8 Tips for Dressing for the Beach If You're Over 60, Stylists Say
Be your most confident self at the beach this summer.
Whether you've got a coastal vacation lined up for the summer or you're planning on hitting the waves locally, you may be wondering how to dress for the beach. And while beachwear has long been a fraught topic for women, you should feel confident knowing that there are tons of fun summer apparel options for women of all shapes, sizes, and ages. However, stylists say there are a few key things to keep in mind before dressing for the beach if you're over the age of 60—all of which maximize style, sun protection, and safety. Read on to learn experts' eight tips for making a splash in your beachwear this summer.
Get playful with colors and textures.
Beachwear offers a great opportunity to go bold and bright, experimenting with colors, patterns, and textures.
Paola Farina, a professional stylist based in Milan, Italy, suggests looking for colorful, stone-embellished cover-ups, which might be too flashy for everyday wear but will grab attention on the beach.
Vicky Williams, commercial director and head of product at the fashion brand Calico Vintage, agrees that the beach is ideal for embracing vibrant prints and colors. "They can instantly uplift your mood and make you stand out," she tells Best Life. "Floral patterns, tropical motifs, and bold stripes are timeless options that exude a playful and youthful energy."
Try kaftans and cover-ups.
Cover-ups are a practical and stylish solution to beachwear, offering sun protection, breezy coverage, and flowing silhouettes that are effortless to slip on and off.
"Look for stylish cover-ups like kaftans," suggests Leanne Lee, a fashion stylist and buyer at Blue Bungalow, a women's clothing boutique in sunny Brisbane, Australia. "They are a classic beachwear choice that transcends trends, making them a reliable and fashionable option for women over 60."
However, if you want to wear something that's distinctly de rigueur, a maxi skirt is also right on trend for 2023. You can pair this sand-sweeping number with your swimsuit, a tunic top, or a button-up.
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Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics.
Regardless of your outfit type, there's one non-negotiable thing: You should always choose lightweight, breathable fabrics, all of the style experts agree.
"Cotton or linen can keep you cool and comfortable in the heat," suggests Sarah Whitwalker, a lingerie specialist, personal stylist, and the creator of Bra Size Calculator.
Wearing light colors can also maximize your comfort in the heat while looking right at home on the beach. "Neutral colors such as beige, sand, ecrù, white, or light blue shades recall the seaside," notes Farina.
Always bring a hat.
Hats are a go-to accessory for women over 60, not least because sun protection is so important as you get older.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of skin cancer cases are found in people over the age of 65, yet fewer than half of seniors protect their skin from the sun when heading outdoors on sunny days for an hour or more.
"Invest in a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck from the sun," suggests Lee. "Choose one with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating for added sun protection."
Not sure which style to try? Bucket hats and straw hats are both considered stylish options for 2023 and offer maximal skin coverage.
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Don't forget sunglasses—with polarized lenses.
Like your skin, your eyes are sensitive to the sun's powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays, making UV-protectant sunglasses a must. In particular, look for sunglasses with polarized lenses for added glare protection.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), these are lenses coated in a special chemical that filters some of the light from passing through the lenses, alleviating strain on the eyes and making your eyesight feel clearer—a win for anyone over 60.
Try experimenting with shapes to find a pair that suits you. Cat-eye frames, oversized round frames, and '70s-inspired looks are all on-trend for this season.
Invest in a top-quality swimsuit.
The key to feeling confident in a swimsuit over 60 isn't hiding your body—it's investing in a suit made of top-quality materials that are flattering to your body proportions.
"For women, one-piece swimsuits with ruching or strategic cutouts can provide tummy control and enhance curves," says Williams. "High-waisted bikini bottoms paired with tankini tops offer a trendy yet modest option."
Comfortable shoes are key.
You'll want to bring a pair of shoes that are easy to slip on and off at the beach, but this doesn't mean you should sacrifice comfort.
"Look for styles that offer cushioning and good arch support to keep your feet happy," says Peter Martinez, a stylist and designer for Leather Skin Shop.
Anne Liebman, the founder of SheStylesCO, recommends a durable slide sandal over the typical go-to flip flop. "Those can be tough in the sand because you literally 'flop' sand up on and around you with every step," she tells Best Life. "Slides are a comfortable alternate option to make that sandy jaunt a little easier. There are so many beautiful options available this season!"
Accessorize with beach-friendly jewelry.
Experts say that women over 60 should feel confident in wearing bold accessories to the beach. However, their advice comes with one major caveat: It's best to leave anything you'd be devastated to lose at home.
In particular, cold ocean water can shrink the skin on your fingers, making it easy for rings to slip off in the water. Instead of risking disaster, swap out your engagement ring or anything else of value for something less precious, and more unique to the beach setting.
Whitwalker says that adding some playful jewelry pieces can add style and personality to your beach outfit. "Look for lightweight and colorful options that won't weigh you down," she suggests.
Williams adds that you can layer jewelry or try a vibrant scarf to add a touch of sophistication. It's all about expressing your unique sense of style over 60.