O'Neill's cute cover up, Prada's cool shades and O'Neill's giant bag? Beach ready. Photos: O'Neill, Giuseppe Cacace, AFP/Getty Images


The cooler? Packed. Trashy novel and tabloid magazines? Got 'em. Sunscreen, giant towels, iPod and noodles for the kids? Ready to go.

But a day at the beach or afternoon at the pool calls for a little attention to style, too. You don't want to overdo it -- the Snookie look may work for MTV, but it doesn't play so well at the country club. However, you still want to feel good about your fashion sense -- especially when there's not much of it to be seen.

Take a few minutes to address the following five areas and you'll be looking fine -- not fried -- as you take advantage of the last few weeks of summer fun.

1. Pick the perfect swimsuit.

"Any woman can and should feel great in her swimsuit," says celebrity stylist Kendall Farr, author of "Style Evolution: How to Create Ageless Personal Style in Your 40s and Beyond" (Gotham Books). "All it takes is choosing a suit that flatters her shape and some self-tanner to look a little sun-kissed and to minimize the look of cellulite and camouflage veins."

Farr tells StyleList she recommends women shop online for their bathing suits.

"I think trying on suits at home in natural light and then moving -- bending, squatting, reaching, walking -- will give you a good sense of any ride-up, grabbing or gapping you'll want to avoid," she says. "If you want to feel comfortable strolling to the water's edge half naked, make sure your suit covers what you want covered and stays in place."

Farr says most women look well-proportioned in a one-piece style with a high-cut leg and some drape or ruching to disguise any imperfections in the mid-section. She adds that women should choose a suit with a flattering neckline ("a low V, for example, is the most universally flattering," she says) and upper body details including embellishments or interesting stitching to draw the eye up and down so you look visually longer.

Whitney Morris, senior design director of O'Neill Girls, says even if you're not exactly thrilled with your body shape, sometimes less really is more.

"Often times, girls who aren't super-confident try and cover up with more fabric," she tells StyleList. "In some cases, it can be much more flattering to take a step forward and show more skin than you might normally be comfortable with. Any bottom with side ties will create the illusion of a smaller waist and any top with fun details will draw most eyes up to your face."

2. Toss on a cute cover-up.

"If you just can't seem to bare it, go for a cute cover-up that shows off your fun personality and is still sheer enough to leave them guessing," Morris says. "Our 'Out of Sight' cover-up is a great option – it can be worn as a dress or a cover, so you can go from beach to street and still look fashionable. It has a bright all-over tie-dye with long fringe detail and an elastic waist, so it's easily pulled on or off."

Morris says she's also loving maxi dresses.

"They are such an easy-wear item for the beach or pool," she says. "Our 'Sunset Maxi Dress' is made of the softest knit jersey with an oversized stripe pattern."

Or, if you're into something a little sporty – maybe a game of beach volleyball is on the day's agenda – opt for a classic beach short.

"Whether they're solid, striped or printed, these are a summer essential," Morris says.

3. Just add accessories.

Ray-Ban's Wayfarer sunglasses are a classic, while Hat Attack's straw brim will protect and serve. Photos: Ray-Ban.com, Hat Attack

Farr says the combination of a wide-brimmed straw hat and oversized sunglasses equals right now retro-glamour.

"This season, the shapes that look most on trend are big floppy brims and very wide brims based on fedoras," she says. "The Prada spring 2010 collection launched fashion's latest fixation on the retro cat eye. Whether in tortoise, clear or colors, this trend will continue for a while, so try sunglasses that turn upwards slightly at the top of the frame."

Farr says Ray-Ban Wayfarer shapes continue to be hot -- especially with the latest season of "Mad Men" underway, and aviator shapes have both a sporty and trendy appeal.

Of course, you'll want something to store all your essentials in. Farr is loving "The Jill," Club Monaco's straw tote: "natural straw with a silver metallic strap."

And, last but not least, sandals are the key to topping off any beach look, Morris says.

"Go beyond the rubber flip-flop and jump into some fashion," she says. "You can have style at a great price."

4. Be a beach beauty.

A ponytail is easy, but it can get boring. Denver salon owner and "Shear Genius" finalist Matthew Morris has two fail-proof options for cool hair at the beach or pool that anyone can pull off.

For the first look, he tells StyleList, make a salt spray by adding a little regular sea salt to hot water in a plastic spray bottle and shake it up.

"Wait for it to cool down, spray it on and it gives that awesome dry, beachy, tousled look," he says. "After you've scrunched in the salt spray and let the wind dry it a little bit, pile it on top of your head and secure it with one (3-inch bronze hair) pin so it's just big and messy, and let pieces fall out naturally. You can let the front fall down, but it'll keep it off your neck. It's that great beach look."

Alternatively, Morris says you can scrunch your hair, leave the back down and pull the top back loosely to the top of your crown, twisting the hair once and securing it with a pin. "Just let the pieces fall really haphazardly," he says.
For a second, wet look, Morris says to comb Shu Uemura Essence Absolue, a nourishing protective oil, into the hair and tie it back into a knot.

"Definitely use a comb -- I love to see those comb marks in the hair," he says. "Comb in the Essence Absolue and then just twist all the hair together as tight as it will go, make a tight bun and use a hairpin to secure it. Essence Absolue protects you from UV, it's good for dryness and it's a good thing to do the day after the salt look. And you just have that greasy, oily fabulous look – that's the day you just want to rub oil all over your body and be a bronze princess on the beach."

As for makeup, Morris loves the "Sunforgettable" mineral powders from Colorscience Pro, sheer powders with SPF protection.

"You can always can layer bronzer on top of if you need it," he says. "All you really need for the beach is waterproof mascara, beautiful skin and a little gloss. You don't want to overdo it."

5. Fake that bake.

If, like us, you're perpetually on the hunt for the best self tanner, Morris has a new one to try: Body Drench Quick Tan.

"I have it on right now," he says. "It's really good, especially for really fair people because it almost has a rosy pink bronze to it. But you never get that orange look -- you never look like an Oompa Loompa. And you can use it on your face, too."

Looking for more summer style advice? Here's how to look slim in shorts.