What to Wear When Surfing the Beaches of Sydney

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Jet-setting across the seven seas, or simply swapping neighborhood spots, What To Wear When is your weekly column for shopping inspiration.

Sydney, Australia is home to some of the most extraordinarily picturesque beaches in the world. Bondi Beach, in particular, is iconic in its own right—now one of the country’s most popular destinations to sunbathe, surf, and relax, it was once the epicenter of controversy involving beach attire, beginning with the Sydney bathing suit costume protests in 1907, which successfully curbed a proposed ordinance requiring male beachgoers to sport tunics. As the bikini rose to popularity toward the end of World War II, efforts to enforce public decency laws in Australia were heightened. That didn’t stop Jean Parker—in 1951, the iconic Hollywood actress was famously escorted off Bondi by officers from wearing a bikini. The moment made international headlines—and shed light on the archaic nature of the law.

Nowadays, it’s commonplace to encounter topless (and in some cases, completely nude) beach-goers soaking in the sweet Australian sun at Bondi and many of Sydney’s other scenic beaches. What’s more commonplace is rubbing shoulders with a celebrity or two—everyone from Chris Hemsworth and Leonardo DiCaprio to Liev Schreiber and Hugh Jackman have been known to take a dip or two in Sydney’s pristine, crystal-blue waters. Whether you plan on tackling some seriously monstrous waves, strolling along the picturesque wharfs, or exploring Sydney’s colorfully unique architecture, CR has you covered on what to pack should you find yourself in the populous New South Wales capital.

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