Summer is just around the corner, which means lying out in the sun at a beach, a park, or—for the city dwellers among us—a rooftop. Regardless of your location, you'll need a cute swimsuit. Thankfully, swimwear brands that carry trendy bikinis, cool one-pieces, sexy high-cut swimsuits, and more are already releasing their latest styles to help us ring in the warm weather.
But with so much swimwear on the market, how can you possibly make a decision on what to buy? "Swimwear is a very personal item to purchase, with every single individual having a unique body type," acknowledges Judy Stein, Executive Director of SwimShow. "It is important to know your body and know what looks and feels good on you. The craftsmanship, composition, construction, style, design, execution and most importantly the fit are the ‘what to look for’ in purchasing a swimsuit."
At Marie Claire, we're passionate about sustainability and size inclusivity. With that in mind, read on for this year's hottest swimwear brands designing pieces that not only feature daring cuts, fun fabrics, and unique patterns, but are swimwear brands that prioritize sustainability and feature inclusive sizing. With so many swimsuits to choose from, your biggest issue will be where and when to wear them all.
What To Look For in a Swimsuit
As anyone who's ever shopped for a bathing suit knows, refreshing your swimwear collection can be an expensive experience. Stein reminds us, though, that it doesn't have to be, and tells us to never feel pressured into buying a high-priced suit just because it's trendy.
"There are lots of price points in the marketplace," she reassures. "Find the price that you are comfortable with and then seek out the ‘what to look for’ in purchasing a swimsuit."
Another tip on getting the most bang for your buck? Go for timeless, classic looks instead of opting into single-season trends. "Trends are always brought forth by the many great brands on the market, but you can't go wrong with timeless silhouettes," Stein says.
Stein also reminds us that it's important to look for high-quality swimwear that lasts a long time. This is both a cost-effective and sustainable decision, and it results in a better experience while you're wearing your suit, too.
"Quick drying, colorfast, and some stretch are all important features when choosing swimwear," she explains. "There has to be stretch so that it fits comfortably and hugs the body in all the right places and wears well. The fabric needs to hold its shape while wet and dry. Elastane is the stretch fabric that is used—more commonly known as Lycra or spandex—blended with other synthetic fibers such as polyester, which is colorfast and resistant to chlorine. Nylon is also used. Each manufacturer will blend as they see fit, and today, we're seeing more gravitate to be more eco-friendly. More and more manufacturers are introducing sustainable fabrics, either natural fibers or upcycled fibers, or a combination of both. Hemp, bamboo, organic cotton, Econyl (obtained from pre- and post-consumer plastic waste), linen, and recycled nylon are all safe for the environment."
All in all, there's no need to sacrifice sustainability for quality. But if you're still unsure of the fit, quality, or feel of the fabric when you're shopping online for a bathing suit, Stein suggests "becoming familiar with brands in person at your retail stores so that you have a comfort level when purchasing online. If that is not possible, then research the return policy for the online retailer, keeping in mind that swimwear is oftentimes not returnable."
This is especially relevant when you're considering swimsuits for your body type. For instance, the best swimwear for people with small busts may not necessarily be the best swimwear for big busts.
Caring for Your Swimwear
Because swimwear fits very different needs from day-to-day, dry clothing, and is often made from very different materials, it also needs to be cared for in a specific, careful way.
"It’s always best to rinse your swimwear as soon as possible in cool tap water to remove chemicals such as chlorine," says Stein. "Hand-washing is always recommended, however, you can use the washing machine as long as you use a mesh laundry bag on the delicate cycle using cool water. A mild detergent should always be used, whether hand washing or using the washing machine. And lay the swimwear out nicely to air dry—never ever put your swimwear in the dryer."
The Best Swimwear Brands
- Best Swimwear Brand for Large Busts: CUUP (opens in new tab)
- Best Swimwear Brand for Petite Figures: Léa the Label
- Best Swimwear Brand for Full Figures: Summersalt
- Best Luxury Swimwear Brand: SHAN
- Best Swimwear Brand for Comfort: Kōraru (opens in new tab)
Named after the Mother Goddess in Yoruba and Santería traditions, this Latinx-owned brand centers itself on comfort, body positivity, and female empowerment. Each of its styles are named after women that the founder, Carla Pallares, looks up to in her personal life.
SHAN is a luxury Canadian swimwear brand focused on making luxurious, comfortable swimsuit made from high-quality materials. Its craftspeople are committed to making universally flattering, timeless silhouettes that transition from summer to summer without going out of style, and that are built to last for years to come.
Acacia is made up of a collective of women based in Hawai‘i who are committed to creating sustainable swimwear pieces that all women, regardless of size or stage in life, are able to feel comfortable and fashionable in. Creative director and designer Naomi Acacia Newirth is particularly dedicated to crafting versatile, wearable silhouettes fit to transition from beach to brunch.
Myra Swim was founded by Biance Elouise, a professional surfer from Australia who spent so much of her life in swimwear, she decided to apply her expertise to designing her own line of eco-friendly, slow fashion swimsuits. In addition to her history as an athlete, she gains much of her inspiration from her edgy taste in fashion, and seeks to make flattering designs that suit the needs of women of all sizes. Personally, I love the smooth, seamless approach she takes on her designs and the thick, luxurious feel of the fabric.
Hearing loss advocate Gigi Caruso founded her eponymous brand, Gigi C, with her mother, Tina, a former clothing designer and swimsuit model. Beloved for its creative cutouts, comfortable fabrics, and versatile designs, the sustainable brand also makes loungewear and athleisure.
