Wailea Beach // Waterfall cardigan coverup + gingham bikini

duster cardigan long swim beach coverup petite fashion

I love finding alternate uses for pieces, as well as little DIY hacks for tweaking them! Long “duster” cardigans are very popular this year, designed to be worn flowingly over shorts or a dress. If you find that look a little too trendy for regular wear, I’ve also been loving them as elegant swim cover-ups! Mine here (comes in navy or grey) has a lightweight crinkled texture, and hits near my ankles at the longest point. It ties at the front center by my natural waist, but I also thought it’d be cute worn crossover wrap style. I used the button hole feature on my sewing machine to add two tiny holes on one side seam … et voila! See the bottom of this post for more photos…

watermelon beach towel blanket jcrew gingham navy bikini

J.Crew gingham bikini swimsuit (xxs in the shorts + xs in the bikini top) (love this top too which also suits bigger busts), Watermelon beach blanket / towel (also comes in a pineapple!)

It was an exciting day for J.Crew lovers last year, when Nordstrom started carrying the brand in both regular and petite sizing. I can’t complain about an additional way to shop J.Crew and with Nordstrom’s customer service policies (everyday free shipping & returns, and they match the promos). I love a good navy gingham for summer and tried on a number of different styles in this collection of bathing suit separates. If you’re looking for swim bottoms with more coverage, these boyshorts have a good amount in both the front and back. Maybe I’m getting old and fuddy-duddy, but I also tried on the string bikini bottoms (my “go-to” during college days), which felt like a minuscule loin patch on me!

jcrew navy gingham bikini swimsuit hawaii beach

For those with smaller busts, the cross-back French bikini top I’m wearing is listed on J.Crew’s site to best suit A-B cups (with a suggestion to size up for more coverage). It’s good quality with a lining, removable light padding cups, boning on the sides, and adjustable back ties. Their seersucker French swimsuit is cut almost exactly the same except with ties at the shoulder, and the coordinating seersucker bikini bottoms have a decent amount of coverage.

For ladies with bigger busts or who want more coverage, I also tried on this adorable off-shoulder bikini top with a built-in banded shelf bra. You can wear the elasticized short sleeves either off or on the shoulder, for a different and equally cute look. I really liked this one, but it had some excess material on me at the front bust area which I think would look better if “filled out” more on someone curvier. It doesn’t have padding, but with the shelf bra lining and crinkled gingham material, I don’t think one would have to worry about anything showing through.

jack rogers georgica jelly sandals dressy pool beach flip flops

Jack Rogers is a favorite here in New England – I don’t own any of their leather sandals, but these jelly flats caught my eye in a search for shoes that could get wet and sandy. The fit info says to size down if you’re in-between sizes, but I had to size up because my heels were hanging off the back of the sz 5s (fit will also depend on your toe length). I thought these were a stylish alternative to standard rubber flip flops, and could easily be dressed up or down. These photos were taken during our stay at the Four Seasons, where it was easy to go from pool to beach to restaurants in this look. For another jelly shoe option, these harmonic bow flops are a statement sandal with an oversized, eye-catching bow (half sizes should definitely size up on these as well).

nordstrom duster long flowy beach coverup petite outfits

Above is how my duster cardigan is intended to be tied at the center waist. With two holes added (see arrows below), you can then pull the strings through, wrap-style, and tie them in the back as a slight variation!

boho long waterfall duster cardigan nordstrom

I’ve shown this floppy hat several times last year, but it’s still my go-to for trips since it has a knack for rebounding back to shape even after being packed in a checked suitcase. I stuff the center with soft clothing and let the brim lie as flat as possible on surrounding items in my suitcase. Compared to my other hats, it’s a little lighter in weight and more pliable, so is comfy for wearing even when sitting on a beach chair and resting your head back.

four seasons wailea beach maui hawaii resort outfit

Thank you to Nordstrom for partnering on this post.

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  1. chee mun wrote:

    Hello, I love your ribbon hat diy too! Where did you get the black sash from, please?

    Posted 5.9.17 Reply
  2. Ellie O wrote:

    That's so clever with the holes in the cardigan! It looks like it was designed that way, I really love the way it hangs.

    Ellie x


    Posted 4.27.17 Reply
  3. You are too good to me! I'll have to keep you informed with the successes I find.

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  4. Hi Jean,

    Love your blog! You are always on point!
    Could you compare this duster to the cheaper alternative on amazon? The link is located below. I wonder if the same wrap around trick could be done with this one. I'd love to spend less money on a cover up…


    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  5. Jean wrote:

    I'm so happy to hear that! xx

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  6. Jean wrote:

    I love J.Crew hats too! But usually have to wear them on my head when flying since the shapes don't seem as "resilient"

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  7. Jean wrote:

    Hi there – yes, I mentioned here that the bow was DIY added … I just took a black ribbon sash and tied it around, then secured it with a few hand stitches using needle and thread. If you want to permanently add the sash, then a glue gun would probably be easier and quicker than stitching!

