Dressing stylishly for the beach can be challenging, particularly if it’s really warm and you don’t want to bare too much. In this article, you’ll find all the best women’s beach outfits that will make you look and feel fabulous.

Of course, you’ll need a flattering swimsuit, and cover-up, but your beach outfits can incorporate so much more. You’ll find everything below to put together casual outfits for lazy beach days, through to ideas on how to go from beach to bar or restaurant, or inspiration if you have a beach event like a party or a barbecue to attend.

How to put together your beach outfits

Before we look at some beach outfit ideas, what should you think about when dressing for the beach and choosing the best women’s beach outfits?

How will you be spending your day

Will you mainly be relaxing on the beach with a good book, or are you planning a walk along the shore, or maybe you’re going from the beach straight for lunch. Think about your activities and how you can alter your outfit to suit.

What do you prefer to cover?

If you are happy to sit on your towel or lounger with your swimsuit, but prefer to cover-up when dining or walking, then you’ll need a great cover-up to add to your beach outfit.

Layering is key

Start with your swimsuit. Then you can layer over a dress or cover-up, or you could add a pair of pants and a shirt or vest so you’re ready for the whole day ahead.

Women's beach outfits - Sylvia wears a blue dress | 40plusstyle.com

Fly London Bani sandals, similar dress, cover up (here and here) and sunglasses

Womens beach outfits - Tank top and culottes outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Linen TopCOS Linen Blend CulottesMassimo Dutti Flat Leather SandalsMassimo Dutti Raffia ToteKarine Sultan Imitation Pearl Tassel NecklaceSan Diego Hat Ultrabraid XL Brim Straw Sun Hat

Don’t forget your accessories

Just because you’re at the beach, doesn’t mean you can’t accessorize. Your beach accessories should combine practicality and style. A great sunhat will help to protect your face, while a scarf could cover your shoulders, or double as a sarong.

Women's beach outfits - Suzie wears a white dress and sandals | 40plusstyle.com

Suzie @suzie.richetti above chooses a tiered dress that you could easily pop over your swimwear.

Get her look with this similar maxi dress, sandals, scarf, sun hat, earrings and necklace.

Womens beach outfits - Bathing suit and cover up | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Linen Tie-Dye KaftanSummersalt The Wave SwimsuitHavaianas Slim Flip FlopMassimo Dutti Raffia ToteCOS Square Sunglasses

beach outfits

Now let’s move onto some clothes, sandals and accessories you could wear to the beach. Thinking about your beach outfits as a whole clothing capsule is particularly useful if you are packing for a beach vacation.


When choosing tops for the beach, a loose shirt can be worn in many different ways, from being tucked into your shorts to wearing over your swimsuit as a cover-up. Vest tops are summery and cool, and you can always layer your shirt over if you want to cover your arms. Plus, if you want to elevate your beach look, then look out for t-shirts that are a little bit of an usual, with details like twists, ties or ruching.

Women's beach outfits - Tops for the beach | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Knot Linen Blend ShirtMassimo Dutti Linen TopMassimo Dutti Strappy Seam Detail TopMassimo Dutti Striped Waffle-Knit Shirt

Women's beach outfits - Kylie wears a tank top and shorts | 40plusstyle.com

Kylie @kylish_aus above chooses a classic beach outfit of shorts, a tank top and wide-brimmed hat.

Steal her look with this similar tank top, shorts (another option here), hat (another option here), necklace and sunglasses.


When it comes to the pants and skirts you choose for the beach, then you’ll want a great pair of shorts. If you prefer pants, choose cropped, cool styles made of natural material. You could also opt for a skirt. A wrap style will be easy to put on over your swimsuit.

Womens beach outfits - Shorts and skirts for the beach | 40plusstyle.com

COS Linen Blend CulottesMassimo Dutti Linen Darted Bermuda ShortsMassimo Dutti High Waist Darted Denim ShortsMassimo Dutti Linen Striped Rustic Skirt

Women's beach outfits - T-shirt and shorts outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Knot Linen Blend ShirtMassimo Dutti High Waist Darted Denim ShortsTory Burch Miller Leather SandalsMassimo Dutti Raffia ToteBadu Seed Beaded Drop EarringsCOS Square Sunglasses

dresses and jumpsuits

A dress or jumpsuit can make a great cover-up for your swimsuit, and can look particularly stylish if you want to give your beach outfit more of a formal look, perhaps because you have a party or you are heading to lunch or dinner after some time at the beach.