If you haven't gotten on the CUUP train yet, now's your time. CUUP sells both swimwear and lingerie that boasts size inclusivity and optimal comfort, so you can look and feel your best in pieces that will last you a lifetime. Check out some of the styles below, whose classic cuts come in a ton of colors so you can mix-and-match to your heart's content.
Summersalt has long been the go-to swimwear brand for women who want their swimsuits to fit well, suit their curves, and be made from sustainable materials. You can never go wrong with these colorful, affordable pieces.
We love Liandra Swim's celebration of Aboriginal Australian culture and its commitment to sustainability. Designer Liandra Gaykamangu names each piece after an indigenous woman that inspires her in the hopes that their stories will inspire you, too.
Sisters Oleema and Kalani Miller founded MIKOH as a tribute to the power of femininity. MIKOH comes from the Japanese term for "female prophecy" or "female shaman," and the Millers' brand certainly lives up to its name. These pieces, which combine form and function (the sisters happen to be surfers themselves), will undoubtedly have you looking and feeling great.
This Canadian small business wants you to get the most out of your swimwear. You'll find backless one-pieces, asymmetric tops, minimalistic styles and more that easily double in functionality. Each piece of Londre's swimwear is ethically and sustainably made from a minimum of six plastic water bottles, all constructed to withstand the wear and tear of the surf and sand.
New York City swimwear label Lokiki is making timeless, beautiful and functional pieces that will last you a lifetime. Find minimalistic hues, plunging necklines, flattering high-waisted briefs, and much, much more.
OOKIOH is a sustainable swimwear line whose suits are crafted out of 100 percent regenerated materials (fishing nets, for instance) and the brand's main objective is to continually reduce and eliminate their carbon footprint.
Kōraru's versatile, minimalist pieces also happen to be long-lasting and great for the environment. Their pieces are sourced from recycled fishing nets, and the result is one of the softest, most seamless fabrics I've ever tried.
Léa the Label
This swimwear brand proves that minimalism and sustainability aren't the least bit boring. Lea The Label makes their products from Econyl, a fabric made entirely of recycled material, and their high-waisted designs are meant to be both comfortable and universally flattering.
Founded by two "swimwear connoisseur" best friends, Monday Swimwear creates bikinis and one-pieces that make their customers feel sexy and confident without sacrificing comfort. This size-inclusive brand offers a wide range of top sizes—even up to E and F cups—so that all woman can enjoy stylish swimwear.
Follow Suit boasts bold colors and vibrant patterns inspired by Mediterranean beaches. But their main focus is sustainability. Patterns are digitally printed onto fabric using 90 percent less dye and saving 40 liters more water than typical methods, plus they opt to use 100 percent regenerated nylon. They hope others will follow suit—pun intended—by making eco-conscious choices.
Anemos takes a minimal and simple approach when designing their swimwear. From dainty straps to high-cut styles, Anemos' pieces are a '90s supermodel's dream.
"Super sustainable, super sexy" is Vitamin A's winning tagline. Their collections are designed with recycled and plant-based materials, and everything from their swimwear to their loungewear is made to last and built to keep you feeling confident and guilt-free while strutting down the boardwalk.
Inspired by her luxury design background with fashion house Saint Laurent, Nicole Banning started Ephemera in 2012. This Aussie brand incorporates European-inspired details to create beautiful, high-quality pieces with classic shapes and sweet detailing you won't find anywhere else.
This Black-owned, woman-owned brand is beloved for its plunging one-pieces that flatter every body type. Personally, I love the way their suits are made: I'm on the busty side, so I tend to err on the conservative side with plunging necklines, but these suits are made with curvy women in mind. With the Treasure suit, I can bare some skin without ever worrying about a wardrobe malfunction.
This contemporary swimwear brand is known for its laid-back, It Girl aesthetic and feminine pieces, all of which are to die for.
Styling Your Swimwear
Whether you're at a resort or tanning in a park, you may need to ensure that your swimwear transitions seamlessly to lunch, dinner, or a night out. But how do you style these traditionally revealing, form-fitting pieces appropriately?
"There are so many fabulous cover-ups and resort brands that can be thrown on to transition from day to evening. Bandeau tops are such a trend right now and hardly look like a swimsuit when accessorized well. Throw on a great pair of palazzo pants or a caftan; play with accessories; add some strappy heels, jewelry, and an evening bag," Stein suggests. "Your day at the beach/pool can easily go to dinner and even a club!"
But keep in mind that if you actually went swimming, and therefore have a wet swimsuit, you shouldn't keep it on too long.
"Infections can occur if you remain in a wet swimsuit too long," warns Stein. "It’s important to keep that in mind. Enjoy the day but when you are done, you want to remove the wet swimsuit as soon as you can." Then, you can transition to a comfortable, breathable pair of cotton underwear to prevent infection and discomfort.
Meet the Expert
Executive Director of SwimShow, the industry leading platform behind Miami Swim Week, Stein has been the driving force of the largest swimwear trade show for over 25 years. Inspired by the need of an international hub for all swim lifestyle brands, Stein has been instrumental to the growth of the swim industry. Working alongside hundreds of brands guiding and preparing new and core women's, men's and children's brands to launch at wholesale/retail level, season-after-season. Today, SwimShow includes national and international brands as well as SwimLab, an incubator platform for new brands that are looking for connection and visibility. Stein is passionate about fostering a community within the industry and is a longtime resident of Miami. She is thrilled to lead a platform that brings together buyers, exhibitors, press, influencers, manufacturers and industry experts, evolving year after year and leaving room for what's next.
Gabrielle Ulubay is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire and writes about all things beauty, sexual wellness, and fashion. She's also written about sex, gender, and politics for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal since 2018. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.
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