After years of enduring the typical bikini versus one-piece seasonal campaign, summer 2011 has brought with it copious styles that venture far from the standard looks previously synonymous with beachwear. So in celebration of a new year and new options, here’s the season’s best bathing suits.
True, tiny, ruffled bikinis are no stranger to summer thanks to the looks introduced throughout the 1950s and 60s – but enough about retro, we’ll get to those in a minute. This year, ruffles, pinks, purples and bows dictate much of the seasonal norm, as streamlined looks have been replaced with embellishments that make bathing suits less of a functional piece, and more of a testimony to fashion. Worn with bracelets and high ponytails, the ‘beach party’ looks pioneered by the likes of Annette Funicello have come to define 2011, as minimalism takes a backseat to accessorizing.
You’ve likely heard a lot about vintage this season thanks to defined silhouettes and Mad Men-inspired skirt and blouse combinations, so it should come as no surprise that our tribute to yesteryear continues in the wide world of bathing suits. High-waisted bottoms, cross-over bikini tops and wrap-around one-pieces are defining much of the summertime landscape, as the exhibitionist aesthetic makes room for styles less inclined to show off everything and then some. The best part? While vintage styles are all the rage in 2011, their timeless looks will always have a place in beachwear.
This may seem repetitive after singing the praises of 50s and 60s comebacks, but anyone who makes thrifting a priority knows there’s quite a difference between vintage and retro. (And for those that don’t know, vintage usually means “actually old”.) Thus, with 70s and 80s fashions making up much of the 2011 spectrum, the styles pioneered by beach babes of decades past also encompass pool party fashion, as tube tops, boy bottoms, polka dots and loud colours evoke the Three’s Company vibe we remain so smitten with. (Just opt out of yarn hairbows.)
Rocking the Risqué
We saw cutout styles throughout summers past, but once again geometrically aware bathing suits provide an alternative to those not inclined to channel 1964. Using straps unconventionally, prints and deep-V necks; these Vegas-meets-80s options are the perfect solution for summering poolside and living vicariously through Ibitza, with glamour re-staking its claim on beaches, pools and patios.