15 Beach Outfit Ideas That Go Far Beyond Swimsuits & Sunnies

15 Beach Outfit Ideas That Go Far Beyond Swimsuits & Sunnies
Photo: Courtesy of 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?! 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

Beach Outfit Ideas

Courtesy of 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 a day spent on the sand to a breezy summer night.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Hount.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of To Thine Own Style Be True.

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.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Kidsform.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of 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. By that logic, they’re basically four outfits in one purchase.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Anienaya.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of 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. Show some skin by wearing it completely unbuttoned or try wearing it fully done up for some added sun protection.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Abercrombie & Fitch.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of Venti Fashion.

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.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Woven Thread.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of 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! Graphic tees are also everywhere right now, so you should have no trouble finding one that you love.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Torrid.

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

Beach Outfit Ideas

Courtesy of Just Add Glam.

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.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of LOFT.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of 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. 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.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Solid and Striped.

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.


STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Lele Sadoughi.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of 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

Courtesy of City Chic.

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

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

Courtesy of 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. You can also try styling the kimono over your bikini if you’re in a hurry but you still want to look put together.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Anthropologie.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of 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. Don’t forget to pack a lightweight cardigan if the nights get chilly!

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Mango.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of 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. You can’t go wrong with a coverup that comes in a shade of blue—you’ll match the ocean!

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of Moss Rose.

Beach Kaftan

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of Christina Zayas.

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.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Lulus.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of Bella Gerard.

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.

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Shein.

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

STYLECASTER | What To Wear To The Beach

Courtesy of 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. So if you’re in a pinch, make sure you have both pieces on hand!

STYLECASTER | What to Wear to The Beach

Courtesy of Shein.

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.

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

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