Best beach cover-ups 2022—including beach dresses, kaftans, sarongs, shorts and beach trousers

Best beach cover-ups—the styles to invest in for your vacation this summer

three models wearing the best beach cover-ups 2022
(Image credit: Future / Rae Feather / M&S / Next)

Travel is back, and if you're getting ready for a summer vacation you'll want the best beach cover-ups in your style arsenal. Offering instant poolside glamour, the best beach cover-ups range from chic pieces for just out-of-the-sea style, to versatile items that can be dressed up for evenings sipping cocktails at the bar. 

A holiday wardrobe essential, the best beach cover-ups have the ability to underpin your travel capsule wardrobe. A wide-reaching term, beach cover-ups encapsulate everything from sarongs to sling around your waist as you get out of the pool to stylish kaftans, button-down shirts and floaty beach trousers that can comfortably cover your best bathing suit but will also double-up as evening looks, making packing a breeze. 

While the idea of 'covering-up' at the beach can feel quite negative, the best beach cover-ups should be used to enhance your style and for practicality rather than making you feel self-concious about getting into your best bikini this summer. Light, airy, often sheer, the best beach cover-ups also offer sun protection in the heat of the day or help you to feel more dressed if you're partaking in lunch by the pool. When it comes to the swimwear trends 2022, many brands have created beach cover-ups to match their swimsuits and bikinis, helping you to create an effortless look. As with the fashion trends 2022, you can expect plenty of color as the love of mood-boosting brights continues into beachwear with a heavy dose of dopamine dressing. While bright color clothing is very much on-trend if you want real versatility opt for neutral hues such as white, black and navy as these can pair with most items. 

Best beach cover-ups 2022—chosen by our fashion team

1. Best Beach Dresses

Satin blue green slip dress

(Image credit: Seafolly)

Seafolly Satin Midi Dress

Our favorite beach dress

Specifications

RRP: $188 / £120
Size: XS - L

Reasons to buy

+
Can be worn in the day
+
Great color palette
+
Good coverage

Reasons to avoid

-
Handkerchief hem is a difficult silhouette to wear

In a lightweight satin-crepe, this dress will take you from sandy shores to sipping cocktails in no time. A handkerchief hem can be tricky to wear, particularly for petites as the uneven hemline and heavy central drape can feel overwhelming. This dress can be easily slipped over your swimwear or team it with some spring-ready mules for a pretty dinner look. 

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2. Best Beach Sarongs

Lemon print sarong

(Image credit: Seafolly)

Seafolly Lemon Print Sarong

Our favorite sarong

Specifications

RRP: $74 / £65
Size: One size

Reasons to buy

+
Fun, fashion print
+
Sizeless
+
Ideal for poolside lounging

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't necessarily work for plus sizes

One of the best Australian swimwear brands, Seafolly is known for great swimsuits and bikinis that really evoke that sunny weather vibe. Zesty prints are always popular in the summer months and we love this lemon print for its fresh feel. Versatile enough to work over a well-edited, neutral swimwear wardrobe, it will add a pop of color to navy, black, brown, green and white swim ensembles. 

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3. Best Short Kaftans

Purple floral patterned kaftan with tassels

(Image credit: Tory Burch)

Tory Burch Purple Kaftan

Our favorite short kaftan

Specifications

RRP: $358 / £340
Size: XXS-XXL

Reasons to buy

+
Trend-led color
+
Can be worn as top
+
High-end design

Reasons to avoid

-
Designer price point

The best beach cover-ups should feel both stylish and versatile. This chic Tory Burch kaftan can be worn thrown over your favorite swimsuit but could easily be styled as a top for a white jeans outfit, making it a great kaftan for the beach and beyond. The lilac hue gives a nod to the fashion color trends 2022, while the chic tassel detailing adds extra luxe. 

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4. Best Long Kaftans

Long short sleeve striped kaftan with v-neck

(Image credit: LemLem)

LemLem Fringed Cotton Kaftan

Our favorite long kaftan

Specifications

RRP: $325 / £290
Size: One size

Reasons to buy

+
Timeless style
+
A neutral hue, will go with everything
+
Harder to dress up for the evening

Reasons to avoid

-
One size, won't fit everyone

The cotton fabric will ensure this kaftan keeps you cool as temperatures soar. Slightly thicker, your swimsuit is less likely to peer through this fabric, meaning you get a bit more coverage. A relaxed and timeless style, you can rely on this piece summer after summer, and paired with your best sandals you'll look effortlessly chic as you cooldown on your lounger. 

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5. Best Beach Overshirts

Blue relaxed fit top with wide short sleeves and v-neck

(Image credit: Whistles)

Whistles Blue Cover Up Shirt

Our favorite overshirt

Specifications

RRP: $139 / £69
Size: XS-L

Reasons to buy

+
Can be worn as a top (not just beachwear)
+
Good arm coverage
+
Tummy flattering shape

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size range

This Whistles top offers plenty of versatility. The flattering V-neckline will work for small or large busts and we love that this top offers good upper arm coverage, ideal for when you're out in the mid-day sun. The kimono-inspired, squared sleeve will also ensure this top keeps you cool as temperatures soar. For apple body shapes looking for a tummy-flattering beach cover-up, the pleat detailing under the bust gives this top an empire line silhouette, helping it to skim over a midriff. Not specifically designed as a beach top, you can also team it with your best skinny jeans for a spring-ready look for every day too. 

