There is a wide variety of potential beachwear out there. After you have found yourself a good swimsuit, you then turn to other beach clothing options. When looking through everything, you may wonder, "What is the difference between everything, and what should I choose?" Here we have definitions of the different beach clothes and when to wear what.
Rash guards (/shop/womens-rash-guards-swimsuits/S-xfh-xez-y5c-xhg-xec) are believed to have originated in Australia. They are shirts made of water-safe materials like spandex and nylon or polyester. While they can be short-sleeved, they typically have long sleeves. Their primary function is as a protective layer to keep a surfer safe from abrasions that can come from the surface of a surfboard or boogie board. These ocean athletes opt for rash guards when it is too hot to wear a wetsuit. Since they cover so much of the body, they have also been used as sun-protective swimwear.
Rash guards are generally best for high-energy activities where abrasions are likely to occur. For example, when diving to save a ball in beach volleyball, you may be glad for a layer between yourself and the sand. Another instance would be the aforementioned friction of a board in surfing or even chaffing from a life jacket, which you might wear when water skiing or jet skiing. As you can see, these activities can be either on the shore or in the water. However, even if you aren't planning on a sporty day at the beach, you may want to wear a rash guard to reduce the area you need to reapply sunscreen to. The long sleeves are wonderful for protecting shoulders and arms, and the shirt part keeps the torso safe from sunburn. Win-win!
The term "coverup" has a fairly broad definition. Basically, it means anything that covers you. While this can technically be a tank top or a pair of cut-off jeans, generally, beach coverups are made for going over bathing suits and made to handle beach or pool conditions like getting wet or sandy or being chlorine resistant. The different styles of coverups can range from shirts to board shorts to dresses to sarongs. It depends on what you want to "cover up" with!
When opting for a coverup, you may be swimming, as with a swim shirt, or you may be out of the water. You probably prefer to wear something in addition to your bathing suit. While there can be any number of reasons, the top ones for the average person tend to be modesty and sun protection. These are great reasons to choose a coverup! If you don't want to wear just your bathing suit when going to a nearby establishment, a coverup is perfect for you. If you would rather not reapply sunscreen every so often to everything inch of exposed skin, wearing a coverup is a great decision. Whatever your reasons, opt for what makes you feel best.
Beach dresses are designed with the beach in mind! These dresses tend to be loose to allow plenty of airflow on a hot day. They are also generally made of thinner fabrics so that they can dry quickly when they get wet. Coming in almost every color under the sun, some are short-sleeved while others have longer, billowy sleeves. Some have tank top-like straps, and others have no sleeves, functioning closer to tube top dresses. Beach dresses are usually pretty short, with most falling just above the knee or just below it. However, there are also some maxi dresses that can work as beach dresses. There are so many lovely beach dress choices!
A beach dress can be worn for the usual beach coverup reasons: modesty and sun protection. While we remain fans of these reasons, you may have another thought behind your beach dress choice. After all, you did choose a dress instead of a swim shirt or women's board shorts. Beach dresses are cute and stylish—there are some you can even wear around town with none the wiser—and they are perfect for beach parties and beach dates. Bathing suits can be lovely beach outfits, but there is something about a dress that is just a beautiful addition to the mix. Pair your beach dress with some cute sandals or sandal wedges, and you are dressed and ready for whatever seaside event you are off to!
Now that you know the difference between rash guards, coverups, and beach dresses as well as when you might want to wear each, you can decide which makes the most sense to add to your beach wardrobe.