Resort wear essentials: swimsuit cover-ups

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 35 Comments

It’s Day 2 of Resort Week on Styling You. Today’s virtual cocktail of choice: Jasmine Vanilla Martini.

Yesterday you went a bit nuts for the Solito beach dress, so I’m continuing on with the same theme.

Having lived half my life beside the beach and the years before that holidaying every summer at the beach, I’m a self-appointed expert when it comes to how to dress for the beach.

Yes, there’s the swimsuit (which we’ll deal with later this week … building up to that one) but no beach wardrobe is complete without swimsuit cover-ups.

For me, the cover-up is an essential for a number of reasons: for keeping cool when the temperature and humidity get ridiculous; for providing a degree of modesty getting from the carpark to the beach and return; and providing a sun-safe option while actually on the beach.

I will hang under an umbrella in mid-summer but after a swim, if my youngest is still out in the water, I’ll stand at the water’s edge keeping an eye on him. Thanks to Nippers – and growing up at the beach – he doesn’t fear the ocean at all. So I need to keep a close watch.

A swimsuit cover-up, a hat on my head and sunglasses on my eyes keep my pale skin (that I’ve slathered with SPF 50+) from being fried.

And, if I play my swimsuit cover-up wardrobe just right, those same cover-ups can double as a day dress or the perfect beach-to-bar outfit when on holidays.

8 swimsuit cover-ups - 4 will take you from day to night | Resort Week | Styling You

1. Kalokeri dress $149 @ Sequins and Sand | 2. Tigerlily dress $149.95 @ The Iconic | 3. iAllure kaftan $189 | 4. Alessi dress $49.95 @ Birdsnest | 5. Camilla dress $469 @ Zambezee Boutique | 6. Verily kaftan $85 (Click through here to see what this one looks like on blogger Kimba Likes) | 7. Red Circle kaftan $59 @ Blue Bungalow | 8. Adrift dress $109.95 @ Birdsnest

See any you like? Those ones marked with a star? They’re the ones that would serve you well on a resort holiday. Wear poolside over a swimsuit during the day. Add heels or wedges and a bit of bling and they’re perfect for wherever the night make take you.

For some ideas on what to team with the starred pieces to take them from beach to bar, re-visit the spring essentials accessories and spring essentials shoes posts.

For shoes, think wedges or blinged flats; for accessories, choose from either a statement necklace, an arm party or big earrings. Just quietly the earrings work as a great distraction if you’re wearing your hair slicked back in a wet pony tail or bun.

Here’s one way to work this look from day to night:

Nighttime resortwear accessories

1. PL by Peter Lang necklace $99 @ The Iconic | 2. Mimco clutch $149 | 3. Samantha Wills ring $69 | 4. Zoe Kratzmann wedge $230 @ Style Tread

The other three might be better suited for a day outing but they will also do double time as a cool, cotton dress to keep you feeling comfortable all summer long.

Here’s how I suggest you work the look for a day at the beach:

daytime beach wear accessories

 1. Country Road hat $59.95 | 2. Havaianas $29.99 | 3. Mar Y Sol beach bag $95 @ Sequins and Sand | 4. Minkpink sunnies $49.95

SY reader questions

Q: For those of us who need to wear a hat or risk looking like a lobster after only a few minutes in the sun any tips on how to avoid the dreaded hat hair look? – Mindy

A: My hot tip, Mindy, is to choose and wear a hat that is not too tight for your head. It if sits comfortably on your head then you’ll minimise hat hair. Alternatively don’t take your hat off. Then no-one will be none the wiser.

Q: How to look good without the “Nana” arms for summer? – Julijana

A:  Too easy – invest in one or two of the above pieces OR just wave them in the air like you just don’t care!

Q: Do those light weight colourful beach dresses to wear over bathers really look ok on slightly overweight, middled aged women whose knees are not great looking any longer? – Angela

A: Yes, they do. It’s a matter of finding a style that suits you and still works for what you need it to do. The above 8 is a good first example for you.

Q:  Can you help with the “walk of shame” from the sand to the water – even when I’m perched as close to waters edge as possible! – Lindy

A:  Drop all thoughts of shame. Your body gets you up and about every day. Make the most of it. I guarantee you that women are not on the beach criticising what other women are wearing. They’re too worried about themselves.

What do you wear to the beach? A fan of swimsuit cover-ups?

Comments 35

  1. Thanks Nikki! I purchased no. 2 here in California to wear in Australia at Christmas time. May just have to wear it with leggings now while it’s Autumn here.

