Embracing the versatility of a cotton beach dress is a smart move. A staple in any stylish woman's closet, the cotton dress is a no-fail, always-reliable piece that moves easily from day to evening; from season to season; from event to event. The style selection is limitless, and prices range from shockingly reasonable to truly high-end!
Not Just for the Beach
Don't be fooled by the name: Though beach dresses may be designed with sun and surf in mind, they actually offer much more bang for their buck. This does depend greatly on the style, of course, but the majority of beach dresses present great versatility and options galore. Not convinced? Think of the numerous styles that qualify as beach dresses:
- Pull-on jersey dresses
- Airy maxi dresses
- Button-down dresses
- Halter dresses
- Bandeau dresses
Clearly, with so many choices, you'll be able to do a lot more with that cotton beach dress than just wear it, well, to the beach. While some styles are designed specifically to wear over a swimsuit and generally look best only for that purpose, others are more multipurpose.
If you are heading to the beach, don't even think of leaving home without a few beach dresses. Cotton is an ideal summer dress fabric because it's cool and airy; it won't constrict the skin or cause irritation. It's so lightweight that it can, quite literally, be thrown on over everything from a bikini to a pair of shorts. That means it's perfect for those laid-back vacation moments and just about any other time you're indulging in some relaxed downtime.
Choosing a Cotton Beach Dress
Oh, the endless possibilities of summer dresses! It's enough to drive anyone crazy, particularly if the shopping budget is limited. Take comfort in the fact that you can find dresses for fewer than 10 dollars if you're so inclined. Sure, they may not last a lifetime, but chances are you'll want a couple of new styles every year anyway. On the flip side, you can also find heavily embellished, vibrantly printed or designer name beach dresses for a much more impressive price. If you can afford it, love the style and are confident you'll wear it often, don't hesitate to splurge on a more costly piece.
Once you've determined just how much you're prefer to spend, you can focus on a much more interesting matter: the style of the dress. Some are just perfect to wear at any time of day, while others are slightly more limited in their versatility. Here are some style tips to get you started:
- Cover-up dresses are adorable, but they essentially only serve one obvious purpose. Pack it in your beach bag and throw it on when you're ready to hit a souvenir shop or café on the boardwalk.
- Jersey dresses, on the other hand, are quite versatile. They're common everywhere from the pool to non-beach towns, and they're usually adorned with numerous types of details - ruffled necklines are common. Accessorize them with a scarf and some light jewelry if you're making the transition from day to night.
- Maxi dresses are long, long, long…and perfect for beachy weather. Cotton styles are especially airy and loose, so be prepared to feel ultra-relaxed. They can be worn anywhere, but opt for light, bright printed styles for the beach.
- Button-down dresses are crisp and slightly more refined than the typical "throw on" dress. Some labels offer light beach styles that may have a light belt around the waist for added definition. This style is great to wear if you're headed somewhere a bit more dressy after you hit the beach.
- Halter dresses are beach essentials. In fact, many beach wedding dresses are done in halter styles, proving that they can be dressy or casual. Opt for this style if you're going on a date that involves a stroll along the water.
- Tunics are quintessential all summer long. Whether you wear them over a suit, with jeans or on their own, you'll discover very quickly that cotton tunics are extremely versatile. Choose classic styles over extremely trendy looks; tunics are worth the investment and will last you a while.
- Caftans are voluminous by nature. Avoid them if you're very petite or generally small; you might find that it swallows up your frame a bit. They look best on very tall, slender women.
- Sundresses are the most versatile cotton beach dress style of them all. Wear them to parties, to barbecues, to the pool, to the mall and on the beach.
- Bandeau dresses are generally strapless, but might boast a halter-like style in some situations. Choose one in a light shade that is relatively loose fitting. A smocked bandeau is a great choice for the beach - it's easy to slip on and looks cute over a swimsuit.