Style and Styling

Styled 3 Ways: Pareo

Okay, I lied. More than 3 Ways!

Happy day, reader dear!

Originally this started out as a Styled for Work and Play post, but then I remembered that Memorial Day is just around the corner… Which means beach, lake, or summertime kickoff for those of us in the U.S. And summer means swimsuits and coverups!

Hence today’s post about 3 ways to style a pareo. Not for work, mind you, but as a swimsuit coverup! A pareo combines my love of scarves with my desire for modesty and fierce need for practicality. A pareo is one of my summer packing go-to’s. A pareo is a swimsuit coverup, a scarf, a shawl for chilly ocean breezes, a place to sit to protect your white jeans… The list goes on!

BONUS SUMMER STYLE TIP: If it’s time for a new bathing suit, choose one in your eye color! (I’m still hunting for a fabulous green!) Your eye color will draw attention back to your face. If you are looking for tips to find a flattering suit, read more here!

Let’s Talk Size

A pareo is one case where bigger is better! In this case, though, we want big AND lightweight. Think super thin fabric! We don’t need bulky knots or thick, hard to drape materials. My pareo is 34′ X 72″, which is ideal for me, because I can fold it in half lengthwise and end up with (basically) a square scarf! You want the width of your pareo to be long enough to cover your from your waist to your calf. As for the length? It should go around you with at least a few feet of overlap. I like my 6 ft, because it gives me more options!

You’ll see me demonstrate all three ties (and some variations) in the video below!


Wrapped around the waist, draped and tied in a knot, this is a classic and super easy way to tie your pareo. It feels like the perfect poolside style option. Another plus? If you untie it when you lay on your lounger, you can always pull it back over if you feel exposed when someone stops by to chat… They’ll just think you’re needing a break from the sun!

Halter Dress

This shorter look is great when I have armloads of things to carry to our spot on the beach. It leaves your legs more free to move. (Read: Slog through the sand.) It also provides the midriff and tummy coverage many women want! Another plus? You can pop down to the water in it and cool off without having to pull it up to keep it dry.

Bandeau Dress

The Bandeau has the same perks as the Halter, and has the added benefit of widening the bust, which makes it a great choice for the woman with an A-Body Shape! It isn’t quite as stable or secure as the halter, but some tricks with your swimsuit straps can solve that problem. Now, if your swimsuit is also a bandeau? I can’t help…

If this all sounds confusing, this video might help…

Not July… June!

Apres Sun

Shawl: This is a little trickier when your pareo is really long, but some creative pinning or tying the ends can help!

Scarf: Wear it looped and drapey for a more relaxed look, or go for something more classic when you fold it smaller.

Skirt: I’ve been known to use the double layer sarong style as a skirt to go out for a nice dinner… It feels super festive and it doesn’t care if you eat a little too much. Just adjust the tie! Sometimes I’ll wear this with a tee, or if the evening is cool, a lightweight sweater…

How About You?

What’s your favorite way to cover up a bathing suit/swimming costume? Have you ever worn a pareo? Which is your favorite look? Do tell…

PS: What’s your favorite sunless tanner? I really need to sort out my fish-belly white legs!

Stylishly yours,


  • Lydia

    Love this!! I was just looking at some beautiful (but $$$) pareos online and wondering what the heck they even were.
    I found you through Imogen Lamport and was thrilled to see that we live in the same city!!

    • Liz K

      What a treat, Lydia! So glad to have you, just not thrilled about our weather right now… Are you an Augusta native or a transplant?

  • Leslie Susan Clingan

    You are the cutest thing on video. I think I tell you that every time. Love your Memorial Day pool set up. You are all set!!

    Haha about the sunless tanner. You have a lovely complexion and coloring. If you have a favorite sunless tanner, though, do tell!!

    Love the tips on the pareo. Yours is such a fabulous print and in such pretty colors. Where do you find your pareos? I don’t have one but with my love for kimonos and shawls, I bet I would enjoy styling a pareo, too. I’ve pinned your post for future reference.

    Thanks for the tip about getting a bathing suit in your eye color. I accidentally did just that. Hope it will draw everyone’s eyes waaaaay up away from my abdomen, hips, and thighs!!

    • Liz K

      Leslie, you are one lucky duck to buy a swimsuit in your eye color! What a find! My pareo was a bargain bin purchase from Charming Charlie a few years ago. Although we live in perpetual hot, I own only one pareo because we don’t have a pool… Or should I say we didn’t 😉 If I spent more time in a swimsuit, I’d look for another! Most sunless tanners leave my oh, so cool complexion looking orange, so I only use them on my legs where it’s not so noticeable. Thank you for the compliment; I feel a right fool every time I get in front of the camera, video or still! That’s why I’m always laughing; it’s at myself.

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