If a swimsuit is the star in beachwear, then a cover-up plays the sartorial equivalent of a supporting role—an accoutrement, but just as important. It serves as a figure-flattering sun guard by day and a transitional piece come dusk. Lightweight, flowy fabrics easily skim (not cling) over shy areas. Opaque ones to ensure more coverage. Got a suit you want to show off? Switch to sheer. And when you’re done with the sun, pair shorter lengths with crisp white jeans or shorts. For longer versions, cinch a belt at the waist and throw on espadrilles to turn your look from beach-going goddess to dinner-ready chic. From traditional kaftans to modern styles, we’ve got you covered—literally. Click through to see our roundup of 18 winning styles.
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Burn easily? Look for longer sleeves.
Cotton blend, $248; lemlem.com.
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This darker hue can do double-duty as a cover-up at the beach and as a sexy mini at night.
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Pair a bright coral (the color’s hot right now) belt for added flair.
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The intricately embroidery is based on a traditional West African dashiki.
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Comptoir des Cotonniers
Roll up your sleeves for some fun with this playful print.
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This cover-up would look sharp with a lemon-colored suit peeking through.
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The LBD for the beach! Catch a glimpse of your suit through the intricate cut-out detailing.
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Speak to your bohemian side in this blue tie-dye strapless maxi.
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The Aztec-inspired print will add a jolt of spice to your shore side wardrobe.
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Ted Baker London
A sweet scenic print and crisscross straps make this sheer cover-up a far cry from boring.
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Who needs a belt? Use the drawstring to accentuate your waist.
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This topper mixes two of the brand’s iconic prints.
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Breezy in nature, this floral number fits and flatters every body shape.
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Add subtle bling with this two-tone dip-dyed maxi that boasts embellished straps.
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A block of canary yellow keeps things interesting by breaking up the tasseled print.
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It’s safe to say that you won’t get lost in this electric lime kimono. Team it with a thick leather belt to fashion an instant dress.
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Bright yellow and bold florals make for the perfect sunny kaftan.
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Upgrade your white cover-up for one with neon-blue embroidery and sequin detailing.