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When summer’s on its way, it’s easy to buy a ton of swimsuits and little else, because swimsuits are fun. Swimsuits are cute. Swimsuits instantly transport us to a world of the shining sun and high temperatures—a reality that hasn’t been ours for far too long. The only issue? Rarely does one go to the beach, or pool, or lake in a swimsuit and only a swimsuit—nay, we adorn ourselves with swim cover-ups to complete the look.
I, however, have never been able to find a cover-up that I actually like to wear. For too long I have relied on an old vintage t-shirt to wear over my bikini after a day spent in the water. But now that I’m officially an adult, I feel like I actually need to up my beachwear game in 2021. There are so many options to choose from, so it looks like I’m in luck.
Case in point: the seven cover-up trends that I’ve included on this list. I’ve even broken them down into sections so you can keep track of your favorites and you won’t have to spend hours and hours perusing the web. I would also be lying to you right now if I said that I didn’t already add a few of my top picks to my online cart. I have a shopping addiction—I can’t help it! I’ve got it all, from lightweight sarongs to breezy beach rompers.
Read on to shop my favorite cover-ups from brands like Robin Piccone, Frankies Bikinis, Madewell and more. Summer is basically here, people! It’s time to stock up.
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The Beach Pants
White linen pants—AKA “beach pants”—have been a longtime staple in my summer wardrobe, so I’m happy to see them getting some much-needed attention for summer 2021. Trust me, you will wear these everywhere.
Pull-On Linen Wide Leg Pant
This easy pair of white beach pants from Lane Bryant is going to be one of your most-worn items this summer, I can feel it. They’re available in sizes 12 through 28 and come in a few colors, but the classic white is always a good move.
Linen-Blend Cropped Wide-Leg Pants
This cropped pair of beach pants are perfect for my short gals (AKA me!) because they actually won’t make you look like you’re swimming in white linen fabric. Plus the linen-blend fabric means you won’t get too hot.
It doesn’t get more classic than a sarong in the summer. They’ve been around for years and somehow feel fresh and sexy every single season! You’ve got tons of options to choose from for summer 2021, from simple mini versions to longer patterned picks.
This bold sarong from Back From Bali could totally double as a halter dress if you tie it the right way. Or simply throw it over your shoulders for some added sun protection while you finish your beach read.
Michelle Cover Up Pareo
Robin Piccone always nails it when it comes to easy, breezy beachwear that looks chic season after season. Case in point: the timeless Michelle Cover Up Pareo in black. Don’t shame me for wanting to wear all-black even in the summer!
The Beach Cardi
These breezy beach cardigans are perfect for when you want to look like you’re an Insta-famous model in a pinch. Whether you choose a shawl made from sheer lace or a lightweight linen version, the options are nearly endless.
Crochet Long Kimono
The boho vibes are strong with this one. A long sheer cover-up like this pick from Blooming Jelly on Amazon will show off your suit in style—and for only $16.99! It’s a great choice if you’re trying to save a bit of money for all those swimsuits.
The Effortless Shirt Dress Cover Up
This long white shirt dress cover-up from Summersalt obviously looks amazing when worn over one of their colorful suits, but the neutral shade will coordinate with literally any of the bikinis or one-pieces that you currently own.
The Matching Set
So let’s say you’re the type of person who likes to go straight from the beach to the bar for happy hour. I hear you and I support you in your endeavors. To serve looks, you need a cute AF matching set that takes you from the sand to the drinks.
Fifi Silk Button Up Shirt + Fifi Silk High Waist Boxer Shorts
If you’re looking for a borrowed-from-the-boys vibe, meet my favorite silk set from Frankies Bikinis. I would wear either the button-up top or the boxer shorts on their own, but they give off such a chilled-out vibe when paired together.
Striped Shimmer Sweater + Striped Cover-Up Shorts
This rainbow-hued set from Beach Riot features a lightweight long sleeve top and a pair of loose shorts, so you’ll bring all the cozy vibes with you to the beach this summer. Plus, you’ll stay warm if the wear changes on a dime after the sun goes down.
The Mini Dress
I love a piece that pulls double duty in my closet, especially in the summer. Bringing a cute mini dress made from linen or cotton with you on vacation is a great way to A) save space in your suitcase and B) lower the cost-per-wear on your favorite pieces.
Sleeveless Crochet Tunic
I love this Sleeveless Crochet Tunic from CUPSHE because it looks way more expensive than it actually is thanks to the detailed woven design. Plus, it comes with Amazon Prime shipping so you can get it ASAP if you’re a last-minute shopper like I am.
Gauze Cover Up Tunic Dress
This tunic from Madewell also comes in a peachy pink shade, but you can never go wrong with a loose white dress in your summer wardrobe. I’m picturing this piece styled with tons of gold jewelry and a pair of barely-there strappy sandals.
The Beach Romper
Cutesy little rompers are back for summer 2021 and for good reason! You can style them with a pair of wedge heels for dinner after a day spent at the beach or keep them casual with a pair of sandals or white sneakers. I love that versatility!
Krista Tie-Dye Romper
Z SUPPLY makes some of the comfiest pieces on the market these days and this tie-dye romper is no exception. Not only is it covered in a trendy tie-dye pattern but it will coordinate with almost any of your bikinis.
Casual Sleeveless Romper
This gray-and-white striped romper from Kirundo is made for lazy days spent lounging by the pool. It’s basically a more dressed-up version of your favorite loungewear pieces that you live in at home.
The Maxi Dress
Wearing a maxi dress is a great way to add a little bit of lightweight coverage to your next beach look. Whether you go for a colorful tie-dyed option or a more form-fitting knit pick, you will look like a real-life beach goddess.
Tie-Dye Cover-Up Dress
This hot pink Tie-Dye Cover-Up Dress from Venus features a plunging neckline that won’t mess up your tanlines. Although TBH, who needs a bikini anyway? I would wear this dress on its own, any day.
Leigh Polo Dress
If you’re anything like me (AKA you love wearing black all year ’round), then you 100 percent need this collared mesh maxi dress from Solid + Striped in your wardrobe. I’ve been thinking about buying it ever since it hit the site and I think today might just be the day.