How To Cover Up On The Beach Stylishly
We've all got a friend like M., right? When M.'s in London, she's the most stylish lady I know. She's one of those girls who it's a bore to be around at parties because other women are always coming up to her to ask rapturously where she got that gorgeous dress/top/skirt/pair of boots from. I
have a wardrobe full of clothes. I couldn't say the same for M - she wears such exquisitely cut, minimal garments, that I refer to them as 'pieces', because they're more like sculpture than a ragtag piece you buy on impulse one lunchtime in Primark.
But M.'s got a nasty case of fashion schizophrenia. As soon as we voyage to sunnier climes together on our annual girls' holiday, everything goes pear-shaped. Suddenly, everything she wears is tasselled, has a rash of beading round the neckline, or is loudly decked out in paisley. Suddenly she looks like she's been raiding Sienna Miller's crazy boho wardrobe circa 2006. Don't get me wrong, Sienna looked the business back in the day. But it's been done to death, and kaftans now make my toes curl a bit.
Sure, they're lovely and light in baking hot weather and you can stuff them in your beach bag - but ladies, let's be realistic. The kaftan has never been the most flattering of garments.
Check out this picture of the usually Helen-of-Troy like Blake Lively below for proof.
Let's face it: Blake Lively basically has the perfect figure. She is like a Barbie doll come to life. But this kaftan doesn't do her justice.
Or take a look at this host of gorgeous slebs looking a tad odd in their beachwear:
It's not that they look bad
. They just look strangely dated. And I think complacency about beach cover ups are endemic - but really, why should what you wear to the beach look any less current than what you'd wear to a party?
Look, I am not a complete sadist - I'm not suggesting we all shiver through the cloudier spots in our beach days in nothing but uber-modern cut out swimsuits with instagrammed gorillas on or high waisted bikinis. Goosebumps are never in style.
I have an alternative suggestion! Yes, this is the part where you laugh cynically out of the side of your mouth and say to yourself, I knew
she was going to suggest that.
Yes, I am writing for a company wot sells shirts. But don't get me wrong - it's not in my best interests to pen pieces to shift shirts each week. It's dullsville for you to read and it'd be tedious for me to write. But yes, now we're on the topic - I do think a crisp linen shirt slung over your bikini or swimming costume's the answer.
As it happens, I'm not the only person who thinks so. The rather wonderful Net-a-Porter did a promo recently on the same topic:
Reiss printed a similar piece, which is clearly not in their interests, since they actually sell beach cover ups. That
is how good it looks. But I quote:
'...we think an unbuttoned silk blouse looks super-cool over a bikini. Laidback but luxe, un-do the buttons and roll the sleeves on our Brynn blouse for coverage without covering up too much.'
Ladies, I don't think I really have to convince you. These pictures speak for themselves. We've all been using oversized shirts as cover ups off the beach for years - grunging up girly party dresses by slinging a nonchalant plaid piece over the top. Doing this for the beach has the same effect - it's chicer, it's more subtly sexy. It's the same easy-breezy cool tomboyish thing as wearing your partner's jeans cuffed at the bottoms or wearing his too-big jumper as a dress to go buy a pint of milk from the corner shop.
The nice thing about the shirt as a beach cover up is that it's more versatile than that - if you're a preppy soul who aspires to an Audrey Hepburn level of polish and panache, then a white linen shirt over the top of your bikini doesn't make you look like Courtney Love on her day off from rocking out at the MTV awards. If that's you, then I'd go for something like this:
Mina (http://bit.ly/1480tBZ ) is preppy and pretty and lightweight all at once worn completely unbuttoned with the sleeves rolled up. When buttoned back up, it's perfect for heading straight from the beach to a chic restaurant where they'd frown at too much skin on show.
Or for something with a more contemporary edge, try our Brooklyn shirt (http://bit.ly/15GuTcl). It's silk and lovely and lightweight for the beach and comes in a soft blue and a burnt orange.
If you're more of a rocker at heart, then I don't need to tell you where to pick up an oversized plaid shirt - I'm guessing you've already got one/your significant other has one.
Give it a try this summer and let us know your thoughts - does it work for you? Or do you completely disagree and think that a kaftan's always current? Sound off below!