Cover-ups might not get as much airtime as swimsuits when it comes to holiday style, but they are just as essential. Choose intelligently and they will become the most useful pieces in your suitcase.
Recent seasons have seen the cover-up move on from the garish styles that used to dominate beachwear. Considered silhouettes and wearable colourways mean that it is no longer an afterthought; in fact, it can be a sartorial main event. Look for those that rank high on versatility; not only do you want your cover-up to preserve modesty when going from sunlounger to lunch table, it should also be a piece that can be styled up and worn beyond the pool, for late-afternoon cocktails, market-day trips or even dinner. Building a capsule collection of styles means you’ll have something for every type of holiday. These are the six to consider.
A successful holiday wardrobe hangs on great dresses. As well as having a sightseeing style and one for the evening, it’s worth including an extra-lightweight dress that can be worn over swimwear for a day at the beach. Go for a loose fit, in fast-drying fabric such as cotton, linen or even towelling. Stick to classic cuts that will work with whatever swimsuit shape you wear underneath. Team with your basket bag and sun hat.
THE DENIM SHORTS
Invest in a perfectly fitting pair of blue denim shorts and you’re guaranteed to be wearing them for a lifetime. This fail-safe style suits every location, from British coastlines to tropical sands. Layer them over block-colour one-pieces or printed bikinis – everything goes. Find the length that works for you then pick your waistband: high, mid-rise or belted. Stick to classic washes and minimal detailing.
Forget what you thought you knew about sarongs – they’ve come a long way from the David Beckham era. Think of them as an up-scale scarf and reach for luxe silks and cottons in beautiful prints. This is an opportunity to add colour to your resort wardrobe, so don’t be afraid to experiment with bold shades. Opt for large squares that can be knotted over a swimsuit or tied around a bodysuit and worn with evening sandals for dinner.
THE LINEN SHIRT
Linen shirts are a bona fide city-summer staple, but they are just as hardworking on holiday, too. A long-line or oversized shirt makes for an understated cover-up that complements a minimal beachside look. Wear it loose over clean-cut swimsuits, adding leather espadrilles and classic shades. Or knot it at the waist and team with a pair of wide-leg trousers and big earrings for cocktail hour.
A stripped-back version of the classic kaftan, tunics have all the breezy effortlessness of the former but with a more contemporary appeal. This is the piece to keep in your straw bag and throw over the top of ocean-fresh skin for laid-back lunches on the beach. Loop a belt around the waist and wear it for a trip to the local market. A sleeved style will keep arms and shoulders covered in the midday sun.
THE WIDE-LEG TROUSER
For city breaks, beach clubs and any other occasion when a polished pool look is needed, a wide-leg trouser is your go-to. Fluid fabrics that drape well will give a luxe look and feel cool in the heat. Go for pull-on or tie-waist styles that are easy to put on. Maximise versatility by choosing classic black or white and respin them for the evening by layering them under a ribbed tank top, adding a swipe of lipstick.
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