Photo: Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Oh the joys of a beach -- surf, sand and cooling breezes tousling your locks. Of course, you'll need the perfect beach dress. Requirements: It must set off your tan, make you look stunning and transition from sand to sunset drinks on the veranda. These days designers from Tahari to Target offer breezy maxis and minis in as many colors and styles as there are seashells. Enjoy the hunt!
A maxi dress is the perfect solution for girls who feel less than bodaciously confident about their bodies. These flowy numbers reach all the way down to your ankles and still feel cool and sexy. You can find them in solids, florals, paisley and textures from linen to crinkled cotton. These styles are usually strappy on top with either spaghetti straps or a halter tie. They make a nice transition to dinner and drinks without leaving you too bare for a restaurant.
Tank dresses, either mini or maxi length, are super if you've got a slim or athletic body. A tank dress will show off your shoulders, hug your curves and make the most of a fit figure. Try a racerback style in stripes or solids. Tank dresses are usually found in cotton knits, so they're perfect for tossing in your beach bag or weekend duffel. One shake, an armful of bangles, and you're good to go.
T-shirt Dresses and Tunics
T-shirt dresses and tunics are great for those long walks along the beach or the late afternoon when your shoulders have seen too much sun and need a break. These styles are comfy and can be found in a rainbow of solid colors and prints. Most are made of cotton or linen, so wear them or fold them flat rather than stuffing them in your bag to avoid excessive wrinkling. Style tip: Don't go too over-sized, as the most flattering fit is body-skimming, not voluminous.
Strapless beach dresses are adorable if you're not too busty. You can find soft, terry-cloth styles with gathered bodices or structured cotton styles with built-in bra cups. These sexy, shoulder-baring frocks are usually short, so wear them strolling on the boardwalk or to a casual eatery. Skip them if you're going to a nice restaurant or bar; perched on a bar stool, you may be over-exposed. These styles are great for showing off a tan (faux or real) and are perfect accessorized with a sparkly flat sandal.