation) the incoming tides, it’s always best to turn to the experts—by this, I mean the “vacation edits” on sites like Revolve, Nordstrom and Shopbop. Scrolling through countless sites for inspiration can be very time-consuming so I’ve gone ahead and made a comprehensive beach-style guide.
From terrycloth sets and breezy button-downs to Instagram-worthy halter dresses, there have never been so many different options for beach attire. Whether you plan on just laying in the sand or posing a pic (or 10) for the ‘Gram, this beach edit will guarantee that you’ll be the best dressed at the shore. All you’ll need to worry about is which sunscreen to pack!
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What To Wear To The Beach
A Versatile Scarf
It’s time to pull up the TikTok video you saved about 100 ways to tie a scarf. A large scarf can either be the ultimate beach outfit or accessory. Depending on the size, you can tie it around your waist, twist it into a top or tie it around your head. Scarves also take up virtually no room in your suitcase so they’re an easy way to maximize your packing room and outfit options. I love mixing and matching scarf patterns and tying a small scarf around my bag to match my outfit.
Sophia Bandana Top
A scarf top will be your go-to beach outfit option for super hot days. You can tie it around a bandeau bra, bikini or nothing at all. I love the bandana print on this one.
A scarf can have the same impact as a matching set if you coordinate it with your bikini or crop top. This option by Farm Rio pairs so well with the matching bikini.
A Terrycloth Set
Do you remember when the two-piece Juicy Couture terrycloth capri set was everything? Is that too niche? Well only the very best trends come back in style and terrycloth sets is one of them. Terrycloth is the perfect material for the beach because it’s basically just like wearing a towel—any sweat or salt water will be absorbed quickly. Terrycloth also can be dressed down for daytime with casual sandals or spiced up for a fancy dinner with platform shoes. There are so many terrycloth sets available right now from sites like Revolve, Frankies Bikinis and PacSun so you’re bound to find one before you’re bound for the beach.
Terry Cloth Beach Short
I love this set because it looks sleek and pulled together when you wear both pieces but the shorts and hoodie are both super comfortable. This set is available in five colors.
Terry Cloth Beach Short $29.97 (was $45.15)
Terry Cloth Halter top
If Alix Earle is wearing terry cloth, you know it’s cute. This halter top from Juicy Couture is perfect for a beach party.
Juicy Couture Halter Top $22.99
A Mesh Moment
Mesh was made for the beach because it’s honestly not very appropriate for many other settings (and because of the whole fisherman’s net purpose). Mesh is a fun way to create a layered look in hotter temps—you can add a mesh dress over your swimsuit, bralette or if you’re feeling scandalous, nothing at all. The material comes in a variety of knit sizes so you’ll be able to determine how much skin you want to show.
Lanita Crochet Mini Dress
This tan mini dress is super versatile—you can wear it as a cover-up, a naked dress moment or as a long cardigan layered over a tank top.
Lanita Crochet Mini Dress $278
Monki Sleeveless Knit Dress in Bright Green
I’m going to let my personal bias step in because I’ve been eyeing this green mesh dress and love it. I l want to layer it over a cheeky bikini.
Monki Sleeveless Knit Dress in Bright… $61
A Classic Button-Down
A good button-down is a shirt that keeps on giving. The style fits every known aesthetic including off-duty model, coastal grandmother, dark academia and the beach-goer. Whether a button-down could be solid or striped, worn with denim shorts or slacks or stolen from your dad’s closet, it will always look good. For the beach, look for a button-down that’s made out of lightweight fabric, like linen and pair it with vintage-inspired denim shorts.
Bello Button Up
This classic button-up’s bright green color will look great next to the ocean. The back of this shirt is longer than the front which makes it ideal for a front-tuck situation.
Monki Sleeveless Knit Dress in Bright… $62
The Signature Poplin Oversized Shirt
This striped poplin button-down is a Madewell bestseller for good reason—it’s available in two colors and comes in regular and plus sizes.
The Signature Poplin Oversized Shirt $88
A Lightweight Knit
Move over sweater vests, I’m crushing on the sweater dress. It may seem counterintuitive to wear knit sweater material to the beach, but the finely woven material will make you feel (and look) cool. Knit dresses are all about texture which will complement the grains of sand you’ll feel between your toes. They can be long sleeve, cut-out or trimmed with fringe so there’s not a single way to nail this style. The best part about a knit dress is that they’re also a great option to wear to a beach wedding.
Variegated Rib Bodycon Dress
This berry pink knit dress will look even better with a tan. While the overall shape of the dress is simple, the back has fun open design and the side slit keeps it flirty.
Variegated Rib Bodycon Dress $146 (was $208)
Cotton Knit Dress
How cute is this knit mini dress? A beach isn’t necessary to wear this mini but it sure would look great.
A Halter Dress
Halter tops had their moment and now it’s time to take things up a notch with a halter dress. In my opinion, a halter is one of the most universally flattering silhouettes—the high neck is elongating and everyone looks good when they have a little extra shoulder to shimmy. Plus, it’s a great silhouette to wear for the beach if you want to get a little sun (just make sure to layer on the SPF). Wearing a strapless bra to the beach is annoying so use the halter dress as an opportunity to let loose (if you get what I mean).
Halter Dress With Braided Detail
I love the elevated look of this halter dress with a braided neckline from Eloquii. It will look just as good at a swanky bar as it will at a beach cabana. It’s available in plus sizes 14-28.
Halter Dress With Braided Detail $119.95
Flower Print Dress
Florals aren’t just for spring, they’re for summer too! This floral halter dress would be perfect for a beach wedding or a nice dinner.
If you’re a “pics or a didn’t happen” kind of gal (like I am), you know how important it is to have a ‘Gram ready outfit for every occasion. Fringe is going to be one of the biggest trends this summer and there’s no better place to wear it than on the beach. I’m personally excited to go big with the trend and wear fringe sets and full-length dresses.
Fringed Mini Dress in Chocolate
This chocolate brown dress is begging to be paired with a margarita and a night of dancing on the beach.
Fringed Mini Dress in Chocolate $95
Haute Summer Top
If a day party is on your calendar (or there’s a chance for a spontaneous party), this strapless fringe top should be at the top of your packing list. Don’t forget to buy the matching skirt.
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