With the mercury rising, we expect a calendar full of sun-bathing, backyard barbecues, and lazy afternoons spent seaside. In fashion-speak, it also means that it's swimsuit season. Though the process can be daunting, shopping for swimsuits is all about body type. Make the most of what you have whether it be a lithe frame (itsy, bitsy triangle tops), curved shape (retro styles are in), or sporty attitude (one-pieces and athletic zips). We've particularly been inspired by the four global hot weather locales below.
With its European vibe and island flavor, Ibiza is just about the original in bobo (bohemian bourgeois) style. In textiles, that translates to globe-trotter patterns, such as an Indian paisley print bikini (this set by J. Crew costs $52 for the twist-front bandeau top and $46 for the bottom). Pay attention to details and textures as well. Hawaii-based swimsuit line Acacia has teeny sexy designs, like this one in red with hippie-style braided ties and tassels ($92 each piece) that will surely turn heads on trendy Cala Jondal Beach, a favorite of yacht-owners. Whereas, a Missoni one-piece ($270) with the brand's trademark zig-zag knit will look right at home with a pair of loose palazzo pants while catching the sunset at Café del Mar. If you need a bit more support, look for a v-wire that will give busts a boost along with flattering definition. Lucky Brand has some spicy options, like this multi-print bikini with playful pom-pom details ($64 for the top, $56 for the bottom). Men can dabble in more adventurous patterns too. Skip the usual stripes or color-blocking in favor of artistic patterns in bright patterns, such as these Pop Art-inspired Etro trunks ($129).
This Brazilian destination hasn't earned a reputation for bathing beauties for nothing. Take a page from the residents, who make the most of their assets and aren't afraid to show some skin. Model-entrepreneur Tori Praver's swim line features strategic ruching, great for enhancing smaller busts. This cool mint triangle style ($99 for the top, $63 for the bottom) is just the refreshment needed at hot Leblon beach, packed with an attractive local scene and away from the touristy hubbub. Ruffles are another way to add feminine flair or to highlight curves. Australian brand Zimmermann knows their prints and cuts: this two-piece ($86) has flirty ruffles on top and bottom. Feel daring or have a killer summer tan already? Then go neon with this yellow fluorescent bikini set by Topshop ($52). Men flaunt their best too in tight square-legged bottoms—no baggy American-style board shorts here—like this stretchy Speedo style in UV block fabric ($46) and wide stripes. Even one-pieces are sexy while south of the Equator. Target has a salacious monokini ($24.99) that would look fabulous après-beach with a pair of loose drawstring linen pants at Polis Sucos, Rua Maria Quitéria 70, a popular sandwich and juice bar in Ipanema.
Jetsetting visitors have been calling Hvar the new Saint-Tropez—and for good reason. For the last few years running, stylish partiers have been descending on this rocky crag of an island for its flashy, rollicking scene. You'll fit right in by donning flashy accents and Euro-friendly patterns. Michael Kor's belted white and gold one-piece ($157.50) seems to have stepped out of a James Bond movie. The metallic trim will catch the sunlight just right.
Leopard print is an evergreen option and this Old Navy top and bottom ($19.94 each) won't break the bank. You'll still have plenty for water taxi fare to explore the nearby Pakleni Islands, pristine tiny isles in the Adriatic Sea. Even if you're more of the simple maillot kind of woman, try a sleek cut such as this plunging style by Zara ($49.50) that will pair with just about any cover-up as you stroll the beautiful town square. And while you're grooving to the pumping electronic music at après-beach hotspot Splash Beach Bar, you'll be happy you packed a fashion-forward bikini. New York-based label VPL makes some unique styles and patterns, such as this two-piece design in gray, black and Kelly green ($69 top, $57 bottom). Sure guys can go flashy too, but shorter and brighter is more chic. Naturally, Euro brand Hugo Boss offers several options including this Boss Black trunk in vibrant orange ($30.97).
Classic American swim style can go one of two directions: preppy or pin-up. In the posh enclave of Martha's Vineyard, both work equally well. A no-brainer, prepsters can always default to a nautical theme. Instead of the usual sailor stripes, up the ante with a fresh pattern like this sail print Aubin & Wills bikini ($70 halterneck top, $50 bottom). The sunny yellow details keep the navy and white pattern from looking too staid. American style often involves some sporty elements. This Lisa Marie Fernandez zip-up maillot ($385), which happens to be inspired by the all-American sex appeal of Patti Hansen, may be pricy, but the cut is just about perfect regardless of trends coming and going. For men's swim, patterns like stripes, seersucker and madras, as in this handsome Gant Rugger trunk ($125), are easy winners.
For those that think sun and sport don't necessarily go together, go retro and pin-up instead. Polka dot patterns are popular, and cut into an itsy, bitsy red Abercrombie & Fitch bikini ($17 for triangle top, $14 for bottom), will stand out on the beautiful and dramatic Aquinnah Beach. Or hang out at Edgartown's Memorial Wharf, to check out the boat and people scene, in a boy-leg one-piece by Seafolly ($157.42). The coquette gingham check and flattering neckline just might break some hearts.
Photo credits: Ibiza: Left, Sirene; Center left, theOutnet.com; Center right, Lucky Brand; Top right, J. Crew; Bottom right, Scoop NYC. Rio de Janeiro: Left, TOPMAN.COM; Center left, Target Brands, Inc.; Center right, Tori Praver; Top right, theOutnet.com; Bottom right, Speedo International. Hvar, Croatia: Left, VPL; Center left, NET-A-PORTER.COM; Center right, Gap Inc.; Top right, ZARA; Bottom right, Bloomingdale's, Inc. Martha's Vineyard: Left, NET-A-PORTER.COM; Center left, asos.com Ltd; Center right, Abercrombie & Fitch; Top right, Lisa Marie Fernandez; Bottom right, GANT Rugger.
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