How To Dress Like A Surfer Girl In Any Situation
Beachy-cool pieces FTW.
Surfer girl style is one of those ways of dressing — like, say, a Parisian or Coastal Grandma look — that encompasses so much more than actual clothes. It’s about a particular relaxed, free-spirited mood one aims to evoke: like they’re someone with perpetually sun-kissed skin and salt-licked hair who messily eats Baja tacos while watching the sun set over the ocean (and still somehow looking hot with salsa all over their face). People want to look like those who know how to ride waves because, well, those people are inherently cool.
But does it make sense to channel Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush (c’mon, you knew the reference was coming), if you barely go to the beach, let alone spend your time there on a surfboard?
“Being a surfer girl is what you make it,” says LoveShackFancy founder and creative director Rebecca Hessel Cohen, whose ultra-girly girl brand, known for its frilly tops and full-on ballgown skirts, recently teamed up on surfer go-to Hurley. And while the two labels seem like an unlikely duo on paper, the collaboration totally works. Filled with effortless coastal getaway basics in punchy neons and tropical garden prints, the pieces are perfect for the wave-rider with a penchant for cottagecore — or just someone in need of cute stuff put on before a coffee shop run.
“Wearing what makes you feel comfortable and confident is your best asset,” explains Hessel Cohen. “And for me, I love florals and all things feminine and pink. So to come together and create a whole line of swim and surf gear that channels that aesthetic, but also is made by surf experts, is super exciting.”
Fuchsia color schemes and flouncy details are not the only fresh way to channel surfer girl chic these days. In partnership with supermodel Carolyn Murphy (who has caught many a wave herself), beloved jeans and casual wear line Mother has also put a retro spin on the multi-faceted aesthetic. The pair’s new “Surf’s Up” collaboration boasts upcycled designs that pay homage to ‘70s beach culture (and, bonus, benefits the Save The Waves Coalition). Citing everything from vintage Hugh Holland photography to airbrushed surfboards on her mood board, Murphy says the capsule collection’s genesis is quite personal to her.
“My uncles were all surfers, and one a designer for [iconic surf brands] Ops, Hang Ten, and Lightning Bolt,” she says. “So I grew up inspired by their lifestyles.”
The 12-item line-up, crafted from vintage and deadstock fabrics, is packed with pieces in patchwork Hawaiian motifs, punchy stripes, and kick-around, washed-out khaki. Think sort of simple summer not-so-basic basics you want close at hand for lazy weekend days: the perfect vintage-y ribbed tee to take your old cut-offs up a notch, a farmers-market-ready denim tote, and a micro mini that feels like beach bunny’s version of Miu Miu’s viral barely there skirt of Spring 2022.
But whether you prefer a bloom-covered bikini or a dad-on-vacation, boxy Hawaiian shirt, one thing is certain: surfer girl style in all forms exemplifies the kind of easy-breezy, I-just-threw this on kind of vibe people gravitate to when it’s hot. But there really is no secret sauce to achieving the look; all you need are just a few perfect pieces to reach for when needed. Ahead, the staples worth stocking up on now.
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Add the right headgear to a simple pair of shorts and T-shirt and you’ll summon surfer girl vibes anywhere. I personally love the idea of a cheeky crochet bucket hat (fits the mood, but is still unexpected) but a colorful baseball cap or floppy canvas topper will do, too. Minimalists: Go for either silhouette, but in straw.
As you may have noticed, I have one skirt in the mix, which represents the most important piece of advice I can tie to this item: Don’t take it too literally! The ideas of board shorts is simply to put something easy, irreverent, and a little kitschy on your lower half, whether you plan on hitting the water or not.
T-shirts, button-downs, tanks — whatever silhouette strikes your fancy, keep this question in mind: Does it look like something I would wear with pukka beads on vacation? If the answer is a resounding yes, then you’re golden.
Swimwear You Can Layer
Supportive (and often full coverage) bathing suits are key to a surfer’s wardrobe because that’s what they mainly wear in the ocean. Really, though, all you need is something that channels that sporty, life-on-the-coast vibe and looks amazing when you throw a pair of shorts/sarong/button-front cover-up on top. These styles tick all those boxes and more.