For our Top 10 Icons of Beach Style, poise at the pool was always the order of the day. From mid-century movie stars to a sand-weathered surf star, for each of the style setters on our list, when it came to dressing for the sun and sand, life really was a beach.
Read on to discover our list of beach-bound style heroes.
Though Elizabeth Taylor famously spent much of her life bedecked in gob-stopper jewellery,when the time came to head for the beach, embellishments were dropped in favour of style less decorated.
For Elizabeth straplines sat seductively away from the shoulder, silhouettes embraced the hourglass template favoured in the ’50s and hair was worn tousled just so. Delicately treading the line between glamorous and devil-may-care, Elizabeth’s beach-bound style is a template for sultriness under the sun.
When playing Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr Ripley, Jude Law’s endlessly stylish wardrobe was a tour de force in preppy sartorial perfection. An enviable collection of light cottons, Cuban collar shirts and flat-front chinos, the look exemplifies the quietly elegant aesthetic championed by the travelling moneyed of the late 1950s, and continues to be a benchmark for on-screen style under the sun.
Actual Princess of Monaco, de facto queen of beach style, Grace Kelly’s iconic beach ensembles endure as a fountain of inspiration for days spent basking under beaming rays. While we can’t imagine Grace Kelly actually perspiring even in the stickiest of heat, her sophisticated way of wearing bikini separates surely sent temperatures soaring.
Shunning the artfully dishevelled ethos favoured by so many beach bound style mavens, Grace Kelly’s look under the sun perfectly aligned with her style philosophy; simple, elegant, perfection.
Widely credited as being one of the sport’s most accomplished figures, celebrated American surfer Phil Edwards spent much of his life surfing waves, amassing a dizzying array of awards along the way, and in the process became one of our beach-bound style heroes.
Almost accidental in its pitch-perfect simplicity, Phil Edwards’ style drew on the clean, classic pieces all of which were worn with an insouciantly sand-blasted sartorial sensibility.
As a barefaced (and barefooted) beauty in The Blue Lagoon, Brooke Shields gave rise to one of cinema’s most visually striking style icons. All masses of wispy hair and delicately torn drapes of fabric, consider this your sole visual reference point for elegantly undone beauty on the beach.
In her ’70s heyday, Farrah Fawcett’s voluminous, gravity-defying hair-do was a beauty trademark copied and lauded in equal measure, and today persists as one of the decade’s most iconic beauty looks.
But for us, Farrah was perhaps at her best in full All American mode, espousing wholesome yet alluring style under the sun. Simple, sun-kissed yet irrepressibly sexy, her form-following one pieces were always accessorised with a row of impossibly perfect pearly whites.
Best known for his role as Private E. Lee in From Here To Eternity, Montgomery Clift was no stranger to dressing for sunny climes. A lesson in how to wear pattern by under the sun, Clift’s clothing repertoire drew heavily on classic hibiscus prints paired with Cuban collar shirts.
Undisputed queen of St Tropez, Brigitte Bardot is almost synonymous with beach style. With her blonde locks tousled just so, this cinema siren always hit the beach with je ne sais quoi in droves.
Bardot’s undeniable glamour came tempered by her coolly haughty gaze, and unfussy approach to beach style. Alongside the obligatory kohl-lined eyes, Bardot smouldered under the sun best when wearing flirtatious two pieces and one of her now trademark floppy beach hats.
As James Bond, by simply rising from the sea in blue trunks an improbably muscled Daniel Craig unleashed a tidal wave of influence on men’s swimwear. Suddenly an oft-ignored sartorial concern became an art form and – even now – contemporary men’s beachwear continues to follow Craig’s infamous on-screen template.
As with all of her most iconic looks, Marilyn Monroe was at her best when exuding that coquettish allure that so marked her life on (and off) screen. Think 50s silhouettes, curving and nipping in at the waist, worn with a generous slick of red lipstick and of course, that trademark coy smile.