Affordable and fun swimsuit cover-ups

Many of us spend hours agonizing over finding the perfect bathing suit and the confidence to wear it, only to slip on a cover-up when we’re out having fun in the sun. So while it’s important to choose the right suit, don’t underestimate the value of investing in a scene-stealing swathe. TODAY style editor and’s Bobbie Thomas shows you how to take your cover-ups from the beach to summertime soirees with these chic, convertible options.

If you find yourself frequenting backyard bashes with friends, a tunic may be your best bet to help you seamlessly transition from the beach to the barbecue. An oversized sweater is perfect to wear shore-side with a bikini and flip-flops, and can later be paired with crisp shorts and wedges when you’re ready for food and fireworks. (Striped line cover-up sweater, $49,

The bonfire
Most of us wouldn’t think that a sweater could be a summer staple. But from hot days to cool nights, a woven or crochet top meant for the beach could become a great asset when cuddled around a campfire. Choose an easy, soft knit that that will keep you cool during the day and cozy during windy nights when paired with jeans and Ugg boots. (Reefbreak hoodie in falcon, $79,

The bazaar
For the busy beach babe who plans to hit the mall after she’s hit the waves, toss a tee and belt in your bag for a quick fix. Take advantage of their versatility and transform a tube dress or sarong into an effortless shopping outfit by wearing it as a long maxi skirt with a simple tee and low-slung braided belt. (Joolay batik strapless cover-up dress, $48,

The bar
Long and loose caftans, especially colorful and embellished styles, are perfect for looking chic and providing protection on the sand. For a nighttime twist, they can bring the drama and add some glamour when you're going out with the girls. Just layer a slip, and add a few bangle bracelets and heels for a stylish way to wow on an easy, breezy summer night. (Coral caftan, $25,