This article was first published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine Issue 6 in December 2013
Summary: How to conquer the dreaded annual bikini shop: All the best swimwear brands and trends for the summer days ahead.
Summer has finally arrived. Feel the warmth of the sunshine beating down on your (suncreamed!) face, and let the sound of the waves gently lapping on the shore soothe your mind. Heaven! Apart from one pesky hurdle – the annual bikini shop. While it fills some with glee, for most it’s a dreaded shopping excursion. Thanks to the cold winter months (and the comfort food eating that goes with it!), it’s often a rude awakening to have to be seen in such little clothing. Add to that the tiny changing rooms and endless options – I’m panicking just thinking about it! But it doesn’t have to be a hassle. To ease the experience, we’ve done the research for you, breaking down this season’s key swimwear trends and how to wear them, so you know exactly what to look out for.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Graphic and digital prints will be huge this season, with fearsome animals, tropical sunsets and exotic landscapes leading the pack. Choose a bikini with cheeky animal print bottoms or opt for a sexy one piece with a low scooped back. The detailed graphic prints are statement pieces, and with a number of different designs and styles on offer, are suitable for anyone confident enough to wear them!
Brand of choice: We Are Handsome.
Retro, sexy and offering a little bit more coverage than normal bikinis, high waisted bikini bottoms are go-to for those who are a little shy come bikini season. Finishing at your waist rather than on your hips means any bits of your tummy you may not want to show off are covered, allowing you to instead flaunt those killer abs! They are also a great way to show off your curves too. Keep the look youthful by choosing bright colours and prints, or channel a 50s pin up with polka dots and monochrome.
Brands of choice: Topshop and Seafolly
Or should that be Triangl? If you don’t understand what we mean by that, where have you been? Thanks to the cult swimwear label, the humble triangle bikini has been given a makeover, using neoprene in pastel colours with contrasting black binding to create a distinctive design. The triangle bikini top is a practical style that works both for lazing on the beach and for getting active on the surfboard. Simple but stylish, these bikinis have been spotted on everyone from Kim Kardashian, to bloggers, to the girl sunbathing on the beach next to you.
Brand of Choice: Triangl
As the same material wetsuits are made of, it makes sense that neoprene is the hottest material for bikinis this season. Aside from its obviously practical qualities, the overall effect is very sports luxe and slightly futuristic. The use of neoprene presents new opportunities for designers to experiment with shapes and cuts, which means there are some gorgeous neoprene options on the market. Make a statement by going for bold neon colours and bandeau shapes with a difference. Give yourself extra points for those with sporty detailing, like zips.
Brand of Choice: NPV Swimwear
If brights aren’t really your thing, fear not – the fashion industry’s love of black and white is going nowhere. A monochrome combo makes any bikini or one piece look instantly chic-er and more expensive. Keep things interesting by choosing black and white numbers with interesting detailing – think cut outs, low backs or striped and spotty designs.
Brand of Choice: JETS
The return of the One Piece
Finally, if bikinis really aren’t working for you, embrace the one piece. No longer relegated to mummy territory, the season’s swimming costumes are perhaps even sexier than their separate counterparts. There really is truth to the old adage that leaving some things to the imagination is even more attractive than putting it all on show (although we’re all for if you’ve got it, flaunt it!) Once again, the trick is to look for one pieces that have a modern twist – whether that’s an interesting cut or bold geometric print. Simple works too – who can forget Pamela Anderson’s iconic red Baywatch one piece? To help you recreate that unforgettable scene this summer, we’ve found the perfect copy from Lara Bingle’s swimwear collection for Cotton On. As for the Hoff, we’re afraid you’re on your own.