The best kind of California beach clothing looks great, feels comfortable and protects your skin so you can enjoy being out there as much as possible. What passes for beach wear these days if you're planning a Southern California beach vacation? Unless you're staying at an ultra fashionable resort , it's all pretty casual.
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As people become more aware of the long term damages of the UV rays of the sun, which Southern California has such an abundance of, the rash guard shirt or swim shirt has been showing up more and more on the beaches, especially on kids.
This is especially true for those who like to spend a long time in the water. While surfers are usually protected from the sun by their wetsuits, during the summer and early fall the water temperature is warm enough for swimmers, body boarders, snorkelers and surfers to stay in longer without one. A rash guard shirt is light weight, comfortable and protects your skin from the sun.
As for swim suits, men usually wear longish surf shorts or trunks, called board shorts, in all different patterns, colors and styles.
Bikinis have made a comeback. But women also wear 2 piece tankinis or one piece suits. Bikini tops with womens board shorts are seen as well. If you love to play in the waves or bodysurf, you want something that's going to stay on and not wash up on shore.
Men wear tee shirts or loose fitting button up short sleeved shirts, while women wear a variety of cover ups and wraps, including sarongs, long flowing skirts, beach shorts, fitted tank tops, tee shirts, and long sleeved button up shirts.
The sarong is particularly suited as a beach cover up, since it is lightweight, versatile, comfortable and flattering. More about sarongs here, including how to tie one on.
Flip flops rule, and there is a huge variety to choose from, ranging from the basic classic rubber ones you can find at most drugstores, to funky styles decorated with colorful fabrics, beads or rhinestones. Colored flip flops are a very popular staple. There are the generic unisex kind, but there are also different styled flip flops for women versus men.
Water shoes are good for those rocky beaches, exploring tide pools, and hot sand.
Southern California still hasn't caught on the the necessity of sun hats the way the Northern Californians or Australians have, but they are pretty prevalent at the beach at least. There's the classic straw lifeguard hat with the wide curved down brim, other styles of straw hats, baseball caps, surfer hats, crushable bucket hats, visors, boonies and wide-brimmed, floppy hats for women.
White cotton shirts, pants and skirts are cooler because they reflect the sun, but they do not offer much in the way of sun protection. Particularly cotton, which has a loose weave, lets in too much UV. When it is wet, the weave gets looser, so this is even worse. Many people have gotten sunburnt despite wearing a white teeshirt while swimming for a prolonged period have learned the hard way.
A good test is to hold the item of clothing up to the sun. The less that peeps through, the safer it is for your skin. And the darker the better, though not as cool.
Though styles change often, Southern California beach garb has always remained pretty casual. Look for a surf shop or clothing shop in the beach town you are staying at for the latest local styles.
It is recommended that everyone limit their sun exposure between the hours of 10 and 4 and to stay in the shade (beach umbrella or canopy?) whenever possible. Wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and/or protective clothing is advisable. Even waterproof sunblock comes off through sweat and water play and needs to be reapplied every 2 hours.
Anything that is cool, dries fast (if put on over a wet swim suit) and protects from the sun is perfect for Southern California beach clothing.
Home > Beach Wear
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