How to look good at the beach

There’s nothing more fun than a day at the beach, is there? The sun, the sea, the sand, the awkward attempts to look and feel like you’re totally at ease wandering around in public in what amounts to little more than your underwear… Well, OK, maybe not that last bit. And as much fun as the beach can be, it’s not much fun if you’re too embarrassed to come out from behind that towel you’ve got strategically placed over your swimsuit, is it?

Well, we’re not going to give you any “bikini body” tips, because there are plenty of other places to find those if you need/want them, but we DO have some basic tips to help you look good at the beach (and no, they don’t involve doing a million crunches per day)…

how to look good at the beach

How to look good at the beach

First up, a total n0-brainer:

Choose flattering swimwear

We call this a no-brainer, but actually, it may not be. Many people feel like they HAVE to wear a bikini, for instance, because that’s what everyone else does, when actually, a cute one-piece might be way more flattering. Even bikinis come in so many shapes and sizes these days that they’re not all as figure-flashing as you might think: thanks to the recent revival of retro-inspired styles, for instance, we’re now seeing lots more bikinis with what basically amount to control-top “big knickers” as the bottom half – much more forgiving than a pair of string briefs, and you don’t have to worry about them being whipped off by an errant wave, either. The style of suit that will work best for you will obviously depend on your figure and personal taste, so the key here is to try on as many different styles as you can, and don’t be afraid to choose the one that flatters your figure, rather than the one that looks most fashionable.

Don’t wear too much make-up…

We’ve all seen that girl at the beach with make-up that looks like it’s been applied with a bucket and spade: we love makeup as much as the next woman, but very heavy make-up looks out of place and a little bit “try hard” at the beach – and it’ll look even worse after a dip in the ocean.

… but don’t be afraid to wear SOME make-up if it makes you feel better

Lots of people sneer at the idea of wearing ANY make-up at all to the beach. The Fashion Police, however, are not those people. The fact is that some people just don’t feel comfortable, or like “themselves” without at least a little bit of make-up  and if the idea of going completely bare-faced makes you shudder with horror, there’s really no reason to make yourself feel uncomfortable just to be please the ” makeup at the beach is vain and silly” brigade. We’d still advise against very heavy make-up  and obviously waterproof products are an absolute must, but if you’re confident that your make-up will last all day, and survive a swim or two, go for it.

Invest in a fabulous hat

If you’ve ever tried to get that “beachy waves” look, you’ll probably know that it’s only really easy if your hair ALREADY falls into beachy waves. REAL beachy waves basically consist of a head full of sand and salt-water, and while a sleek up-do can go a long way towards preventing that, the last thing you want to do at the beach is worry about whether your hair is in place. The answer? Find a fabulous hat. Not only will it cover your hair, and help turn your swimsuit or cut-offs into an “outfit”, it’ll also stop your scalp from burning and keep the sun out of your eyes. Choose a wide-brimmed, floppy style for a glamorous look, or a straw fedora for a more contemporary feel.

And a great pair of sunglasses

If you’re spending the day in the sun, eye protection is a must. Sunglasses won’t just protect your pupils and stop you getting a headache from the glare, however: they’re also a great way to disguise your lack of makeup/eye bags/windblown complexion, and add a bit of glamour and mystery to your look. We tend to take a “the bigger, the better” approach to sunglasses (In a pinch, a pair of oversized sunglasses and a slick of lipstick are all you need to look like you’ve made an effort), but we know they’re not everyone’s bag, so as with the swimwear, try on lots of different styles until you find the one that best suits your face.

Choose a sunscreen that’s easy to apply

We’re going to skip the lecture about always wearing sunscreen with a high SPF here, and assume you’re all intelligent enough to know you should be wearing sunscreen if you’re planning on spending time in the sun. But WHICH sunscreen should you wear? Obviously the SPF is the most important thing here (and we’d also suggest going for a waterproof formula if you’re going to be swimming), but you might also want to consider how easy your sunscreen is to apply. Thick, gloopy formulas are awkward to apply, can streak your clothes, and will make sand stick to you like glue, which is never a good look. Instead, look for dry sprays, which can be applied one-handed, dry in quickly, and go on clear, so you don’t have to worry about those white streaks.

Pay attention to your pedicure

Your feet are just as much on show as the rest of you is at the beach, so a little extra attention doesn’t go amiss, and a slick of bright polish never goes amiss either.

Go easy on the jewellery and accessories

The best beach looks tend to be the most simple ones. This isn’t the time for an arm party or a ton of other accessories: they’ll just look fussy and over-the-top, and be one more thing to worry about losing. Think simple and streamlined, and leave any expensive pieces at home.

Cover up

Still worried about your figure in that awesome swimsuit? Luckily there’s no shortage of cute cover-ups out there, many of which look just like “regular” clothes, which may help you feel more comfortable. On the subject of “regular clothes”, however, if you don’t want to invest in a cover-up, don’t forget about the clothes you already own. A simple sundress, for instance, or an over-sized shirt, can be totally appropriate for the beach, especially if you’re not planning on swimming. If you are, just make sure that your clothing is easy to get in and out of: no one wants to get stuck in their clothes, after all…

Relax and remember: people are less interested in your appearance than you think they are…

This one might fall into the “easier said than done” category, but as we’re fond of saying, nothing looks less stylish than someone who is uncomfortable in their own skin. Happy, confident people almost always look good (and even if they don’t, they don’t care), and if you’re going to sit huddled under a towel, worrying about your hair and the size of your thighs, you may as well just stay at home. The most important thing to remember is that your flaws are much more apparent to YOU than they are to anyone else, and most people just won’t notice them anyway. (Ever listened to a girlfriend talk about some aspect of her appearance she hates, which you’d never even noticed until she mentioned it – and maybe not even then?) Why? Because they’ll all either too busy worry about what THEY look like – or simply having a good time: which is exactly what you should be doing, too.

Image © Aliaksei Kaponia |

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