Smart travelers know that some of the best deals of the season are in spring, before the beaches get crowded. To prep for a seaside trip in May, or to get a jump on a summer of poolside barbecues and weekend escapes, we've rounded up our favorite swim looks for the season.
Sail into Summer with a Nautical Vibe
Channel the preppy charm of the Northeast by going nautical. Keys to the look include clean cuts, bold classic colors (like red, yellow, navy blue and Kelly green) and of course Breton stripes. You can also incorporate other nautical elements as well, such as round grommets (to reference portholes), rope embellishments, anchor motifs, or a canvas beach bag made of old sails.
This anchor-printed maillot from J.Crew has a flattering sweetheart neckline ($125).
A red and white striped long-sleeve tee, like this one from Forever 21, is cropped for a languid feel. ($9.80).
Seersucker is a New England favorite and looks handsome as a men's swim trunk. This one by Land's End is given modern update: a handy cargo pocket ($50).
A classic boat shoe is the perfect accompaniment for preppy styles. This version (pictured) is by Sperry Top-Sider and salt-stained for a worn-in look ($90).
Update your tried and true shorts by adding this rope toggle belt by Ralph Lauren ($125).
A sturdy bag, like this Blue Crab Tote by Sea Bags ($130) made of recycled sails, should be roomy enough to store all your seaside wares.
Catch a Sporty Surf Look
Surfer-inspired pieces have been spotted both on and off the waves. Channel your inner wave rider by investing in neoprene, like a rash guard or sporty two-piece. For color palette, both '80s neon and '50s pastels (think minty green, light blue or soft coral) have been in-line with trends. Men can snag a traditional surfer board short that is both functional and fun, while women can cover-up with a shorter version in a lively print.
Target is a great place to score affordable mix-and-match swim separates, such as this sporty neon bandeau top and matching bottom ($14.99 each).
This mint and sky blue color-blocked men's board short by Quiksilver is the perfect pair for sunny days ($69.50).
Roxy's "Free Fall" women's board short (pictured) dries quickly, so you can be ready to go for an après-beach cocktail ($46),
Ward off aging sun rays with this pastel baseball cap available at Urban Outfitters ($39).
Go with a Globe-Trotting Bohemian Style
Boho style tends to reference both the worldly globe-trotter and laid-back island girl. Prints, especially of the Hawaiian or palm tree variety, are a quick solution. Also keep in mind that details, like hand-knit bags or beading accents, can up your fashion quotient.
A loose cover-up, like this one in a palm tree print from Zara, goes perfectly with wavy beach hair ($35.90).
Or a wispy maxi skirt is a romantic way to go. This gauze style at Old Navy comes in both solids and prints for packing versatility ($29.94).
Give a nod to craftsmanship, such as the center-beaded detail on this Mara Hoffman turquoise bikini ($220).
Men can channel exotic island style with this Bengal-print short by French brand Vilebrequin ($240).
Flat leather sandals, like these by Rebecca Minkoff (pictured) with a touch of metallic, are comfortable and give you just the right glow ($275).
Don't forget your sunscreen, which you can toss into this vibrant woven beach bag ($245).
Photo Credits: 1 2012 Sperry Top Sider; 2 Dogfunk.com; 3 Shopbop.com