One day last summer, feeling particularly pudgy and sitting by the pool with a couple of women who were decidedly not, I decided it was at long last time to make the switch to one-piece swimsuits. It was not a happy moment. One-pieces are uncomfortable when it gets really hot, and finding a cute one is hard: They all either look too Swim Team, too Alexis Carrington-in-San-Tropez, or too Grandma-in-Aqua-Aerobics-class. And you can’t go halfway with boy shorts or 50s-style high-waist bottoms: they might give you stomach coverage, but at the price of really hideous thunder thighs.
So I ordered a fairly cute one from J Crew (the secret to happiness, I have found, is NEVER to enter a dressing room with a swimsuit; this is precisely the kind of transaction that online shopping was built for) and was happy enough. And a few weeks later, I was feeling kinder to myself, and was back in my bikini. But at this stage in the game there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with having options on those too-hideous-to-gaze-upon-one’s-torso days. So I’ve lined up some options. Some are cute, some sexy, some fashiony. But all are very just-as-hot-as-any-other-girl-on-the-beach, I think.
Employing ruching to camouflage figure flaws is the most obvious trick in the book, but it sure does work like a charm. And also seems quite organic to the retro glamourpuss feel of this particular J Crew suit. I also like how you get a touch of that fun skirty look, but with a flattering, higher cut on the thighs.
This DVF suit dips way down—and is therefore probably best suited to the flatter-chested among us—but the fact that the thighs are cut somewhat modestly balances things out and keeps it from transmitting too much of an I-own-a-Bedazzled-cellphone vibe.
Check out the happy Fiorucci-esque pattern on this one from Miu Miu . Doesn’t it look like something that would have been in Seventeen back in 1979? I actually halfway feel like I owned it, in fact.
Were I ever to spend $800 on a swimsuit, this is the $800 swimsuit I would buy. Because nobody knows their way around making a leopard print look less cheesy and more fashiony than Dolce and Gabbana.
Opening Ceremony has a swimwear line and it is both deeply cool and infinitely wearable. This model comes in a few patterns, but the red just feels so thoroughly happy and right.