Runway To Real Way: Beach Blanket Bingo!

If you couldn’t tell by the A/C blasting on you as you read this, summer is here in full force. These glorious weeks that we wait for all year are literally shining down on us and there’s no better time to pack up the SPF and hit the beach! Whether you prefer lounging seaside or poolside, it’s essential to curate the perfect swimwear ensemble that’s equal parts fashion and function. These nifty numbers can take you from the Hamptons to the Keys to sunbathing in your own backyard. It doesn’t matter where you are as long as you’re soaking up the season!
In planning a fabulous beach-ready look, you can’t overlook the necessity of safety. Laying out in the sun all day can be damaging to skin if it’s not properly protected. That’s why the first item on our list is a cheery, candy-colored floppy hat! After slathering on the sunscreen (don’t forget to reapply every two hours!), pop on this terrific topper for that extra bit of protection, with the added bonus of channeling 60’s screen siren chic. Alice + Olivia had the right idea in their Spring 2012 lineup including a wide-brimmed cap in coral, the of-the-moment color that we can’t get enough of. Channel the same retro elegance with the help of ultimate hat guru, Eugenia Kim.
Swim cover-ups have pretty much become their own category in beach and resort wear, with the plethora of options that designers offer. Even though the classic Pucci-printed caftan still holds a special place in cover-up history, that little garment to toss over your suit has become sexy, sultry and, in this case, totally sheer! This is the trend we’ve been eying the most this season — the long sleeved, ankle-length, sheer cover-up. True it’s not for the faint of heart, but we say: flaunt what you’ve got! John Richmond’s slinky version featured a maxi skirt and a plunging neckline that could double as evening wear (on the beach, of course). We love this splurge-worthy, similar piece by Maison Martin Margiela. The one piece pantsuit is achingly chic, will last you forever and will turn heads on any beach in the world.
Now that you have your fabulous hat and your sleek cover-up, you need something to go under it. Finding the perfect swimsuit could easily be an entire article (or twenty) on it’s own. Instead of trying to breach those boundaries, we thought to offer up our favorite current trend in swimwear: the one-shouldered one piece. Possessing the coveted 3 F’s in swimwear (fashion forward, flattering, flirty), the one-shouldered one piece could work on pretty much any body type. We like it most when splashed with a fun, colorful print a la Emanuel Ungaro Spring 2012 runway. The artful abstract print speaks volumes on the sparse stretch of fabric, as does this technicolor floral print on this Jantzen one-piece, which comes with a much more budget-friendly price tag.
The final touch to your beach goddess look now that you’re dressed? Why, a beach goddess tote of course! How else can you transport all your goddess essentials from the shore to the sea? There are tons of lug-worthy options out there, from nylon to canvas, that won’t be damaged by sand or surf. We prefer the aesthetic of a good, old fashioned woven bag. It’s as perfect for the beach as a picnic basket is to a park. Tory Burch served up a bevy of embellished woven bags on her spring runway and we fell hard for pretty much all of them. But we also love the simplicity of this OndadeMar Carry On Beach Bag, big enough for your essentials but not so large it dwarfs the rest of the outfit as some beach bags tend to do. Suit up and toss your sunscreen, sunnies and flip flops in your brand new beach bag and you are ready to hit those summer shores! Enjoy!
1. Bright Colored Straw Hat
Runway: Alice + Olivia Spring 2012 RTW
Real Way: Eugenia Kim Coral Sun Hat, $320
2. Black Sheer Cover-up
Runway: John Richmond Spring 2012 RTW
Real Way: Maison Martin Margiela Cover Up, $725
3. One-Shouldered Swimsuit
Runway: Emanuel Ungaro Spring 2012 RTW
Real Way: Jantzen Swimsuit One Shoulder Printed One-Piece, $112
4. Woven Beach Bag
Runway: Tory Burch Spring 2012 RTW
Real Way: OndadeMar Carry On Beach Bag, $164
– Alia Rajput
Runway Photos: NYMag
Image Layout: Second City Style