If there’s one thing I know from my experience with beach holidays (I’m an island gal, what can I say) is that packing for them? Drives me nuts. You’re all ready to go lie in the sun, and swallow several litres of seawater learning to surf in your banging new bikini… but what do you wear on top? You can’t just show up at the beach in just a bikini! What if you go somewhere for lunch?! You’ve got to be civilised, and wear clothes. After all, no shoes, no shirt, no service. Even if you do have a banging bikini.
Shopping for beachwear is one of the hardest categories to shop for in my book. You want it to match your swimsuits, look casual but also elevated, but you also don’t mind if it gets wet, gets sand on it, and it can deal being shoved at the bottom of your beach bag, avec la crème de soleil. Really, that is a long list of hardy qualities. But, as a self-proclaimed island gal, I have done the hard graft for you. Although, who knows – maybe you hate all of my suggestions and end up back at square one! Then I can’t help you. All I know is: I think these pieces are chic a.f. and if I see you walk by wearing one of these little numbers, you best believe I’ll be ogling with pursed lips over a pair of Bottega sunnies.
Sick of carrying a towel with you to the beach? You don’t have to – you can wear it instead! Imbued with that iconic feeling of summer nostalgia, Terry creates cute and cosy shorts and shirts that you can chuck on over your togs. In natural beiges and creams with muted summer colours, Terry’s luxury towelling shirts come straight from the country club pool circa 1970. My favourite is the Isola singlet and skirt for a trip to the gelato shop, or throw on a pair of the Estate shorts in Mandorla beige to tone down your eclectic-patterned bikini.
I was first introduced to this brand through Dua Lipa, when she wore one of their knit tops laden with cowry shells. Everybody knows I can’t resist shells, so when Dua Lipa rocked this little number with a pair of denim cut-off’s, I was sold. Wear to Scorpios in Mykonos, to not only ace the dress-code, but be the most enviable boho beach babe in the club.
The ultimate glamorous beachwear brand, PatBO creates swimsuits, dresses, and cover-ups with a tropical flair. One-pieces covered in beautiful Valentino-esque beading, with long flowing sleeves – a feature not normally seen on swimsuits! However, it makes beach dressing a dream when you can add a skirt (or even denim shorts!) over the top, and still look glam enough for a long lunch. PatBO’s iconic plunging v-neck maxi-dresses are not only beautiful, but great for all beach occasions, letting you go straight from Club 55 to dinner, seamlessly.
Missoni has been my go-to beach brand since I was 15. With endless colourful knit patterns that is Missoni’s long-established hallmark, you’re bound to look glamorous on any beach. Ideally, wear in Sardinia or Capri to fit in and stand out. A bright and busy piece of clothing can be slightly intimidating to wear (especially for minimalists), but with Missoni being such a heritage brand, as well as being comfortable to wear, anyone can pull it off.
Crochet is having a comeback, but in my mind, it never left. A long-time lover of crochet knitwear, Pipikini not only ticks the crochet box, but is tropical, colourful, and quirky – great for making your beach outfit Insta-worthy. Handmade by local women from Pipikini’s local Southern Italy, and also in Bali, it boosts artisanal handiwork – so you know that every purchase supports artisanal female communities. Artisanal craft beats commercial products every time.
A brand that started out with those cult wooden accordion handbags, Cult Gaia has come a long way. Similar to Jacquemus, although less urban and more bohemian, Cult Gaia makes clothes that are comfortable, elegant, and flattering. My favourites are the Cameron and Serita knit dresses, which come in a variety of earthy tones. The fabrics are really stretchy, so perfect for pregnant women, or even if you’ve had too much pasta vongole at lunch!