  2. My faves are # 3, 5 and 7 and that Peter Lang necklace is fabulous! You’re making me crave the warmer weather here, Nikki. It’s a shame Adelaide keeps flip-flopping between spring and winter.

  3. Are there many kaftans and the like out and about which have a collar / high-ish neck line? I’m 40 – but trying so hard to minimise the T-shirt V at summer time. I can lather on sunscreen, but additional help from fabric would be good too! Any thoughts?

    1. Cathy I don’t think I have … the low neckline is usually there because it’s more flattering. But I get what you’re saying … same with me. Only option I can think of is to wrap a soft summer scarf across area.

  4. Number 7 is definitely my favourite one. Love the colour, the print, the neckline and the longer sleeves are always good for a bit extra sun protection. It’s sold out in my size though so I might just have to keep an eye out at Blue Bungalow for when some new styles are added.
    I am loving the range of cotton dresses by Firefly available from Birdsnest too. There are a couple of different styles which could make great cover-ups. I really like the Amber dress with the pockets on the front. Not sure if it is loose enough to use a cover-up but definitely a cute summer dress.

  5. Ooh, loving all of these Nikki! Seeing as we have just come back from our own trip to Bali (and are already planning our next trip there to be within the next 6 months!), I think that I may need to do a little online window-shopping to pick up something for myself. I love the way a swimsuit cover-up not only covers you up at the beach, but gives you a chance to wear something fun and flirty and girly with no stress about ‘suitability’.
    I also love your body loving attitude – you inspire me to feel good in my skin every day, so thank you!!

  6. Oh I love them all. I have a couple of very plain but nice cotton cover ups. I am hanging out for your togs post. I bought some at Sunshine Plaza Myers last weekend – Regatta brand, a black onepiece with little white spots, very reasonably priced. They also had a whole range of the sort of little Nana dress swimsuits! I loved them! But I just didn’t know if I could get away with it and look good rather than just like a Nana myself. But I think they would be a great sort of retro solution for my eternal hairy bikini line dilemma!!!

  7. Thank you so much for linking to my Frocktober post, Nikki. I cannot stress how comfortable and actually quite sexy I felt in my Verily Paisley Kaftan for my busy day. I can’t wait to pack it for my summer holidays.

    Love the embrace your body, no body shaming vibe on this post too, you lovely lady! xx

  8. loving resort week Nikki! We’re missing summer as it’s getting quite chilly in the UK. Thanks for linking to our cocktail recipe!

  9. I love “Resort wear ” living out in the suburbs with a big pool at my disposal often having it all to myself,I often pretend I live at a resort 🙂 I love these cool comfy and chic sort of dresses and yes I can see more than a few I like especially 23567 and 8 and I am determined to own a Camilla Kaftan this year,I might put in a request for one for my birthday ,but I think the hardest part will be choosing it.Thankyou Nikki these dresses are beautiful and thanks for the hat tips and yes you see so many sorts of bodies at the beach it doesn’t matter what your bod looks like,go swimming and enjoy I say!

  10. Nikki, I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to buying clothes on line. I love looking at your linked sites but then I stop myself from going the next step and actually ordering. Any tips to break thru this roadbloack?? 🙂

    1. I totally understand Linda … I was the same until a couple of years ago. Now, most of my shopping would be online except for visiting a few of my fave boutiques. I include and foster online shopping on my space as my readers don’t all live in areas with access to shops. They shouldn’t miss out just because they don’t live in a major city.

      Here are my top tips for online shopping (apart from just jumping in and giving it a go):

      Take your measurements – hip, waist, bust etc – and then do your best to match them up with the size guide for that site rather than ordering a size you normally (except if it’s a brand you already buy).

      Don’t be afraid to contact sites direct for help in choosing a garment you otherwise wouldn’t normally do so. Good online retailers will be happy to talk to you about this and guide you via email or phone.

      Check on return policies – and buy in the knowledge that you’re happy to return if it doesn’t work when you try on at home. Some people only buy from places that offer free returns.

      Hope that helps!

  11. I loved yesterday’s Model and me, you looked the best (again!).
    I am a big fan of 3/4 Camilla tops, all those sparkles and colours, makes me feel like Princess Margaret in Mustique! I wear mine all the time in summer, with jeans, over bathers, appropriate or not as it makes everyone happy (and me too!)
    I spy the Mimco clutch for a daughter’s Xmas present, the CR hat and those Havaianas for me!

  12. Great post. Resort wear is almost my “uniform” over the next few months. My problem ( first world) is finding coverup’s that are functional , ie can get salty, sandy and wet, that don’t cost a fortune. I have brought one or two before and the decided they were ” too flash” for really wearing over wet togs. However love yesterday’s dress.

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