There’s not much that gets me more excited for the upcoming summer than the mere prospect of sun kissed skin, warm evenings out on the patio, and finally packing away those thick winter knits; but shopping for new swimwear certainly comes close. The mere act of window shopping for swimsuits and summer gear gives me the energy and dopamine-boost I need to get through these (hopefully) final few days of cold weather here in the northern hemisphere. The great thing about swimwear is the unmatched versatility and variety that stretches from the purely functional “elite swimmer” one-piece, to the “I probably shouldn’t actually get this wet, but damn do I look good wearing it!” bikinis - and everything in between.
In recent years we’ve started seeing the swim scene (or at least pool scene) take on many of the trends and styles from the runways of NY and Paris fashion week and this summer, there will be more than a few of the top styles finding their way directly from the catwalk to the pool deck. Regardless of how you plan to spend your long summer days, these sizzling hot swimwear trends are sure to bring the heat.
1. Crochet & Knit Bikinis
Our first swimwear of the season is coming straight from NYFW’s Spring 2022 “kitschy knits” collection, in the form of crochet bikinis - talk about hand crafted couture! While admittedly more about fashion than function, the Bohemian aesthetic of a knit bikini will have all eyes on you this season. (Don’t worry, if you’re looking for something to wear while getting in your morning workout in at the lap pool, we’ve got that covered, too.) The great thing about a knit bikini is that its texture and substance make it a totally workable outfit, so you can just throw on a wrap skirt or pair of shorts and you’re ready for a day at the beach or out and about.
Image: Hollywood Life
Coming in a range from “barely there” halters to high neck coverage, crochet bikinis come in basically every silhouette you can think of, and if you’re feeling especially ambitious (or you’re just much more talented than I) you could even create your own unique suit to fit whatever colors, patterns, or silhouette you’re feeling.
If you’re concerned about getting even exposure across your shoulders, anything strapless is going to be your best friend, and there will be no shortage of bandeau-style bikinis to choose for. Bandeau bikini tops also make a fantastic substitute for a strapless bra so you can just throw on a summer dress to head out for drinks after a day at the pool. Although strapless by nature, many bandeau suits do come with thin, detachable straps if you would prefer the comfort of a little more support. The bandeau top has certainly been a staple for a number of years but we’re going to see its fandom soar this season with center ties, bold prints, and some mixing and matching with a few other styles on our list.
3. Cut outs
Another swimwear look that has found its way from the runways of Fashion Week, cut outs are making a huge splash in this season’s swimwear. While one pieces were once the only option for women’s swimwear, the sexual revolution of the ‘60s saw bikinis take a strangle hold on beach wear and they have never looked back. But sexy cut outs that allow for as little or as much coverage as desired have really given one-piece swimsuits a fighting chance in the race. They come with the trustworthiness of a one-piece (no risk of losing your bottoms on a rogue dive or strings coming loose), with all the sexiness and allure of a red-carpet ensemble. Truly a win-win situation, so long as you’re not concerned about funky and questionable tan lines.
4. ‘80s High Rise
We’re riding the ‘80s wave right into summer with the unmistakably ‘80s high-cut swimsuits. Anyone who has ever seen the first few seasons of Baywatch would swear that the bottom of Pamela Anderson’s swimsuit was actually resting on top of her hip bones - it’s what’s known as “Cheeky”, or “Cheekiest” as it’s marketed in some Gen Z-fueled swimwear collections. As a direct descendant of the time’s ever popular bodysuit, the high cut gives off sexy and athletic vibes as the style really elongates the legs while the higher waist creates a perfect hour-glass figure (not to mention those of us with more hip will find this style way more comfortable).
The reason the style has stood the test of time is because it looks great on every body type. Just like in the ‘80s, these suits come in a variety of styles ranging from high-waisted bikinis to extremely low cut one-pieces, and everything in between. This trend is crossing borders into basically every other style on this list as well making the ’80 High Rise one of the most dominant trends of the summer.
5. Belted Suits
As in fashion from every season, a simple belt has the ability to totally transform an outfit and a silhouette, so it was only a matter of time before this fashion hack joined the swim scene. Although one-pieces are typically meant to be fairly form-fitting, a well fitted belt really emphasizes the hourglass allusion. (And over time if the stretch in your suit begins to fail to hold shape, that fashionable belt may begin to be functional too.)
We realize this style has been slowly growing over the past couple of years but 2022 looks to be its biggest summer yet with more brands and designers releasing their own spin on the trend, like Gucci’s ‘70s jersey v-neck with their classic double G hardware front and center and Tory Burch’s animal print, tie-front one-piece. Up until now, bikini individuality was all about unique patterns, colors, and shape, but now that accessorized suits have entered the chat even the most demure of belts is sure to draw the eye.
6. Terry Cloth
If you like the terry cloth sandals from our 2022 Spring Footwear Guide, you’re going to love these matching towel bikinis. Fashion, across the board, has started trending toward a more textured movement with the likes of knits, sequins, and lace taking center stage, but this summer it’s time for terry cloth’s moment in the sun. You may be getting subtle Y2K nostalgia from when towel dresses and matching sets were everywhere because although terry cloth is a staple of the ‘00s, it was only a couple of summers ago (2020-2021) that matching sets of the cotton fabric were all over popular swimwear brands like Frankies Bikinis, and not to mention celebrity and influencer packing lists (which as we know more often than not dictates the popularity of a material and trend).
That being said, this impossibly chic- kini rendition of the fabric style is, in our opinion, an improvement when it comes to versatility, comfort, and style if you consider the rockabilly collared terry cloth dresses of the ‘60s, or the one-piece extended tube-top version of the early 2000s. Talk about chafing.
While it may be another material that doesn’t scream “swimwear” at first thought, towel material does dry quickly (I mean, until now that was basically its only job), so it’s the perfect swimwear for a post-swim lounge under the sun umbrella. Bonus points for always having a matching outfit for the day at the beach with endless styles of both bikini and sandals to choose from.
7. Sport-Inspired One Pieces
Much like bodysuits being created to give gymnasts the comfort and mobility to run, flip, kick, and twirl, surf-inspired one pieces are designed to stay put and withstand everything from the smooth, melodic strokes of swimming all the way up to being pummelled by waves in the surf. These suits can literally double as a body suit, so if you need to work until noon but want to be at the beach by 1:00 - creating the illusion of business casual has never been easier. They also come in a variety of styles ranging from tank sleeves to cap sleeves, all the way to long sleeve suits; so they’re even easier to meld into your summer wardrobe than you thought.