Fashion & Beauty

Seaside Essentials

Clockwise, from left to right: rash guard swim top and shorts, a chic fedora, Chanel butterfly- shaped sunnies and Farm Parrot & Floral Havaianas flip-flops.

By Janet Kelly

INCYMI, in my Substack last weekend, I put together a list of must-have gear for heading to the beach.

Here are both my essentials and nice-to-haves:

Anthropologie’s Out to Sea Beach Towel in cotton velour is a generous 68 inches long and 35 inches wide, but it’s on back order and won’t be available until June 20 (that’s an estimate); however, the equally fetching tiger beach towel with a coral, sky or green background is still waiting to be snapped up. Both sell for $54.


If you want extra coverage from the sun, this raglan-sleeve rash guard with a handy zipper, removable padded cups and long sleeves has your name on it. It’s available in a pink-and-navy color block, along with three other patterns. Are there matching swim shorts? Yes, there are.

Lola Hats’ Rise ‘N Shine Straw Hat ($220, Moda Operandi) in tobacco with a regatta stripe ribbon and a 4.75-inch-wide brim will turn heads from Jones Beach to Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Another version (Transat) is named after a 1950s French Riviera beach lounge chair. In this style ($312, Lola Hats) the grosgrain ribbon slips through eyelets and becomes a pair of chin ties.

I’m always asking my dermatologist about various products I hear about, but so far the only one she has recommended is ISDIN’s ultralight tinted mineral sunscreen SPF 50. Cheap, it’s not, but it goes on smoothly, practically melting into skin, and this tinted version evens out your skin tone. And a little goes a long way.

Hauling around your beach gear—towels, snacks, sunscreen, etc.—takes strength, which is something L.L. Bean’s Boat and Tote, Zip-Top specializes in. Constructed of heavyweight (24-ounce) canvas with a reinforced bottom and double-stitched seams, it comes in small, medium, large and extra large in a dozen colors. Handles come in 8- and 14-inch lengths and are tested to hold up to—ready for this?— 500 pounds. If you don’t pack lightly, your best bet is the longer handle—for better leverage.


My daughter-in-law who lives near the water in Connecticut has rekindled my love of the beach. But there are other reasons I could use a portable chair—to watch kids’ soccer games in relative comfort and to attend my neighbor’s summer concert series. Sunflow’s Original Chair got a lotta press when it was seen on “Shark Tank” a couple of years ago. Now there’s a new version that’s lighter (8 pounds) and sits 12 inches above the sand/ground instead of 9. It comes in a slew of summery colors.


Recently, on a complete whim, I tried on a pair of Chanel butterfly-shaped sunnies. They were gorgeous but sold for a spendy $550. The practical side of me knows that the most important things about sunglasses is their UV protection (which most have)—and that they’re large enough to protect your eyes and some of your face. I could easily find something similar, like these for $117.60 or this Jackie Ohh II for $195, both from Ray-Ban. Or maybe this very cool-looking octagon shape ($255) from Krewe Eyewear.

I was taking a walk along the beach when I noticed about half the beachgoers had set up their chairs/lounges under this tent-like structure. The people I asked gave these CoolCabanas rave reviews, mentioning how much easier it was to assemble and how much sturdier it was than a beach umbrella. The top on the large version, which provides 64 square feet of shade with UPF 50+ protection, sells for $229. The medium size is $199. They’re both available in a dozen colors.


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Grownup Girl Fashion by MyLittleBird

Fashion and beauty for women over 40. A Substack from the writers who bring you MyLittleBird.
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