I spend at least three days at my beach house every week in the summer. So "beach wear" has become a major portion of my summer wardrobe. I treat a bikini, cover-up, flip-flops and a beach bag like an outfit, and think of it all as real fashion, not just something I throw on to hang out in on the sand. I do have a no-jewelry-except-my-wedding-rings-and-always-on-me-anklet rule for the beach (uh, hello weird tan lines...), and only permit myself one coat of mascara and a sweep of shimmery eyeshadow (that secretly acts an an excellent sunblock on my eyelids!). But when it comes to the clothing part of things...well, there is no difference in my level of dedication to always looking put-together.
One big thing that can ruin the look of a cute bathing suit is a haphazard way of covering it up. I have a big issue with 30-something-year-old women wearing a saggy t-shirt or lacrosse shorts over a bikini. You end up looking like a college student who hasn't found her style yet...or even worse, a 30-something-year-old who hasn't found her style yet! There are so many fabulous options for cover-ups out there...and way beyond the standard (read: way overplayed) Juicy Couture terry cloth strapless mini...!
One of my favorites is from Echo (a company that not only makes gorgeous beach cover-ups, but also hairbands, bags, scarves, and a million other accessories at great prices). In a sheer cotton-blend, this "butterfly" caftan-style dress is pretty much weightless (really key during this summer of unbearable temperatures) and dries in an instant if it gets splashed in the ocean (believe me...I have one...and it gets splashed all the time!). It also comes in an amazing array of glamorous colors and prints (mine is a white-and-mint-green leaf print) and costs a tiny $42. And while it is sheer, it also has those butterfly wings...so you can wear it to shop for the afternoon, to the market at lunch, and to run into someone you haven't seen since the 3rd grade (yup, mine got me through that just two weeks ago!) - all feeling like a grown-up...