Under wraps

The best swimsuit cover-ups are light, airy, easy, and comfortable with a subtly sexy vibe. The last thing you want at the beach is anything fussy (has anyone ever figured out how to tie a sarong properly?). Cover-ups should be effortlessly wearable without feeling too precious so you can get to the important business of lounging poolside.

This Ramy Brook cover-up is the cutest. The colors are summery and the fabric is like air. Play around with the tie and have fun with it.

Mara Hoffman makes this awesome cover-up dress that can also be worn as a skirt or even strapless. We love its versatility. It's super chic worn with just a black bikini top as shown. Definitely a different look than what everyone else will be wearing at the pool.

Here's an amazing, billowy cotton caftan by Dries van Noten. For a high end designer piece, it's actually reasonably priced ($605). And it's such a pretty pattern. A real standout piece that you don't have to treat too delicately, since it's made of cotton.

This lightweight Norma Kamali jumper also can be worn a couple of different ways. It's a cute way to wear shorts poolside or out around the neighborhood.

This is a beautiful airy dress by Aish that you can wear as a cover-up or as a day dress. It's the perfect piece to pack for vacation. It will take you everywhere from the beach to sightseeing to dinner. You could even put a tank underneath or a cute jacket on top.

Another way to go is a tunic. We love tunics in general. You can wear them with a skinny pant or half-tucked with shorts. Light-colored, cotton tunics do double duty as beach cover-ups. Throw them on over your bathing suit, roll up the sleeves and go. We love the white one on the left by Nili Lotan and the striped Apiece Apart on the right.

And don't forget your J. Crew denim shirt! We've said it a million times on the blog, but it bears repeating: this is an essential wardrobe item. Put it on over your bathing suit, snap one or two buttons, roll up the sleeves and you're all set to lounge with your book in the shade. This would be particularly good over the peacock green Marysia bathing suit we profiled last week.