Sassy Swimwear

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IsabelleMathers_B12148T2_B12148B4_TORT-1_Josephine Clough
A trendy take on a traditional string bikini, the metallic BROOKLYN TRIANGLE TOP and BROOKLYN TANGO BOTTOM, feature a sparkling gold fabric tied together with chain string detailings, $145 each, at Beach Bunny, Fashion Island. (949-520-7460; | Photo by Josephine Clough

From flashy fabrics and sexy cutouts to bright colors and ruffled details, bold bikinis are heating up this summer.

By Ashley Probst


In a post-lockdown era, many people want to come out to play, especially when it comes to swimwear. As Newport Beach-based fashion stylist Shiloh McKasson says of the latest trends, “The whole boring, simple style is out.”

These creative pieces incorporate everything from metallics and bright, neon colors to gold accents. But there are a few detailings that are a cut above the rest.

“What I’m honestly seeing the most is a lot of cutouts, … whether it’s a one-piece or a bikini,” McKasson says. “… [Also] a lot of ruffles, which I think is fun. A lot of belted swimsuits, so kind of bringing back that look from the ’70s.”

Jackie Rose, a personal stylist at South Coast Plaza, has also noticed these summer staples are taking cues from past eras. “One of the biggest trends in swimwear are high-waisted bikini bottoms with a fitted wired top—a sexy nod to vintage swimwear,” she says.

Whether you prefer a one-piece or a bikini, both silhouettes exude an air of sensuality. “The one-piece is really hot, but it’s not just a one-piece because the cutouts make it look like it’s in two pieces,” McKasson says. “… Even for somebody who doesn’t necessarily want to show off their tummy, maybe there’s cutouts in the back so it shows the sexiness of the back.”

Rose says cutout swimwear has staying power that could extend beyond the summer season. “Women love a good one piece with a little bit of mystery,” she explains.

McKasson also notes that bandeau tops and ruffles, either as power shoulders or coming down the front of low-cut tops, help highlight your shoulders and face.

This season’s swimwear also features bold color palettes, including neon, spring green and bubblegum pink. “Everybody’s wearing pink. If you watched the Grammys, everybody wore pink—it was really bright,” McKasson says.

Some darker tones include burnt orange and metallics, the latter appearing in the form of sparkling fabrications as well as gold accents like buckles, belts, rings and chains.

There is also a sense of versatility, with many pieces easily translating into a full ensemble. “Swim[wear] is coming back and not just to be worn out on the beach, but to be worn out at night [or] to be worn as part of an outfit with layering,” McKasson explains.

When it comes to styling swimwear, she recommends clothing and accessories like matching skirts, jeweled chokers, round bug-eye sunglasses, oversize bags and platform shoes. “I’m seeing a lot of the platform come back big time, … whether it’s a platform shoe or a heel,” she says of the 1990s-esque pieces.

Rose recommends sandals from high-end designers like Dior, Chanel or Hermes, as well as a Saint Laurent beach tote, flowy cover-up, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. “It’s great to style pieces in a way [that allows you] to take it from a fun … day at the beach to a casual dinner by throwing on a cute top and pairing with denim shorts,” she says, noting all of the aforementioned pieces would pair well with this base outfit.

Where you fall on the style spectrum depends on whether you prefer the luxurious, resort look or lean more toward a fun-in-the-sun vibe. Platforms paired with a mini skirt or shorts worn over a trendy swimsuit are perfect for lounging by the pool, while a sporty one-piece is better suited for a game of beach volleyball. “Play it up with colors like bold neons,” McKasson adds.

Ultimately, trends will come and go, but there is one thing that makes any piece timeliness. “I think confidence is the only thing, especially in a swimsuit, that you can wear that will never go out of style,” McKasson says.


Striking Silhouettes

Beachgoers can bare some skin with these sleek styles.


With sexy cutouts, gold metallic beads and full-coverage bottoms—and in a classic black color that stands the test of time—the GI BIKINI TOP, $126, and matching GI BIKINI BOTTOM, $116, are perfect pieces for wearing poolside, at Vix Paula Hermanny, Fashion Island. (949-600-4490;
Anne Cole’s TWIST-FRONT RUCHED TANKINI TOP, $60, and HIGH-WAIST BIKINI BOTTOMS, $54, offer a vibrant pop of green with a bandeau top, which accentuates the shoulders, and flattering ruched bottoms that can be worn high-waisted or folded over, with advance order at Macy’s, Fashion Island. (949-640-8333;
Bold and bright with a neon color palette, classy front cutouts and a removable strap, the TESLEE ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT can go from the beach to the bar by pairing it with a skirt or wide-leg pants, $178, at Lilly Pulitzer, Fashion Island. (949-717-7815;
Featuring vibrant hues and a side-tie detail that plays into the belted swimwear trend, the ISLAND CAYS COLORBLOCK WRAP-FRONT ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT has an ultraflattering fit, $165, at Tommy Bahama, Corona del Mar Plaza. (949-760-8686; | Photo by Tommy Bahama
The versatile LORETA TEXTURED ONE-PIECE, with a ruffled deep V-neck and plunging back, adds a bit of sass to time spent on the sand, while also offering UPF 50+ sun protection, $194, at Eberjey, Lido Marina Village. (949-791-8378;
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