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15 Things To Put In Your Beach Bag

If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, here’s what to take to have fun by the sea

Ah, you thought you were about to go on holiday, away from the pressures of everyday life, didn’t you? Unfortunately, though, unless you’re heading to some secret cove on a remote private island, there’s likely to be – gasp – other people also gathered around whatever stretch of sand you decide to flop down upon in the coming months, which means you should probably do the world the courtesy of looking decent. Plus, though we’re cautious about being too reductive about the one time of year you get to just be yourself, there are also the holiday photos to think of. So, how to switch off completely while retaining one’s dignity? Scroll down for our guide to five likely beach scenarios, and how to comport yourself splendidly within them.

No, it’s not chlorinated. No, it’s not necessarily warm. Yes, it could well be full of sharks and jellyfish, but, like it or not, you’re going to submerge yourself in it. We’re talking about the sea, of course, and we’re afraid that this segment of your beach trip is non-negotiable. Indeed, apparently it’s all part of the fun. Inject some actual fun into the whole thing by opting for a pair of dazzling print swim shorts from the likes of Saturdays NYC. This particular pair has a medium-sized print, which will work for most body types, though if you are on the larger size you might want to go for something a little more plain. And in preparation for the inevitable post-swim dust-off (in which you wonder how exactly you’ve managed to get all that sand up your nose), we would recommend equipping yourself not only with a pair of slides (which themselves can be dusted off easily), but this handy beach blanket from Onia. As it’s rendered in linen, it doesn’t hold on to too much sand or water. What’s more, it comes with a handy bag, so you can pack it away (and in your suitcase) when you’re done. 

It’s always soothing to kick back on the beach and immerse yourself in whatever just won the Booker or Pulitzer, but then again, they’re not always page-turners, are they? If you’re feeling your eyelids starting to flicker, you could probably do with something to get the blood pumping, for which purposes there is no activity better (or more easy going) than the the Brazilian sport of frescobol. What’s particularly fun about this particular bat-and-ball back-and-forth is that, unlike in life, the purpose here isn’t to score points over your partner. No, instead it’s about keeping the ball up in the air as long as you possibly can, and getting a reasonably good workout while you do it. The first piece of kit you need for this is obvious: a frescobol set from the appropriately named Brazilian-inspired brand Frescobol Carioca. But we’d also recommend a neat T-shirt (for sun protection) and some espadrilles (to keep your precious toes away from the blazing hot sand). 

If you’re desperate to emerge from your beach sojourn with an all-over golden glow, you might want to start by investing in a pair of swim shorts of the shorter variety, such as these mid-thigh length examples from the impeccably stylish British brand Orlebar Brown. Is it odd that this company, based in a country that gets about 20 hours of sunlight a year, is rather good at this sort of thing? Yes it is. But who’s complaining? Towel comfort, of course, is also key, and anyone who’s had the pleasure of sitting poolside at Soho House’s Barcelona outpost will appreciate this. Take the experience with you to the beach by picking up one of the members’ clubs attractively striped cotton towels. Don’t expect someone to come round and offer you a passion-fruit margarita, though. Unfortunately, that part of the whole thing does not really travel. Last but certainly not least, get some sunscreen for goodness’ sake. And try to take a break from the sun every 15 minutes, no matter how many people are ogling you, in your stylish gear. 

The Darth Vader to the sunseeker’s Luke Skywalker is the easily burnt sort who prefers spending his time on the beach sitting under a big umbrella with an audiobook and some snacks. There’s no shame in it. You’ll age more slowly and, more importantly, get to experience the renaissance of the latest formerly banned fashion item, the bucket hat. Last seen in the 1990s, this item has recently been dragged out of obscurity by New York brand Battenwear. Wear it with a striped T-shirt from Mr P. – which comes in a bouclé cotton-linen blend, giving it a slightly towel-like texture – and some ocean-hued garment-dyed shorts from NN07

Sadly, every sunny day must come to an end. Fortunately, they sometimes serve drinks to get you through the disappointment. Changing into a different set of clothes post-beach will certainly help you feel refreshed and prepare you for such delights, but you don’t want anything too stuffy. Whatever you’re drinking will probably be served in some sort of tiki mug or have a cocktail umbrella sticking out the top. Opt, then, for a camp-collar shirt with a globe-trotting print, such as this Japanese-themed example from Swedish brand Our Legacy, and a pair of soft brushed cotton chinos from aficionado brand Pilgrim Surf + Supply. It might be tempting here to step into a pair of flip flops, but aren’t these sandals from Álvaro that little bit more sophisticated?

Life’s A Beach

  • Tod's Camp-Collar Striped Silk-Twill Shirt

  • Loewe + Paula's Ibiza Mid-Length Mermaid-Print Swim Shorts

  • Garrett Leight California Optical Van Buren Folding Aviator-Style Gold-Tone Sunglasses

  • Orlebar Brown Sutton Canvas and Leather Espadrilles

  • Aimé Leon Dore Logo-Print Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • Bottega Veneta Tiger's Eye Bead and Oxidised Silver Bracelet