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Top 10 'Anything but a kaftan!'

On the beach, you're guaranteed to see pretty much everything. Large elephantine men in tiny speedos, minuscule women strutting topless in thong-kinis, and thousands of children running around flicking sand at each other. However, the one sight that you'll never be able to escape, whether you're in Barbados or Brighton, is that of the woman in the kaftan. We understand why. It's comfortable, flattering, floaty, goes with all your swimwear, and justifies even the most crazy of prints. But, it is depressing when you're one of a million women, all donning the same style. If you're off on holiday in a couple of weeks, throw away your kaftan and splash out on some slightly different, yet still absolutely chic, cover-ups.

Top 10 Anything but a kaftan

1. Hanne Bloch, Silk Tulle Maxi Skirt; £320,

Although their are a few waifs who can walk around in just a t-shirt and bikini bottoms, most of us feel that covering our behind is the main reason we wear a kaftan. Feel free to amble to the beach, and to the bar, in this easy-to-pop-on but beautifully feminine silk maxi skirt. All you need is a pretty bikini top to set off the look.

2. MiH Jeans, Oversized Cotton Shirt; £146,

The oversized shirt is a totally underrated look for a cover-up. It looks sexy in the bedroom, so why not on the beach? Pop it over your bikini or one piece as a jacket, or loosely buttoned if you're off to a cafe for lunch. Add a straw fedora and anklet to keep the look bohemian and not 'mad businesswoman washed up on the shore'.

3. Emamo, Messico Embellished Linen Mini Dress; £335,

A mini dress basically does exactly the same thing as a kaftan, but with flair. The interesting cut of this particular dress will certainly draw attention on the beach, but it can also be easily thrown over your head. We also love the tribal tassels, how good will they look softly draped over your tanned legs?

4. Mara Hoffman, Dashiki Cover-up; £283,

There are times when you can't beat something that was designed specifically for the job. The light, bright pattern of this Mara Hoffman cover-up hides any blotchy seawater and sand stains, it's ruched, it's racer-backed, it's rather delicious, actually.

5. Sandro, Pantagonie Printed Crepe Playsuit; £200,

As it crept into fashion, the playsuit has started being worn to work, to the supermarket, and yes, on the beach. It has the benefit of wearing shorts and a t-shirt together, but both halves are guaranteed to go together. The gorgeous intricate print on this playsuit is ideal for those who want to tan on the beach all day and go straight out in the evening with their saltwater curled hair.

6. Vix, Mustique Ripple Tie-dye Beach Dress; £185,

Tie-dye is an absolute classic for holiday throw-on fun, but please stay away from what the kaftan has to offer. This delicately draped beach dress is the easiest, prettiest way to wear the hippie pattern. Perfect for poolside chic.

7. Matthew Williamson, Wrap Front Slouch Pant; £395,

If you were warming more to our first option, the kind of cover-up you can throw over your bottom half and let loose, but you wanted something slightly more practical, that would allow you to run around playing volley ball, trousers are your best bet. These wrap-front pants are sexy and energetic activity-friendly. Ideal.

8. Roberto Cavalli, Digital Print Dress with Bead Embellishment; £1200,

Dahling, if you're tutting at the very idea of moving, let alone swimming or splashing around, then maybe something more glamorous would suit. After 12 hours of soaking up the sun, you can pop this tropical digital printed dress, with fancy beading, over your bikini and waltz off into the balmy night.

9. Emamo, Poeme Crocheted Cotton-blend Muslin Maxi Dress; £570,

What is the colour that looks the most amazing against tanned skin? Exactly, white. Nothing can highlight your toned honey-dipped complexion like an ethereal white dress, and the free draped swinging cut of this Emamo number would look divine with some simple gold accessories.

10. Lisa Marie Fernandez, The Hanneli Dress; £418,

Finally, we turn to Lisa Marie Fernandez. The goddess of sporty swimwear, she does create some super cool beach dresses made of her famous neoprene material. This is the ultimate choice for all the surfer babes, who want to make a slightly sexier impression.

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