Beach coverups: Stay stylish and sunburn-free with our top picks

Heading to the beach may be on the top of your to-do list now that lockdown restrictions are slowly easing.

Along with other beach essentials including SPF, sunglasses, sandals and a towel, don’t forget to pack a handy coverup in your bag.

Typically made in oversized styles in a myriad of colours and prints, when you’ve had a bit too much sun, or simply want a bit of extra coverage when you sit down to eat or grab a drink at the nearest bar, they’re perfect for throwing on with little styling needed.

From designer dresses to high street beach shirts, we’re sure you’ll find something for your next trip to the shoreline in our edit.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.


If you’re heading somewhere lavish, this Evarae floral silk modica wrap dress (Beach Flamingo, £420) is an investment splurge that will easily take you from the beach to a restaurant for dinner.

The wrap dress makes it easy to throw on and go and will be flattering on bigger busts too, while providing ample coverage. The tie-up style adds shape to the floaty design and will cinch you in at the waist.

Made from lightweight silk, it’s soft, airy and will keep you cool in scorching temperatures.

We also love this Pitusa marled crochet trim cotton-blend maxi dress (Selfridges, £119) that’s easy to slip on and off, but provides coverage if you’re starting to go a bit pink from too long in the sun.

Simply add a beach bag, sunglasses and sunscreen and you’re good to go.

A classic kaftan shape is perfect for keeping your shoulders, décolletage and the tops of your thighs covered, which can easily burn if you’re not careful.

This colourful Pippa Holt embroidered striped cotton kaftan (Net-A-Porter, £442) is designed by Mexican artisans and pieced together with cotton panels, decorated with colourful threads.

As well as being the ideal coverup, it’s perfect for a day of exploring a beach town too.

This cotton beach dress (H&M, £34.99) will fold down to easily fit in your beach bag and can be easily thrown on when needed.

It has a tiered, relaxed fit with glitter threads that give a slight shimmer in the sunlight. Wear with flip flops and a wide-brimmed hat for a stylish update to your beachwear wardrobe.

Shirts, shorts and sarongs

An oversized shirt like this Seafolly boyfriend beach shirt (Figleaves, £54) is ideal for taking a break from swimming in the sea to get ice cream or walk along the shoreline.

The cotton slub piece is lightweight, with a scoop hem and button fastening so you can roll the sleeves up for a more structured finish.

If your style is more sporty and you can be found surfing the waves as opposed to sunbathing, pick these Roxy catch a wave shorts (Zalando, £33.74).

With an elasticated tie waist and colourful print, you can wear them while you’re in the water too for extra protection from big waves.

No beach coverup list is complete without a sarong and this leopard number (Banana Republic, £35) is going straight in our basket.

Just because you’re at the beach doesn’t mean you can’t still dress up, and this extra-wide scarf can be worn as fitted, short or as long as you like. It comes in zebra print too.

For a short, playful take on the classic beach staple, try this Marks & Spencer mini leaf ruffle beach cover up sarong (Marks & Spencer, £12).

It’s a refreshing change from the typical black or white sarongs that dominate beachwear offerings and won’t take up much space in your bag.

For more summer essentials, read our guide on what to pack if you’re planning a staycation and our sustainable swimwear guide

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