Beside the Seaside

Summer Style Edit Part I: How to stay chic at the beach

With special thanks to Peacocks

If you live in the west of Scotland, or anywhere that's often rainy and cold, you will no doubt be familiar with the horrors of baring all at the beach! From the age of 3 I was lucky to be whisked off to the beautiful, unspoiled Balearic Island of Menorca for 3 weeks each summer. The downside of these annual pilgrimages (and it was a pilgrimage of extended family and friends) was that I caught the tanning bug very early in life, when little was known about the dangers of sunbathing and sunscreen only went as high as SPF15! So after having a melanoma removed in 2011, I steer well clear of the midday sun and slather on the Factor 50, but it doesn't mean I don't still LOVE a day at the beach.

One thing that helps me get in the holiday mood and get over my skin paranoia is getting just as dressed up and glam for a beach day as I would for any other day out. So if you struggle to style looks for the beach, read on, my friends - I've had years of practice!

Sunshine yellow shorts

Bright colours come to life in the sunshine, so even if you swear by dark colours all year round, why not give them a try at the beach? 

Style Notes

I've paired these sunny yellow beach shorts from Peacocks with a sequin-embellished vest from Topshop to add a little texture and even more colour (my top is old but I love this and this on sale at Topshop). Keep accessories neutral - I favour white as it always looks great in the sun and goes with pretty much everything. My sunnies are Quay Australia (very similar here).  And a chandelier earring will glam up any look, so invest now while the stores are choc-full of them (similar here and here in yellow. Also check in store at H&M for an almost identical coral, long-drop earring that I can't find online)!

One dress, 2 ways

This off-the-shoulder dress, in bold, bright red, with pretty frill detail, is the ideal bikini cover up. It can be thrown on en route to the beach, then whipped off easily when you reach the safety of your sunbed! The elasticated neckline is perfect for pulling on and off quickly and the loose fit works brilliantly on hot days when you need something that won't cling or show too much flesh.

Alternatively, adding a belt (Warehouse, similar here), wedge sandals (Prada, old but similar here and here) and some fabulous earrings will take you from beach to bar in style! And being machine washable, it can be quickly freshened up and ready for a super-glam night out. Let's face it, airline baggage allowances are only getting smaller, so we've got to make the most of our capsule holiday wardrobes, right ladies? 

Colour me coral!

Meanwhile, back at the beach, you might just want a really quick cover up for dashing off for an ice cream, or walking the shoreline without baring all... Elasticated waist shorts are the ideal option. The ruched detail on the leg of these shorts helps give them shape and a flattering outline and the drawstring waist ensures the perfect fit (shoes Gucci, old but these are a nice alternative, rucksack Karen Millen, similar here - be quick it's on sale).

Style Notes

I've matched the colour to my earrings and the logo on my swimsuit to make it more of an 'outfit'. Doing that helps me feel more pulled-together and confident when I'm out there baring my paleness in public! I highly recommend thinking these things through if you also suffer from a lack of body confidence at the beach. This swimsuit would look fabulous with these shorts! But if you prefer white, what about this beauty?

Styling Shorts for Nighttime 

Shorts aren't just for the beach!  This is the exact same pare of coral Peacocks shorts I wore with my swimsuit, styled up for nighttime. The addition of a sexy black top with dramatic, handkerchief, embellished hem lets the coral colour pop through the macramé detail and changes the mood of the shorts completely (top old, H&M, also love this and this).  I've added a necklace from Mango that incorporates both the black and coral tones to pull the look together (similar here also love this one). The addition of platform wedges (Prada, old but similar here and here as before), elevates everything (pardon the pun) making this look bar-, restaurant- and even nightclub-appropriate. Cheers!

Pretty in print

Although I'm still at the beach (!), these pretty, patterned shorts are actually perfect for a day of holiday shopping in a smart Mediterranean town or for sightseeing in a hot summer in the city. Complete with pockets, they are a more tailored style and fabrication, making them comfortable, cool and practical for exploring Rome's cultural hot spots or New York's funky neighbourhoods.

Style Notes

The paperbag waist is right on trend and the tie belt adds detail and fluidity.  With a floral print, styling is easier if you pick out one colour to complement the print.  The bow-neck detail and soft, banana-milkshake yellow of this simple cami pairs perfectly with the yellow flowers in the shorts (cami, Banana Republic, old, but perfect match here). A matching pendant and mirrored sunnies (mine are Sojos Vision)complete the look - just add simple white kicks for pounding those pavements.

Shop more of my budget-friendly beachwear favourites below

Having severe sun damage on my legs and other parts of my body has made me very self-conscious of baring too much skin in summer. The maxi dress is my new best friend and a bottle of Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs (or This Works Perfect Legs) is never too far out of reach.  So be sure to check back soon for the next instalment of my Summer Style Edit where I'll be styling maxi dresses and jumpsuits for those hot, summer nights!