Prepping for some fun in the sun may seem as simple as throwing on a swimsuit, but women who still want to show some style at the beach can find lots of accessories that are as functional as they are fashionable. Women in flashy LA often choose a bit more bling than those in more laid-back beach towns, while cute cover-ups might be the priority for ladies with pale skin. Your beach needs and your fashion style both dictate your choice of accessories.
1. Sun Protection
Sunblock isn't the only way to protect yourself from UV rays. Slip on a pair of stylish sunglasses to protect your eyes. Many sunglasses include UV protection, with polarized lenses, and designer prescription shades and transitional lenses are available -- if you want to pay the price. When it comes to style, an oversized pair might block a bit more light than a cat-eye or aviator frame, but most shapes protect your eyes from the glare, so pick your favorite. A hat keeps your face out of the sun, and large, floppy styles also protect your neck. Your hat doesn't have to look dowdy. They come in several styles from baseball caps to fedoras to floppy to slouchy menswear-inspired styles. A big, colorful floppy hat helps you stand out while sitting on the stand, and a simple cap creates a more casual look.
Though heels lengthen your legs and slim you in your swimsuit, they're not very practical for the beach. Instead, slip on a pair of flats -- or, if you still want some height, opt for a wedge. Beach shoes come in so many styles that you can find one to suit your look and even your mood on a given day at the beach. Choose from casual and fun jelly sandals; flip-flops in every conceivable material, style and color; and espadrilles in bold prints and hues. Water shoes are a functional option, especially if you plan on doing a lot of walking on the sand and/or swimming and need a bit of extra foot protection.
3. Beach Bag
More than likely, you'll be toting a ton to the beach. In addition to a cooler for food and snacks, you'll need a bag to store your sunblock, towels, novel or magazine, and beach toys for the kids. Make your bag part of your look by picking one that's stylish as well as roomy. Think of your beach bag the same way as your shoes -- it needs to be practical but can also be chic. Totes come in fun colors and prints, often with an ocean or beach theme. Materials include canvas and waterproof fabrics, and the style can be sporty, casual or fashion-forward looks. For double-duty, choose matching bags that unfold into beach mats for yourself and the kids. Go trendy in bold colors and prints or keep it more subtle in simple shades. All work, but don't bring anything too fancy you don't want to ruin.
A lightweight summer scarf adds a bit of glam to your beach look. Large scarves can double as sarongs tied around your waist -- and vice versa. You can use that cool sarong you got at the beach shop as a scarf when the weather cools. Keep your hair off your face by turning a smaller scarf into a headband. Twist it up and slide it over the crown of your head; pull either side under your hair at the nape of your neck and tie it in a knot to secure.
5. Pulling Off Jewelry
Forget what you've heard -- jewelry can work at the beach. A basic pair of hoops or a delicate gold or silver pendant necklace both add a little extra something to your look; this works well for ladies going for a conservative look. If you want to get more glam, be daring and load up on jewels. Beachy baubles such as shell earrings, necklaces and bracelets work with your overall beach look. Slip on jewelry in materials like resin, enamel, plastic and lucite, which will all hold up to swimming, sand-castle building and other sandy pursuits. Have fun with brightly colored jewelry in neons to liven up your look.
6. Don't Forget Your Cover-up
Cover-ups are ideal to wear on your way to the beach and at the beach, as well. If you have skin that easily burns, a caftan is flowy, cool and fashionable and functional. Sundresses are a feminine option -- these can be in any length from mini to maxi. If you'd rather go more relaxed, a simple pair of cut-off shorts or an over-sized shirt both work too. Mesh cover ups are stylish as are maxi skirts. Whatever you choose to wear, don't forget your sunblock! (references 4 and 5)