5 Beach Cover-Ups That Look Stylish, Not Stupid

Do you remember how, back in the day, it used to be cool to wear an Abercrombie tank paired with some cheeky Hollister denim underwear shorts on top of your bikini to the beach?? Clearly nothing said “style” like that infamous moose logo—like, watch out Rachel Zoe! Well, as you probably realized while trying to shove those post-college thighs back into those miniscule shorts, things have changed. That cover-up outfit is no longer acceptable and, last I heard, Abercrombie was in the shitter. Regardless, you’re (hopefully) a civilized member of society now, and that means that even your beach cover-ups should reflect that.

That being said, I’m not going to sit here and suggest running to your local Marshalls and buying a dress from their blatantly labeled “swim section.” (If that’s all I was here to do, this article would be hella short. Lol.) Instead of throwing away your money on some garbage tie-dye cover-up dress, invest in a quality piece of everyday clothing that can also function as a cover-up. Not only is it more budget-friendly, but you’ll also look wayyyy more fashionable than everybody else. I know, I’m the best, right?

These are the summer wardrobe essentials that are worth purchasing, or are already in your closet, that dually function as beach cover-ups.

1. Button-Down Shirts

These are my go-to, ride-or-die, loyal af cover-up option. You can legit wear it to work on Friday and then to the beach on Saturday. I mean, how much more versatile can you get? Not only do button-downs look chic as hell, but they also give you a sexy cool-girl vibe, and we all know your crazy ass needs all the help she can get with that one. Wearing a button-down shirt as a cover-up is very “Hamptons meets walk-of-shame glam.” A little Fifty Shades of Grey vibe, if you will.

Free People Nordic Day solid top

2. Flowy Pants

“Flowy pants” means that the pants are, in fact, flowy. I needed to emphasize this so all you basic hoes don’t go confusing “flowy pants” with those tight patterned flare pants as seen on every girl at a frat party. Contrary to those, your flowy pants should be made of a lightweight material, and they should also coordinate seamlessly with your swimsuit. When done correctly, a flowy beach pant looks boho-chic and effortlessly cool. Be sure to look for a pair that aren’t see-through or too revealing, so that way you can also wear them as regular pants any other day of the week.

Billabong Happy Dance Stripe wide leg pants

3. Kimono

Is it no longer PC to even refer to them as “kimonos”? Lmk. Seems like it shouldn’t be…but, whatevs, for now that’s what I’m sticking with. Your ideal beach kimono should, like your flowy pants, be lightweight and casual. You should look for one in a neutral color or print so it pairs with multiple different swimsuits in your closet. Your kimono and swimsuit should seamlessly complement each other—like the Kim to your Kanye, the Kylie to your Travis, the Khloé to your Tris…errrrrr. Fuck you, Tristan Thompson. Fuck you.

Billabong Sea the Sun Kimono

4. Casual Romper

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can pretty much wear any of your casual daytime rompers as a cover-up to the beach, as long as it is lightweight enough. The romper that you choose to wear over your swimsuit should have a relatively summery vibe to it aka it should not be one you would even consider wearing to “da club.”

Bella Dahl Ruffle Sleeve romper

5. Shortalls

Shorts that are overalls, known as “shortalls,” look supes cool as a cover-up while also truly doing the job of covering up. Well, at least enough for happy hour, which is all you really need them for anyway. Pick a pair of denim or white shortalls to guarantee that they’ll match all of your swimsuits. Important note: I feel like this should go without saying, but they need to be SHORTS overalls. If you are dumb enough to wear regular pant overalls to the beach, then just be aware that you will legit look like a lost farmer.

Free People Summer Babe high-low overall

If you’re money conscious, buying something that can be worn for multiple different occasions probably brings you a newfound comfort when shopping. You’re welcome. If you’re not, then I apologize in advance for giving you justification for buying another romper because, ya know, it’s multi-functional and all. Shopaholics beware.

Images: @yasinhosgor / Unsplash; Free People (2); South Moon Under (2); Revolve

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Shannon McCormick
Shannon McCormick
Shannon McCormick (previously under the alias of 'Betch Dressed') is a self-proclaimed fashion expert with a sick obsession for all things Bravo. She primarily writes about everything fashion, but also dabbles in other areas because she's a talented overachieving Virgo. Follow her on Insta (@shanmccormick) and comment/DM topics you want to hear her incredible take on next!