What to Wear on a Boracay Beach Vacation

You’re heading to Boracay for that much-awaited beach holiday, but you have no idea what to wear. You’ve absorbed what the glossies say about what to wear to the beach. You’re on your way to a shopping spree, imagining yourself in the flashiest resort wear of the season. But you wonder, is there a fashion dress code that’s specific to Boracay Island?

Of course there’s no “official” fashion dress code, but there appears to be an island-wide preference for simple but elegant beach and lounge wear. The key is to not overdo it, to keep it laid-back and fuss-free. This is most likely due to Boracay’s growing community of tourists-turned-residents, those who initially came to Boracay as travelers from the big cities and, wearied by urban life, left it all behind for a quiet, close-to-nature, community life on the island.

Before we proceed with specific wardrobe suggestions, keep in mind these two Boracay beachwear guidelines as you pack your bags for the beach:

1. Go easy on make-up, cover-ups, and accessories. You’ll be on the sand or the water all day anyway, so there’s probably no need to add anything fancy to your bikini ensemble like accessories or jewelry that will feel hot or leave unsightly tan lines on your skin. Just lather on the sunscreen, bring along a lightweight multi-purpose sarong, and you’re good to go. Confidently dress for comfort, and you’ll find yourself exuding the natural glow of an unburdened style queen on a tropical island vacation.

As evening approaches, you may switch to breezy lounge wear. We’ve seen women walking around in the evening still in their two-piece, clutching a leather handbag and wearing smoky eye make-up. Dress appropriately: cover up a bit so you won’t shiver as the temperature drops. Dress to party, but with flat footwear instead of heels.

On the subject of heeled footwear: We’ve also seen so many women wobbling their way to a boat in their stilettos. And isn’t it perfectly common sense to not wear heels on the beach? Yet women in high heels have attempted to walk on the beach in Boracay, and on finding out that the white sand is so fine that even bare feet sink into it, they ended up either stuffing their shoes in their huge tote bags or unglamorously carrying them, if someone else (like a boyfriend) is not carrying them. If you really can’t let go of heels, wear low wedges instead. But flip flops and flat sandals are the footwear of choice in Boracay.

For the men, there’s absolutely no need to wear shoes anywhere on the island, unless you don’t mind the discomfort of sand constantly getting into your top-siders. Just wear flip flops or open-toed sandals.

2. Go eco-chic as much as you can. Think organic products and locally produced fabrics and accessories. Wear a smile and swing to the relaxed, nature-inspired Boracay island vibe.

Click on the photos below for some wardrobe advice from our fashion retailer friends on the island. Have fun and get ready for a fabulous Boracay vacation!

Model: Erielyn Estrada. Photography: Katia Kalyani.


3 thoughts on “What to Wear on a Boracay Beach Vacation

  1. So i guess Koreans ignore these tips. They are such an eyesore with their overdressed attire, over accessories, afraid-to-get-dark-skinned-long sleeves and high heels on the beach. HIGH HEELS! Why they even go to the beach is beyond anybody’s guess.

  2. Hi Carolyn! There’s a cultural factor too, as Asians in general prefer fair skin, while Caucasians like to show off a tan. Whether we like it or not, we tend to bring our cultural upbringing into our vacations, including our ideas of luxury like overdressing and whitening (for Asians) and underdressing and a tan (for Westerners). Even Filipinos on the island reflect these cultural differences: Filipinos living in Boracay don’t care about getting dark (either because sun-darkened skin is a mark of island life, or having been exposed to a Western expat community the ideal of tanned skin has somewhat been internalized), but Filipino tourists from the cities like Manila like to cover-up (either because of the fair skin ideal, or they easily burn under the sun due to low sun tolerance caused by indoor sedentary lifestyle). Practicalities aside (like the high heels!), these play of cultural differences is amazing to watch in Boracay, and that’s part of what makes the island unique and fun.

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