Suit up – Swimwear goes sporty, sexy and pretty

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Gianni Bini chevron print flutter top and shirred, high-waist bottom, available at Dillard’s
LeMar white ruffle laser-cut bandeau top and print bottom, available at L.A. Sun & Sport.
Luli Fama peach bikini with high neck, available at L.A. Sun & Sport.
Maaji ruffle top bikini with black detail, available at L.A. Sun & Sport.
Paolita fan print two-piece with sweetheart-style top, available at L.A. Sun & Sport.
Tommy Bahama stripe, zip-front rashguard with bikini bottom, available at Dillard’s.
Gold bikini with wrap top by Vitamin A, available at L.A. Sun & Sport.

Suit up – Swimwear goes sporty, sexy and pretty

By Tim Farley

By Linda Miller

Come on, summer. Swimwear looks pretty tempting.

While most women don’t enjoy the dressing room experience, this season’s selection of swimwear seems to offer something for everyone.

Perennial favorites continue to be bikinis, tankinis, maillots and tanks, but those styles have been wrapped, flounced, sliced and cut out, giving them a fresh look for hot fun in the summertime.

High-waist bottoms give a retro vibe. Some tops stretch below the bust but not quite to the waist. Others are bralettes or simple triangle tops. Straps become accents for tops and bottoms. Many bikini tops get a dose of pretty from ruffles, flounces and flutters.

Megan Barnes, owner of L.A. Sun & Sport at Shoppes at Northpark, said ruffles on tops and bottoms are really prevalent in the junior market. What’s interesting, she said, is that fuller bottoms outsell more skimpy styles, even for high school and college girls.

With athletic and leisure wear so popular, it’s no surprise scuba or wet suit influences have spilled into swimwear for a sporty look.

Sporty, retro and more demure styles don’t attract all the attention, though. Sexy comes from cut-outs, mesh, slits, plunging necklines and skin-revealing monokinis.

A lot of styles have trends that overlap, such as a ruffle top with a high-waist bottom or side cut-outs on a high-neck tank, Barnes said.

While a black one-piece style is always classic and favored by many women, there’s no denying the appeal of prints and eye-popping color. There’s plenty of both from which to choose, including tribal prints, 3D effects, geometrics, dots, hot pink, coral and varying shades of blue.

Riley Ravencraft, manager for L.A. Sun & Swim, said many swimwear companies are known for their prints, and women have started shopping those brands for the signature looks. Prints also can make a suit stand out in a sea of solids, she said.

Here’s another surprise: When was the last time you saw a long-sleeve swimsuit? Sleeves add sophistication to classic or modern styles, making those suits the perfect complement for a skirt or shorts away from the water – or for someone who just needs protection from the sun.

It’s the swimsuit industry’s way of incorporating swim with sportswear, Barnes said. The more ways a suit can be worn, the better for everyone.

So, cover up a little or show a lot. Ruffle it up or go sporty. It really is your choice when it comes to swimwear this year.

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