Add An Extra Wave Of Style

Add An Extra Wave Of Style

Whether it’s a rattan bag or a silky sarong, beautiful beach accessories are a summer essential, says Tania Braukamper

There is no greater summertime quest than finding the perfect swimsuit. We all want swimwear that flatters, whether it’s a pair of men’s board shorts that sit at just the right length, or a women’s bikini that makes you feel like Ursula Andress emerging from the sea circa 1962. And yet, the quest doesn’t end once your dream swimsuit is in your hands. After all, there’s a difference between ‘wearing’ a swimsuit and ‘styling’ a swimsuit. And the latter implies, above all else, the right accessories.

From beach bags to bangles, here are the key accessories you need to dress up your swimsuit this season.

A cover-up

For any moment you’re not enveloped in cool, salty water this summer, consider a cover-up your best friend. Call it a kimono, a kaftan, a sarong or pareo… whatever the cut and cultural associations, a lightweight garment that can be thrown over or wrapped around you protects both your skin and your sense of style – without you having to break a sweat.

What about colours and prints? White is one of the hottest colour trends this season – think wispy and ethereal over stark and minimalist – but then, who’s to say that classic black will ever go out of style? And let’s not forget that boho vibes are also back this season, so swirling paisleys or bold, ethnic-inspired prints are also begging to be embraced with open arms.

Fabric-wise, if you enjoy having your skin caressed by something soft and sumptuous, look for a kimono in vibrant silk. Textured lace‚ like the chartreuse version in Shan’s Cruise 2024 collection, is another winning choice. A piece like this can take you from poolside luxury to beachside bohemian at the drop of a (crocheted straw) hat.

A sunhat

Speaking of hats… it could be argued that the best summer accessories are confidence, a glowing tan, and a radiant smile – but the right sunhat comes in a close second.

Whether you’re basking by the pool with your nose buried in a book or going for a walk on pristine white sands, a wide-brimmed hat will lend you both shade and an air of mystery.

Over the few summers, brims have become increasingly dramatic: put simply, the wider the better. But if a raw-edged and rustic floppy straw version isn’t your preference, there’s always the cotton canvas bucket hat (another star of the season), or a sporty visor or cap. The choice is yours: follow your head, and your heart.

Elegant footwear

The ideal pair of summer footwear finds a middle ground between heels and flip-flops, delivering the elegance of the former with the practicality of the latter. A flat pair of sandals makes esplanade walks a breeze, and transitions you effortlessly from morning swim to well-earned brunch. The raw yet feminine aesthetic of Ancient Greek Sandals’ handcrafted leather pairs will have you feeling like an ancient goddess, especially when paired with your most timeless cover-up. That said, if a back strap and buckle puts too much effort between you and your next margarita, a pair of chunky slides is a cool alternative. A sorbet-hued pair of jelly slides in mint or pastel pink is a top choice this season: not only are they waterproof, but they’ll also have your footwear matching your favourite summer snack.

Basket vibes

Heading to the beach or pool requires an element of packing. Sure, you could take a water-resistant hiking backpack that has enough pockets to organise your entire life, but aren’t beach days meant to be relaxed and carefree? Throwing everything into the one compartment of a generously sized beach bag is all part of the fun (as is rummaging through later for your sunscreen and headphones) plus, it’s a far better way to complete a swimwear-centric look.

While a leather or canvas bag could suffice, a woven basket-style bag in rattan, straw, jute, or raffia simply cannot be outplayed – think Jane Birkin and her iconic wicker basket. The material your bag is made of subtly influences its style and functionality, and of the natural fibres, rattan tends to be one of the most durable. We love the Elena bag from Bembien, which is handwoven in Indonesia from rattan roasted over coconut husks, making it both sturdy and sand-proof. Or the brand’s Margot tote, with its butter-soft straps in warm, caramel leather. But whichever material you choose, it’s the basket vibes that count the most if you want to capture the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of a French ‘it’ girl holidaying on the Côte d’Azur – and who wouldn’t?

Extra trimmings

It’s true that neither a tangle of necklaces nor a luxurious silk scarf is necessary for a day by the pool or beach, but that’s precisely what makes extras like these so mandatory. Dressing with intention implies going beyond the functional, and it’s the finishing touches that make a look truly shine – especially when you want to meet a packed social agenda with minimal wardrobe changes.

You might opt for statement rings with exotic stones, an armful of solid gold bangles, or some minimalist pearl earrings. Meanwhile, a silk scarf is a worthwhile investment for its unmatched versatility: it can just as easily add a pop of colour to your rattan bag as hold back your strands of salty, wind-blown hair. Our advice? Don’t leave for your next summer holiday without one.

For the guys

Men may have it a little easier when it comes to accessorising a pair of swimming trunks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be intentional about it. The small addition of, say, a waterproof sports watch can give you a whole different look while you hit the surf or relax on the sand. And let’s not forget the necessity to keep the UV from our brightest star at a healthy level: for that, your best accessories are a high-quality sunscreen, a smart pair of shades, and a hat. If you want to move beyond the straw trilby to something more on-trend, go for a bucket hat, wide-brimmed canvas sunhat, or meticulously hand-woven Panama.

The next item to cross off your list is a pair of shoes that can hold up both on the sand and off it. The key requirement (beyond being stylish) is that they slip on and off with ease – forget the laces and preferably the socks, too. Sandals, loafers and espadrilles all fit the bill. A pair of ankle-baring boat shoes are another win for their functional design and nautical associations, which apply whether you’ve just stepped off a yacht or not.

And once you have your water-side accessories sorted? Throw a lightweight shirt atop your swim shorts, and you’re ready to move seamlessly from afternoon swim to beach barbecue – without wasting a minute of your golden summer days.