What Not to Wear: Beach Edition

A people watcher on her Florida vacation offers sartorial observations on the beach people she sees. 

by Allie Robbins • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

5. Dorky on Land and Sea.  Now, I know you’re on vacation, and you really don’t want to even care what you look like. You’re never going to see any of these people again, right? And, it’s O.K. to let your guard down on things like makeup and maybe even hair, to a degree, on your beach vacation. However, I’m going to suggest that this group of beachies is probably just as dorky in "real life" as they are in "vacation life," and therein lies the problem.  But, what makes one a dork on the beach? Well, choice of hat, for one thing. Yes, hats are pretty much mandatory for sun protection, and big, floppy ones can definitely be a nice fashion accessory in a Jackie-O, Martha’s Vineyard sort of way. But, hats with words on them (i.e., the last place you vacationed) and baseball caps with your ponytail or mullet sticking out the hole in the back are not cool. The color of a hat can make a huge difference also; always go for natural fabrics and colors. And, under no circumstances is a Sun Visor to be worn (those just scream retirement village). I think, also, just clothes that don't fit correctly constitute dorkiness on the beach, especially shorts that are too short on a guy. They look like basketball uniform shorts from the '70s, the ones worn with knee-high tube socks with stripes at the top. Yikes.

With regard to footwear on the beach — or, more accurately, footwear not to wear: No wearing of socks and shoes. This is the beach for heaven’s sake. And you may NOT wear Swim Shoes. You know, the ones you can wear to keep your feet from burning in the sand or to avoid jabbing your feet on the hypodermic syringes on the ocean floor. Sure, swim shoes are practical, but suck it up. The cost of dorkiness is just too high. 

Last, but not least: Ladies, consider the swimsuit. The bathing suit you bought in 1979 is just not O.K., even if you have only worn it a total of five times. The life of a bathing suit is not calculated by the number of wears.

All right, realizing that I have been a little ‘ornery’ today with my beach observations, I would like to leave you with some true inspirations I encountered during my time on the beach. Here are some really nice things happening that made me feel all ‘squishy’ inside:

Young children in complete awe of things as simple as sand and water.

Dads giving sandcastle-building lessons and romping in the water with  their kids.

Multi-generation families having a great time together by the sea.

"Older" couples holding hands and strolling the beach.

I'm getting sentimental. I think I’ve been out in the sun too long.

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