Covering up in style

GOING to the beach is a whole fashion experience. Think you can get away with your swimsuit and an old T-shirt or sundress? No way. The sun, sand, sea or pool call for a lot more.

Leaving aside totes, towels, deckchairs, designer suncream, fetching hats and gleaming sandals, let’s focus on your body.

What you fling on over your swimsuit is almost as important as the suit itself. After all, this is how you’ll be seen up at the bar for cocktails, walking through the hotel lobby and ambling into town for a midday glass of rose.

The days of sarongs are gone – too casual with their hints of hippydom. Now it’s all about kaftans, which range from the uber luxe – designers from Diane Von Furstenberg to Pucci to Missoni offer them – to the high street.

The trend this season, according to Hayley Woolf, a fashion spokesperson at Debenhams, is strong prints, including animal, floral and even ethnic designs. As with swimsuits, block colours are also popular, and there’s no doubt you’d cut a dash poolside with Zandra Rhodes’s

From tunics to kaftans to dresses, there’s something for all tastes guaranteed to leave you feeling stylish both pre and post-swim.

Animal Print Kaftan With Camisole, Star by Julien Macdonald, Debenhams

Tabalah Chiffon Tunic by Diane Von Furstenberg

Multi-Coloured Chiffon Kaftan, House of Fraser

Long Cotton Kaftan by Tooshie

Embroidered Kaftan by People Tree

Pink Kaftan, Zandra Rhodes for Marks & Spencer

Kaftan by Jeannie McQueeny, at Harrods

Black Laurel Kaftan, Monsoon