Bikini season is upon us! Having been in the midst of a quick trip to Brazil last weekend and heading out to Florida with friends this weekend, I am reminded of all of the packing essentials needed for the perfect beach vacation.
If done right, you shouldn’t need more than a cute little weekender to carry you through your trip, because, let’s be honest, how much space do your bikinis really need?
From suits to shorts, flip flops and sundresses, here is my list of everything you need for the perfect beach vacation…
By now, hopefully you have enlisted some sort of regular workout regimen (I recommend Erin’s classes at DEFINE on Tuesdays and Thursdays), purchased a good sun block for your sun-bare skin and invested in a cute swimsuit.
If you are super pale, I recommend doing a light spray tan at GLO Sunspa (no harmful side effects) to help you look better in your bikini right off the bat and also add a layer of protection from the sun. But be careful not to go overboard, while a light spray tan will give you a glow and make you look thinner in your swimsuit, "oompa loompa orange" is not sexy.
After you have your body and skin prepped, it’s time to start packing. From suits to shorts, flip flops and sundresses, here is my list of everything you need for the perfect beach vacation…
I am a water baby at heart. I love any type of water, be it a beach or a lake, taking boat trips and just being in the warm open air. Therefore, I love a good bikini! For a good quality bikini with removable straps for those pesky tan lines, I highly recommend the Australian line Zimmerman. The delicate prints and girly accents make these suits perfectly feminine. Currently, I love the color and cut outs on the blue bell bikini and the contrasting prints on the Savannah bandeau bikini.
The other swimwear designer I cannot get enough of right now is Lisa Marie Fernandez. Fernandez draws her inspiration from scuba gear, '80s color blocking and Bond girl glamour which is, in my opinion, the perfect trifecta of influences for a killer swimsuit. I love the idea of pairing this sleek metallic silver Natalie suit with a pair of oversized sunnies.
No bikini look is complete without the complementing pair of chic sunglasses. Three trends I am loving right now in eyewear are nude colors, oversized frames and retro silhouettes.
Celine makes the best nude sunnies, but this coveted brand is tough to find.
For a good two-in-one with a budget friendly price tag, I love these oversized, slightly cat eye frames from Sabre. For total retro glam, I love the Tom Ford Nikitas, the Karen Walker Number One sunnies and anything by Thierry Lasry - the amazing line of shades all handmade in France with a "futuristic-vintage" feel.
Celine makes the best nude sunnies, but this coveted brand is tough to find. Ask the sales women at Neiman’s or Saks to special order you a pair – they are amazing!
Cute cover-ups are also key to a good beach look. For a total splurge, I recommend the amazing prints and colorful caftans by Matthew Williamson. For a more budget friendly look, try this trendy caftan with a touch of neon from Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent.
If you are looking for a bit of boho glam, I recommend the macramé fringe dress by Mara Hoffman. For a cover up that can carry you straight from the beach into a casual lunch or dinner, go for this number by Michael Kors. Throw on a pair of wedges and a couple of bangles or some statement earrings and voila! Instantly chic.
Dress it Up
For simple beach ensembles, nothing is easier and more wearable than a good dress. Jersey dresses pack well, don’t wrinkle and take up very little space. For a non-traditional take on a typical maxi dress, try this 3.1 Phillip Lim T-Shirt Dress. The soft color will work well with your freshly tanned skin, and the flowy detailing is perfect for the beach. Pair it with a few gold bangles and dress it down with a great pair of flats.
For shorter women who can’t get away with a long maxi dress, try a baby doll silhouette in a fun print like this tie-dyed Darby Dress from Lindsey Thornberg or my personal favorite, the kimono dresses from Issa.
For shorter women who can’t get away with a long maxi dress, try a baby doll silhouette in a fun print like this tie-dyed Darby Dress from Lindsey Thornberg or my personal favorite, the kimono dresses from Issa. For a sexy beach number in this season’s it color, try this off the shoulder jersey dress in bright yellow. Pair it with some camel colored sandals, bangles and a pair of statement earrings for a bit of a tribal vibe.
Wedges and good flats
I am definitely a stiletto kind of girl, but there is really hardly ever a need for a stiletto on a beach vacation, even in the most glamorous beach towns (this rule does not apply to cruise ships). If you are not surrounded by sand, you will often time find roads are cobblestone or simply not equipped for your pencil thin stilts. So, swap out your stilettos for a chic wedge or a least a chunky heel, if you are like me and simply cannot leave your heels behind.
However, a chic jeweled or metallic Grecian sandal can carry you all weekend long! For a fun and funky print, try the Marina leopard sandals by Charlotte Olympia or the colorful embellished flats by Vionnet. K. Jaques St Tropez also makes amazingly chic sandals, perfect for your daytime activities. They are carried at the local boutique Abejas, along with the store’s eponymous line of leather, suede and metallic lambskin flip flops that are by far the chicest pair of flops you will ever own.
There you have it! Plenty of options to stay chic and glamorous on your next beach vacation, while still packing light. Don’t forget to bring a cute sun hat to protect you from harmful rays and wrinkles. I recommend playing the part and wearing it on the plane to keep it from losing its shape.
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Lindley Arnoldy writes the fashion and style blog The Flip Side.