The One Perfect Outfit to Rock on Copacabana Beach.
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The One Perfect Outfit to Rock on Copacabana Beach

Imagine a place where deep blue water meets pillow-soft white sand. Then add a kiosk serving caipirinhas, and groups of hunky men in tiny swimsuits playing hands-free volleyball. Got it? Great. Now sprinkle the scene with tanned beach bodies, kids playing soccer, and vendors selling handmade beach wares. Bossa nova is playing in the background, and everyone is having a good time. There’s no real place like that, you’re thinking, wrapped up in 20 layers to try keep warm in freezing winter weather. Except there is. Enter: Copacabana Beach.

Arguably one of the best city beaches in the world, the Rio de Janeiro gem and one of Brazil’s most famous landmarks—because a landmark it certainly is—is an unforgettable mix of sun-drenched activities and sleek urban vibes; tourists and Cariocas (Rio’s residents); beach babes and sporty surfers; chic cocktail bars and laidback rum huts; perfect waves and even more perfect sunset views. It’s unapologetically loud, sexy, and cool—and yes, everyone’s there to have fun.

And to see and be seen, of course. Which is why your perfect Copacabana Beach outfit requires some planning. You can’t just wear any bikini to Copacabana Beach. You’ve got to pull out all the stops, and be on top of your beach game—without overdoing it, though. We asked a Brazilian fashion expert for her opinion on rocking the perfect Copacabana Beach outfit.

“Copacabana sits at this unique crossover of beach and metropolis,” says Brazilian style blogger Martina Ritter. “Fashion-wise, that means choosing a look that’s both sophisticated and unpretentious, and combining current trends and styles while still keeping it real and local.”

Sounds tricky, but it can be done—just take a cue from the fab Cariocas strutting down the beach. “Brazilian women know how to use and ‘abuse’ different colors and designs with enviable confidence,” Ritter says. Learn from them, and you’ll fit right in.

A good way to do so is to embrace bold statement pieces for your perfect Copacabana Beach outfit. Swimsuits with geometric prints, neon details, or animal patterns; a big hat, and a boho sarong tied at the waist —“which you can then use to sit on the sand, effortlessly so,” Ritter says. Add some beach-inspired accessories—a woven braid bracelet, perhaps—and a pair of glamorous flip-flops, and you’ll be ready to samba your way through the 2.2 mile-long stretch of beach paradise like a local. We can already smell the coconuts and sunscreen.

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