Ditch Your Usual Beach Cover-Up For This Cool, Unexpected Alternative

You've earned this moment, the much-anticipated day at the beach — which will at some point be a distant memory you cling to during the cold, dark winter months. So if you're headed anywhere from the Rockaways to the Riviera, you'll want to make it count with a cool beach look that stands out. A printed swimsuit, like this Solid & Striped gingham iteration, highlights your assets without the threat of a wardrobe malfunction to restrict your movement — whether that be a poor attempt at beach volleyball or a graceful swan dive into the Mediterranean. The detachable belt also adds a nice vintage touch without being too kitschy.

As for accessories? Upgrade your beach footwear to one of the season's biggest trends, the updated thong sandal. STAUD's padded white version is sleek, comfortable, and pairs with everything from midi dresses to shorts all summer long. (Plus you know better than to try high-stepping across scorching sand in bare feet, the plight of any fool who wears a complicated shoe to the beach.) Incorporate a little wanderlust into your look with a bold, mixed-media bag such as Ulla Johnson's mini tote. It's petite enough to stop you from going berserk at the local tourist trap, but it fits all the essentials with enough room left over for a few shells. All the better for reminiscing on those cold winter nights. Here's how to get the look.

The Suit

A classic style with a print that pops, this black and white gingham one-piece pairs perfectly with sunny skies and not having a single thing on your to-do list other than slathering on the SPF.

The Shoes

Trade in your worn-to-death flip-flops for something just as comfortable, but way more polished. These cushy white sandals will take you from the beach to late-afternoon drinks with friends, easily.

The Bag

No oversized beach bags for you. Ditch the giant catch-all you usually bring to the beach and keep things simple with a small and colorful tote that will pop against the sand.

The Cover-Up

Forgo a basic beach cover-up in favor of this coordinating set by Lisa Marie Fernandez. The cropped cardigan lets you show off your tan, and still manages to protect you from the sun. Plus, the seersucker brings an unexpected bit of texture that instantly pulls together your entire look.