9 Style Mistakes Not to Make at the Beach

by Julia Friedman

If you want to know what bad beach style looks like, think cut-out swimsuits with string ties that are disasters waiting to happen. Layers upon layers of makeup. Wet hair tangled in extra-large hoop earrings. Too-skimpy bikini bottoms. Coverups that somehow combine animal print, sequins, and macramé. Not a good look, folks.

For some expert advice on the biggest beach style no-nos, I solicited the help of Marie Hindkær, a Danish-born fashion editor. Hindkær, who currently lives in London, runs Blame It On Fashion, the successful fashion and beauty blog she founded, and is also the co-founder and editor of, an online magazine that covers everything from personal and celebrity style to shopping and healthy living tips.

Here's what Hindkær had to say:

1. Some Shoes Aren't Suited For Sandy Terrain

Let's be honest here: Unless you're Kate Moss, you're probably not going to need heels at the beach. Most of your time will be spent sprawled out on a towel or lounge chair, and chances are you're going to be barefoot while doing so. With that in mind, stick to sand-friendly shoes. "Don’t wear your prettiest (or most expensive) sandals to the beach," says Hindkær. "Instead opt for a pair of summery PVC sandals—perfect for hot sand and easy to brush off. There's no need to tell you that heels are always a no-go."

Just because you shouldn't wear your fancy heels to the beach doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. These pliable PVC sandals are super fun and will hold up against the wear and tear of sand and sea. (Ted Baker Women's Hatha Bow Flip Flops Pink, $37, ASOS)

Try: Jack Rogers Georgica Jelly Sandal, $50, Amazon

2. Let Your Face Breathe

When you wear makeup to the beach, a few things tend to happen: 1) it gets messed up when you rub sunscreen on your face, 2) it sweats off after you've been baking in the sun, and 3) it melts away or runs down your face if you decide to take a dip in the water. Thus, it's best to forgo most cosmetics and show off your natural glow. But if you still feel like your face could use a little makeup, Hindkær suggests sticking to a few basics. "A waterproof mascara, a rosy gloss and a glowing complexion is basically all you need," she says. "If you want a little extra, add a bronze (waterproof) eyeliner to your beach kit."

Heavy makeup isn't a good look at the beach. A single swipe of waterproof mascara is really all you need. (Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Waterproof Mascara, $34.99, Amazon)

Also try: Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara, $5.69, Amazon

3. Leave The Accessories At Home

Aside from sunglasses and a hat, there's really no need to accessorize. "Don’t wear your favorite jewelry to the beach," warns Hindkær. "Sun, salty water, and sand will ruin most pieces. And if you drop them, the chances of finding them again are almost zero." Also, watch-shaped tan lines aren't usually a good look.

A good, classic pair of sunglasses can take your beach look to a whole new level. ( Kate Spade New York Carmel 58mm Sunglasses Camel Tortois e, $150, Nordstrom)

Also consider: Tortoise Cat Eye Sunglasses, $10.95, Amazon

4. Road Test Your Swimsuit

You know those outfits that look great on mannequins but never seem to fit the right way or look the same on an actual human being? Well, the same holds true for some bathing suits, which is why it's always a good idea to try on a swimsuit before heading away for a beach weekend. Not only could the suit fit you weirdly, but it might let you down if you decide to take a dip. "Don’t go to the beach in your new bikini without testing what it looks like when it’s wet," says Hindkær. "White bikinis look great against tanned skin but might be slightly see-through when wet." Unless you're going for that Girls Gone Wild look, then keep this tip in mind.

This spotted one-piece has a classic silhouette that'll flatter any figure. You can even select which cup size you need. (ASOS Cupped Spot Bandeau Swimsuit, $46, ASOS)

Try: La Blanca Solid Sweetheart One Piece Swimsuit, $119, Amazon

5. Be Prepared For Tan Lines

For us sun worshippers, there are few things more satisfying than peeling off your bathing suit at the end of the day to reveal those hard-earned tan lines. But beware of bathing suits that can leave you with weird marks and designs on your skin. "You should leave your cut-out swimsuit at home no matter how fashionable it is," Hindkær advises.

Target has a great swimsuit selection at affordable prices. This two-piece has removable straps that you can detach while basking under the sun. (Women's 2-Piece Swimsuit Cirque, $38, Target)

Also consider: Ted Baker Cosmic Bloom Bandeau, $60, and Bikini Bottom, $55, Amazon

6. Don't Be Stingy With The Sunscreen

No matter what Lululemon's bags are trying to teach us, liberal application of a good sunscreen can protect you from things like sunburns and skin cancer. "Make sure to apply it at least 30 minutes before stepping out in the sun and always remember to re-apply after a swim," says Hindkær. Start getting in the habit of applying sunscreen every day to protect yourself.

(Supergoop!® Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C, $19, Amazon)

Also try: Skinfood Aloe Sun Mist with SPF 50, $15.89, Amazon

7. Sunscreen Isn't Your Only Ally

While sunscreen is always a good idea, one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and wrinkle-free is by avoiding too much sun exposure. The best way to get the most coverage is to lounge underneath a sheltering umbrella. If this isn't an option, then "bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a kaftan to the beach," says Hindkær. "And seek the shadow between 12 and 3 p.m. when the sun (and UV radiation) reaches its maximum."

Take a tip from Samantha Jones and go for a extra-wide-brimmed beach hat. (Coastal Clearing Hat In Red, $35, ModCloth)

Consider: Sunday Afternoons Beach Hat in Red, $30, Amazon

8. Take Care Of Your Skin Before And After Sun Exposure

Don't neglect your skin after you've stepped out of the sun, either. "Prep skin and nails the night before and pamper with a cooling cream and lots of moisture when you get back after a day in the sand," suggests Hindkær.

Rich in aloe vera and vitamin E, this after-sun lotion will keep your skin soft and smooth while minimizing unpleasant peeling. (Banana Boat Aloe After Sun Lotion, $5, Amazon)

9. Don't Be A Sloppy Packer

So now that you know what to pack (and what not to), make sure you have a suitable beach bag to carry all of your goods. "Don’t be a sloppy packer," warns Hindkær. "Pack in a nice and roomy tote bag — preferably in canvas — and leave your smaller essentials in smaller zipper bags so you always know where to find them."

This sunny canvas beach tote has everything you need for a day spent in the sand: two interior pockets, snap top closures, and a rollup beach mat. (Beach Tote With Mat, $83, NeedSupply)

Try: Fishers Finery Day at the Beach Bag, $21.99, Amazon