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As I was reading Travel + Leisure magazine last weekend, I came across a blurb about the “essentials” to take on a beach vacation. At first glance it seemed like they had collated a logical group of items: swimsuit, cover-up, sandals, lightweight scarf, sunglasses, and lip gloss. Then I looked a little closer (click photo to enlarge):

From Travel + Leisure

From Travel + Leisure

If you add up the cost of these items, it totals $1595. $1595! For a beach outfit! Obviously Travel + Leisure is geared toward the 1 percent, because no sane person who doesn’t have money to burn would ever spend this much on an outfit for the beach. I didn’t even spend that much on my wedding gown.

I got to poking around the interwebs to see if I could find similar items at more reasonable prices. Let’s see how I did.

Sunglasses

Instead of $675 Lafont sunglasses, why not try these Coach sunglasses for $158. Or for a real bargain, here’s a pair from Target for $16.99.

Target sunglasses

Target sunglasses

Coach sunglasses

Coach sunglasses

Swimsuit

Blue Sky Beach Bound swimsuit

Blue Sky Beach Bound swimsuit

I found a surprisingly similar swimsuit at Sears, of all places. (Side note, I’ve also purchased three elegant evening bags at Sears, each for around $15. It’s definitely an under-the-radar place to find good items.) The pieces are priced individually at $44 each, so it’s still a relatively expensive swimsuit, but cheaper than the $157 suit featured.

Scarf

Nordstrom Brushstrokes Scarf

Nordstrom Brushstrokes Scarf

A cashmere-and-silk scarf is generally going to be on the pricey side, thanks to the materials involved. But I was able to find a comparable scarf on sale at Nordstrom for about half the price of the one featured. Its regular price is $98–not much different from the Lilly Pulitzer scarf–but it’s $66 on sale.

 

 

Sandals

Shoes can be tricky–to get good quality leather and solid craftsmanship (like hand-stitching), you do have to pay more. But when it comes to beach sandals that I’m going to wear just for a summer or two, I’d rather save some money, even if they do fall apart in relatively short order. I found two pairs of sandals at Macy’s that look similar to the Canfora pair featured, here and here. They are constructed of man-made materials, rather than leather and lizard skin, so they’re more animal-friendly as well.

Lyrra zip sandal

Report Signature Lyrra Zip Sandal

American Rag sandal

American Rag Maddi Flat Thong Sandal

 

Lip Gloss

Sephora Luster Matte Lip Gloss in Coral

Sephora Luster Matte Lip Gloss in Coral

I love cosmetics, but I don’t love paying an obscene mark-up for designer cosmetics. I wouldn’t pay $26 for a NARS lip gloss (or any other lip gloss, for that matter), but $16 for a Sephora lip gloss is getting closer to acceptable. And $4.29 for a Revlon lip gloss is right in my wheel house.

 

Beach Cover-up

Venus beach cover-up

Venus beach cover-up

This was the hardest item to comparison shop. I looked at hundreds of beach cover-ups, and this is the closest one I could find. It’s not quite the right shade of turquoise, and it’s longer than the sample, but it IS terrycloth, and it’s $236 cheaper than the Lisa Marie Fernandez cover-up featured, so I say, “Close enough.”

If you have the good fortune to be traveling to a warm beach locale sometime this winter, I hope this little shopping guide will help you save some money on your wardrobe!

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