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  8. Jean wrote:

    Hi V – you have a beautiful boutique! Thank you for reaching out and it's very kind of you to offer. I was looking for glam sandals that could get wet and sandy and I wouldn't want to do that to some of your glam jeweled shoes : ) They are a wonderful idea for brides who want something stylish without standing in heels all day.

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  9. Jean wrote:

    Hi Thao! If you are smaller-framed, I think it will work perfectly on you <3

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  10. Jean wrote:

    Hi Vivian – thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words! I'm honored that you've been following along for years, and am thrilled that I've been able to help in small ways. Dressing the part makes such a big difference in self confidence and how you take on each day, and it's something that's constantly evolving for me personally.

    Nick uses a Canon 6D camera, but I think the lens plays a bigger role than the camera body itself for the types of pictures you want to take. The 50mm 1.8 lens is a great starter lens that we used for many years on Canon's more affordable Rebel camera body.

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  11. Jean wrote:

    Hi Grace – they are white. I see that color is now sold out at Nordstrom but still available at Baublebar!

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  12. Jean wrote:

    Hi Laticia – I had you in mind when I tried that on! Hope you're having more luck lately in your search for swimwear that suits your figure.

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  13. Jean wrote:

    That is very sweet of you, thank you!
    I know…I've been trying on some older pieces in my closet from back in the day, and can't believe what I was thinking!

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  14. Chichi wrote:

    looking at the pics i want to be on a beach!

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  15. The cover-up is so cute!

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  16. Gorgeous outfit, Jean! You look so summery!

    I hope you have a magical Monday,

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  17. I love your ideas and almost all of them have suited my dressing style and my body type… after searching for long I finally found your site and I just love your ideas…. will be tuned in for all your awesome ideas!

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  18. Kim wrote:

    You look fab in the Jc suit. I tried that top in a different color past season and thought it ran small. My past season boy short style Jc bottoms were not flattering to my short legs and ran large but very well made. Love love your hat ribbon diy. I've wanted to do something like that for a while as I also love a black ribbon against a hat like that but it is surprisingly hard to find. I love my Jc hat but it is def not packable, although they may offer other ones that are, so nice to see this option.

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  19. I love that duster, almost as much as I adore the watermelon mat!
    Julia・Little Miss Haute Couture

    Posted 4.24.17 Reply
  20. Unknown wrote:

    The link for the floppy hat shows the hat without the black bow. Did you add that yourself? If so, how did you do it?

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  21. v wrote:

    Hey Jean, I have been a long time reader for a long time! When I saw that you posted your wedding pictures and said you were looking for a Something Blue shoes, I was kicking myself for not reaching out to you. I am the owner of http://www.BellaBelleShoes.com, and we have lots of shoes with touches of Something Blue. I dare to say our styles are elegant, just like your style. 🙂

    Also, had I known you were looking for glam sandals in lieu of flip flops, I would have offered you one of our glam sandals, like this one:


    Anyways, let me know if you are interested in any of these. I have learned a lot from you, so this is a small way to give back.

    I am a petite myself and am fond of pencil skirts and ladylike blouses, so I enjoy reading about your classic outfits and tailor escapades. 🙂

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  22. Thao wrote:

    Omg I ordered the same swimsuit just before I saw this post! I'm a little smaller than you and ordered an XXS top – hopefully it's not too small! LOVE the DIY trick. I can always use a little more DIY in my life. Thanks as ALWAYS, Jean.

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  23. pretty bikini

    New post: Coachella

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  24. Rebecca wrote:

    I really like the duster-as-coverup look! And your wrap variation is more elegant than the original look, Jean! Awesome idea!


    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  25. V. N.C. wrote:

    I love your blog. I especially love the way how you rock the elegance and feminine ways in the simple pairings of certain items. I started following you a while ago (probably around 2 yrs ago), I started changing my wardrobe from zippers, hoodies and boring blue jeans to cute cardigans, blouses and more feminine flattering, yet simple styles that I still would wear while not feeling "bending myself" into some weird style. I evolved into something more mature the past years, I got many compliments for the feminine, timeless styles that I was rocking. Thank you for everything, Jean.

    All the best, Vivan

    PS.: Could you tell me which camera that is that Nick uses to take all those lovely pictures?

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  26. jandrew wrote:

    The beach is a great spot for your shoot ! The cover up is perfect!
    Dress The Part

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  27. Love this whole look. Charming and fresh.

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  28. Grace H wrote:

    Hi Jane
    which color is your earring?

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  29. Love that coverup! Great style as always <3


    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  30. mybeautrip wrote:

    Absolutely in love with your flats!


    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  31. I love the customized duster. Makes me want to a least learn how to turn on the sewing machine!

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  32. My travel envy is kicking in! I'm so in love with this entire post. Thank you for suggesting an adorable top for larger busts!

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  33. Mizeats wrote:

    You look amazing in these pics! You are channeling Grace Kelly again, especially in the duster and the hat!! So chic and sophisticated while being beach appropriate. Ha ha love your line about rethinking certain styles…I am that way too! =)

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  34. La Bijoux Bella | by mia wrote:
    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  35. Love the gingham bikini – so vintage!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Posted 4.23.17 Reply
  36. Beautiful as always 😉


    Posted 4.23.17 Reply

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