Catwalk to Boardwalk: 20 Hot Swim Styles

by Christa Fletcher

Overview

Summer is the time to shake things up with your look. And, we dare you to bare that bold inner fashionista in swimwear with attitude! Get inspiration from these hot runway trends by designers like Trina Turk and Karen Neilsen. Create your own version of these swim styles for the boardwalk, or lounging poolside. Just remember, nothing says confidence like an iconic swimsuit uniquely styled by Y.O.U.

Rock the Color Block

Pump up the color volume by wearing brights together on the top, bottom or both (depending on your bathing suit options). Relish in your favorite colors by finding flattering color pairings. Gray piping separates the colors in this Karen Neilsen swimsuit adding depth and sophistication. You can achieve a similar look in two- or one-pieces as long as you like the color combinations.

Mixing Stripes & Plaid

Prints are fun and flirty for swimwear, so why not mix them up? Stripes and plaids can modify your figure with optical illusions to minimize or accent parts of your figure. Plus, the combination of the two, like this David Jones swimsuit, can be cute and modern. Get a fresh look for summer by pairing prints!

Get Wetsuit Inspired

Wetsuits aren’t just for surfers anymore. Several designers like Karen Neilsen are riding the wave of wetsuit inspiration by crafting swimsuits like this pink and coral number with a black zipper. The contouring details and flattering lines of this bathing suit are ideal for women with athletic shapes or those who are active.

Play Up Paisley

Embrace ethnic prints like paisley with gemstone jewelry, gold filigree and bangles. You'll feel like you're on vacation an ocean away, even if you're only at the community pool. Choose rich hues like azure, or fuchsia, like this swimsuit by Trina Turk. Don't be afraid to wear colorful cover-ups and shoes. Remember, it all works on a getaway.

Embellish Neutrals

If bright colors aren’t your thing, wear neutrals that are embellished with colorful or metallic hardware. This sandy beige bathing suit by Trina Turk has a pop of turquoise adding luxury to this simple suit. You can customize your own swimsuit with decorative materials or hardware from a fabric store.

To Tie-Dye For

Channel your inner psychedelic goddess and go glam with tie-dye prints in vibrant colors. Whether you wear a one-shoulder one-piece like this design by Karen Neilsen, or opt for a tri-colored bikini, pair your swimsuit with coordinating accessories for a fresh take on this 60s throwback.

Go, Go, Bandeau

Avoid tan lines from straps when you wear a bandeau top. Pair low-rise bottoms in a rich color like this lime green Trina Turk design, pictured above. Feel free to mix and match different bottoms with bandeaus, just make sure the weight of the piece is balanced with your shape. Have fun with accents or chunky accessories for a fresh look that is all your own.

Flashback to 80s Neon

Let your inner glow shine brightly on the outside by wearing neon -- it's electric! Plus, it makes your tan look a little deeper, too. Try colors that contrast, but do not clash. Green and yellow look sporty, while pink and yellow is like sherbet -- perfect for summer. Use this Karen Neilsen bathing suit as your guide to a youthful 80s flashback swim style.

Hello, Retro

Embrace your curves with figure-shaping bottoms like this high-waisted pair designed by Zimmerman. Choose a modern print like the blue and white geometric grid printed on this swimsuit for a sleek update to this silhouette. Work this look with minimal jewelry and a high hairdo to elongate your body.

Haute Hippie

Dust off those Lennon shades and let the fringe loose. This summer, you're all about taking it easy, bohemian style. Wear earthy essentials and pair them with a bold-hued bathing suit, like this royal blue bathing suit by Karen Neilsen. Look for natural-looking wood or bamboo finishes for a haute hippie swim look that will bring you inner peace.

Feminine Flourishes

Embrace the classic print of the season: flowers. With florals and ruffles and deep V-necks (oh my!), you can take a daring bathing suit silhouette and make it high fashion. Opting for a grown-up print that is large or more abstract like this Terri Donna pattern will keep your swim style from being too cutesy or outdated. Add a little whimsy with floral accessories or a woven straw beach tote.

Geometric Chic

Basic styling is like good algebra -- but the perfect swimwear is all geometry. Work your angles in gorgeous colors like Terri Donna's monokini in pink, purple, white and yellow. You'll feel confident in your coverage and you can wear fun zigzagging accessories to complement your water-ready attire all summer long.

To the Tee

Everyone has a favorite T-shirt. It's comfortable, fitted and does just the right thing for your arms. Get more coverage on the beach and still be sexy in a short-sleeved wetsuit-inspired bathing suit. Ideal for boogie boarding, body surfing or just looking cute, these more conservative swim styles prove that sometimes less skin, is more. Find a beautiful print like this supernova-infused patterned one-piece by Karen Neilsen and take that zipper down to a flattering V-neck. Wowza.

Sashay in Applique

With tribal and geometric prints rocking the runways, you may want to take advantage of the bold colors and shapes of the season. Take your glamour up a notch with appliques and embroidery to create a dramatic look inspired by Terri Donna's design above. Who says you have to play it safe? We're gaga for anything this fun.

Black Beauty

Keep it classic and chic with a no frill, all chill, style by wearing a black swimsuit. Wear vibrant beach cover-ups for a touch of flair, but keep your swimwear basic in black. Whether your suit is a one-piece like this Terri Donna design, or a two-piece, ruching adds texture to show off your curves.

Superwoman of Swim

Embrace your inner superhero in primary colors and a belt. Model Miranda Kerr shows off her figure in this low-cut collared swimsuit that flirts the boundary between swimwear and costume. David Jones' design uses cream to accent the bust and navy to minimize the bottom. Choose a swimsuit with a small belt that will flatter your shape with its placement, you don't want it to make your hips look wider.

Ruffles Have Ridges

Instead of accenting your swimsuit with a ruffle edge, go big with one large ruffle for the top. It's both retro and tropical, especially in a dramatic color like the hot pink shown in this is design by Nicolita. Avoid overdoing the ruffles by wearing minimalist bottoms; they can have them in the back, but too many in the front will look childish.

Off-Shoulder Style

Go beyond boring swimsuit straps and opt for a more elegant off-shoulder top. This Sonia Vera design delivers poolside sophistication with an olive green accent strap. It's a bandeau, with a little something special. Plus, it won't dig in to your arm because of the wideness of the strap. Coordinate swim bottoms with complementary or matching colors for a gorgeous look all your own.

Chic in Chevron

Balance the simplicity of a black and white suit by finding one with chevron stripes. You can even add a little (waterproof) belt for some extra flair. Keep stripes in an area you want to emphasize because it will draw the eye to that part of your body. What else is hot about this Nicolita suit? The fact that a woman of any age can wear it.

Just Add Sleeves

There's nothing wrong with adding a bit of coverage, like this navy Sonia Vera swimsuit. Ideal for cooler days, or for those who sunburn easily, a sleeved swimsuit will flatter many body types, especially in a boat neck style. Personalize your look by mismatching bottoms or adding some pretty accessories, like dangling earring or a stack of bracelets. Protected and

References

Photo Credits

  • Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

About the Author

Christa Fletcher is the Style Editor for eHow.com. She has written for "Marie Claire," "Women's eNews," and "InterviewHer.com." Christa received her Master's degree in magazine journalism from NYU and was an online editor for Channel One News. Her favorite NYC moments included meeting fashion designer Michael Kors at Fashion’s Night Out and appearing on TLC's, “Say Yes to the Dress.”