Gentry in LA: At the Beach

Not too many years ago in London, I went in search of beach towels to take with me to France. Or maybe Italy. It was a long search and one that didn’t bear much terry-veloured fruit. I finally found a couple at SCP, but, nice though they are, it doesn’t seem quite right to buy beach towels in Hoxton, at the epicentre of contemporary UK furniture design. So, while dossing in LA, where beach accessorizing constitutes serious fashion, I’ve been stocking up on beach towels, beach blankets, beach towels and…lip moisturizer (my favourite LA-based Brave Solider’s Lip Defender keeps your sunsmacked lips in good health). Here’s my pick of the best beach towels on offer, cheap and cheerful via online shopping (all under $30 and some under $20).

1) Start with something simple, if you’re more a looker than looked-at. These solids by Just Towels from swimoutlet.com may not be for the most adventurous sunlovers, but the colours are spot on. Think of buying them in pairs and coordinate in high-impact ways. Flamingo and Kiwi, or Tangerine and Royal will ensure you get noticed in the beaches north of Malibu.

2) Maybe it’s just because I’m in a West Coast sort of mood, but I’m fond of tie-dyed beach towels (and only beach towels. No tie-dyed t-shirts, unless you’re 19 and following the Grateful Dead in your parents’ Volvo). The worry with tie-dye is that you’ll end up looking like Cheech and Chong. In fact, the tie-dyed option might work best on a nude beach, if you don’t mind people eyeing up your towel instead of your todger. Check out amazingworld.org for a vibrant range of trippy hey-dude swirls.

3) Poor Land’s End, one-time middle-brow Mecca for American preppies, is a shadow of its former 1980s self (when every self-respecting American college student had their monogrammed duffel bags), but they hit the beach bull’s-eye with an impressively wide range of beach towels. In fact, I bought my towels here – four fetching rugby stripes, though I was sorely tempted by the florals.

A few simple rules for beach towel designs: No fish! No flags! No beer cans! There’s such a thing as too much irony. If you know of any great beach towels, let me know.

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