We wait all year to dig our toes into the sand, pick up some chick lit, turn off our cell phones, and enjoy a little "me" time at the beach. But more often than not our moments of pure beach bliss are disrupted by sightings of women in Corona hats, melting mascara, and cotton booty shorts with words scrawled across their asses. Or guys who look like they stumbled out of a messy frat house in tattered baseball caps and rumpled college T-shirts. We're sure we're not the only ones who feel this way. So for our latest Shop-A-Matic, we scoured the city for the 149 best beach items, from hats to flip-flops to cover-ups to beauty products, and more. Just because you're at the beach doesn't mean you can't set the fashion bar high. And with a good six weeks until Labor Day, you've still got time to make a splash (har har!) at your favorite sunning spot. Here are a few of our favorite picks.
Desert-Chic Fusion Body-Bronzing Powder and Brush Set, by Smashbox
Why we like it: Use this all-over body bronzer on every body part, from your legs to your face — it'll give you the most bang for your buck.
Toxi, by Fiorentini & Baker
Why we like it: The little studs on this open-toe T-strap gladiator make it interesting.
Hillsy, by Vans
Why we like it: A men's shoe with a woven bottom. Nice touch.
Jordana, by Eugenia Kim
Why we like it: The rim on this women's straw hat provides ample shade.
The Don, by Original Penguin
Why we like it: The striped rim of this straw men's fedora adds a twist to this beach classic.
Solar Defense Wipes (SPF 15), by Dermalogica
Why we like it: Slip this portable pack in your beach bag (or gym bag or tiny purse!) for easy SPF application. It doesn't even give your hands with that gross, sticky feeling, either.
Slow Current Cover-up, by Lilka
Why we like it: The bright print and scalloped hem on this silk-and-cotton cover-up offer feminine ways to top any bathing suit.
Prism Hoodie, by Quiksilver
Why we like it: The bright graphic print on this men's hoodie stands out from the rest of Quiksilver's beach classics. The hood is also detachable, with snaps in the front. —Sharon Clott