I Moved to the Coast—Here's What to Wear to the British Seaside

I've lived by the coast since February 1 of this year, and I can't say I've had much of a chance to hone my British seaside looks. The weather has been relentlessly bad since we made the move from London, and the outfits I had planned in my head are still residing in boxes and vacuum-packed bags under the bed. All I've worn for the many (bracing) seafront walks I've had so far is a rotating selection of jeans-and-jumper outfits or tracksuits—sometimes with a puffer, sometimes with a lighter jacket. So far, so uninspiring. But the weather forecast is looking up, and my hopes for a more fabulous summer wardrobe are, too. So what can one wear to the British seaside this summer and not feel cold in? And also, how can a staycation wardrobe be just as exciting to prepare as a vacation one? 

what to wear to the British seaside: cable knit and white jeans



First and foremost, it's about checking your chosen trusted weather app religiously. In the same way you shouldn't travel anywhere without your mask and hand sanitiser, don't even think about hitting the coast without fully scoping out the forecast. Secondly, dress for the beach experience you're aiming for. If you want to sunbathe or swim, then make sure you've got clothing that's easy to whip on and off, and don't forget to pack a jumbo towel or sheet to change behind at the end of the day. If you're planning on staying late for a little sundowner moment, take knitwear and layers—this is the UK, not Greece, after all. And finally, start from the shoes up: If you're planning on a long walk or to stroll around a seaside town, keep things sensible. Pebbles and sand are no friend to heels, and you don't want to be held back from getting stuck at this stage. A big basket bag will tote all the essentials around, and a hat, headscarf or hairband will stop the annoying sea-breeze hair choke from happening every 30 seconds. And don't you dare forget your SPF! Keep scrolling for some perfect British seaside outfit ideas to spend the summer in…

1. Shorts Co-Ords

what to wear to the British seaside: check shorts and co-ord top



Style Notes: So you've checked the Met weather app a thousand times, and the forecast looks hot, hot, hot. Yes, a little sundress would do nicely, but if you're looking for a cute alternative, I'd guide you to this season's collection of shorts co-ords.

2. Jacket + Jeans + Sneakers

Style Notes: It's very possible that your beach plans go from sunbathing and reading to having a brisk, "blow the cobwebs away" kind of walk. If that's how things are looking, then be sensible and pack for the experience you're getting. A cool jacket, classic jeans and trainers you don't mind getting a bit dirty will be the formula.

3. kaftan + Flat Sandals

what to wear to the British seaside: kaftan and flat sandals



Style Notes: High-summer beach days call for something easy and bohemian to lounge about it that you can quickly whip on and off over your chosen swimwear. Take a cue from Erica Davies with this combination of a retro kaftan and simple sandals.

what to wear to the British seaside: white jeans. top and basket bag



Style Notes: The vibe is more French Riviera than Norfolk, but the idea of an all-white look with a basket bag is one that travels the globe well, looking chic wherever it goes.

5. Classic Midi + Flip=Flops

Style Notes: Your friends have decided to have a beach BBQ at the last min. What do you do to get out of the house as fast as possible? Throw on a classic striped midi dress, slide into those flip-flops and make sure you pick up some halloumi en route—that's what! 

6. Tee + Printed Skirt + Trainers

Style Notes: You want the outfit to say "I made an effort" without saying you made an effort. So herein lies the answer: a casual beachy ensemble with a motif or vintage tee tucked into a swishy skirt and topped off with classic white basket sneaks. 

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