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The Style Hawker: Beach Dressing How-To’s for the Rest of Us

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The Style Hawker (celebrity stylist Annabel Kerman) explains how to dress for the beach, even when resort wear scares you

In theory, living in Dubai is a shoo-in for a ‘resort’ style of beach dressing that we should all be able to do with our eyes closed: tropical prints,  flowing fabrics and easy glamour that effortlessly transitions from day to beachwear.

But in reality not all of us are cut out for this style. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have entered a changing room armed with bright floor length numbers that never make it to the till. Maybe it’s a lack of height. Maybe the lack of a suntan and a blow dry. But somehow when I put on a printed maxi dress or anything with a whiff of a kaftan I feel like I’m dressed as someone else.

So what are the options if the glamourous bohemian look is not for you, but the donning of beachwear is regular enough to want to make a style statement? Not to mention, easy enough to wear if you’re accessorising with kids? It sounds obvious, but the key is not to stray too far from your usual style. Once you let your usual sartorial preferences influence how you dress on the beach, the decision of what to wear becomes much easier. And if you’re still unsure?  Take your pick from these current catwalk-endorsed options, with not a tropical print in sight.

beach dressing denim

1. Denim

It’s not just about shorts, although of course these work. The stores are awash with fine weave denim dresses and oversized shirts, plus the revival of the 1970’s button down skirt and various permutations of the dungaree. All of which are easy to slip on and off beachside, and seasonally on point. (And no creasing!)

printed t-shirts beach

2. Motif T-shirts

The 1990’s trend runs and runs, and the humble motif tee is a summer ’16 shortcut to instant cool.  A slogan tee as beach cover-up says less mum-on-the-beach and more edgy la starlet, and don’t we all want a bit of that? Wear oversized as a dress, or team with printed shorts for offbeat chic.

slip dress beach

3. The Slip Dress

This classic 1990’s piece is a current hot buy, but the idea of wearing one brings many of us out in a cold sweat. However, reimagined as a swimwear cover-up rather than an evening option, it starts to feel more achievable. It’s surely one of the easiest pieces to slip out of on the beach, plus earns serious style cred. All boxes ticked.

grunge beach

4. Grunge

This go-to style for summer festivals from Glastonbury to Coachella is the antithesis of tropical resort dressing, yet the look is easily transferrable to beachside, where a band tee, fringing and dip dye (preferably not all at the same time) take on a luxe hippie vibe. Plus here in the tropics the look has the bonus of the unexpected in a sea of brights and florals.

shirt beach

5. The Shirt

The shirt has undergone a rebranding over recent seasons, revealing a forgotten retro-inspired sex appeal: A shirt or shirt dress accessorised with a trilby, a string bikini and statement sunglasses, is an enduring image of timeless summer style. For gym bunnies leave unbuttoned; for the rest of us go as low as you dare.

Lead image, Denim image #1 (Olivia Palermo), Denim image #2 (Alexa Chung), Denim image #3 (overalls), Motif T-shirts image #1 (white shirt), Motif T-shirts image #2 (slogan dress), Motif T-shirts image #3 (friendship tees), Slip Dress image #1 (Miranda Kerr), Slip Dress image #2 (black), Slip Dress image #3 (streetstyle), Grunge image #1 (black), Grunge image #2 (rainbow tie dye), Grunge image #3 (fringe), Shirt image #1 (pineapple), Shirt image #2 (stripes) and Shirt image #3 (black and white), all sourced via Pinterest.

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