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5 Ways to Get More Mileage Out of Your Swimwear This Year

No vacation? No problem.

By: Lauren Caruso

During any ordinary year, searches for swimwear would spike at the very beginning of the summer. But this wasn’t an ordinary year: With big vacations sidelined until who-knows-when and plans for long weekends away on hold, your bathing suit collection is probably collecting dust. Factor in that swimwear is a category, much like snow boots or strapless bras, that has a relatively high cost per wear thanks to its hyper-seasonality, and you might be ready to sit in a lawn chair on your driveway just so your bikini can see the light of day.

One solution is to get creative: Of course, there’s nothing that says a string bikini can’t moonlight as, say, a shirt or a makeshift bra, but full-coverage options make it easier to seamlessly incorporate them into your rotation—and not just when you’re hitting the beach. A high-neck halter top or a one-shoulder one-piece could be a great alternative to a crop top or bodysuit. Brittany Kozerski Freeney, Owner/Designer of JADE Swim, says she founded her brand on the principle that swimwear can and should be styled beyond the beach setting. “Our collections are always designed with multifunctional versatility in mind,” she says. “We offer styles that can be worn as swim or ready-to-wear—as bodysuits and as layering pieces mixed and matched with shorts, jeans, and skirts.”

Kozerski says JADE’s Halo top is a particularly versatile alternative to a shirt: “The strap was designed to go across the chest and land on the neck, but some customers started styling [it] with the strap wrapped around the shoulder,” making it appear more like a proper top. Even better: Most swimsuits are inherently quick-drying and sweat-wicking, making them great substitutes for any outdoor activities.

Similarly, some brands, like Shea Marie’s SAME swim, are intentionally making pieces that inherently double as ready-to-wear: As she hoped, “customers love the pieces so much that they’re styling them into their daily outfits. They can be worn as swimwear, or with high-waisted pants, shorts, or skirts as a complete outfit.” Other brands like Isa Boulder and Castamira are designing one-pieces that look like they should be a part of your regular outfit rotation thanks to small details like ruching.

Ahead, five ways to make your swimwear work overtime, even when you’re not heading to the beach.

 

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As a Bodysuit

With so many brands creating swim styles that take inspiration from the trend cycle, it’s very possible to pass off your suit as an actual item of clothing. Try pairing a one-piece style, like the colorful off-the-shoulder style from Fe Noel below, with a pair of jeans for a look that’s just as appropriate for a rooftop as it is for the pool. Similarly, Sebastian’s Vivianne Maillot would look great faux-tucked into any bottoms.

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With a Matching Set

This is where a bathing suit can either fade into the background—as with a neutral-hued bandeau—or take center stage as the foundation of an otherwise basic suiting look. Swap your bra for a bikini top under a breezy matching button-down set, or layer a cropped short-sleeve rash guard under a blazer for a more creative look.

 

 

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With Something Sheer

If you’re just looking to dip your toe in the bathing-suit-as-real-clothes trend, try layering yours under something sheer. The good news is that this works just as great with a two-piece, like Mikoh’s scoop-neck style, as it does with an unassuming one-piece.

 

 

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As a Crop Top with High-Waisted Pants

Here’s where the rules truly go out the window: If you’re not into the ’90s Tom Ford-era Gucci look that low-slung bottoms offer, grab a high-waisted pair of pants and sub in a swimwear top as a makeshift crop top. Wear a bright style with a pair of straight-leg denim and a blazer for a polished summer look, or opt for a bathing-suit top like the below from SAME that truly doubles as a shirt.

 

 

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With a Skirt or Shorts

On days that are truly suffocating, wear your bathing-suit top with a flowy, breathable midi skirt for a look that’s instantly put together. Add a jacket for any AC-related activities.

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