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The Best Beach Outfit Ideas To Look Effortlessly Cool

The Best Beach Outfit Ideas To Look Effortlessly Cool

We turned to our favorite California-based swimwear brands for beach outfit ideas to nail the coastal style for any occasion.


5 min read

August 05, 2021

There’s no one way to define a beach day. For some, it means getting up to an early oceanside yoga sesh and surfing until the sun goes down. For others, it’s lathering on their favorite mineral-based sunscreen and reading a book at the shadiest spot on the sand. Regardless of your preferred beach day activities, you definitely want to strike the right balance between comfortable and chic, creating summer beach outfits that look and feel effortless, which, ironically, can be really stressful. 

We get the struggle, and that’s why we turned to our favorite California-based swimwear brands for beach outfit ideas and made a list of ready-made outfits that’ll help you nail your coastal style for any occasion.

Use our beach outfit ideas below before setting off on your shore-side plans, whatever they may be.

Beach Vacation Outfit Ideas

To enjoy California's best beaches to the max, you need a comfortable swimsuit that will stay put all through the day.

The Coastal Style to Rock When Swimming

For a look that’ll hold up through swimming and other activities at California's best beaches, we’d opt for a comfortable, nip-slip proof one-piece. Browsing through sustainable swimwear brand Galamaar’s website will give you beach outfit inspo for days and its cute yet practical swimsuits are amazing. We think the Joni One Piece would look great on anybody—peep the strappy detailing on the back.

The Ideal Vacation Dress

Is your ideal beach day followed by having a cold beverage with friends at a picturesque spot adjacent to the sand? Then you need a beach vacation outfit idea that’ll take you through the night. 

Los Angeles-based it-girl brand Cult Gaia has been nailing the effortlessly chic, cool-girl look for a while now, and we can’t get enough. Slip into the Dawn dress or choose the mega-popular Serita, and you have yourself a flawless beach outfit that’ll definitely get a few double-takes. This beach-inspired look is also wearable far beyond the sands of California, so you’ll definitely get a good number of outfits with this purchase.

The California sunshine is an open call for tanning, but you better opt for a strapless bikini top to avoid the undesired tan lines.

The Perfect Beach Outfit to Tan

If you’re going to be laying out under the sun for a long time, you want a suit that’ll give you minimal tan lines. This is why the strapless Margo bikini top and matching bottoms from Frankie’s Bikinis are perfect for the occasion. Available in a variety of colorways from timeless black to bright pink punch, this versatile beach look is fan-tan-stic. Pair it with the L.A. Girl Platform Flip Flops from the same brand and you have yourself an A+ beach outfit to tan.

The Surfer-Girl Beach Look

Whoever thinks surfer suits can’t be cute and practical at the same time hasn’t seen the collection at Seea. With so many options, colors, prints, and silhouettes to choose from, this sustainable brand has your surfing beach style covered with its functional and feminine suits. Los Angeles’ best surf spots await you and your beach look; we hear feeling great in your suit also makes you a better surfer.

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No beach look is complete without a breezy shirt that doubles as a cover-up.

The Bonfire Beach Outfit Idea

An oversized linen button-down is practically a beach essential. Not only is it a timelessly chic beach outfit idea, but it’s also an easy pairing that goes with practically any bikini. The Playa Shirt from Vitamin A has a super relaxed fit, adding a chic flair to any bikini beach look. If you’re more of a romper gal, the Playa Rompers can be just as cool and comfortable addition to your coastal style.

The Denim Shorts Beach Look

No beach-inspired collection would be complete without a pair of classic denim shorts. Pair the versatile High Rise pair from RE/DONE with an unbuttoned vacation top draped over your swimsuit. This day-to-night beach outfit idea is also perfect if beach camping is on the itinerary. 

But, if you’re more of an active beachgoer who never spends a day by the sea without a game of volleyball or a coastal hike, you might want to replace the denim shorts with a more flexible sweatshort pair. It’s comfy, it’s cute, it’s California. 

You don't need an influencer status to look fine on the beach. Just put on your most vibrant swimsuit and you're good to go.

The Insta-Worthy Beach Outfit

Getting ready to take your quintessential Insta by the beach a la 2021? A beach outfit idea that matches an influencer’s energy is a must. And we all know no one does bikini pictures as well as the Insta it-girl herself, Emily Ratajkowski. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer to turn to her cult-favorite body-conscious brand Inamorata for swimsuit shopping.

The super trendy Las Olas sets are as popular as they are cute. Matching your beach look with the Inamorata cap isn’t essential, but it’s highly encouraged—I mean, who doesn’t want to look extra cute? 

The Full Day Beach Look

Let’s say you want to choose your own adventure as the day goes, and you’re in desperate need of a beach outfit idea that’ll be suitable for just about anything—we have just the perfect summer beach outfit for you. The Bond one-piece from Jade Swim is cute with a capital C, with flattering cutouts and a wrap in the middle that’ll cinch your waist in the best way.

With the sun setting at the end of the day, the weather is going to get cooler and you’re going to need a cover-up. The Kyoto print large scarf from Simon Miller would match perfectly with your one-piece—it’s highly versatile in the ways it can be worn. Wrap it around your waist for a maxi skirt look, wear it as a dress, or have fun customizing it to create a beach look that feels right for you. 

Florals for a summer day on the beach? We think so too.

The Best Beach Look to Stroll at Sunset

We all need a beach vacation outfit idea for when the wet bathing suit comes off and the day takes on a slower pace—embracing activities like sunset watching, strolls along the beach, and eating ice cream. The ideal late-in-the-day beach outfit is a lightweight dress, and the perfect one is made by For Love and Lemons. The Los Angeles-based brand has mastered the art of creating cute and flowy read-to-wear clothes, and the Olivia mini dress is a testament to that.

Which beach outfit do you like best? Let us know!

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