"Feeling unique is a habit you shouldn't give up."

- Alberto Fermani

"Anyone can get all dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their off days that is the most intriguing."

-Alexander Wang




Crinkle dress
£99 - toast.co.uk

Cotton a line dress
$260 - net-a-porter.com

Rayon dress
$38 - shopruche.com

3 1 Phillip Lim tie bikini
$275 - lagarconne.com

Vix bikini bathing suit
$88 - net-a-porter.com

Vix bikini
$84 - net-a-porter.com

Anika Brazil 2 piece bikini
$155 - barneys.com

Missoni multicolor shoes
£60 - brownsfashion.com

Roxy roper shoes

Wet Seal patent shoes
$18 - wetseal.com

Saltbox canvas handbag
$83 - endless.com

Roberta Roller Rabbit shoulder bag
$89 - piperlime.gap.com

H&m sunglasses
£1.99 - hm.com

I'm definitely a minimalist when it comes to the beach. I don't necessarily mean in terms of packing for the overall trip but I hate lugging a bunch of stuff down to the water and having to take half an hour to "set up." Sometimes this is to a fault- like when I discovered on my last trip that I had neglected to bring underwear and dry shorts for my son to change in to when we left. Sitting in a carseat with a wet bathing suit is not good. So he sat naked. Which is also dangerous, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, you will never catch me with an umbrella (what if it blows away and I have to run down the beach chasing it?), or a million toys for the kids (a bucket and a couple of shovels will do the trick), or a giant cooler (maybe a little one for a drink or two but I don't like eating in the sand so...), or definitely not a kite (which I think is stressful because I'm always worried they will dive-bomb a neighboring beach-goer). If I've got my kids with me, a sturdy beach cart easily holds the toys, one towel a piece, my bag with sunblock, glasses, and a change of clothes for the kids, and MAYBE my small folding chair which I rarely get to sit in anyway.

However, despite the above rant, I do like the stuff I bring to be cute. I have a pretty purple straw bag, a cool oversized beach towel with an artist's sketch of Sid Vicious, oversized sunglasses, and a turquoise and white striped chair. Of course I try to have a cute bathing suit and, while I don't think I've conquered the search for the perfect cover up, I do try and you won't see me in running shorts and a tee (like all the teenagers I saw at beach week a couple of weeks ago...?...how is that a good coverup? Which also reminds me, one of the girls who was particularly adorable, put on a black jersey dress over her suit when they were all leaving and one of the other girls who was in the sports outfit said, "Nice grandma coverup." I was like, "Wha???" She must have been jealous. Anyway, I digress.)

I also do my best to avoid Disney characters, et cetera on my kids. I can't stand the Ariel bathing suits, Spongebob beach towels, and on and on. I know I'm mean because my kids want them and I'm always saying no but I did let my son get some Toy Story trunks that I will only let him wear to his swim lessons or to the pool in the backyard of our (rented) beach house. I know when they grow up they will talk about how controlling I was and maybe even snobby but, in this case, I don't care.

So, here are some cool options for all those beach minimalists like me out there. Oh! I almost forgot, Gap Kids has some really cute suits especially for the girls right now on sale. This does not include the weird red, white, and blue triangle top bikini but the others were all pretty good.

Beach towel by Tracey Emin and available at www.worksonwhatever.com

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