I’m ready and raring to go. It’s the first week of my summer holidays with the boys and there have been countless day trips to the beach. There is nothing more my boys love, than a day at the beach. Give them a bucket and spade, a dollop of SPF, and they are happy as clams (sorry…excuse the pun!). So, with beach hols, comes the beach hols clobber which is followed by my personal mission to find the perfect beach capsule wardrobe.
So in regards to the minimalist wardrobe for the beach, I’m identifying the key pieces on a practical and style level. I sound very organized here! Yeah, right? Clothes are thrown all over the bed and floor with pencils and paper forming magical lists that look like the author was a five-year old having just eaten their body weight in cotton candy floss. I know what I’m looking to avoid. That’s a good starting point for ticking the boxes of the sandy version of the capsule wardrobe.
- I want to avoid the trap of wearing or buying a ton of cheap and cheerful items. No spoken words like: “it’s only $5…..that will do for the beach this weekend” will leave my mouth.
- I want to avoid the lure of the gorgeous ads and Pinterest images that are stunningly beautiful beach outfits ON THEM but would not suit me
- I want to avoid the ‘scruffy cannot be arsed’ look. Yes, I may be busy organizing the crew with military precision and then fail miserably as we leave at least three things outside the front door! But it doesn’t mean I have to look like the Mad Woman of Borneo.
- I don’t want to go down the road of the ‘Running Mum at the beach’ sorry Canada!!! Good for them for being healthy, exercising and raising money for a charity. But I can’t understand why if they can run 10km in the morning, why can’t they run to a clothing store??! If I turned up at the beach in my fitness gear then it would be more like a scene of Simon Pegg in the film ‘Run, Fat Boy, Run’.
- Avoid wearing anything too lovely that can easily be wrecked. I love my Mango white cotton embroidered dress. Stunning, beautiful and simple. But this cannot go anywhere near the sand as I will spend the remainder of the day with a big-brown-wet-sand-arse mark from building the moat around the sand castles.
- Avoid being caught out by the extreme weather conditions. We have all had those days when we have been burnt to a crisp as just too bloody hot but wouldn’t leave the beach as its “finally nice out”. We have also all had those days when the wind nearly took the bag, the toys, the kids and myself up and off into the horizon in true Mary Poppins style. I want to be prepared for sun, wind and arctic conditions. Once my boys get settled at the beach, then only the ‘extreme bribery’ cards can be released from the back pocket to entice them away.
The beach style I’m aiming for ……..
The beach style I’m aiming to avoid……
Brilliant beach babes
This is not about Elle McPherson doing lunges in her bikini or Pamela Anderson running across the sand in her teeny tiny red swimsuit and lifeguard float. It’s only when you go to the beach that you are faced with a large group of women……and we’re all different shapes and sizes! I love the fact that there are some amazing women out there who are absolutely nowhere near Gisele Bundchen in a bikini but they don’t give a f$&@ and wear one anyway. Good on them. They deserve a huge round of applause. Why,oh why, do I waste time on worrying if my cuddly bits show sometime. Who bloody cares!!! There are bigger things in the world to worry about. As long as we’re healthy, then who cares what shape that takes. Enough of the self-ridiculing of our bodies. Enough of the comparisons with the magazines. You can’t Photoshop a personality or a good heart!!! Time to celebrate how amazing our bodies are. They multi-task beyond belief, some have given birth, some have run marathons, some have fought bad-ass cancers and some have helped conquer life events beyond our dreams. We’re all brilliant beach babes….please don’t let your doubting self-confidence tell you otherwise!
The beach mission
And I’m off…….my mission: drink a beer an hour and still build an amazing castle structure complete with moats, drawbridges and flags? No! no….Well sort of – except for the beer. I’m completely mixing my 20’s and 30’s up here!!
