Summer is in full swing, which means the arrival of beach days. There are a lot of experiences I relish in life (such as finding the perfect pair of shoes or jetting off to somewhere new), but nothing beats going to the beach. There's something magical about soaking up the sun while waves crash against the sand. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that getting to the beach is far from magical. I live in New York, so logistically speaking, it's always a bit of a trek to the water. Then, there is another dilemma: what to wear. Sure, a swimsuit is an obvious move, but if you're anything like me, you don't want to look like everyone else on the beach. So what does someone actually wear to look stylish at the beach?
In search of that answer, I scoured Instagram to find 12 beach outfit ideas approved by the fashion set, and I shopped out the key pieces so you can create the looks for yourself. Replicating these ideas—from effortless summer staples styled with trendy swimwear to classic bikinis worn with extravagant accessories—will ensure you're serving a look seaside all summer long.
Linen is the summer staple, so it only makes sense that you'd want to turn to this trusted formula when considering what to wear for a beach day. Opt for a matching set and layer on the jewelry to make this staple feel a bit more trend-forward without trying too hard.
The easiest way to elevate your bikini this summer is by styling it with a matching set (ideally in the same hue) in a lightweight fabric like mesh or linen. Throwing a skirt and cardigan over a colorful suit will keep you warm post-swim and bring the heat to your look.
Creating a worthy seaside look comes down to styling. A simple white bikini can be transformed with a unique pair of jeans and a scarf.
Not to overstate the obvious, but the fashion set loves a good oversize button-down. Frankly, can you blame them? This is the ideal piece to layer over a printed bikini and pair with a choker necklace for a day by the beach.
I'm drooling over the idea of this vibrant tropical-print bikini peeking out of a crisp white button-down.
Shop the matching Blue Floral Tropical & Colorful Stripes Bikini Bottom ($85).
If you were looking for an excuse to buy those platform shoes, consider this your permission slip. Platform shoes are ideal for the beach, as they elevate your look. Pair them with a bikini, a low-rise skirt, sporty sunglasses, and a scarf. You'll be soaring above them all like a seagull.
If you want to ease yourself into the return of low-rise hemlines, I can't think of a better place to start than at the beach. Style low-slung pants with a bikini, a baseball cap, and slides, and you've got the perfect trendy look that took no time to put together.
Just because you're beachside doesn't mean you have to bare it all. In fact, the easiest way to show a little skin but still be mostly covered is by opting for a maxi dress with cutouts. Bonus points if you finish the look with a wide-brim hat and a straw bag.
When in doubt, the easiest thing to wear to the beach is a pair of denim shorts. The key to making them feel fresh is styling them with fun accessories and picking a standout swimsuit to really make the look feel as crisp as the salty sea breeze.
After scrolling through Instagram in search of beach outfit ideas, I'm convinced that the fashion set's new secret styling hack is adding a cowboy hat to every beach 'fit. Sure, you can't go wrong with styling a cute bikini with an interesting cover-up skirt and flip-flops, but adding a cowboy hat gives you a look to be giddy about.
Possibly the easiest way to elevate any one-piece suit is by styling it with a chain belt and oversize sunglasses. You'll feel like a supermodel, and your suit will get the shine it deserves.
You don't always have to wear a swimsuit at the beach. In fact, if you plan to attend a barbecue or eat at a scrumptious seafood restaurant by the water, you'll want to opt for something more covered up—enter the outfit above. Styling a light-wash pair of jeans with a crochet top and cardigan is the perfect way to give off beachy vibes, and when the sun sets, you'll still be warm.
Last but not least, a fun way to dress up for a day at the beach is by being unafraid to pair your favorite swimsuit with trend-forward pieces. Why not wear sporty sunglasses or a crystal-embellished netted cover-up? Summer is all about having fun in the sun, and there's no better way to do that than getting creative with what you wear to the beach.