Fun in the Sun 2020

by Phyllis Collar

If your exotic travel plans were canceled due to the recent pandemic, there’s no need to fear. Summer has officially arrived in Appleton, Wisconsin! The bold prints, daring cutouts, and retro looks that dominate this season will make you feel like you are on vacation. Whether you are headed to a Covid-compliant outdoor shindig or mowing your lawn on a humid afternoon, this summer’s bathing suit trends run the gamut from utilitarian and sensible to whimsical and creative.

The first big trend in swimsuits this year is cutouts. If you desire a one-piece silhouette with a bikini feel, look no further than a suit with dramatic cutouts. From asymmetrical to strappy-backed numbers, these suits can accentuate as little or as much as you care to reveal. I might be more inclined to opt for the simple yet risqué look of a one- or two-piece with just one shoulder cutout.

Our approach to wearing a swimsuit may need to be re-examined this season. Designers have pieces that transition from beach to evening apparel with the incorporation of beading and other embellishments. One variation on the cutout is a stylish wraparound swim top. Some of them even have sleeves!  Bathing suit tops with waist-defining belts and ruching need only a skirt or pants to move beyond the beach. 

Another summer swimsuit trend is ruffles. Feminine and flirty, ruffles can be subtle or outrageous. Choose a sleek one-piece with just a touch of ruffling on the straps edge, a high-waisted bottom with an off-the-shoulder crop top befitting a Spanish Flamenco dancer, or swimsuits with a simple overlay ruffle that covers in all the right places.

Lurex is a bathing suit trend that suggests glamour and whimsy. A light, stretchy fabric made of metallic yarn is dominating swimsuit trends in colors as bright as neon green and as brooding as darkest magenta. This shimmery material makes sunny days especially fun. Although there are plenty of sexy and stringy styles, I am especially partial to a shiny ballet pink with a simple silhouette, as I feel the fabric itself makes a bold enough statement.

If it is retro you crave, try this year’s bright yellow, orange, and green swimsuit textiles. Retro sports-wear suits include colorful contrasting palettes and details. Vibrant orange is a dominant hue this season and bathing suits are no exception. Belts, buckles, and zippers are not to be found missing on many of these designs. Retro-romantic designs feature high waists, with or without ruching, and underwire bra tops with polka dots and tiny flowers.

The most interesting concept I see in swimsuit fashion this summer is the varying covered up options. Long sleeve tops, short sleeve one pieces, and boy shorts allow even the most modest or sun-averse to enjoy the outdoors. 

Of course, always put on sunblock before going out and take a look at the amazing hat trends this summer. Big straw hats, twill bucket hats, large-brimmed baseball caps, and even visors and headscarves can add pizzazz to any swimsuit ensemble!