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Wardrobe Oxygen: Summer Fashion 2011 - Swimwear Cover-ups

By (view all posts by AlisonGary)
at 11:55AM Monday June 20, 2011
under Shop Smarter

Whether you want to ward off a chilly seaside breeze, shield yourself from the sun, take your bikini from shore to café, or cover up your curves between dips in the pool, a great swimsuit cover-up is a must for any stylish woman. Now is the time to purchase swim cover-ups on sale as, though the swim season has just started, retailers are trying to clear out their summer inventory to make room for fall fashions.

Here are a few styles I have seen lately that are fashionable yet budget-friendly:
I love Garnet Hill for their simple yet classic fashion and excellent quality. Their Convertible Knit Cover-Up is a great price (currently on sale for $44) and an ingenious design. You can pull it up to be a strapless dress, wait at your waist as a calf-length skirt, or fold over the top to make it a knee-length skirt. This is a perfect cover-up for travel as that it can work beachside or be paired with metallic sandals and bangle bracelets to be a skirt or dress perfect for a night out. Available in black, cerise and graphite; all choices are gorgeous and classic but my favorite is graphite gray. Pair with a pink or yellow bathing suit for a fresh color combination by day; wear with silver jewelry for an elegant evening look. Gray will also transition nicely into fall as streetwear.

Old Navy is one of my go-to shops for great style for great prices. Each summer they impress me with their selection of adorable swimsuits, flip-flops, cover-ups and other poolside fashion. They haven't disappointed this summer with their Embroidered Gauze Swim Cover-Up. Figure-flattering v-neck, lower-hip length, breathable summer gauze, and available in tall lengths, this piece is geared to be figure-flattering. The proof is in the many positive customer reviews from women of all shapes and sizes. Like the cover-up from Garnet Hill, this piece can live a second life as streetwear--just pair with vintage jeans, beaded sandals and a lightweight cami for modesty (this piece is sheer) for a great look on a breezy summer evening. Currently on sale for $25.99, it's tempting to get one in each color!

As a kid, we would spend a week every August in Maine. The days would be sunny and bright, but the combination of the gentle breeze and frigid waters of the bay, we'd always desire more than a simple cotton caftan to warm our bodies after a swim. Seeing the Lands' End Cotton Jersey Roll-sleeve Cover-up makes me think that some designer at Lands' End too had experienced similar summers at the water. Cotton jersey and a hood will keep your warm and cozy right out of the water, the adjustable sleeves and drawstring waist give you a customized look and fit, and the full zipper makes it easy to slip on and off, and it is available in a huge range of sizes. It's available in classic shades of white, black, gray and navy; however I am partial to Bright Iris, which would be a fantastic pairing with anything from basic black to olive green to flame orange. Right now on sale for $20.50.

Canvas is Lands' End younger sibling--a company that offers more youthful and trendy styles but still with Lands' End world-famous quality and customer service. As an owner of Lands' End Canvas swimwear and cotton voile pieces, I can attest to the fact that they are well-made while being well-crafted and well-priced. Their Lightweight Voile Cover-ups are so chic, yet classic enough to look stylish for more than one summer. Available in solids as well as prints; I am a fan of the Petunia Rose Multi Floral (on sale for $29.99) which will look cheery on the beach and also transition to beachside bar with gold sandals and hoop earrings.

I am a fan of maxi dresses for easy summer style--they are one piece to add instant glamour to the simplest flip flops and beachy waves. A maxi dress is a fabulous choice for bathing suit cover-up as that is can easily transition from pool to patio while offering plenty of coverage from the sun. The Long Beach Dress from Eddie Bauer is simple elegance on a warm summer night with turquoise jewelry and gladiator sandals, or poolside with your favorite flip flops. Available from Eddie Bauer in basic black, though I am partial to the options of Hibiscus and Jade--both would look fantastic against sun-kissed skin. On sale for $19.99.

What is your favorite style of swim cover-up?

Alison Gary has over ten years experience as a personal shopper, stylist, and visual merchandiser. Her blog Wardrobe Oxygen provides fashion advice to all women, regardless of age, size, budget, or lifestyle. She is a full-time working mother, blogger, wife, and frugal fashionista located in the Washington D.C. area.