Monday, 7 October 2013

How To: Swimsuit Styling

This post originally appeared on You can read it on Birdee here.
When I was a teenager buying a swimsuit was an immensely painful process. Living in a regional area, I basically only had a few local surf-shops available to me and from that I assumed that the only style of swimmers that existed were those teeny tiny triangle-top bikinis.  Once a year when I needed a new swimsuit this caused a lot of angst about my small bust which I (very wrongly) equated with being less of a woman. On the other hand, any one-pieces were always very functional, unflattering, and, I thought, only worn by little kids.  However, I know now that the problem was with the swimsuits, not my body. There are in fact so many different styles of swimsuit out there, and I wish I’d found out about them sooner. I’ll be running through all the different types of swimsuit I’ve discovered so far, and also demonstrating how to style them up into an outfit – swimmers need not just be for swimming in!

Retro-style bikinis  
I feel far more comfortable in this style of bikini for the simple fact that they are not flimsy, and are also very flattering. They make running around at the beach or pool a lot easier, anyway, as you’re not constantly having to readjust and double check that your various bits aren’t flying out.
These swimmers are great with anything high-waisted. A lace or crochet top thrown over the top works perfectly, and longer-style bandeau tops can be worn with high-waisted skirts and shorts in matching colours.

Modern One-pieces
I’ve seen some seriously great designs on one-pieces lately. Two unicorns chilling in an ice-kingdom? Check. The other day I saw a swimsuit covered in photo-realistic ice-creams. It was beautiful. These swimsuits are far more interesting than the strictly functional and sporty one-pieces that I remember.

Retro-style one-pieces
A lot of stores have been making replica vintage one-pieces lately, with very flattering cuts and adorable prints. This Cadillac swimsuit below is one of my favourite pieces ever:
Plus, they look damn good with a pair of high-waisted shorts. This particular swimsuit was from Asos, though Modcloth also has a large range of retro-style one-piece bathing suits – however they tend to be a little pricey and I’ve never bought one for myself. They do have good reviews, but if it doesn’t fit it’s somewhat hard to return, because they’re based in America! A solution for those wary of buying swimwear online is below. 

Vintage one-pieces
I have a friend who somehow manages to always find incredible one-pieces from Vinnies and Salvos, but I don’t know how she does it – the swimsuit pictured below is actually from a vintage boutique. That means it was pricier due to it being hand-picked (around $40), however I think it was completely worth the purchase because it can also very easily be worn as a top. But I always make sure to check the swimsuit section in op-shops, just in case (I’m still on the lookout for that sparkly gold one-piece).

A vintage one-piece looks fantastic with a long vintage skirt or some high-waisted shorts and a cropped jacket. 

Modern bikinis  
Okay, so I know that I just had a bit of a rant about these, but they are okay if you can find the right one for you (in my case, a top with enough fabric that actually covers my bust). They are for those summer days when you’ve bothered to remove any body hair that’s grown outside those ridiculously tiny confines. And they do look cute with a pinafore style dress, I’ll give them that.

That all said: summer really shouldn’t be about focusing on your appearance. You don’t exist just to look pretty. But it’s nice to own some swimmers that you feel confident in – then you can forget about them and have fun.

1st Swimsuit is from ASOS (sold out, but this is similar), 2nd swimsuit is from Romwe (review here), 3rd swimsuit is from ASOS (sold out), 4th swimsuit is from Asos (sold out), 5th is thrifted and 6th is from a store in Italy whose name I forget.

Have you got any swimwear tips you want to share?


  1. I've always had trouble picking a swimsuit I really loved. this summer was the first time since I was a kid that I got one I felt really comfortable in. Usually I feel they are too skimpy, so I like to get the retro high-waisted bottoms & the boy-shorts type!

    I love your Cadillac swimsuit the most, it's gorgeous!

  2. omg your ideas for the mix and match...pure gold!!!

  3. love that unicorn one-piece. Such a great idea for a post, as well. I like wearing bikini tops to raves and stuff sometimes, they can be seriously versatile...

  4. Love how you worked swim wear into everyday wear! I'm getting ideas now!

    Yuen @ The Craziest Paradigm - a 'lil bit of rust & stardust

  5. where did you get that dreamy unicorn suit!?

  6. Love your closing remarks about having fun rather than worrying about your body!

  7. Nice swimsuit and bodysuit collection, the one with
    the unicorn print is my favorite c: You have a lovely
    blog as well! c: Xx

  8. I really love all of these. I haven't even thought about styling it with clothes! My favorite is definitely the retro high waisted kind. I got one but it was super expensive and broke in 3 wears. I wish tops were more supporting like a bra. Swimsuits are so complicated!

    1. They do make swimsuit tops with underwire support, but they're definitely more expensive than the non-supporting swimsuit tops they usually sell.

  9. Swimsuits are the most difficult of fashion wears, and women probably spend the most time debating over them. They could be in the same genre as underwear, but we neither have to think about everyone in the immediate vicinity seeing us in our underwear nor the potential tan lines. I absolutely love your picture in the unicorn swimsuit. Your pose is so empowering!! Like you're saying, "I am woman. Hear me roar!" (or neigh because you're wearing unicorns)

  10. That unicorn one piece is amazing! And of course I love the vintage ones as well, those look really great alone and as an outfit!

  11. this is the best post ever even though we are having fall and winter in the Northern Hemisphere! lol
    I love the retro style a lot <3


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