But as I am trying to navigate myself towards a very personal capsule wardrobe. It has made me think of ‘double duty’ pieces. I thought: we all need pieces that take us from the sand, to the water, to the sand again and then the beach snack bar or restaurant. These items all need to be washable and easy to care for. They need to face the stain remover when my kids ice lolly sticks get stuck to my bum after sitting on it!! I want the majority of these items to then be mixed with other pieces in my wardrobe to get them street ready. They need to skip to work, to do the school run, to pop to the shops for dinner. After a little deliberation I came up with the following:
THIS IS A BEACH ONLY item unless it’s Halloween?…. I don’t want to scare people on the street.
Well as its me, it’s black. My neutral, my staple, my choice in swimsuit. I have been so happy with this swimsuit as it seems the perfect design for me. I love the detachable straps for when you’re getting the sun to kiss your shoulders and I love the way the straps sit on my shoulders when attached. It has a great bandeau shape to the top with the perfect amount of ruching around the middle. Low cut. Done and dusted! It’s a Christina suit from that very exclusive boutique……..Costco. See, multi-tasking bodies go with multi-tasking shopping lunch breaks!! Ha, ha!
My two piece set is also handy. Cute frills and prints in simple monochrome tones means they mix and match with everything I own! The bottoms were Gap a couple of years ago and the top is old navy. Easy peasy for the beach.
The Shorts & tank
Well as soon as I think of shorts in my wardrobe, you know they are going to be denim. For me, it’s either black or denim. Maybe this will change at some point in my fashion future. But for now, nothing beats a pair of denims. I love the relaxed feel of the slouchy boyfriend denim shorts. I have them in a few different washes. I love the idea of denim shorts at the beach as they are hardy and wash well. No worries about sitting on the sand or getting the cuffs wet as you paddle in the water. They have that relaxed California dreaming look to them and for the most part are a nice contemporary touch to the beach wardrobe. Not too young, not too trashy, not to blah, blah.
The tanks, for me, are always, black, grey, navy, white or striped. This is my formula that works. It is a simple look that looks beach perfect but can take on a different stance if a bandana or cotton shawl is thrown on. A boho chic necklace or a bundle of arm candy bracelets help take this simple tank and shorts off to the bar or snack hut.
The skirt & long sleeve top
I love a denim skirt at the beach as it is short enough to paddle in the water but also helps avoid the ‘soggy bum’ look after you’ve been swimming and your bathing suit bum is not dried fully. Again, good old denim is hardy and washable. It’s relaxed and looks great with flip-flops. Often has pockets for the shell or stones that are thrusted at you to ‘save’. Like denim shorts, the more you wash it, the better the skirt gets. Teamed with a tank and you’re good to go.
It’s handy – well, necessary actually – to have another layer for when the wind picks up, or you’re feeling chilly. I decided to nominate my Madewell Tri-weave top for this. It’s a great light sweatshirt style top with front kangaroo pockets. It dresses down well for the beach with denim. Yet dresses up well for the street with a black maxi skirt. I like its nod towards Isabel marant. It has ‘double duty’ stamped all over it. Money well spent
The light floaty top
I love a light easy top that works well on covering the shoulders from the sun when needed. This mango embroidered top looks great over the top of my swimsuit and very cute worn with denim shorts or skirt. The embroidery and tassels give a nod towards my boho summer look. This works a dream from sand to street.
The Cover up
Think outside the box when it comes to cover ups. Summer collections always have beautiful cover ups in store. But if you prefer to save your pocket-money for something else on the wish list, then go through your wardrobe looking with different lenses. Check out the dresses you already own or oversized shirts. I was eyeing up a beautiful cover up in Madewell. Then took a sneaky peak into my wardrobe and spotted my gap shirt dress. This is perfect. Looks great over the swimsuit and denim shorts. I love the varying lengths of the dress over the shorts – and that it becomes a cool almost jacket. Don’t dismiss the denim dresses, oversized cotton shirts or maxi dresses. Better to love and use what you have than purposely buy something that is only used for a few weeks of the year.
