What began as a step towards liberated bathing in the 1920′s, with women in figure hugging wool jersey sleeveless tank suits, has evolved into teeny bikini’s favoring skin over fabric, worn by women from Florida to St. Tropez. Yet there is a new trend on the swimwear front that does not involve barely-there triangle tops and string tied bottoms. The maillot, a classic term for a one-piece suit, has been re-imagined for the stylish original looking to accentuate her body and her personality.
Swimsuits are becoming more style-specific, with new takes on tankini’s and two-pieces that draw inspiration from vintage styles. Suits are constructed with more than one body type in mind, eliminating the need to choose a suit that fits you over a suit that you would love to fit you. With so many updated classics to choose from, you’ll be swimming in modest style all summer long!
One Piece Wonderful!
What used to conjure images of the 500 meter freestyle, complete with goggles and bathing caps, has now become the chic alternative to a revealing bikini. The one piece bathing suit is enjoying free reign over fashion’s kingdom of trends, with its power to flatter, conceal, accentuate, and proclaim every woman stylish by the shore. When shopping for a maillot, it is important to pick a style you identify with. Vintage inspired, sporty, or playful, each provides varying degrees of coverage, support, and ultimately, confidence. If to you wearing a one-piece is more about fashion than function, play around with subtle yet eye-catching details. The key-hole string closure on the suit from Lover The Label make a one-piece unique. There is also the strapless option, harkening back to the popular corset suit of the 40′s. A little ruffle on the hip or pleating in the bust can take the one-piece from boring to bold without compromising modesty. Bright colors look great on darker skin tones, and a lighter pastel color or vintage floral print reflect the sun, adding a little extra help to your SPF 50.
In tune with original details of a one piece, you can take your statement a step further with a novelty suit. This one from our neighbor Hayden Harnett, a company known for their quirky accessories, gives a little girl by the seaside feel to your grown-up weekend by the lake. The bright color smooths out your torso, and the vertical stripe detail draws the eye upwards, elongating your body and drawing attention to the easy to flatter collar bone. Perfect for curvier shapes, this style lends extra room in the bust, and the scrunched areas at the hips ensure a little extra room, allowing you to stay stylish while practicing your breast stroke or working on your tan. Form and function are of the utmost importance when choosing a suit; its important to find a style to fit, flatter, and stay put. A piece with a little extra fabric gives a swimsuit the resiliency required to maintain covered up in all the right places.
For the sportier type, a classic maillot shape with two shoulder straps and a V-neck neckline is perfect for any body type. Updated with an on-trend print, this suit from White Sand Australia makes an otherwise plain-jane one look fresh. Screened with an organic mish-mash of brightly colored flowers, this print draws attention to your assets while distracting from problem areas more effectively than a single solid color. If your mid-section is the area you’re trying to tone down, look for a suit with a concentration of pattern or print around the stomach and hips, which makes larger parts of your body appear to cover less surface area, giving the impression of a tighter waist and a flatter tummy. An ombre print works this way also, it is not as drastic as color-blocking and makes your body appear more cohesive as opposed to fragmented, allowing the areas you’d rather not highlight more anonymity amongst your body as a whole. Again, it’s all in the details. This suit strategically places them on the shoulder straps, drawing attention to your neckline and away from your lower half. A one-shoulder option can be successful here as well, creating a lengthening diagonal line down the body.
STYLE TIP: The never-ending quest to find a way to flatter your shape, feel comfortable, and look stylish in a bathing suit is easier than you think. Pay attention to cut, color, and pattern concentration. A one-piece suit is easy to pull off when it generously hugs your curves and hides your flaws.
High Waist Vintage.
As the two-piece swimsuit rapidly became smaller and more revealing, the classic 50′s style of a high waisted bottom and full coverage top remained dated. Now, with the focus of fashion on vintage styles in all types of clothing, two-piece swimsuits are reaping the benefits. These suits take all of the flattering things from last century’s styles, and add modern details we’ve come to expect from a suit. The Charlie style from Cuche Bikinis, a company based in Vancouver, gives all of the necessary updates to its classic high-waisted two-piece. The top comes with a built in underwire for substantial support in the bust, and also boasts a neck strap and adjustable bust line clip, making it that much easier to find a size that fits well. The bottoms are cut in the classic shape that hits just below your belly button. This style works to slim the tummy and create a more hour glass figure, something women are looking for in today’s retail market that is overflowing with low-rise jeans and brazilian cut bottoms that now seem appropriate only for teenagers. The high waist has been a major trend these past few seasons, with designers pushing for more lady-like, mature dressing. Swimwear has followed suit, and the same hip smoothing, waist enhancing properties apply to this style.
