What To Wear Over a Swimsuit: Style Guide

Though many of us would like to be in the water 24/7, it is sometimes necessary to take a little break on the beach or beside the pool. When you do, you should grab a little something to throw on over that swimsuit. 

What Is a Cover-Up?

Cover-ups are often sheer garments designed specifically to be worn over a bathing suit when you need to be a little more covered. 

Cover-ups come in lots of different styles and are extremely versatile. They can have a cozier feel and look like a big button-up t-shirt. Or they can resemble a dress, pants, or shorts. Our helpful guide will share why cover-ups are an essential summer piece and what styles are available.

Here’s Why You Should Wear Something Over Your Swimsuit:

To Maintain a Little Modesty

Being a little shy is okay when showing skin on the beach. Many people want to be a bit more covered when swimming in public places, and a cover-up can be just the thing.

To Protect Your Skin

Everyone has their own reasons to cover up at the beach, but there’s one you might not have thought of — sun safety. This is especially essential for younger children and older adults who have more sensitive skin. Putting on a cover-up when you’re not in the water is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun.

To Get Active

When you take a walk on the beach or do some yoga by the pool, you may want to cover up since you will be more active. This can prevent any accidental clothing disaster from happening.

Different Options for Coverups

There are many options for cover-ups. With this guide, we’re confident you can find the perfect one to match your style. Here are some of our favorite cover-ups to wear over your suit.

Tunic or Caftan

The tunic cover-up is a long, flowing shirt that hits just below the knee. It's frequently made of light cloth and may be embroidered or beaded. It can effortlessly disguise problem areas around the arms, hips, and midriff due to its long sleeves, making it ideal for any body shape. 

Caftans, which are classic Moroccan, African, and Middle Eastern garments, are wonderful since you can dress them up or down, making them appropriate for any casual or dressy ensemble. Because of its adaptability, this luxuriously soft and airy clothing is a go-to item for special beach events. 

These two types of beach cover-ups are often very similar in style and are popular choices for many.

Tank Dress

Nothing can take you from the pool to the party like a tank dress. A casual swing dress is a great way to cover up over a swimsuit. The nice thing about a tank dress is that it can easily be dressed up or dressed down.

Add some statement jewelry and high heels or wedges to the mix, and you can take this look out on the town. Pair with some casual sneakers or flip-flops for a more down-to-earth look.


A perennial favorite in the cover-up category is the button-up version of a cover-up — a simple blouse or collared shirt. Styled similarly to an oversized men’s shirt, this type of cover is actually designed with women in mind. The fit is forgiving but also hugs curves in just the right places. 

Why not just wear that old shirt you found at the thrift store? Well, you sure could! But most of the time, button-ups that are specifically designed to be worn over a bathing suit are made of a lighter material to stay cool on a summer day. 


This stylish beachwear adds a flair of mysticism. It can also be great for disguising places you are less confident about while giving you a more graceful profile. Because of its adaptability and functionality, it may be utilized in various ways, making it a beach must-have. 

They are also super easy to put on and style. One way is to simply fold the shirt diagonally in half and wrap it around your waist. Collect the two ends and tie a knot on the side to wear it as a short skirt. 

An alternative way is to wrap the sarong horizontally around your waist and squeeze both corners. Tie a knot and twist it to one side if you're going for a long skirt. As a spicy little touch, this version also reveals a bit of leg as you walk. Time for a walk along the beach, honey!


Though it hasn’t always been known for its role as a beach cover-up, this traditional Japanese garment is quickly becoming a popular beachside staple. Most beach kimonos are knee-length with sleeves that extend a little below the elbows. However, this adaptable and versatile piece can be worn at any length.

Because of the kimono’s naturally flowy style, it lends itself well to boho accessorizing. Adding some dreamy feather earrings and a straw hat will turn this into a whole outfit!

Maxi Dress

A maxi dress is a must-have for any summer wardrobe. It's not only a versatile garment that can be dressed up or down, but it's also a chic swimwear cover-up.

Because it is typically form-fitting at the top and loose-fitting at the bottom, it lends itself well to various body types. These dresses tend to be long, so if you find your dress dragging behind you, you may need to bring it to a tailor or find one that offers petite sizing. By picking the proper design and color, anyone may create an attractive silhouette that draws attention to a curvy waist. 

Going From the Beach to the Boardwalk 

Wearing a cover-up is not always just about being covered. Sometimes, we are busy people who have places to go and people to see! Here are a few tips for what to wear with your cover-up if you plan to go right from the beach to a party, dinner, or a friend’s house.

Accessorize With Jewelry

One of the best ways to dress up an outfit is with some jewelry. The type of jewelry will completely set the tone for your outfit. A maxi dress with some dangly earrings looks super elegant, while the same dress with a simple long pendant necklace has a more earthy-crunchy vibe.

Consider Your Footwear

They say the shoes make the outfit, and this is especially true for styling a beach cover-up. A pair of wedge heels with a tank dress or maxi dress is great for a medium-casual dinner out. Change those to some flip-flops and you’ve got a great outfit for a backyard bbq.

Put a Hat on It

Never underestimate the power of a hat. Not only will it protect your face from the sun’s increasingly harmful rays, but it adds a little flavor to your beach outfit. 


There are so many options for cover-ups. From tunics to blouses, you’re sure to find something that fits your personal style. Even better? There are so many ways to dress these garments up or down to take your outfit off the beach and onto the streets. Slather on some sunscreen and put on your cover-up for a happy, healthy summer! 


Wearing Swimsuit Coverups Beyond the Beach | Chicago Tribune

Protecting Your Skin From the Sun | SaskHealthAuthority

Swimsuit Coverups: 13 Trendy Ways to Cover Up at the Beach | More