The perfect accessories
The beach bags are important. I like a large beach bag to house the water bottles, sunscreen, snacks, books, etc. I found this gem from Mango in this years summer sale. I’m really pleased with it. This big beauty needs to be happy sitting in the sand and not be too shy if any water splashed its way. What is great about this Mango one is that it’s made of jute – so super hardy to the elements and children!! Then I like a handy small clutch that carries my phone, keys, lippy. It is so nice to just pick up the clutch and wander to the restaurant or beach hut. If I don’t need to carry the kitchen sink and all other amenities to the beach house, then why bother?! My lovely little cotton canvas black star Kate Spade Saturday pouch fits the bill perfectly.
I always take water bottles with me as it’s so easy – and why waste all that bloody plastic when you can just use your tap? I did buy myself this lovely glass Orla Kiely bottle from Target this year. I love it and it has a wide mouth opening so I just add lemon slices to my water. It is not Gin. Don’t give me any ideas!
The beach flip flops are an important one as I have learnt my lesson from past mistakes and so Birkenstocks don’t do well at the beach. The salt and water make the cork soles cry! Now I have my trusty Havaianas who love to play at the beach. I like the slim band fitting ones, comfy, cool and brilliant!
I have discovered this great natural sunscreen this year. I tend to use only organic or natural products on the kids. I thought I would try out this Green Beaver mineral based sunscreen. I have to admit I was concerned about the protection levels. The kids spray is 27spf and the water/sweat resistant cream is 40spf. But this stuff has been amazing for us. Now my husband and I use it too. It can get crazy scorching hot here and this has never let us down. Seems to stay put rather well in the water too. I’m a big fan of the spf rash guard tops for kids too. Then you really don’t have to think too much about their shoulders or tums.
The beach scarf
I always take a scarf/shawl with me. It’s so handy for when the wind picks up and I can just wrap, it around my shoulders. It’s also handy for snuggling up the kids when they finally come out of the water and they’re lips are blue!!! I picked this one up from the Zara summer sale. You can find some good oversized cotton shawls that work their magic on the beach day trip. They just need to be easy to wash and co-ordinate well with your beach wardrobe! Love this grey geometric print scarf. I’m sure I will wear it a ton in the fall too with black leather biker jacket. A good multi tasker that was half price in the sale. Result!
The Straw hat
It’s a must for the beach. Great for hiding my shocking ‘beach’ messy hair and very sensibly protects my head from the sun. I’m always harping on at the boys to put their hats on, so I guess I better lead by example. I bagged a great straw Fedora from Old Navy for $12, a couple of years back. Always look in the Men’s department if looking for larger hat size and don’t be scared of the kids department either. I find the kids and the men’s have a great selection when it comes to hats.
Who nails the beach chic mama wardrobe?…….. I do have a soft spot for Kate Moss’s style
All Kate Moss images via pinterest
The Wish List Dream Beach Piece
Isabel marant gets my vote every time. I love this coverup!! It’s one that fits into the capsule wardrobe as it happily can be thrown over the swimsuit with Havainas or over skinny jeans and heels. It’s always a winner. That magical Marant knows what she’s doing. Love it!!
Beach mission complete?
So there we go. The beach capsule wardrobe that fits and suits the world of Flic. I’m aware it’s a very personal mission and I completely understand that we are all different and as long as we’re happy and content with our lot, then all is good. I’m always drawn to the denim and black and grey items of this world. Maybe you have a different colour palate under your belt? But if it has been a little help to clarify a few things then that puts a big smile on my face!
What I’m wearing today #OOTD
I bought this fabulous cardigan from Aritzia in the sale. It’s the Aria jacket from Community. Super super soft that looks great over denim shorts and a white tank or dressed up with skinny jeans and ankle boots. It’s a lovely navy with grey flecks in the knit. I think this one will see the a lot of sunlight. It is so comforting to wear and is a ‘man for all seasons’. Don’t think that I will regret buying it. Afterall, my little one told me, I’m “very cuddly when I wear this cardigan” Done and dusted….sold!!
Ps. Who doesn’t love the sight of little kids playing at the beach. It brings a glow to me to see my boys happy and conjures up happy memories of myself doing exactly this as a kid. The only difference being that they are in Canada and I was in Skegness!! Love it!!