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6. Best Plus Size Beach Cover-Up

model wearing blue and white boho dress

(Image credit: Anna Scholz)

Anna Scholz Silk Slip Dress

Our favorite plus size cover up

Specifications

RRP: $368 / £275
Size: US 12 - 24 / UK 16-28

Reasons to buy

+
Great for plus sizes
+
Can be worn as a dress all year through
+
Lots of detail

Reasons to avoid

-
Not available in smaller sizes

When it comes to the best plus-size clothing brands you can always rely on Anna Scholz to deliver. This beautiful Santorini-inspired blue and white kaftan dress is a must-piece to pack this summer. Easily styled over any of the best plus size swimwear brands, it can also be worn as a dress all year, so when it comes to cost per wear, this is definitely an investment piece. In the summer, pair with your favorite sandals, before swapping them out for your best Chelsea boots come spring or fall. 

7. Best Black Beach Cover-Up

Black long linen kaftan

(Image credit: Arket)

Arket Linen Tunic

Our favorite black beach cover-up

Specifications

RRP: £59 (International shipping available)
Size: XS-L

Reasons to buy

+
Timeless style
+
Linen keeps you cool
+
Good price point

Reasons to avoid

-
Will crease easily

When packing for a trip abroad, you don't have to max out your luggage allowance, instead opt for items that can work at different times of day, simply by swapping accessories. Made from linen, this long kaftan will keep you cool, whatever the weather. Although it might crease easily (pack folded with tissue paper and hang immediately on arrival), it can be worn for everything from the breakfast buffet to lounging around by the pool, or dressed up with heels and jewelry for an evening look. 

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8. Best Beach Shorts

Green and yellow patterned silk shorts

(Image credit: Emilio Pucci)

Emilio Pucci Silk Shorts

Our favorite beach shorts

Specifications

RRP: $825 / £525
Size: 36-50 (Italy)

Reasons to buy

+
Can be worn for evening
+
Runway-worthy look
+
Luxurious fabric

Reasons to avoid

-
Designer level price points

Natural fabrics are a smart choice in warm weather and these silk shorts from Pucci will raise your style kudos without soaring your body temperature. In a classic Pucci pastel print, these pretty shorts can be paired with heels and a t-shirt or white shirt for a directional evening look. Of course, water can damage silk, so these shorts should not be paired with a wet swimsuit or bikini. Think cocktail hour by the pool rather than soaking up the sun in the day. 

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9. Best White Beach Cover-Up

White oversized shirt dress

(Image credit: Rae Feather)

Rae Feather Cotton Shirt Dress

Our favorite white beach cover-up

Specifications

RRP: £125 (International shipping available)
Size: S/M-M/L

Reasons to buy

+
Fashion-crowd favorite
+
Classic style
+
Works with any swimwear

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited sizes

Indie clothing brand Rae Feather are already loved by the fashion crowd for their personalized straw beach bags. A lifestyle brand with a vacation twist, Rae Feather was born out of a desire for luxury travel basics. One of the best white shirt dresses, we love the half button front, the dipped hem silhouette, and the relaxed fit. Wear this in the day with a waist-cinching belt, tan flat sandals, and any of the best crossbody bags for a vacation-ready look, or wear over your swimwear for a stylish beach outfit. 

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10. Best Crochet Cover-Ups

Beige crochet beach cover up dress

(Image credit: Anna Kosturova)

Anna Kosturova Crochet Midi Dress

Our favorite crochet beach cover-up

Specifications

RRP: $451/£369
Size: XS - L

Neutral hues remained key to the runway this season and while high summer might long for bold pops of color, a beige crochet dress will never date. Team with this season's hottest shoe trend, gladiator sandals and an oversized woven tote bag for maximum style points. 

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11. Best Kimonos

model showing front and back of pink and green kimono

(Image credit: Next)

Next Pink and Green Kimono

Our favorite kimono

Specifications

RRP: $41 / £28
Size: S-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Great price point
+
Matching swimwear available
+
Relaxed fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't pair easily with all swimwear

This silhouette comes in a multitude of colorways and prints and even has matching swimwear available so you can get fully styled up for your vacation this summer. Team with oversized sunglasses, one of the biggest sunglasses trends for 2022 and a new season anklet for that added touch of sparkle.

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12. Best Beach Trousers

model showing blue linen trousers front and back

(Image credit: H&M)

H&M Cropped Linen Trousers

Our favorite beach trousers

Specifications

RRP: $24.99 / £17.99
Size: S-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Great summer fabrication
+
Vibrant color
+
Elasticated waist for comfort

Reasons to avoid

-
Not available in plus size

We love an elasticated waist on a beach trouser. Easy to pull on and off, they also offer added comfort, particularly as we can all feel a little uncomfortable in sweltering temperatures. In a breezy linen fabric, these trousers will work well for a pear-shaped body as they should give a good fit at the waist and skim past hips thanks to their wide-leg silhouette.

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13. Best Petite Cover Ups

Red split leg skirt

(Image credit: ASOS)

ASOS Petite Lattice Skirt

Our favorite petite beach cover-up

Specifications

RRP: $35 / £25
Size: US: 00-12 / UK: 2-16

Reasons to buy

+
Bold color
+
Great for petites
+
Glamorous look

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size range

With an elasticated waist, this beach cover-up is easy to slip into as your lazing around the pool or soaking up the sun at the beach. With a sultry, leg flashing cut, this petite design is ideal for those under 5'3 who usually struggle with maxi-length skirts and sarongs. The bold color is ideal for ushering in warmer weather, although it is only available up to a size 16, and not suitable for plus-size petite women. 

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