Make the Beach—or Pool—Your Own Runway With These Bold Swimsuits
(Bloomberg) -- The arrival of Memorial Day a year ago was not the summer kickoff we were used to, but for swimwear makers, it wasn’t a total bust. “People were still shopping, but it was not being purchased for destination travel or with a celebratory mindset,” says Sarah Landman, chief executive officer of New York-based label Solid & Striped.
But this year, the mood is completely different. “March and April were phenomenal months,” she says. “We are also seeing our average order size increase, with customers purchasing several ‘looks’ vs. one swimsuit.”
That sentiment holds true for both women and men. “There is a huge appetite for beachwear in the U.S., whether for those who have temporarily moved to warmer climates or for clients who are looking to travel,” says Emmanuele Vinciguerra, president of the Americas at Vilebrequin. “We have not only multiplied sales times five vs. 2020 but have surpassed 2019 sales.”
Whether you prefer a traditional two-piece, a retro number, or something more covered up, now is the ideal time to upgrade your on-the-water wardrobe. Bruna Malucelli, the Brazil-based founder and designer of her eponymous line, sums up the general feeling: “Summer will definitely be the cherry on top for people who want to celebrate being vaccinated and the beginning of a new chapter.”
Below, we catalog 18 of our favorite options, from heritage brands and newcomers alike, to start yours.
Parke & Ronen
This slightly tailored take has a button closure and can be dressed up like a proper pair of shorts, but the mesh lining and stretch fabrics of these Pink Bahia Catalonia stretch pair ($155) remain ideal for the water.
A moody, luxury spin on swim from Saint Laurent ($590) is all about the leopard design on the left leg. A classic front tie closure and concealed pockets complete the elegant look.
A classic single color option doesn’t have to be boring. This pair ($85) comes in a cool shade of pistachio and gets all the details right—quick-drying nylon, deep pockets, and an ultrafine mesh lining.
Four pockets—including one on the side with a hidden side—and fast-drying fabric are the hallmarks of this bold nod to old school Versace from the Stockholm-based studio boutique OAS ($90).
Choose from a 4-, 5.5-, or 7-inch inseam in this 4-way stretch polyester and spandex blend. The En Fuegos Stretch ($69.50) is a throwback pastel, California-dreaming pattern that will have you reaching for this pair all summer.
For its 50th anniversary collection, Vilebrequin released 50 collector’s edition prints, one for each year from 1971 to 2021. This psychedelic pair ($295) is a revival of a 1984 pattern upgraded in a modern stretch fabric.
The daringly high-cut bottoms of this Australian brand are best suited for those who want to indulge in some ‘80s-inspired sartorial bravery. And anyone prone to rushing through the application of sunscreen should take additional care around the extra-long geometric contrast straps of the Spin Me Right Round top ($70) and bottoms ($65).
Play around with how you tie the straps of this triangle Sand halter top ($70) from Frankies Bikinis. Paired with the matching string bottom ($90), the bold wave pattern pays homage to the brand’s collaboration with the Surfrider Foundation—to which 10% of all proceeds from this collection are being donated.
This swimwear collection is handmade in Italy from a sustainable upcycled fabric created from discarded fishing nets and other nylon waste. The designs—such as this balconette underwire Grenadins White Seahorse top ($149) and matching high-cut bottoms ($115) in a playful seahorse pattern—are equally easy to feel good about.
Channeling the normcore ‘90s minimalism we’ve come to expect from Everlane, the brand’s newly released swim line offers seven styles and eight colors of no-brainer basics such as the V-Neck one piece ($65).
Baywatch meets Bardot in this Broadway Tie Maillot one piece ($367) from Los Angeles-based Polish designer Marysia Dobrzanska Reeves. Its eye-catching lace-up front and string halter ties are offset by its signature scalloped-shape design.
“Last summer, swimwear became another type of everyday wear for customers working from home,” says founder and head designer Brittany Kozerski Freeney. “Customers started realizing that swimwear doesn’t have to just be for the hours you’re at the beach or by the pool.” A trusty option to take you through whatever the day brings, the Evolve one-shoulder, one piece ($220) has a generous cutout across the back and comes in 18 colors.
Ideal for stress-free diving or beach sports, this high-neck Surf option ($95) in classic leopard offers full coverage, a built-in bra, and an easy zipper down the back.
A fan favorite for its uniquely textured ribbed fabric, Hunza G’s strapless Audrey Nile Swim one-piece ($190) features a minimalist straight neckline and is made in England from an OEKO-TEX-certified mix of nylon and lycra elastane.
Solid & Striped
Equal parts sweet and understated, this bustier style suit ($188) is cut from a retro-inspired zig zag tonal fabric and features darting seams and a matching belt to bring emphasis to the waist.
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