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The Anatomy Of A Perfect Beach Bag

Winona Dimeo-Ediger

After a winter that seemed like it would never end, followed by a temperamental spring that barely introduced itself, we’ve finally made it into the sweet, sticky heart of summer. Days are long, weekends seep into Fridays and Mondays, and beach days - as many as possible - are suddenly not just a want, they’re a need.

Whether your “beach day” takes place on an empty stretch of tropical white sand, a crowded sliver of coastline outside a major city, or along the bank of a lake or river (hey, a beach day is a beach day!), one thing remains constant: a perfectly packed beach bag will make your experience that much better. Here’s what you’ll need:

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Photo by Scott Peterson for Epicurious

A Tote Bag

Let’s start with the bag itself, shall we? It must be big enough to hold all the essentials, but not so big that it weighs you down. Casual enough to look natural with a bikini; chic enough to toss over your shoulder for post-beach cocktails. Durable enough to withstand sand, sun, and saltwater; lightweight and breezy enough to toss in the backseat at the slightest whim to call in sick and head for the coast. This Lapis Beach Tote is a great find.

A Bright Beach Towel

Choose a large, colorful towel to mark your spot in the sand, and opt for the highest quality you can afford. Your investment will pay off in softness, durability, and many years of happy lounging. A new favorite is the Alladin Blue towel by Fresco.

A Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is easy when you’ve got an ice-cold water bottle within easy reach, although if you’d rather fill yours with strawberry and peach sangria, we won’t judge.

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Emma Straub’s new book, The Vacationers

A Beach Read

What makes for an ideal beach read? An engrossing plot, dreamy setting, snappy dialogue, intriguing characters, and a touch of salacious drama. Our pick for this year’s best is Emma Straub’s The Vacationers

A Bikini or Perfect Gentleman Surfer Board Shorts

For the ladies: high-waisted, fringed, sporty, retro – there’s a two-piece swimsuit for everyone (not to mention every body type) this season. And for the gents, we suggest a snazzy pair of Industry of All Nations board shorts, ideal for hitting the waves of Bali.

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The authors' own Summer beach bag


Our favorites are natural, good-for-your-skin formulas that feel more like luxurious lotions than the sticky, Coppertone goop of our youth (god bless it). Check out Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection and Lavanila’s The Healthy Sunscreen, two best bets. Don’t forget lip balm with SPF.

A Sun Hat

Is there anything more glamorous than a wide-brimmed sun hat? No. Nothing.

A Fabulous Pair of Sunglasses

The bigger the better, for style and sun protection’s sake. Channel Jackie O in oversized cat eye frames, or opt for Ray-Ban wayfarers, which have attained “classic” status for good reason.

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Our favorite beach cover up doubles as a sundress staple

A Cover-Up

Whether you favor a drawstring jersey dress, a billowy men’s button-up, or denim cutoffs, don’t forgot to bring something you can throw on to leave the beach (albeit briefly) in search of fish tacos. Because when the inevitable urge for fish tacos hits, it must be heeded immediately.

Now that we’re all packed, who’s ready to call in sick and hit the beach?

Winona Dimeo-Ediger is an American writer, satirist, and fashion personality. She is the author of the humorous fashion book “Closet Confidential: Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way”.