How to accessorise your swimwear

Tips and ideas for covering up at the beach in 2012

Whether you want to go for a selection of playful tankinis from Next, a fairly made ethical bikini from Kenya, or a daring cut-away neon yellow number for the ultra-daring ultra-sporty look, having the right cover-ups for the beach is essential.

The power of the beach cover-up is two-fold: one, it’s great for preventing you from burning to a crisp if it’s very hot but you want to soak up the sun; and two, if it’s a little colder than expected (oh hi there, ‘British summer’), you can keep the goosebumps at bay.

Kaftans, sarongs and maxi dresses

A pretty, floaty, all-in-one cover up is an excellent option for a reliable, pretty cover up that can also be worn for meals and out and about. This is great if you’re not the rough and tumble type; the delicate fabrics and long skirt lengths make it great for a lazy holiday by the pool, or lounging around looking good. Not so good if you’re planning on playing volleyball or beach football.

Next’s Swimwear Collection have got some absolutely wonderful options in this respect. The sheer black kaftan is a good option for a quick cover-up if you need to dash away from the pool or quickly pop in somewhere where a bikini would be indecent (!).

For evenings and relaxed days on the beach, the gorgeous, body-enhancing maxi dress with side ruffle is wonderful. We actually think it works better as a dress for the nights than a throw-on maxi; but you can use it as you please.

Hats, scarves and playsuits

An alternative to a dress or sarong is the playsuit (pictured) – a really fun option for the beach, and much more suited to active types who’ll be getting active, or dealing with the kids and need to be comfortable and stylish at the same time. This red number with shoulder detailing is gorgeous, and a really good shade for both pale and dark skins, as the depth of colour shows them off.

Another cover-up essential is a hat – often the only thing separating you and a nasty encounter with burnt shoulders or neck. Big and floppy is the order of the day – avoid trilbies, as they look out of place on the beach.

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