NO ONE DOES hot-weather dressing better than actor Tilda Swinton did in Fox Searchlight’s 2018 film, “A Bigger Splash” (see photos above). Swinton played a famous rock star recovering from throat surgery in a remote villa on the Italian island of Pantelleria. Her impeccable wardrobe was courtesy of Christian Dior. I only remember one scene where she wore a bathing suit. The rest of the time she covered up—in a white jumpsuit for a stroll in town, a kimono-sleeved robe at breakfast and a simple shirt dress for a hike.
Inspired by Swinton, we searched for ways we could emulate her cool looks be it in an exotic hot, beachy clime or at our local pool or nearby swath of sand. Happily (and I can’t account for why), this summer the number and variety of swim coverups has dramatically increased. A search on Saks Fifth Avenue yielded more than 500 offerings, including jumpsuits, caftans, oversize shirts, beach pants, sarongs and shorts. Just last summer I was lucky to find even half that number. Neiman Marcus also had an abundance of choices, as did Nordstrom’s and Shopbop (an online destination featuring popular contemporary designers).
Whether you want to cover up a lot, a little or in between, 12 suggestions:
LEFT: Lingerie/ swimwear company Araks even named its oversized Tilda Cotton Caftan after the actress to evoke Swinton’s stylish simplicity. It’s made of sheer cotton chiffon with delicate tulle trim at the neckline, sleeves and hem ($162.99, Need Supply). CENTER: Layer the airy cotton French 75 Palm Kaftan ($147, Moda Operandi) over a swim suit or wear it on its own during sweltering afternoons. Either way, a “bella figura.” RIGHT: Beachy and boho at the same time, Roller Rabbit’s Sag Harbor Jadu Long Kurta ($168) is an ideal coverup for seaside occasions. Three-quarter sleeves and the mid-calf length offer some sun protection while the fun tassels and white pom poms nod to the season’s carefree vibe.
LEFT: Just looking at this seafoam Playa Vee Linen Coverup Shirt ($120, Neiman Marcus) makes my temperature go down. Slip it over a bathing suit or over a camisole and a pair of white jeans. CENTER: Choose the way you want to wear Stella McCartney’s Polka Dot Silk-Cotton Sarong ($325, Neiman Marcus) —insouciantly tied around your waist as a skirt, around your neck as a halter-style dress or even as an oversize wrap to cover your shoulders when the sun goes down. RIGHT: Lilly Pulitzer’s Gala Cotton Eyelet Shirtdress Cover-Up lets the ocean breezes in through the eyelet pattern and the bell sleeves, which push the refresh button on a classic summer look ($148, Nordstrom).
LEFT: I love the idea of beach pants, especially gingham ones like Tavik Swimwear’s Garrett Pant ($65, Revolve). Think how easy it would be to pull this pant on (it has an elastic back) over the black one-piece swimsuit we all have. CENTER: Sporty girls, no need to mourn the loss of the T-shirt dress. Toss Lands’ End’s cotton jersey Sleeveless Swim Cover-up Dress Print ($34.95) over your suit for a trip to the snack bar, a stroll on the beach, to lunch or a stop at the store. RIGHT: With its deck-chair stripes, Tory Burch’s wide-leg Kellen Tie-Front Beach Pants ($248, Neiman Marcus) belong on a sandy shore. The lightweight linen fabric helps you keep your cool on scorching days.
LEFT: I think I’d save Katy’s Peacock Caftan Blue($245, Frances Valentine) for après beach/pool. Part of Frances Valentine’s Love, the Katy collection is inspired by a personal closet favorite of the deceased, much-missed designer Kate Spade, who found it while traveling to Cabo San Lucas. CENTER: Made by a small group of artisans who specialize in hand print and dye techniques, the lightweight, slightly sheer Francina Caftan ($178, Tuckernuck) has a hidden interior waist tie for a fitted look. For those who don’t like a billowy silhouette. RIGHT: Wherever I happened to be, the cobalt embroidery and the crinkled gauze fabric on this Lillie Dress ($310, Shopbop) from swimwear designer Melissa Obadash would make me think of the mesmerizing blue ocean and white buildings on the Greek island of Santorini.