The point of being by the pool, lake or beach is to soak up the sun with sunscreen, relax under an umbrella, or swim. In these instances, you’ll wear your swimsuit sans cover-up. But there are times in these settings when you’ll probably want to partially cover up your bod and suit. Like when you’re walking to and from the car, visiting the restroom, grabbing a bite to eat, chasing toddlers, playing beach bats, strolling along the beach, when it feels a little breezy, or when you’ve just had enough of exposing lots of skin.

Here are thirteen ways to cover up your swimsuit: 

  1. Tunic Button-Down Shirt: You’re after an oversized woven shirt in a lightweight cotton, cotton blend, or gauze that’s roomy, fast-drying, and easy to launder. I would not recommend a silk cover-up because of the laundry commitment. These short shirtdresses from the Gap have been great beach cover-ups for some of my clients this season. 
  2. Kaftan: Quite the easy, glam option, both in long and short versions. Here are some guidelines to help you put together the beachwear kaftan look
  3. Wrap: Wraps come in all sorts of fabrications and sizes, covering the bottom half of your suit. Solid, patterned, long, short, cotton or spandex-rich. Crochet and mesh versions are lovely too. 
  4. Pareo: These types of wraps that halter round the neck provide a fun ’70s flashback. They can also double duty as a normal wrap.
  5. Clamdiggers: Great in denim or cotton. Denim cut-offs are a personal favourite to wear with my swimsuit. 
  6. Shorts: So many options! Denim short shorts, board shorts, regular cotton shorts like the boyfriend style from the gap, skorts, viscose pull-on styles or knitted harem pants. Sport your swimsuit on top, or add a tank, tee, or beach-friendly top. 
  7. Casual Dress: Again, so many options. From sporty styles that are fast drying and gear-like, to bohemian maxi dresses and little roomy cotton numbers. Think lightweight wovens and crochet fabrications. Or something like this unusual cover-up dress from Miraclesuit
  8. Romper or Jumpsuit: Not the practical solution if you’re heading to the restroom, but so fun. Think long or short versions. 
  9. Baggy Drawstring Pants: You’re after linen, or something gauzy, cotton-rich or even crochet. Wide legged and very drapey. Wear it over your swimsuit with a denim jacket. 
  10. Full Skirt: I vote keep it flared and woven. So tropical! But knitted versions with wide foldover waistbands are just as popular with my clients. Wear the skirt over your swimsuit just like that. 
  11. Tunic Pull-on Shirt: These can be knitted or woven, roomy or fitted, and are in a pull-on style. The hemlines are often high-low and the fabric fairly transparent. Sometimes they are mesh or crochet. 
  12. Rashguard Tee: These formfitting tees that match your swimsuit are worn on top, with or without a pair of shorts or skirt. Quite sporty, both in long and shorter sleeves. 
  13. Denim Jacket: A weird idea to some, but I LOVE to wear my denim jacket over the top of my swimsuit when feeling a little chilly. I find the look comfortable and alluring.  

Beaches also get quite cool as the sun goes down. On most Cape Town beaches the wind starts blowing later in the day and it’s really cold. You often need much more than a lightweight cover-up. A hoodie, pair of jeans and windbreaker are much more effective. But when it’s warm, I like wraps, tunic button-down shirts, a denim jacket, a drapey top, clamdiggers or baggy shorts. I don’t wear them all together, but at different times during our time at the beach. I love the idea of a beach-y jumpsuit, and would probably go that route next time round. 

Over to you. How do you cover up your swimsuit?

Tommy Bahama Boyfriend Shirt Cover Up

Theodora and Callum Tikal CaftanSea Life PareoGecko Pareo

Denim CaprisColor Block Board Shorts

Seafolly Tribal Beach Maxi DressRiver Island Animal Jumpsuit

Oceanside Beach PantsHard Tail Voile Long Skirt

Oakley Tech Mesh Tunic Cover UpTrina Turk Rashguard

Diesel Denim Jacket

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