We also love how feminine these suits are, with ties on top and bottom, side snaps on the bikini, and prints like the sailor stripe and black and white polka dots to help you remain classically understated while bravely donning an attention grabbing yet still modest two-piece.
STYLE TIP: The bloomer style bottoms of these suits ensures coverage and comfort, but to truly flatter make sure you are not choosing a size that is a bit too small. As they are full coverage, a size too tight will pinch above the thighs, so make sure to stay true to your shape, it will pay off in the end!
If the idea of a two-piece swimsuit makes you cringe, a tankini will make you smile. Offering the best of both worlds, you’re able to cover the same amount of skin as with a one-piece, but have even more fun doing so! It’s like wearing a tank top that makes you feel comfortable in and out of the water. Mixing and matching without the awkwardness of wearing two completely different pieces is possible with a tankini.
These styles are perfect for maximizing what you have, and making sure areas of concern are covered. Most women’s bodies are not evenly proportioned, and the genius of a tankini is that it provides full coverage on top and throughout the midsection, while giving you the freedom to choose a bottom that fits your style and isn’t bound to the size or shape of your upper half.
These options from Finch Swimwear and Sunsets Inc offer tops with maximum tummy coverage and a looser fit around the middle if desired, or a top with more flexibility in the bust that fits a bit tighter around your waist. The bright prints on the tops let this area appear smaller and give you the choice of a solid bottom, or if you prefer, a coordinating one. Tankinis are great for taller women as well, where a one-piece might not necessarily fit length and width wise, you can still get the coverage you desire without compromising the fit. In a tankini you can roll up the top for a tan, and feel comfortable swimming in a top that won’t budge. It’s is a great modest option that lets your playfullness shine through in pop prints and bright colors.
STYLE TIP: For a tankini to be truly flattering, it’s important to have the top hit at the right spot on your midsection. If the top hits too high around your waist, your body will appear truncated. If it hits too low, the top will appear baggy and not provide enough shape to your waist. Somewhere about two inches above the bottom is perfect; a little higher if the top is tighter, a little lower if it’s loose, and you’re cool and covered!
No longer does plus-size swimwear mean suits with skirts and minimal choice. There are more options of styles, colors, prints, and cuts for bigger sizes than ever before. A one-piece with variations like ruffles, one-shoulder, or fringe; a tankini with simple, chic details on its top, and styles and colors that are made to flatter all come in plus-size options. Choose what you like and you can’t go wrong.
One look at Lola & Gigi’s website and you’ll realize that being a plus size can be a true plus in the swimwear department! No matter what you are trying to cover or what you will feel comfortable wearing, there is something for everyone. The “miraclesuit swim dress,” pictured here, is playful and practical, with a black and white print to distract, thick enough shoulder straps to support ample busts, ruching on the left side to tuck in the waist, and a skirt just long enough to let one be modest with a cheeky flair. This suit hits all the right marks in terms of minimizing flaws, but if you’re looking for something more classic, consider the Miraclesuit sold at Lola & Gigi. “Making you look 10lbs slimmer in 10 seconds,” these options stick to a standard one-piece cut, with pleating and extra fabric for minimizing and giving you the extra stretch you need to feel comfortable and look great. Their standard one-pieces come with a higher-cut bottom, accentuating the curve of your hips and elongating your legs.
This patterned suit from 1-plus.com’s Penningtons demonstrates the concentration of pattern that is forever flattering. The colorful print smooths out your chest area, and lets the rest of your body look chic and toned in a solid black. The contrast is important, sometimes an overall pattern such as bright florals can be too much, making you look larger than you are. A combination of bright and black, or another darker solid color, keeps your suit and your style from looking boring.
This tankini from Swim Wear Anywhere- Coco Reef is great for bustier girls who still want the freedom of a two-piece without the danger of being to exposed. The top is built for full-figured women, with its looser fit around the middle and gold ring closure at the bust detail. The full-coverage top is in a classic V-neck, which though it may seem counter-intuitive, actually works best on fuller figures to conceal yet still flatter the bustline. The hipster cut bottoms are a stylish way to be modest and on-trend on the water.
