One of the many gifts that summer offers us is the opportunity to relax and recharge at the water, whether it be on a boat or at the lake, beach or pool. In my opinion, there are few things as lovely as a warm day, a dip in cool water, toes in the sand and a good book to read. Add to that swimwear that’s chic and flattering and makes you feel a little bit like Sophia Loren…well that’s a little slice of heaven right there!
Unfortunately, many women experience quite a lot of anxiety over the prospect of shopping for swimwear. The options may seem overwhelming but, if fact, there are really just a few key pieces that are necessary and when we invest in quality pieces that are well-suited to our body, we can remain confident in the knowledge that we’re well prepared for whatever fun and exciting invitations pop up this summer.
The following is a list of 7 Swimwear Essentials. You may already have all or many of these items. If not, no worries. Begin with the item(s) you deem most necessary and invest in one quality piece at a time. It takes time to build a great wardrobe and the more attention and care you give to this process, the better your choices will be. Before very long, you’ll have a swimwear wardrobe that (1) reflects your style and taste, (2) is comprised of quality pieces that will last, (3) is comfortable and well suited to your body and (4) makes you feel sexy as Sophia!
7 Swimwear Essentials
- Swimsuit: Your lifestyle will dictate how many swimsuits to invest in. Although several swimsuits might catch our eye, for most of us, only one or two are necessary. I’ve come to embrace the recent trend toward purchasing swimsuit separates because one can buy a couple of swimsuit bottoms in neutral, solid colors and a couple of swimsuit tops (in either coordinating solids or patterns). Those pieces will mix and match to form several different combinations. The important thing the remember when shopping is that you want to look for suits that flatter your body type and your skin tone, as we’ll as ones that fit your lifestyle. For example, if you love to swim laps in the pool or participate in water sports, then a one piece with a more athletic cut might be a wise choice. On the other hand, if your time at the water is spent mostly on the sand with book in hand, you’ll likely make a different choice. Reflect on your needs and your preferences and always honor your body. There are many beautiful swimsuits to flatter bodies of every size and shape. When you find “your” suit, celebrate and strut your stuff!
- Cover Up/Tunic: There are many styles of tunics or beach cover ups and you’ll definitely want your swimwear wardrobe to include one of them. When shopping, bear in mind that your cover up should be light and comfortable. Although you will, most often, wear it on your way to and from the beach or pool, I recommend purchasing one that that’s presentable enough that you can wear it while running a quick errand, popping into a store, or sitting down at an outdoor restaurant/cafe. Some cover ups (particularly the maxi dress, cotton tunic and kaftan) are quite versatile and you may find yourself enjoying them both on and off the beach.
- Sun Hat: I LOVE hats, especially in the summer when my face needs protection from the sun. There are many cute styles, ranging from the super casual baseball hat to the glamourous, wide brimmed hats worn by movie starlets. Recently, the straw fedora has become quite popular, as well as the straw cowboy hat. Once again, you’ll want to select one that fits your head, flatters your face, works with your hairstyle and gives you the sun protection you need. Tip: while the fedora is a great hat for summer, some of them have a very small brim, which might not offer you enough sun protection. Be sure to try a number of hats on to determine which one suits you best. I recently purchased this one from Athleta *LINK* and I absolutely love it!)
- Sandals: Sandals for the beach/pool can present a bit of a dilemma because sand and water will stain and damage untreated canvas, suede and leather. For that reason, I prefer not to wear my “good” sandals to the beach or pool. Instead, I have on hand one pair of neutral colored flat sandals, made of a durable, water resistant material (If you’re like me, you won’t need more than one pair). Now, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be stylish…there are, in fact, some very attractive and versatile ones that are perfect for this purpose. Cute sandals (and a pedicure!) will really pull your outfit together.
- Sunglasses: As I discussed in last month’s post, Sunglasses for Every Face (LINK), sunglasses are an important element of protection. Our eyes are always vulnerable to sun damage, especially so at this time of year when the sun is brightest. They’re even more essential when we spend time on or near the water, as water intensifies the effects of the sun by reflecting and magnifying its rays. But apart from the obvious health benefits of wearing sunglasses, they are undoubtedly one of the most fun accessories to play with. In this post (LINK), I describe the different styles – aviator, wayfarer, cat-eye, etc. – and share some of the experts’ tips on choosing frames that flatter your face. I’ve even included a gallery of gorgeous frames to inspire you (along with links to shop!). Invest wisely and you will get a LOT of mileage out of this essential items.
- Beach Tote: As is the case with shoes, leather, suede or untreated canvas handbags have no place at the beach. They are likely to be ruined by the sand and water. But that’s quite all right because there are some adorable totes that are just perfect for the beach/pool. Straw ones are lovely (this is one of my faves – LINK), as are the bright and fun beach totes, made of water resistant canvas. If it comes with a pouch or makeup bag inside to hold smaller items, all the better. You’ll want to make sure that your tote is roomy enough to carry a towel, change of clothes and all of your summer essentials (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, wallet, phone, keys, etc.).
- Swimshirt: This last item may not be necessary for everyone, but if you spend a lot of time on a boat or if you participate in water sports, a swimshirt will provide the very best sun protection for the upper body. They come in a variety of colors/patterns and are available in both long and short sleeved styles.
I hope that this list helps you and that you enjoy a summer full of both relaxation and adventure!