If you’re a woman who wrapped up her swimsuit shopping before Memorial Day – or even earlier in time for spring break or a winter getaway – good for you.
Not the long-range planning type? Well, don’t let that pool-party invitation send you into a panic. Don’t fret if your old suit is looking droopy, faded or outdated. Even though pickings for late spring/early summer are slimming down, there’s still time to shop for an up-to-the-moment swimsuit, catch a great sale or add a new style or color to your existing collection.
Trends include high-waisted bottoms, crochet, cutouts, tribal and global prints, surfer styles and, again this season, ruffles and ruching.
Tiered ruffles on the front of tankinis and one-piece suits – or ruching on the front and back – are especially popular. Ruching is a technique in which fabric is gathered to flatter the figure.
“Ruffles and ruching camouflage the waistline,” said Lynn Siegel, of Blum’s Swimwear & Intimate Apparel, 5727 Main St., Williamsville.
Color-wise, teal is always good as is coral, Siegel said. Magenta and purples are popular, and there’s also been a resurgence of different shades of green – the medium- to stronger-greens, not pastels.
Of course black – or black-and-white – swimsuits never go out of style.
But Siegel has a suggestion: “Black is your classic, but it’s always nice to go with navy blue – or indigo. It’s not that classic black, but it still gives you that darkness and that feeling of feeling smaller,” Siegel said.
Although many women prefer perusing the racks at department or specialty stores and heading off to the fitting room, online shoppers have tools available.
Lands’ End offers the online Swim Finder to help a woman find a swimsuit that matches her body, lifestyle and design preferences. Women answer several questions regarding size, body shape, favorite style, etc., and then are provided with recommended styles from the company’s offerings. Macys.com invites online users to shop by body type, style (one piece, bikini, tankini, etc.) or this season’s trends. You can also mix and match tops, bottoms and cover-ups online from the different brands Macy’s offers.
A closer look at some of the trends:
• High-waisted bottoms. Whether retro-looking or sleek and sporty, these swimsuit bottoms echo the trend in high-waisted shorts and jeans.
“I know they’ve been out there for a few seasons, but this spring has been the strongest call-out for high-waisted bottoms,” Siegel said.
• Corset-style tops: Styled with more material under the bust line, these are cropped to varying degrees. Lace-up backs add to the corset-inspired look.
• Ruffles: They aren’t just for tankinis and one-piece suits. Look for ruffles on bikini tops (and some bottoms), too.
“Ruffles on top aren’t just for show – they add oomph up top and balance a curvier bottom,” noted People StyleWatch magazine in the June issue.
• Cutouts and straps: Macy’s describes the look this way on its website: Cutouts show hints of skin and straps bridge the gaps “flirtatiously.”
• Skirted bottoms: Another style that can look cute, glamorous or as sporty as a tennis skirt, such as Lands’ End SwimMini with front vent or Tommy Bahama’s blue skirted swim bottom with striped, banded waistband that ties in front (lordandtaylor.com). Swim dresses are another option.
• Surfer style: Rash guards, board shorts and swim shirts provide surfers, swimmers and others heading to the shore with extra coverage from the sun. Lands’ End (landsend.com) offers them in UPF fabrics for the entire family, for example, including long- and short-sleeve swim tees in solids, stripes, prints and color-block designs.
• More coverage and support: If it’s been quite some time since you bought a swimsuit – years? – you’ll likely be surprised at the fabrics and techniques that go into creating swimsuits for women of every size. You’ll hear or read about “Slimming power,” “Maximum control” and “Built-in support.”
“Companies are trying to respond to the American woman and what she is looking for – and that is tummy control as well as control material sometimes in the back,” Siegel said. Options here include Miraclesuit with the slogan “Look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds.”
• Bold prints: Bright florals, geometrics, sporty stripes and what the fashion industry calls tribal and global prints come in swimsuits of all styles. Even itsy-bitsy bikinis sport bold prints. You can also count on animal prints and – even more exotic – faux snakeskins.
• Mix-and-match: This popular option not only enables women to buy different sizes for top and bottom but also to mix solids and patterns. While some may choose to do this to avoid looking too matchy-matchy or create their own look, it also enables shoppers to put together a more flattering combo.
• Versatile cover-ups. The perfect finish to your swimsuit, some cover-ups are designed to be slightly sheer or see-through, such as a peek-a-boo crochet cover-up. Others are fashioned as a dress – possibly a bra-friendly style – to wear beyond the beach or backyard.
Just add sandals and jewelry – and enjoy lunch at an outdoor café.