As we move deeper into the high summer season, no doubt many of us will be heading to the coast to catch a rare glimpse of the fleeting British sunshine or jet setting off to warmer climes, sandier beaches and clearer oceans.
You may be on holiday but that’s no excuse for your style to take a vacation, so keep up appearances and stay on par with the FashionBeans guide to beach style.
The current trend for swimwear is a slimmer, shorter option; more akin to a pair of tailored shorts in length than the below-the-knee board shorts that have become the perennial favourite among misguided beach goers.
The modern take on swimwear – much like our tailoring – has its influences in the fifties and sixties, with the more athletic fit proving preferable to a pair of swim shorts that ‘balloon’ out.
The benefits of current swimwear cuts are that they can easily transcend from beachwear to bar and don’t look out place around town. The slimmer, shorter cuts in bolder, brighter prints and colours are a daring show of confidence in comparison to the standard board varieties – instantly setting you apart from 90% of men in the costa del.
For a total comprehensive guide on swim shorts, check out Matt’s basics guide: part 52.
A quality pair of sunglasses are the perfect summer accessory. Stay away from wrap-around frames and hunt around for the perfect frame that flatters your face. If your unsure on which frames suit you face educate yourself with Luke’s sunglasses guide.
Whether you’re treating your sunglasses as an investment piece or looking to save a bit of money by buying a cheaper pair, it never hurts to shop around. With so many frame styles, colours and lenses available it’s certainly worth spending a bit of time researching and trying them on to see if they represent ‘you’.
Classic, timeless styles include the aviator, clubmaster and wayfarer and you rarely go wrong with these. If you fancy something more eye catching, print and coloured sunglasses have begun to spring up and are enjoying their moment in the
The beach is one of the two situations where flip-flops are acceptable (the other being to and from the pool.) If, however, you intend to move from beach to bar, then there are a number of more structured and suitable options.
Boat shoes are a firm favourite, and this season’s coloured versions are definitely worth considering if your beachwear is lacking in colour or statement. Alternatively, a pair of leather sandals or espadrilles are a less structured option than the boat shoe but is far more astute than flip-flops when you’re not planning an extensive stay on the sand.
Whether you intend to spend your time at the beach – sans-top or not – having a shirt or t-shirt to wear to the beach and throw on when you leave is an essential and a solid choice. It can often mean the difference between not having to nip back to the hotel for a quick wardrobe change after a chance encounter.
A simple block colour or patterned t-shirt that is complimentary to your shorts is a great option. You can’t go wrong with a nautical themed classic Breton stripe or a solid bright coloured piece to add a bit of youthful exuberance to your wave-side attire. Alternatively, if you’re a fan of this season’s big print trend, you could try a printed tee; tribal, floral and Hawaiian are just three of the big prints to watch out for.
For a super-casual option, consider a vest over a standard tee. Ben recently wrote an article on the subject and is definitely worth checking out.
If a t-shirt isn’t going to cut it for your beach style, a shirt may just do the trick. A little bit smarter than a tee, a good shirt will easily see you throughout the day. A casual shirt is a must, as you’re not going to be tucking it in to your swimwear – nobody wants long shirt-tails sloppily hanging down. This season is your opportunity to rock a Hawaiian shirt and be on the right side of the faux pas list.
If you’re caught between a shirt and tee, why not opt for a polo? Check out my recent article for a rundown on this season’s pieces and the need-to-know styling tips.
With the countless items we often find ourselves needing on a trip to the beach, a good bag is indispensable. As Matt Allinson noted last year, the tote is the best beach go-to and I can’t help but find myself agreeing. The tote is easy to carry, large and can be relatively inexpensive.
An alternative to a tote would be a simple holdall. Again, it is easily carried by the handles, spacey and while it can be more expensive than a tote, you may get more use out of it when you return home, depending on your preference. The one downside to a holdall is that you may struggle to fit it into your luggage, unlike a tote.
While hats may be struggling as a day-to-day item – compared to yesteryear – the beach is the one place they’ve certainly seen a resurgence. The most popular style, and for good reason, is the straw trilby. It’s light, cool (in both senses) and can be acquired for relatively little expense, meaning it won’t be too much of a heartache when the wind kicks up and your trilby is on its way to South America.
A lightweight flat cap certainly wouldn’t be a bad alternative either. There has also been a rise in stock for the bucket hat as of late, with giants such as GQ giving it a glowing recommendation.
However, if you are going to don the rather dubious fisherman’s/bucket hat, I would advise you to make sure you’ve got a killer outfit in the shorts and shirt department. By keeping everything else classy, you’re showing you know what you’re doing and an air of confidence will really bring the hat up a notch or two. On the whole, it’s a risk worth taking. If you get it right, it will look really right – and set you apart from the rest of the holidaymakers.
There are of course a number of other things that could be considered ‘essential’ when perfecting your beach style, some more obvious than others.
The most apparent is a good beach towel, which should be of a good size for you to lie on and of a respectable design. While bright coloured or striped versions are perfectly stylish options, a football emblazoned or novelty towel are not.
Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, a stylish passport holder will help protect that important document. Look for styles that come with additional compartments for boarding passes, luggage tickets and frequent flyer cards. While not a beach essential per se, if you have to board a plane to get to your beach destination, it’s worth squeezing it in on the clothing budget for the getaway. Plus, pick the right style and you will only ever have to outlay on this item once.
There we have it, a hopefully helpful guide for staying stylish on the sand.
Let us know in the comments below…