After a dismally distant year, you can feel a collective desire for a scantily-clad summer. Whether the shedding of our protective fleece layers signals an onslaught of exposed thongs or just an uptick in vaccine-friendly cold-shoulder tops, one thing is for certain: Swimwear will be hotter than ever.
"Swimwear can instantly transport you to a new state of mind," Mikoh's co-founder Kalani Miller tells Fashionista, noting that the swim market has remained strong throughout the pandemic. "I feel like consumers were buying in hopes of a summer getaway, or they were learning to appreciate and embrace their closer surroundings with a staycation."
Jade Swim's Brittany Kozerski attributes the enduring relevance of bikinis and one-pieces to their versatility: Over the last year, the editor-turned-designer noticed several of her styles being worn as alternatives to undergarments and tops.
"There weren't many rules last summer as we all figured things out, so customers started realizing that swimwear doesn't have to just be for the hours you're at the beach or by the pool," Kozerski says, adding that a spike in swim sales coincided with the sweatpants craze.
Francesca Aiello, the Malibu-raised creator of Frankies Bikinis, agrees: "During the time that we have all been staying at home, swimwear was actually playing a huge role in a lot of people's wardrobe. Whether it was having fun taking Instagram photos, tanning in their backyard or simply wanting to put on a pair of sweats with a cute bikini top, people were really looking to swimwear. I think that as we enter the summer months, this will continue, and that the newness of prints, colors and designs will be really exciting for customers."
In the spirit of Hot Girl (and Vax) Summer, we're rounding up some of the most fun, mood-boosting swim trends, with the help of top swimwear designers.
"I strongly believe you'll be seeing swimwear everywhere, all summer long, styled in a variety of ways — basically swimwear will be our second skin all summer," Kozerski says.
Swimsuits with ruched details are high on Jade Swim's list of best sellers: Kozerski, along with Isa Boulder and Zimmermann, have created elevated takes on the gathered fabric trend with metallic shimmer finishes. "Customers love it because it's a subtle update to our normal Matte fabric that adds a luxe and unique touch to our minimal styles," she says.
"I'm really loving the high-waisted look right now for summer," says Miller. "There's a certain nostalgia that is tied to the style that just screams 'classic beach day,' and it's fun to mix it up from a classic brief bottom."
"Cut-out styles not only look so fun, but they can also be worn as a bodysuit with your favorite shorts or pants," says Aiello, who prefers the multipurpose garment in one-piece form. Two-piece versions with keyhole and side cut-outs are equally as cool.
Accentuate your waist with a delicate tie detail. A dainty belt or extra-long straps that wrap around your belly are quietly chic ways to add intrigue to any silhouette.
Aiello says she's been experimenting with more swim-safe fabrics that are different from the typical nylon/spandex blend, and she's not alone: This season is all about textures — mainly soft and stretch terry fabrics. Make a splash in the comfy, made-for-pool sets with a calming pastel color story.
"You can't go wrong with a simple silhouette that packs a punch with a bright and statement-making color or print," says Oleema Miller, the other half of the sister duo behind Mikoh. "Happy hues like bright yellows, vibrant reds, as well as muted and natural earth tones are all major for the season." You'll see similarly bright hues in Kozerski's summer collection: "I went all out with bright colors because of the strong desire to vacation and be seen."
With Hot Girl Summer on deck, there's never been a better time to embrace high-cut styles. "We're seeing our customers loving styles that show more skin," explains Kozerski. "The Expose Thong was previously a slower seller and is now one of the top styles."
"I love how these loud prints can really brighten up your day and your mood when you put them on, and we can all use a little bit of extra joy right now," says Aiello, who's abstract patterns have been covering our social media feeds as of late. "I needed to design pieces that would make people excited and happy, not only when they are wearing the bikini but even when they simply receive the package and take the product out."
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