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Heading to the beach or pool this summer? There are as many ways to cover up pre- and post-dip as there are swimsuits to choose from—from goddess gowns to borrowed menswear. And who better than Vogue’s editors to turn to for ideas? Fashion news editor Steff Yotka never heads East without a vibrant men’s button-down, while accessories director Willow Lindley sticks to a foolproof basic: the white cotton shirtdress. Meanwhile, features editor Lilah Ramzi’s responsibly-made cover-up is actually a matching top-and-skirt set, or you could shake things up with an embroidered Hawaiian shirt, as recommended by associate market editor Madeline Fass.

Of course, a caftan or robe is the classic route for après swim. Senior fashion news writer Emily Farra lives in her block-printed caftan, while jewelry director Grace Givens prefers a more bohemian style with embroidery and tassels. As for the most surprising—and surprisingly versatile—cover-up? That prize goes to associate market editor Madeline Swanson, who uses her tie-dyed dish towels as sarongs, crop tops, and even beach blankets.

Here’s to covering up creatively this summer; shop 11 ways to do it below.

Vaquera Bingo bra button-down

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Chioma Nnadi, Fashion News Director

I’ve always loved those photos Peter Lindbergh shot for Vogue back in the late ’80s of the supers—Christy, Linda, et al.—frolicking on the beach in white button-downs and bikini bottoms. Though I’m no supermodel, I will say that I’ve tried that cover-up styling trick myself, and it’s actually pretty flattering and much easier to pull off than you’d think. My favorite button-down right now is Vaquera’s bingo bra shirt (as the name suggests, it comes with this ingenious built-in bra), and I plan on wearing it all summer long over my bikinis.

Double Rainbouu S/S Hawaiian button-up shirt

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Steff Yotka, Fashion News Editor

I maintain that the best beach cover-up is a man’s shirt. Jeff Goldblum wears this one routinely; do I need to say more?

Mairik Adana top and skirt

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Lilah Ramzi, Features Editor

I was just in Portugal for a friend’s wedding and packed this linen two-piece set by Mairik to wear between dips in the pool and lunch on the terrace. I’m a big fan of the label, as the pieces come in the highest quality of linen (you know because it actually looks good when it wrinkles) and feature traditional Armenian embroidery work (geometric lace insets and knotted threads). Best of all, Mairik’s founder Janet Karapetian employs Armenian women and Syrian-Armenian refugee women. It’s a novel way to keep their age-old needlepoint traditions alive—and yes, I’ll admit it’s not the most casual of cover-ups, but never mind that.

D'ascoli Samarkand cotton midi-dress

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Grace Givens, Jewelry Director

You can never go wrong with a D’Ascoli cover-up! They’re perfect if you need something to transition from day to night.

Khaite Enzo wool polo shirt

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Monica Kim, Senior Fashion News Editor

Sadly, I can’t really swim anymore (my hair is bleached, so salt water and chlorine both ruin it). The silver lining is that I now get to sit under a sun umbrella and worry less about wearing appropriate beach clothes. A loose knit top with a deep-V neck and a little short are pretty foolproof. I love this polo set from Khaite, which I’d happily wear around the city too.

SZ Isle frock in camel and soft pink stripe

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Emily Farra, Senior Fashion News Writer


I wear my SZ Blockprints caftan in the city as a “regular” dress, but it’s the ideal cover-up: super light, breezy, and not so sheer that you feel naked. Now I just need a bikini from J.Crew’s new collaboration with SZ to wear underneath....

Polo Ralph Lauren buckled chino shorts

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Anny Choi, Market Editor

My new favorite go-to cover-ups are mom shorts. I just got a pair from Polo Ralph Lauren that I am obsessed with!

All Things Mochi Nora embroidered linen shirt

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Madeline Fass, Associate Market Editor

I love the casual “I’m on vacation” feel of a short-sleeved button-down. Whether I’m going to the beach with family or a pool party with friends, I wear it open to show off my favorite triangle bikini and necklaces. The versatile shirt comes in handy when I’m ready for sunset cocktails and dinner too; with one quick knot, I’m ready for whatever the evening has in store. All I have to do is swap the bikini for a skirt or jeans, add a pair of heeled sandals, throw my hair in a low bun, and I’m good to go!

Everlane cotton shirtdress

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Willow Lindley, Accessories Director

I love this Everlane shirtdress, which is exactly that: a shirt and a dress. It’s perfect for the beach as a cover-up, or you can wear it as a cute dress or unbuttoned over a pant and top. It also dries quickly, travels well, and even comes in a linen version for summer. Plus, I love supporting a company that thinks about how they’re making the clothes as much as how they look.

Samantha Pleet Hills Are Alive Vista dress

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Sophie Kemp, Fashion Assistant

I’m obsessed with all things Samantha Pleet, so my dream beach cover-up would be this itty-bitty minidress in an extremely bucolic print. I’m going to Bermuda with my family for a week in late July, so I’d style this with a pair of hiking sandals, a high-rise bikini, and a big fruity drink, obviously!

Utopia Kitchen 12-pack cotton kitchen towels

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Madeline Swanson, Associate Market Editor

My summer 2019 sarong series was a happy accident. I’ve long been a fan of a good scarf turned cover-up, but recently, the multi-functionality of my summer wardrobe was brought to a new level after my friends and I decided to do a bit of DIY tie-dyeing. Among our many white cotton Amazon purchases was a large pack of dish towels, which we planned to give away as house-warming gifts—until we did the unfold-and-reveal, only to realize that these towels could double as fabulous crop tops or sarongs. After we wore them to the beach in East Hampton last weekend, we soon realized that, tied together, our colorful dish rags could even serve as makeshift beach towels (which we had, of course, forgotten). Where does the bounty of this $13 purchase end? Only time will tell!