What Dressing Up For The Beach Is Actually Like Because The Ideal Sartorial Beach Day Is A Fantasy

I've always found that the way media portrays an ideal day at the beach vs. the reality has some comic gaps in it. Dressing up for the beach can sometimes be a little more complicated than we're lead to be believed. There are not many other places that can make you feel as vulnerable as that stretch of white sand. You have to strip down to your skivvies, pancake yourself onto a towel, and pretty much deal with being covered with a scrap of cloth for the whole day.

There's a lot of adjusting, unfastening, towel-wrapping, and stripping involved when claiming a spot of sand, and a lot of the times the moves involved aren't, ah, elegant. There aren't many of us lying out in the surf like washed up mermaids, the wind blowing our perfectly tousled hair as we strike Sports Illustrated poses in the sand. It's a little less... glamorous than that.

There’s usually some fumbling involved and a wardrobe malfunction tends to happen more times than we’d care to count. Everything from finding a prime spot to stripping down to running for a dip can be just a little problematic. Below are seven ideal beach day moments versus the actual reality of them.

1. Finding A Spot

Fantasy:

You've just arrived at the beach and — hitching your cute straw tote higher on your shoulder — you begin weaving your way towards the water. Your dress catches on the salty breeze and flirts around your ankles and you hold onto your straw hat, taking a moment to take in the pretty scene of the blue water.

Reality:

In reality you're flip-flopping your way across the labyrinth of tanning bodies, your sandals kicking up sand with every step you take. You're wearing your old high school gym t-shirt and that pretty beach tote is actually your reusable grocery bag. It's versatile like that. And the wind does catch your hair prettily — but it also threatens to tear your hat off and blow it halfway across the beach. Annoyed with it, you yank it off and stuff it in your bag.

2. Undressing

Fantasy:

Laying out your towel, you toe off your sandals and slowly pull your dress over your head, shaking out your hair in slow motion as you fold your dress neatly and put it in your bag. You didn't notice, but the ice cream man tripped over a sandcastle watching you. I mean, who could blame him?

Reality:

Taking a quick self-conscious peek to make sure no one's staring, you shimmy off your pants and leave them in the sand next to your towel. You forgot to take off your sunglasses before taking off your shirt, so you had to engage in a quick, 10 second struggle where your face was trapped inside your shirt. Totes hot.

3. The Sunscreen Situation

Fantasy:

Who needs sunscreen? You're aiming to be a bronzed goddess! You take out your SPF 5 tanning oil and canola yourself up, making your legs shiny and and model-esque. You lay back down, ready to take in the sun.

Reality:

You take out your family-size bottle of SPF 50, ready to paint yourself white. Applying a generous amount to your nose especially, you lie back down and hope that you won't regret chintzing out on the SPF 75...

4. The Bathing Suit

Fantasy:

You have a fun little suit the size of a hand towel, and it shows off everything you want to show off. Your body be lookin' and feeling good, and you flip your hair with the knowledge of it.

Reality:

The bandeau style may or may not be creating a uniboob kind of look, but it's OK. This scrap of cloth cost you an arm and a leg so if a uniboob is in this summer, then it's in this summer. Though you are kind of regretting the choice of getting high waist bottoms. You really didn't think of the tan line situation. Trying to wiggle the undies down, you think of how your tan lines will make you look like you had on a men's swimsuit from the '20s on the whole summer.

You live and learn.

5. Battling Tan Lines

Fantasy:

Not wanting to have lines around your neck, you untie your bikini top and tuck the straps to the side. Rubbing a dollop more of oil on your chest and shoulders, you're ready for that flawless glow.

Reality:

You untie your top and your boobs immediately flop to the side without the extra lift and tuck help. Ah gravity, you never fail to deliver.

6. Taking A Break From The Sun

Fantasy:

Feeling like you got enough color, you pop up from your towel and root around for your beach umbrella. You add your contribution of cheerful stripes to the beach and settle underneath, digging your toes into the sand.

Reality:

You forgot the umbrella at home so instead you wrap yourself up in your clothes as if you just developed an allergy to sunlight. Your hoodie is zipped up, your sunglasses are slipped on, and you're hiding your hands in its sleeves. That's enough Vitamin D for you, thank you.

7. Cooling Off With A Dip

Fantasy:

Right before heading home you decide to cool off with a quick dip. You run into the surf like you're trying out for Baywatch, your bikini bottoms looking extra cheeky in their flirty cut. You prance into the water, maneuvering through waves until you get deep enough to elegantly dip under.

Reality:

You were dangerously close to getting a one-sided wedgie while running into the water — a fact that you tried to remedy by doing a quick lunge mid-jog. It didn't work but it was a valiant effort. You crash into the water, excitedly going under a wave as one rolls through, happy to play in the cold surf. You know you'll manage to attract half the sand on the beach walking back to your towel, and you probably won't get the smell of salt water out of your hair for days, but at the moment, that's totally OK. Because with all the sunburning, boob-flopping, and shirt wrestling, beach days are still the best kind of days.

Images: AlexChen/Flickr; Giphy