While getting ready for vacation I uncovered a summer fashion conspiracy: not only is it wrenching to find a swimsuit, it can be just as daunting (and expensive) to find a swimsuit cover up.  I went through the process recently and it was eye-opening and horrifying at the same time.

One trip to the department stores and you will find a variety of cover ups but their wearability is questionable. What am I talking about? Let’s start with the tunics and the wide butterfly arms - sometimes adorned with fake-jeweled appliques at the neckline. No, that is not for me. These cover ups would age me before my time and I would have to move to another part of the country to wear them. Next, how about designer cover ups? Chic? Yes. Wearable? Perhaps. But I learned the hard way that they can cost you more than the actual swimsuit. I found a charming DVF (Diane Von Furstenberg) cover up short with attached hood – so cute, I began to imagine the fun times I would have while wearing it. And then I checked the price: $260!

I was lucky when I found a beautiful Gottex swimsuit (my favorite designer: see Styling with Mel, It doesn’t have to be a bikini). But finding a cover up? I was getting nowhere, fast.

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Finally, I found what I was looking for at Marshall’s  – for me, a hit-or-miss, feast-or-famine kind of shopping experience. It is white gauze with gold stripes. I liked it for its simplicity and at $20 it was so well priced that it was almost worth the frenzy to find it. Several stores and some emotional damage later, I was ready for the beach … because it’s not just about the swimsuit, it’s also what you wear over it.

No question … it’s a cover up!


For more of Melissa, check out her blog, Speakingoffashion.com.