The Ultimate Beach Bag, And What To Put In It


You need a vacation.

Your skin is the color of sour cream and your nerves have about the same consistency. You crunched budgets through most of winter and worked so hard you missed most of spring to arrive on the heels of Memorial Day without a stylish clue.

Before you go and pack that same old Jansport backpack and head for the shore, here is a collection of summer essentials to fill the chicest of beach bags.

The Sound

Carla Bruni - No Promises

It wasn't love at first sound, as Carla Bruni's No Promises hit stores late last summer to whispered acclaim amongst a cult-like French following. But the second album from the former supermodel and French First Lady is making a resurgence in fashionable iPods (AAPL).

Best enjoyed with a glass of rosé and the oily glow of freshly applied tanning oil, songs like Those Dancing Days Are Gone are serenaded in broken English that sound like forlorn love letters from a French chanteuse who laid, heartbroken, in the summer sun.

The Lotion
Korres Body Milk

If you've summered on any of the Greek Islands, the smell of Korres Bath Products is synonymous with aromatic showers following long afternoons tucked away on the shores of the Aegean. Korres began as a homeopathic pharmacy in Athens offering a naturalistic approach to skincare based on Greek traditions utilizing indigenous plants like primrose, olives, chamomile and basil.

With a new U.S. boutique in NYC's SoHo, the product line is comprised of fully natural ingredients free of synthetic fillers like mineral oil or propylene glycol found in most American moisturizers. Korres After-Sun Citrus Body Milk is our favorite of the tanning products, a soothing liquid cream with tingling lemony scent that sooths post-sun skin.

The Swimsuit

Tomas Maier for Men and Women

If you have a high fashion IQ, you'll know the name Tomas Maier as the creative director and visionary father of Italian Bottega Venneta. But Maier also offers a signature collection and boutique in Florida's Palm Beach and Miami.

The collection includes cashmere knits, T-shirts, sarongs and swimwear ideal for G-4 globetrotters. The two-piece Tiny Tangerine is the hottest swimsuit of the season for women, cast in Hermes-orange with dainty bows on both sides of the trunk and tank detail.

Men should lose the board shorts for 2008 with the Jack trunk, available in black with drawstring waist and zipper detail. Don't you dare ask for a different color, as Maier only uses one for each suit.

The Shades


No city does sunglasses like L.A., where Retrospecs occupies a small boutique storefront on trendy Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. The shop specializes in vintage sunglasses that include a line of iconic reproductions from the 1940s and 1950s offering classic aviators in contrasting metals or even solid 18k gold.

For those willing to pay the highest of price for shade, the boutique also offers an extensive collection of vintage RayBans from the 1930 and 1940s, priced between $1,500 and $2,500.

Buy quickly -- the vintage sunglasses tend to sell out fast, especially with shoppers like Johnny Depp always dropping by for a look.

The Bag

Terry Beach Bag by Maison Martin Margiela

Worried that your yellow beach towel clashes with your Hermes beach bag?

Never fear. The folks at Maison Martin Margiela have discovered a summer essential that will rid you of your accessory worries. The ultimate buy-one, get-one-free, the bag is actually a convertible beach towel that rolls out into an oversize terry-cloth bed for optimal seaside comfort.

The bag is machine washable and also functions well for new mommies looking for an inconspicuous diaper bag.

Tip: On our first trip to the beach we were a bit disappointed that our wet towel didn't convert so well back into the bag, so try to dry off before getting back on your beach bag.

The Drink

Domaine Ott -- Rosé

It's the preferred drink of the St. Tropez beach clubs and better summer soirées throughout the Hamptons.

The signature Greek-inspired bottle is iconic and contains a tangy French rosé born out of Provence from hand-picked grapes that are scrutinized and sorted before aging in vintage oak barrels. The resulting color is a deep blush that's more red than pink, winking to the delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Cinsault with hints of apricot and grapefruit.

For those enjoying the bottle with a late lunch at Nikki Beach or Club 55, try pairing the wine with fresh seared scallops, dilled salmon or tuna with mango salsa to accentuate the wine's sensuous undertones.

The Memories

Sony Handycam HDR-TG1

In the perfect world, you'd have a video camera no larger than your iPhone that allowed you to take HD-quality videos while not looking like you just disembarked from a Carnival Cruise.

The folks at Sony (SNE) debuted the world's smallest HD camcorder on May 17 just in time for Memorial Day beach movies. The itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny camera has a swivel touch-screen display and six-hour battery for all-day voyeurism.

The best thing about the camera is once you're done filming all your friends at the beach for YouTube, you can tuck it in a pant or purse pocket without having to worry about being shunned by all the cool kids that would never dream of tak

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