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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.
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 on the web—and ways to shop them all—so you can have inspiration for days. Just don’t forget the sunscreen! Read on to see all of the cute looks.
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1. A Nautical Striped Romper
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 a day spent on the sand to a breezy summer night.
Short Sleeve Romper
This navy striped romper can be worn with a utility jacket, denim jacket, cardigan, 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
Tie-dye is basically always a staple of any summer wardrobe. A lightweight maxi dress with a fun tie-dye pattern is a perfect throw-it-on and go beach option. Beach dressing is all about ease, and it doesn’t get more simple than sliding into a maxi dress after a day of laying out in the sun.
Boho Maxi Dress
The best part about this maxi dress? You can throw it on over your swimsuit, add a pair of earrings and heels, and go directly to the bar! Tie-dye is one of this year’s most in-demand patterns, so you’ll look perfectly on-trend while sipping your cocktail.
3. A Cute Matching Set
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. By that logic, they’re basically four outfits in one purchase.
Crop Top and Shorts Set
This floral two-piece set from Anienaya retails for under $30 and comes in a ton of colors, so you have no reason not to buy one for yourself this summer. My favorite part about packing a two-piece set for my next beach day? They make getting dressed so easy.
4. A Long Striped Shirt
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. Show some skin by wearing it completely unbuttoned or try wearing it fully done up for some added sun protection.
Drapey Boyfriend Shirt
This oversized striped buttoned-down shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch has some serious borrowed-from-the-boys energy. After all, it’s literally called the Boyfriend Shirt. Get that easy-breezy look, no actual boyfriend required.
5. A Little White Dress
Nothing says summer like a little white dress, especially when paired with a woven handbag and wide-brim sunhat. Style it under a cropped denim jacket for an outfit that exudes effortlessly cool vibes. That jacket will also keep you warm if the weather changes on a dime.
Tiered Tank Dress
It doesn’t get sweeter than this tank dress from Woven Thread. This frock is available at Target in sizes XS through XXL, so you’ve probably already seen it on one of your weekly trips to your favorite store. What’s not to love?
6. Beachy Striped Pants with a Slogan Tee
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! Graphic tees are also everywhere right now, so you should have no trouble finding one that you love.
Linen Self Tie Wide Leg Pant
These pants from Torrid are going to look picture-perfect with an equally neutral bikini or one-piece swimsuit on your next beach day. Keep the easy vibes going by styling these pants and your tee with a massive floppy hat and a pair of oversized sunnies.
7. A Chambray Dress with Beaded Bag
The only thing that could possibly make a chambray dress cuter is a beaded bag. Add some fun sandals, too, and you’re looking at a near-perfect vacation ensemble. The beaded bag will also make you look a little more fashion-forward on even your laziest beach days.
Chambray Puff Sleeve Swing Dress
This button-down chambray mini dress from LOFT is airy and fun—and it’s going to play well with just about any pair of shoes—and any jewelry—that you have with you. I’m talking about a pair of neutral wedges or a ton of gold chain necklaces.
8. A Matching Cover Up/Headband Combo
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. I’m never one to put effort into styling my hair after a day at the beach, but this headband combo will make my windblown locks look a little more stylized.
The Oxford Tunic Multi
This patterned button-down shirt from Solid and Striped will give your entire beach look some serious cool points. Yes, the shades are pretty bright, but the oversized shape and sheer fabric give this option a more lived-in look.
Pistachio Gingham Knotted Headband
…And you can’t go wrong when pairing that button-down with the headband that was specifically designed to go with it from Lele Sadoughi. This gingham option is so cute and comes in one of the season’s hottest hues.
9. A Colorful Jumpsuit
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.
Fresh Field Floral Off the Shoulder Crop Wide Leg Jumpsuit
This green floral jumpsuit from City Chic is a little more formal than the other options on this list, so accessorize accordingly. I would try wearing it with a pair of heels, a pair of metallic sandals, or some freshly cleaned white sneakers for a post-beach date night.
10. Denim Shorts with a Kimono
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. You can also try styling the kimono over your bikini if you’re in a hurry but you still want to look put together.
Larissa Floral Kimono
This cropped kimono from Anthropologie is so romantic yet very modern at the same time. I think it will jazz up any of your more simple OOTDs because, well, look at it! Boho vibes: achieved.
11. A Maxi Skirt with Matching Tank
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. Don’t forget to pack a lightweight cardigan if the nights get chilly!
Pleated Floral Skirt
This pleated skirt from Mango would go perfectly with a white tank or a yellow option, so you can’t really go wrong when styling it on your next vacation. Keep the resulting looking casual with a simple pair of sneakers.
12. A Chic Swim Cover-Up
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. You can’t go wrong with a coverup that comes in a shade of blue—you’ll match the ocean!
Pro-tip, Amazon is bursting with adorable and affordable cover-up options, like this one by Moss Rose. You’ll look like you belong on the beaches of some luxe resort on a tropical island when you wear this—and what’s better than that?
13. A Flowy White Maxi Dress
Ugh, there’s nothing quite as dreamy as a white maxi dress, am I right? Talk about beach bride vibes with a casual twist! After all, a good long everyone should have a good white dress or two in their closet at this point, if I’m being honest.
Lovely Invitation White Print Sleeveless Button-Front Dress
This floaty maxi dress from Lulus is so pretty, don’t you think? It’s also a little sheer, so your bikini will show through. Keep the goddess vibes going with a pair of super-strappy flat sandals and plenty of gold jewelry.
14. A Polka Dot Romper
If florals don’t feel ~groundbreaking~ to you this season, make polka dots your fun summer pattern of choice! They’re just a little unexpected but always look fun. Bonus points if you go with a vibrant hue like this sunny yellow.
Polka Dot Cami Romper
If you’re on the shorter side (like me), pair your polka dot romper with a pair of sky-high wedge sandals to add on some extra inches. Or, if you’ve been blessed with the gift of height, style this romper from SHEIN with a pair of sneakers.
15. Belted Stripe Dress
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. So if you’re in a pinch, make sure you have both pieces on hand!
Two Tone Striped Button Front Shirt Dress
This red and white striped mini shirt dress from SHEIN can be worn unbuttoned for a more casual look, or fully done up if you need to run to lunch. Belting it with a neutral option (brown would work perfectly!) will make the outfit look a little cooler
A version of this article previously appeared in August 2020.
A version of this article was originally published in June 2014.