STYLE TIP: The fabric of a plus-size swim suit can make or break its ability to flatter your shape. Stretch is very important, and styles made with Lycra or spandex are top notch in this department. A suit that will smooth over your curves while it moves with your body is destined to be the most flattering and comfortable.
Pool Side Mommy.
Ah, to be pregnant in the summer time! Finding a swim suit for moms-to-be can seem challenging, as your belly keeps growing and you need extra support in your chest. Don’t fret, we’ve found what you want, all you have to know is what you need!
You’ll want to be by the water, and you need a suit that will let you do so with comfort and support. Not only is it important to cover up your belly from sunburn, you’ll want a suit that fits in all the right places so you can relax and enjoy swimming and lounging. A tankini is a perfect option for any stage in pregnancy- like the one from Maternal America. Purchasing one that is a little looser at the beginning stages can make it easier to grow with, and the funky patterns and eye-catching colors from Olian Maternity, won’t let you hesitate! With a tankini from Belabumbum Boutique, you can wear bottoms of your choosing, whether they are full coverage pregnancy specific, or your favorite ones from pre-pregnancy that still fit, you can find a top that matches and enhances your bottoms and your belly.
Support for your growing top half is extremely important. A halter style takes the pressure off of your shoulders, and allows for maximum comfort. Shelf bras and soft cups also provide the support without the added weight of a bra. Whatever style or color you choose to cover your pregnant tummy, it’s going to look beautiful! Feel confident to express yourself with your bathing suit at this time in your life, its a great time to have fun in the sun!
STYLE TIP: As is true with wearing a tankini at any stage in your life, the major plus for pregnant women is that you do not have to worry about it being too small length wise. Yet, unlike before, it will look best now if your top covers your entire tummy area, and is even a bit longer than the top of your bottoms. This way your belly won’t appear to be bulging and you will feel secure and covered.
A bathing suit is what you want for summer fun in the sun, and a cover-up is what you need. The practicality of a cover-up makes it that much easier to buy one that is a perfect expression of your taste and style. A kaftkan, tunic, wrap skirt, pareo, or even a casual dress, all make your travels to and from the pool, beach, or lake that much more stylish. It is the first thing people will see you wear, and it is your entry to post-beach/boat activities such as dining out or shopping. Whether you’re picking up some groceries on your vacation, or want to shield the sun, a cover-up is the most important seaside accessory and a necessary option to have.
Le Tarte Swimwear is a prime example of how eclectic and original a cover-up can be. The bohemian essence of the brand offers lightweight, loose, easy to throw on and off choices that will take you from day to night, beach to restaurant, or pool to dinner party. You can find one that coordinates with your suit, but it’s not imperative to match colors or prints. Summer is about being carefree, and choosing a cover-up that exhibits your personality will most likely mean it will coincide style-wise with your swimsuit! You can also choose a cover-up based on the areas of your body you would actually prefer to mask. A wrap skirt or pareo will highlight your top and tummy and hide the bottom half in style; a kaftkan will give you full, chic coverage, and a tunic will cover the top half of your body while allowing it to breath and be comfortable in any situation.
There is always a reason to have a cover-up handy, whether you’re boating, picnicing, or strolling the beach, its appropriate to be ready for anything and look great while doing it! Short and sweet, or long and beautiful, a cover-up can express your personality and give you the freedom for any seaside activity.
STYLE TIP: A cover-up, while always elegant, should not be f ussy. Choose a wrinkle free material like organic cotton or jersey. You want to be able to toss it in your bag and whip it out at a moment’s notice and appear fresh. White is always a perfect beach cover-up color, as it reflects the sun and pairs well with a sun-kissed glow, and prints are perfect for this as well, especially on a long flowing kaftkan.
Swimwear has come a long way since the days of our grandmothers, but there is still a responsibility and a desire to be modest and tasteful at the beach. Thankfully this does not mean compromising style, and with so many updated options, finding a suit to suit YOU is easy and fun.
Vacation should be relaxing, not stressful, and neither should the job of finding a swimsuit. Have fun, know your shape, and choose what you love. You’re only obligated to wear your suit for one season, so go for what you want right now and wear it with confidence! Happy summer!
Coming Up: SAINTLY, IN SHORTS & HEAVEN IN A BAG!