Why buy a beach dress?
There are a few reasons why a beach dress might make good sense as a fashion investment. First, if you plan on going to the beach to sunbathe, you will want a cover-up for moments when you’re hitting the boardwalk or enjoying a bite to eat at a restaurant. But additionally, if you’re heading to the beach but not laying out on the sand, you might want something breathable but cute—enter the beach dress.
What should you consider when shopping for a beach dress?
- Size: As with all clothing, finding the right size will make the style work the best. Be sure to carefully read size charts and buy accordingly so that the dress fits you right (unless you want it a little baggier or tighter than usual).
- Style: From long and flowy to short and tight, there is a wide range of beach dress styles. Choose one that makes you feel gorgeous and comfortable.
- Material: Since the purpose of this dress is to keep you cool, ensure the material isn’t too heavy or restricting.
- Purpose: Not all beach dresses are designed for the same purpose. You’ll find that cover-ups are usually intended to be looser fitting and often have a shorter hem. Meanwhile, you can find beach dresses that pull double-duty as a party dress.
What’s the difference between a cover-up and a beach dress?
Technically a beach dress can also be a cover-up. Depending on the style, you can easily use your cover-up as a dress for other occasions without needing to pair it with a swimsuit. But dress cover-ups typically offer a looser fit and often have a shorter hem since their primary purpose is to cover your swimsuit and most likely be taken off before you hit the water.
Ekouaer Women's Swimsuit Cover-Up Shirt
A great laid-back style that can also be paired with shorts for use on or off the beach.
Pros: This pick is great if you’re in the market for a flowing shirt dress that’s perfect for the beach but can also pull double-duty away from the sand. It features a pull-on closure with a deep v-neck and an asymmetrical hem. You can also roll up the sleeves for a fun casual feel. This pick is available in a wide range of colors and prints.
Cons: The rayon fabric tends to wrinkle easily. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it’s something to keep in mind, especially if you’re trying to rock this dress off the beach.
Bottom Line: A relaxed fit and a wide range of colors and prints make this a no-brainer solution for anyone who needs a comfy cover-up at the beach. If you’re trying to get more mileage from an outfit, be aware that this top’s wrinkling may be an issue.
Nerlerolian Women's Adjustable Strappy Split Summer Beach Dress
A casual dress that can easily transition from daytime get-togethers to nighttime beach parties.
Pros: After the sun goes down and you’re ready to party but want to look like you put some effort into your wardrobe, this cute strappy midi dress is a solid choice. It is available in several gorgeous jewel tones and features an asymmetrical hem and adjustable straps for the perfect fit.
Cons: Depending on the event, this style might be a bit too basic for more fashion-forward events. Also, the side slits aren’t as high in real life as shown in the images, and depending on your body type, the dress may not be as flattering.
Bottom Line: If you want a simple dress that looks right for most occasions, this is a strong contender with a commendable color range. But if you’re hoping to show more leg, you may want to keep shopping.
Lilbetter Women's Beach Crochet Backless Bohemian Halter Maxi Long Dress
A great stylish dress that offers plenty of drama in the front and in the back.
Pros: Getting all eyes to turn to you doesn’t always mean that you have to have a super short dress that’s skin tight. Sometimes, you can do a lot without trying so hard. This fun halter maxi features a crochet front and a low back to show just enough skin to up the ante. Available in various colors, we’re confident that there’s something for everyone here.
Cons: Bra troubles may await you with this style. Even the brand admits that this is best worn either with no bra or with bra tape. Depending on your bust size, that can be either an easy or tricky solution.
Bottom Line: This gorgeous daytime to nighttime dress makes a big impression with minimal effort. If you’re concerned about wardrobe malfunctions or absolutely must wear a bra, this might be a difficult dress for you to rock.
Chicgal Strapless Floral Boho Summer Dress
A fun and flirty daytime beach dress with a wide print selection that will work for practically anyone.
Pros: Sometimes you need a day dress that works for many activities. Whether sightseeing around town or heading to a day party, this fun bohemian-inspired strapless dress is the perfect solution. It offers a knee-length hem, a wide range of prints to choose from, and a smocked bodice which offers more size versatility for a wider range of bust sizes.
Cons: If boho isn’t your thing, it might not appeal to you as cute as this dress is. Likewise, the floral prints may be too casual.
Bottom Line: Those seeking an easy breezy boho print dress that fits comfortably and doesn’t look like they’re trying too hard will appreciate this fun knee-length strapless pick. But this might be a hard sell if you’re not a fan of boho.
Fiyote Women's Hollow-Out Twist Sleeveless Bodycon Dress
A sexy twist on a beach dress that's perfect for date night or a girl's night out.
Pros: If you’ve been searching for the perfect blend of sexy and casual, this cut-out mini bodycon dress is the perfect happy medium. While the back is complete, there’s a slight cutout in the front mid-drift balanced by the crew neckline. Available in a wide range of colors and prints, this is a great go-to style for many.
Cons: While gorgeous, the cutout is located in a difficult space for anyone who feels their tummy is their problem area. Depending on the color or print you pick, the cutout can make that area more noticeable.
Bottom Line: If you’re shopping for a no-brainer sexy style that doesn’t require much effort or shapewear, this is a fun, low-key version of a body con dress that will work for most women. Depending on the print or color you select, you may find that the cutout draws more attention to your tummy if that’s a problem.
For anyone off on a beach vacation, a beach dress is a must-have item that you need in your travel wardrobe. Whether you prefer short and flirty or long and sensual, there’s a perfect style for your body type and personality.