15 Beach Outfit Ideas That Go Far Beyond Swimsuits and Sunnies

Maggie Griswold
15 Beach Outfit Ideas That Go Far Beyond Swimsuits and Sunnies
Photo: Melissa Frances; Jaleesa Charisse; Dreaming Loud.

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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?! 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, of course, I mean bloggers, influencers, fashionistas and the like. They’re here to show us all a thing or two about how to dress when you’re headed to the beach, baby.

From beachy striped pants (a lot of beachy striped pants) and adorable ways to wear cut-off denim to Instagram-worthy maxi dresses and ideas on how to style the swimsuit you’re probably already wearing as you head to the shore, these stylish folks have myriad ways to amp up your beach vacation wardrobe. If you’re struggling to figure out the best way to pack your bags before you head on vacation and, unless a shopping spree happens, are most likely stuck with whatever you threw in your suitcase, this little guide is for you. I rounded up 15 of the cutest beach outfit ideas I could find—and ways to shop them all—so you can have inspiration for days. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

 

1. A Nautical Striped Romper

Beach Outfit Ideas

Lou What Wear.

A striped romper and utility jacket might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about beach outfits, but this look is perfect for transitioning from the a day on the sand to a breezy summer night.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Gap Factory.

This navy striped romper can be worn with a utility jacket, denim jacket, cardigan or as-is. There are so many ways to style this piece for summer, so you should definitely snag it while it’s available.

2. A Tie-Dye Maxi

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

To Thine Own Style Be True.

Tie dye is a summer staple, and a lightweight maxi dress with a fun tie dye pattern is a perfect throw-it-on and go beach option.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Riviera.

The best part about the Riviera Sun Tie Dye Maxi Dress? You can throw it on over your swimsuit, add a pair of earrings and heels, and go directly to the bar!

 

3. A Cute Matching Set

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Gisele Smith.

The beauty of a matching set is that there are endless possibilities. You can wear the pieces together or pair them with other items in your closet for brand new looks.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Floerns.

This Floerns Two Piece Outfit is bright, fun and comes in a ton of colorways. Wear the crop top and skirt together, or separate them for unlimited outfit options.

4. A Long Striped Shirt

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Melissa Frances.

An oversized button-up—or a cover-up inspired by the look of one!—is the ultimate effortless option to throw on over your swimsuit for a poolside drink.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Swimsuits For All.

This Swimsuits For All Sandra Elba Button-Up is the perfect cool-girl pick to wear open or closed for two totally different looks.

 

5. A Little White Dress

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Venti Fashion.

Nothing says summer like a little white dress, especially when paired with a woven handbag and wide-brim sunhat.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

ECOWISH.

The ECOWISH Lace Mini Skater Dress is so dreamy in crisp white, but if you prefer a little color, it also comes in sunny yellow and baby pink.

6. Beachy Striped Pants with a Slogan Tee

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Jaleesa Charisse.

Fun striped pants and a cute tee are a match made in summertime heaven. BTW, these look just as cute with your bikini top for a beach photo op!

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Madewell.

These Striped Linen-Blend Paper Bag Pants are sure to keep you nice and cool no matter the temperature.

 

7. A Chambray Dress with Beaded Bag

Beach Outfit Ideas

Just Add Glam.

The only thing that could possibly make a chambray dress cuter is a beaded bag. Add some oversized sunnies, too, and you’re looking at a near-perfect vacation ensemble.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

H&M.

This H&M denim dress is airy and fun—and sure to play well with just about any tropical accessory.

 

8. A Matching Cover Up/Headband Combo

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

All About Good Vibes.

Now this is a look I never would’ve considered, but absolutely have to try. Headbands are a huge trend this year, so finding a beachy style just feels right.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

BISHUIGE.

This BISGUIGE T-Shirt Dress is simple and sweet…

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Lele Sadoughi.

…But when paired with this matching Lele Sadoughi Knotted Headband? It takes the look to a whole new level.

 

9. A Colorful Jumpsuit

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Oh To Be A Muse.

I’m all about a one-and-done look over my swimsuit, and a colorful, patterned jumpsuit is a great option. If you’re wearing a bandeau-top swimsuit, opt for a strapless or spaghetti-strap neckline to show off your tan.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Farm Rio.

This Farm Rio Monkeys Cropped Jumpsuit looks as good with flip flops on the beach as it does with heels for date night.

 

10. Denim Shorts with a Kimono

STYLECASTER | Beach Outfit Ideas That Go Far Beyond Swimsuits and Sunnies

Trendy Curvy.

It’s likely you already have a pair of denim cut-offs in your closet, so make the most of them this summer. For a can’t-miss beach look, add a white tank and bright kimono.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

H&M.

It doesn’t get much more tropical than this lightweight kimono, folks. And the green is neutral enough to pair well with plenty of summer ensembles.

 

11. A Maxi Skirt with Matching Tank

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

The Heart Of Style.

If you like a little extra coverage even at the beach, a flowy, floaty maxi is the move. Pair with a tank in a matching shade for a put-together look that’s still super comfortable.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Topshop.

Sunny yellow florals just scream summer to me, so I’ll definitely be picking up this Topshop Daisy Tiered Skirt to try out this look.

 

12. A Chic Swim Cover-Up

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Dreaming Loud.

It’s the easiest option in the book—just invest in a few fun, breezy swimsuit cover-ups and you’re good to go all summer long.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Moss Rose.

Pro tip, Amazon is bursting with adorable and affordable cover-up options, like this one by Moss Rose.

 

13. A Flowy White Maxi Dress

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Christina Zayas.

Ugh, there’s nothing quite so dreamy as a white maxi. Beach bride vibes with a casual twist!

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Elan.

The Elan Ruffle Maxi Dress is the kind of dress you impulse-buy for a beach BBQ and end up wearing on a weekly basis for the rest of the summer. Worth it!

 

14. Polka Dot Romper

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Bella Gerard.

If florals don’t feel ~groundbreaking~ to you, make polka dots your fun summer pattern of choice! Bonus points if you go with a vibrant hue like this sunny yellow.

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Missguided.

Excuse me while I end this article to place my order for this Yellow Polka Dot Twist Front Jumpsuit.

 

15. Belted Stripe Dress

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Oh To Be A Muse.

Throwing a belt on a super casual dress instantly makes it a little less casual. This is a great way to turn a cover-up into a pre-beach brunch ensemble!

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Halogen.

If your dress is simple, choose a belt with a statement buckle. If it has a lot going on, opt for something more understated, like the Halogen Croc Embossed Faux Leather Belt.

A version of this article was originally published in June 2014.

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