Don't Sacrifice Style for a Day at the Beach

There is one more dress you should add to your wardrobe this summer.

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By now, you're well-versed in summer dresses. But what about beach dresses? Because, no, they're not the same thing and yes, you should probably own one.

A model walks the runway during the Chloe spring/summer 2016 show in Paris on October 1, 2015. Photograph courtesy of MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images
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As much as you love that summer dress, it will feel out of place and a little too heavy at the beach, where what you really want is something light and wafty—something in league with a kaftan cover-up, but less lazy in appearance and making a more substantial style statement.

Cue the beach dress! Cool and compact, it's easy to pack and has summer written all over it. And when you're not on the beach? A slip or T-shirt underneath will convert it into a comfortable piece for city dressing. Here, 10 to buy now—and hopefully inspire a summer spent by the sea!  

Striped Minidress, $50, zara.com.
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A very affordable option. Wear it with platforms—and, back in the city, try it as a tank top over a black long-sleeve T-shirt and black jeans.

Ava Lace Dress, $96, us.monsoon.co.uk.

It's the antique, vintage thing going on with this one that makes it a winner. Pair with simple flip-flops for a beach-ready look, and an elegant Greek sandal for when you're out and about later on.

Cold Shoulder Jersey Sundress, $40, us.topshop.com.
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Wear with your hair up, an oversized pair of hoops, and a red lip.

Cutout Crochet Cotton and Gauze Dress by Mara Hoffman, $320, net-a-porter.com.

Meet the red carpet version of the beach dress!

Pippa Dandelion Dress by Thierry Colson, $557, matchesfashion.com.
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This dress doesn't need much: a suitable patch of shade and a good book will do the trick.

Exquis Cotton Blend Dress by Mes Demoiselles, $299, matchesfashion.com.
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When it's too hot to wear real clothes—or anything that comes close to touching your body—the billowy beach dress is your best friend. A complete look, with minimal effort.

Crinkled Handkerchief dress, $88, jcrew.com.

This is a fail-safe beach dress with multiple styling options: add floral corsages and bangles with a big hat, or belt it for a neater silhouette.  

Crochet cotton dress by Emilio Pucci, $940, mytheresa.com.

Go '70s with a little crochet number—which conveniently comes with its very own air conditioning, care of those dinky little woven holes.

Cotton Navy Stripe Cover Up, $50, gap.com.

This will work just as well over jeans in transit to the beach as it will by itself once you've made it to your destination.

Floral-Print Flowy Dress, $50, shop.mango.com.

Wear with a baseball cap, a supersize tote, and a pair of flatforms. 

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