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If you’re planning on spending these long summer days by the pool or heading out-of-town for a beach vacation but still haven’t bought a new swimsuit, then you’re in luck. Although you can always opt for classics like a brightly colored string bikini or an elegant navy maillot (a chic update on black), this season’s multitude of prints and patterns gives you the perfect excuse to try something new.
Just one note: Although many women enjoy shopping, that sentiment doesn’t always extend to swimwear. So before we get to trends, Cindy Johnson, co-owner of SOL in Cherry Creek North and expert bra fitter, has some sound advice for buying the perfect swimsuit. She says first consider use–will you mostly be lounging by the pool or active with kids? Next, think about your body shape and what features you want to accentuate or minimize. Lastly, although bra size suits always fit best, when in doubt turn to a professional fitter who can help you find the most flattering style.
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With those tips in mind, I’ve put together a handy guide to this season’s best looks.
Swimsuit: Sailor stripes are synonymous with summer. For a sexy Latin twist on the nautical look, Spanish designer Andres Sarda cuts his bikini with a balconnet bra–a push-up style that creates flattering cleavage and balances an hourglass shape. Find It: Lily Swim Balconnet Bra, $164, and Lily Swim Side Tie Bikini, $96, SOL, 248 Detroit St., 303-394-1060, SOLlingerie.com
Coverup: Pair a striped bikini with a white cotton shirt for an all-American look. Choose anything from a crisp Gap button-down to a more luxe version, like this 10 Crosby Derek Lam blouse in cotton gauze. Find It: $295, Moxie, The Orchards, 5936 S. Holly St., 303-694-0773, moxieinstyle.com
Accessory: New York City artist Doug Johnston’s striking cotton cord tote gets it’s looks from being stitched on a vintage industrial zigzag sewing machine. It’s flexible, yet sturdy; it will soften with use while still maintaining its shape. Take it to the beach or pool, and then fill it up at a local farmer’s market. Find It: $270, Cedar & Hyde, 2015 10th St., 720-287-3900, cedarandhyde.com
Swimsuit: Floral prints have hit the swimsuit world big this season. For something other than tiny flowers or overblown tropical prints, turn to Aussie swimwear brand Suboo. Their Floral Rise bandeau (a bra style that draws the eye up to the chest and shoulders, so it’s good for enhancing a smaller bust) bikini comes in a mix of bright and pastel florals, accented with black piping to create a bustier look. Find It: $180, suboousa.com
Coverup: Floral prints tend to be busy in terms of color and pattern, so a simple coverup minimizes the chance of visual overload. This kimono-sleeve popover jacket with fringe trim has ample style, but the solid white color keeps your look low-key. Find It: $195, Calypso St. Barth, 105 Fillmore St., 303-399-4664, calypsostbarth.com
Accessory: Metallics can act as a balancing neutral, but stay on-trend by going with a tri-tone multi-strap flat in gold, silver, and copper. Find It: $50, Two Sole Sisters, 1703 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-0404, twosolesisters.com
Swimsuit: Black and white goes high-tech in a geometric digital print by Clover Canyon. The neoprene material (used for wet suits) and athletic halter cut are a nod to this season’s surfer girl-trend. Find It: $90, Garbarini, 239 Detroit St., 303-333-8686, garbarinishop.com
Coverup: These may be the best fitting bottoms for your yoga practice, but Soybu’s Lotus Short will work equally well as a coverup to a sporty suit. Find It: $32, soybu.com
Accessory: A modern, graphic swimsuit needs some stylish, high performance specs. These bright blue aviators by Church & State Optics use a nylon technology to make the frames lightweight, while the lenses are both shatterproof and protect against UV rays. Find It: $189, churchandstateoptics.com
Swimsuit: Maybe it’s because this year’s World Cup is in Brazil, but summer’s tribal-influenced prints are Central and South American folk based (instead of African, which is usually the source of the trend). This brilliantly colored one-piece by Becca is a modern update on Mayan designs. The fashion-forward cutout makes this suit flattering for long torsos. Find It: $118, Nordstrom.com
Coverup: As with florals, bold colors and patterns don’t require a busy coverup. Try tying on one of Emu Australia’s solid or subtlety printed scarves as a sarong. Find It: $64 – $86, Dragonfly, 3615 W. 32nd Ave., 303-433-6331
Accessory: Top off your look with a jaunty trilby-style hat in raffia by Boulder-based Wallaroo Hat Company. These crushable hats can be easily packed in a suitcase or rolled up into a beach bag. Find It: $52, wallaroo.com
Follow fashion editor Georgia Benjou on Twitter at @gabenjou and Pinterest.