Hold On: These Retro Beach Outfits Are So Chic

While we’re always keeping our eye on new trends and what’s next in fashion, sometimes the best way to get inspiration is by looking back. While some trends fade over time, others prove to be timeless and classic. Curious to find out which beach styles look just as cool today as they did decades ago, we did some digging.

It’s impossible to think of retro style without including everyone from French icon Brigitte Bardot to British fashion muse Jane Birkin to American film stars Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Faye Dunaway. Each has a unique take on dressing for the beach and proves there’s no need to reinvent classic style. From nautical stripes and espadrilles to bustier dresses, there’s no shortage of stylish looks. Want to see how to tap into their style?

Keep reading to see our favorite cute beach outfits from five fashion icons and shop pieces inspired by their looks.

Audrey Hepburn


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It doesn’t get more classic than nautical stripes at the beach. Wear a striped top over a swimsuit and add a pair of espadrilles.

Jane Birkin


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Denim at the beach? It’s Jane Birkin–approved. Try styling a pair of flares with a simple white T-shirt.

Grace Kelly


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Tap into Grace Kelly’s style with a streamlined one-piece swimsuit, cat-eye sunglasses, and a headscarf.

Brigitte Bardot


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If you want to imitate Brigitte Bardot’s iconic style, pair a bustier top with a fuller skirt to keep the proportions in balance.

Faye Dunaway


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Follow Faye Dunaway’s lead and stick to neutral tones. Pair tailored white pants with a cream sweater.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including Vogue.com, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.