Womens beach outfits - Dresses and jumpsuits for the beach | 40plusstyle.com

COS Asymmetric T-Shirt DressMassimo Dutti Pleated Wrap DressMassimo Dutti Contrast Strappy DressMassimo Dutti Linen Blend Back Split Jumpsuit

Womens beach outfits - Nikki wears a blue jumpsuit and sandals | 40plusstyle.com

Nikki @midlifechic above gives her jumpsuit summer flair with her rattan bag and orange sandals.

Get her look with this similar jumpsuit (other options here and here), sandals, clutch and necklace.


Unless you’re happy to simply wear your swimsuit all day, you’ll want a stylish cover up. You might want to make sure your arms and shoulders are covered up, or perhaps you’re happy with a sleeveless option. Or, you could choose a sarong to cover up your hips and thighs.

Also take a look at the best bathing suit cover ups for women over 40.

Women's beach outfits - Cover-ups for the beach | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Linen Tie-Dye KaftanPool to Party Beach to Street Halter Cover-Up DressElan V-Back Cover-Up Maxi DressElan Print Sarong Cover-Up Maxi Skirt

Beach cover-up and sandals | 40plusstyle.com

Pool to Party Beach to Street Halter Cover-Up DressFranco Sarto Greta SandalObosoyo Woven ClutchBocar Multi Layer Seed Beaded NecklaceBadu Seed Beaded Drop Earrings


Of course, unless you are planning to stay completely out of the water, the most important element of your beach outfit will be a stylish swimsuit.

You can find more inspiration in this article on the best bathing suits for women over 40.

Bathing suits for women over 40 | 40plustyle.com

Summersalt The Ribbed Sidestroke SwimsuitSummersalt The Wave SwimsuitBoden Bow Detail Halter SwimsuitHilor Front Crossover Swimsuit

Nikki wears a black swimsuit | 40plusstyle.com

Nikki @40notfrumpy above opts for a black cut out swimsuit.

Recreate her beach outfit with this similar scallop trim swimsuit, sandals and sunglasses.

shoes for the beach

Of course, you may opt to go barefoot for part of your day. But, you’ll still need a great pair of sandals. Choose a waterproof pair if you want to walk down to the water. Or, opt for a pair of leather flip flops if you want to give your outfit a slightly more formal look.

shoes for the beach | 40plusstyle.com

Tory Burch Miller Leather SandalsMassimo Dutti Flat Leather SandalsFranco Sarto Greta SandalHavaianas Slim Flip Flop

Tank top and wrap skirt | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Strappy Seam Detail TopMassimo Dutti Linen Striped Rustic SkirtMassimo Dutti Flat Leather SandalsMassimo Dutti Raffia ToteKarine Sultan Imitation Pearl Tassel Necklace


To go with your women’s beach outfits, you’ll want a beach bag to fit your towel, book and essentials in, as well as a sunhat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun. If you’ll be going straight out from the beach, or you are attending an event on the beach, you could elevate your look with a rattan or straw clutch, and some statement jewelry.

Accessories for womens beach outfits | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Raffia ToteObosoyo Woven ClutchKarine Sultan Imitation Pearl Tassel NecklaceBocar Multi Layer Seed Beaded NecklaceBadu Seed Beaded Drop EarringsCOS Square SunglassesSan Diego Hat Ultrabraid XL Brim Straw Sun Hat

Womens beach outfits - Jas wears a tank top and wrap skirt | 40plusstyle.com

Jas @thefashionstylefile above chooses a wrap skirt with her tank top.

Check out this similar tank top, skirt, flip flops, clutch, earrings and sunglasses.

the best women’s beach outfits together in one capsule

Below, you can see the beach outfits from above together in one capsule. You can easily mix and match the different clothes, shoes and accessories to get different levels of formality and coverage. For example, you could wear the striped shirt with the black pants, and any of the tank tops and t-shirt with any of the bottoms.

Women's beach outfits - Beach capsule wardrobe | 40plusstyle.com

shop the women’s beach outfits below:

Continue reading:

  1. Outfits For Summer: The Summer Capsule Wardrobe You Need This Season
  2. What To Wear In Summer – Our Top 10 Tips & Tricks
  3. The Best Bathing Suits For Women Over 40 – Swim Suits That Make You Feel Fabulous!

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Womens beach outfits - Sun, sea and style: women's beach outfits for your summer vacation | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Kylie @kylish_aus


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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