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Swimwear Trends: 6 Chic Styles for this Summer

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Finally! Through the past few years, swimwear designers are slowly becoming more in tune with diverse and unique shoppers and offering us a wider range of styles to fit our individual personalities.

Years ago I can remember perusing the conventional assortment in my local department store — full of prints and styles that never really allowed me to express my style as an individual. For too long we’ve been forced to choose between dowdy one-pieces or generic-looking bikinis that seemed to get skimpier and less practical each summer. I wanted something fun, sexy, and unique!

Now as designers have begun to step up their game, I am faced with the exciting task of choosing my beachwear for the season! So many different shapes, silhouettes, and detailing make for a much more enjoyable and rewarding shopping experience. Here I have highlighted my top six swimwear trends for 2012 that I can’t wait to show off poolside this summer.

Blast From The Past

Retro style has been trending for a few summers now and I just love how these pin-up pieces are finally making it into the mainstream marketplace. Inspired by our favorite decades past, these bathing suits are flattering on a wide variety of bodies and are sure to get you noticed among the usual sea of outdated bikinis.

(From left to right) 1. Room And Diving Board bikini by Cherries Swim at www.modcloth.com; 2. Sailor Swimsuit by Fables By Barrie at www.fablesbybarrie.com; 3. Beach Betty bikini by One Teaspoon at www.modcloth.com; 4. Mesh Ruched Swimdress by Norma Kamali at www.neimanmarcus.com.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe has been adorning everything from skirts to purses this season, so why shouldn’t swimwear join in on the fun? Layers of fringe are a perfect way to add a little swing to your step and draw the eye away from any unsightly areas. And as an added bonus, fringe is a great way to transition from day to night, taking you from beach to bar, or from pool to life of the party.

(From left to right) 1. Fringe Benefits bikini by L*Space at www.lspace.com; 2. Sea Of Love bikini by Beach Bunny at www.beachbunnyswimwear.com; 3. Fringe printed one-piece by Free People at www.freepeople.com; 4. Surya Fringe bikini by Tori Praver at www.revolveclothing.com.

Still Sexy

One-piece bathing suits no longer have to be worn solely for function and practicality. Now we can cover up and still look hot with these super sexy suits guaranteed to garner as much attention as the barely-there bikini. Whether you prefer fuller coverage with provocative detailing or to be bolder and more revealing in a unique way, these pieces have got you covered.

(From left to right) 1. Colorblock Scuba swimsuit by Michael Kors at www.michaelkors.com; 2. Zeus Wild Flower one-piece by Aqua Di Lara at www.aquadilara.com; 3. The Bridget one-piece by Tavik at www.karmaloop.com; 4. Cindy swimsuit by Minimale Animale at www.urbanoutfitters.com.

Flirty Flounces

Ruffles always make for a cute and feminine detail; however, this season many swimwear designers have taken it up a notch and incorporated the flounce into their collections. This ruffled bandeau or tank is still flirty and playful but with a fresh new attitude. And the wide ruffle on top does a great job balancing out a full bottom, a perfect solution for any pear-shaped gal.

(From left to right) 1. Kristen Ruffle bikini by Zinke at www.shopzinke.com; 2. Two Piece Half-Top bikini by Mara Hoffman at www.saksfifthavenue.com; 3. Penny Ruffle bikini by O’neill at www.swell.com; 4. Lovey one-piece by Kushcush at www.kushcush.com.

Give ‘em The Bold Shoulder

Why not take a tip from the Grecian goddesses this season in a one-shouldered suit? This sexy asymmetrical look will show off your gorgeous summer skin without any slipping and sliding. Try a simple more basic shape or get creative with twists, keyholes or hardware. Either way this look is a sensible blend of fashion and practicality.

(From left to right) 1. Plenteous Tiles bikini by Marza Genesi Sea at www.anthropologie.com; 2. Surfers Point one-piece by 6 Shore Road at www.revolveclothing.com; 3. Bendito Candy bikini by Agua Bendita at www.laurela.com; 4. Macrame One Shoulder bikini by Becca at www.bloomingdales.com.

C’mon Get Strappy

Strappy detailing has been big these past few summers and the look is not going away anytime soon. Each season they get sexier, more creative, and enticing. With such a forward look, the color choice is often black to lend a sophisticated more serious edge. These suits are not for the faint of heart, and may also yield some awkward tan lines, but the looks you’re sure to garner from admiring passers by make it worth the investment.

(From left to right) 1. Kinky bikini by Have Faith at www.havefaith.com; 2. Muy Caliente bikini by Luli Fama at www.lulifama.com; 3. Eagles Shadow bikini by One Teaspoon at www.nastygal.com; 4. Very Sexy Strappy Bikini by Victoria’s Secret at www.victoriassecret.com.

What are your takes on these bold trends? Do you prefer to keep it simple at the beach or do you play up the fashion?


Lingerie designer and founder of WonderLust Lingerie. I specialize in fashion and trend pertaining to lingerie, sleepwear, hosiery and everything in between. I believe that the right kind of underwear can change your entire outlook for the day so finding a balance between fashion and function is key.

6 Comments on this post

  1. Marika says:

    I usually go through 3 swimsuits a year, so I am constantly looking for a new one as they are extremely hard to find for full busted women who want to do sports.

    If I find anything practical that remotely works it is sure to be black or grey. We full-busted girls do sports in public, so why can’t the suits be also pretty and colorful?

  2. Strange but “Retro style” still very competitive in new time ;)

  3. Leslie says:

    I’m about to have a baby and I’ve been pretty sad this year about missing out on swimsuit shopping. Now if I can just get my hands on that Norma Kamali one piece, it won’t be so bad.

  4. Elegy says:

    *obnoxious music warning

  5. Elegy says:

    I love the selection, but please put an obnoxious warning before the Luli Fama link.

  6. Jame says:

    Really excited about the retro suits, and that’s on my list. As an H cup, a bra sized suit is essential, I am hoping for more options!

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