Beach style: looking stylish on the sand

From selecting the perfect swimming shorts to avoiding the biggest beachwear mistake you can make, these are the essential dos and do nots of beach style.

March 4, 2015

Here in the UAE, for most of the year we're lucky enough to be blessed with the kind of pleasant sunny weather and warm seas that make going to the beach at the weekend a rather appealing prospect.

However, considering that the beach is a place where people go to relax and not very many clothes are worn by anyone, it's amazing how often (and how badly) people can get it disastrously wrong. All too often we see all manner of sartorial sins being carried out by the coast - the guy wearing jeans and trainers, the man in the dreadful cap and, worst of all, the bloke wearing nothing but a pair of flip-flops and some tight budgie smugglers - so we decided that, in the interests of those poor members of the public who are subjected to these indecent indiscretions and fashion failures, it was high time we laid down a few guidelines.

While beachwear, like all fashion, is a matter of taste, and one style isn't always necessarily going to work for everyone, if you follow this simple list of dos and don'ts, we guarantee you won't go far wrong: 

Do... Go bold 
You might not be able to pull off bold patterns or gold embroidery on your shirts for the office, but when it comes to swimwear, you've got much more of a licence to be creative - especially since half of the time your shorts will be the only thing you're wearing. Go big or go home. 

vilebrequin-gold.jpg These limited-edition shorts from Vilebrequin are embroidered with 24-karat gold thread and start from around AED30,000... Now that's bold.


Mix and match 
It's all good and well going for bold patterns on your bottom half, but if you try to team a pair of patterned shorts with a loud t-shirt, you're going to end up looking like a bad 1970s throwback. If you're going bold with the shorts, pick something plain and stylish for your top half, and vice-versa.

Keep accessories minimal
The key to beach accessories is definitely "less is more". Keep simple and go for a classic fedora and dark shades. Don't bother with any jewellery - no matter how desperate you are to test your new watch's waterproof capabilities, jewellery-shaped tan lines will have you looking foolish the next day in the office.

Keep your options open
Although beachwear is primarily for being in and around the sea, there will often be occasions when you need to smarten up your act at short notice - if you're stopping off at a nearby cafe for refreshments or, like Bond, need to head off and save the world... So it's always wise to pack a cool shirt you can throw on to smarten up if needed. James Bond on the beach.

Don't... Show too much
Budgie smugglers, banana hammock, Speedos: whatever you call them, there's no greater sin in the world of beachwear - or anywhere, for that matter. There's a very simple rule of thumb to avoid embarrassment: if your swimwear leaves you with a visible bulge, it's not fit for public consumption.

Wear a sarong
We may have seen the likes of David Beckham and Johnny Depp embrace the sarong in the past, but don't let that fool you into believing it's anything approaching acceptable beachwear for a man. And anyway, if you've followed rule number one and are wearing a reasonably sized pair of swimming shorts that don't expose your crown jewels for the whole world to see, there's no need for a cover-up.

Wear anything too heavy
It kind of seems like common sense, so why is it that there's always a guy wading through the shallows with his heavy-duty Levis rolled up to his knees, a pair of scruffy white socks stuffed in his pocket and a rain mack tied around his waist? Always pack light and for the warm weather. If, by some freak occurrence, it's cold or it rains you'll want to go home anyway. rolled-up jeans on the beach Forget the suncream
You can show up to the beach having followed all the style tips and looking great, but if you've neglected to protect yourself from the sun you're going to end up looking like a lobster fresh from the pot. Not a good look by any stretch of the imagination.