Sun, Sand, Surf and Style
It’s prime beach season now, the weather just shy of surface-of-the-sun hot and the skies a bright cloudless blue. With all the inspiration you’ve found from reading about the latest and greatest in Hua Hin, it’s time to think about the gear you’re going to pack before you hit the beach.
Would you go to the mall in your underwear? Then why would you wear a ravaged bikini to the beach? Khongboon offers a wide collection of women’s water wear in unique styles and prints, from strapless and criss-crossed bandeau tops to Brazilian bikini bottoms in Mojave prints (How risqué!). The classic frong (i.e. the Baywatch one-piece) is back in style now, and Khongboon has a solid selection to choose from, but don’t look past the truly original bikinis. Visit khongboonswimwear.com to see the latest collections and looks.
Men should check out Timo Trunks for eye-catching swimwear. Featuring bold prints, unique and often symmetrical graphics, and above-the-knee cuts, Timo has caught the attention of the fashion-conscious across the world. There are now shops as far as away as Denmark and New Zealand, but the flagship remains here, in Bangkok. Visit timotrunks.com to see the most recent designs.
Protect your eyes from the sun’s rays with high-quality shades from Deck Thailand, found on the third floor of Siam Center. Available in a piebald collection of colours and styles, specifically the classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer look, Deck’s frames are carved out of old skateboards, the grains still visible, giving them texture and depth. The lenses come in a variety of bright, bold, and basic hues, too. One of the most vibrant styles is the Tuk Tuk, featuring that Ray-Ban look with technicolour stripes down the frames. Rosemanclub, the feature of our Unique Boutique (see bangkok101.com/rosemanclub), is also a solid choice for stylish sunglasses.
Long looked down on as the grungy toe-baring attire of the rucksack-clad and sunburned, the flip-flop has undergone a metamorphosis in modern times, now considered acceptable wear at places without strict dress codes. Still waterproof, but classy enough for wear in town, Ipanema branches out beyond the flat flip-flop with wedges, slim-line sandals, and fashion sandals. Colours range from bright to subdued and classy. A pair costs about half as much as the ubiquitous Havaiianas (at least the real ones), and Ipanema often offers discounts of up to 70 per cent off at The Mall and Central Department Stores, making them an affordable option for beach-goers who don’t want to pack an extra pair of shoes.
For a light shoulder bag, big enough to carry all your beach goods, head to JJ. Traps Wana (section 26, soi 1) sells Japanese-curated vintage attire, including bags, such as the Chiangmai tote (sic), made of eggshell-white canvas with a Mojave trim, and the occasional fanny-pack. Paobay (section 2, room 257) sells handmade canvas and line shoulder bags in single tones and discreet stripes and patterns. While neither Traps nor Paobay sells waterproof bags, their products are good enough for the sand. Plus, they’re the kind of sun-filtered styles so deeply appreciated in the modern beach fashion aesthetic.
Hours of aquatic fun await those with a waterproof camera: underwater selfies, front-facing shots of the beach, capturing the exact moment a wave washes over you. Oh, the possibilities! There are many waterproof cameras on the market now, but one of the best is the Nikon Coolpix AW130 (B13,490). Not only waterproof down to 30 metres, the camera is also shock-proof up to 2 metres and freeze-proof (unless you accidentally lose it in the chill chest, this function probably doesn’t mean much in Thailand). It takes fast shots and boasts 16 megapixels and a wide-angle glass lens. Crucially, it comes with built-in Wi-Fi, meaning you can upload said underwater selfies to Instagram cord- and hassle-free.
The Panama hat is the stuff of postcards and beach ads, the most iconic accessory to place on your head when you’re combing the sands. Aptly-named Thailand Panama Hats imports the real-deal from Ecuador (like bourbon to Kentucky or champagne to France, true Panama hats are made only in Ecuador from the native Toquilla plant). Thailand Panama Hats sells a variety of classic gambler hats, women’s coconut-style hats, and hats for kids, as well as bands for individual distinction. Prices start at B2500 and max out at B3700 per item, all available at thailandpanamahats.com