** article first appeard in The Prague Post**
This season’s hottest looks for getting down to the beach or pool incorporate bright, bold colors, including nods to nautical themes, using swathes of stripes or shapes to flatter and flatten.
“Swimwear” is a word that strikes fear into the minds of many men and women. The embarrassment some experience when they step inside neon-lit changing rooms, assisted by pushy sales staff, usually makes this experience as bad as trying to find the perfect pair of jeans.
Lighting and self-loathing aside, this summer has seen a wide range of colors, patterns, and styles added to the swimwear rack. Here are some of the more flattering styles available at local shops.
Several swimwear makers have gone the traditional, sporty route, designing tributes to the days of the South Californian surfers and beach bunnies. Pietro Filipi’s “Flash” collection offers four very bright colors of cobalt blue, navy, yellow and pink in a very traditional short (1,290 Kč).
Another local retailer, Calzedonia, offers a similar short in green, black, white or gray (499 Kč). The cheapest of them all, Tesco’s F&F, offers trunks in more conservative colors (169 Kč).
For true beach bunnies, tradition has been translated into ditzy ’50s style pin-up girl prints or solid prints with ruffles or scalloped edges. Icone, located off Pařížská street, has one of the most original swimsuits for summer: a silk bikini by French brand L’Autre Chose (3,950 Kč).
Space, located next to Icone, offers a medley of solid-colored, ruffled suits by Laura Urbinati (2,400 Kč to 3,900 Kč) and Kristina T (5,200 Kč). While the bigger price tag may be slightly shocking, especially considering this is a solid bikini, the fit is well worth it.
Whether soft hues with meadow-inspired prints or an all-out Hawaiian 5-0 print explosion, floral design is one of the hottest trends in both men’s and women’s swimwear. Bright Hawaiian board-shorts for men have certainly been a low-budget hit at F&F (389 Kč), though choosing from a hibiscus print or a mishmash of floral patterns may prove a challenge.
An updated Hawaiian print is now available for women by German brand Charmline, a swimwear company known for making wearers at least one dress size slimmer. The tropical motif of Charmline (4,500 Kč) certainly adds a bit of fun in a normally boring one-piece field. In the bikini bandeau world, Calzedonia’s Tropical Oasis (1,199 Kč) is also very trendy.
For those petrified of in-your-face color, softer palettes are available in a series of girly prints and fabrics. A cotton bikini – yes, cotton – with cute blue violets by Laura Urbinati (3,900 Kč) at Icone, has been so popular it is becoming hard to find.
Men’s swimwear is less inclined toward the trend of exotic skins like snake or leopard, but women’s swimwear designers completely embrace it. Those looking for a genuinely color-correct animal print, however, will have few options – though stores like Marks & Spencer, Etam, and H&M carry a few different patterns to choose from. For an unnatural, hyper-color explosion of snakeskin and leopard, look no further than F&F’s one-piece swimsuit with multiple cutouts (539 Kč) or a purple snake-skin number complete with tortoise-shell loops at Calzedonia (1,449 Kč).
Far from being just for sailors or Persian carpets, paisley, horizontal and zigzag stripes have been translated into wearable and flattering styles for men and women. For men, it is the bolder horizontal stripe by Esprit in Tesco (839-979 Kč), while, at Calzedonia, the stripe has been discreetly added to the top of board-shorts (799 Kč). Striped trunks, appropriately called “yacht,” that look a bit like seersucker material from a distance, are also available (799 Kč).
Paisley-print explosions in cool mint or pink are available from H&M (500 Kč), but those after the more traditional blue and white paisley print should shop at Etam.
As is normally the case with swimwear, men’s was either solid colored or a bit outlandish with a floral motif that flatters very few. However, with the addition of a slimmer trunk, men certainly have more options than the man-kini and the surfer-short. For women, the biggest trends are certainly yours to decide – maybe floral, maybe solid, maybe feminine with a 1950s twist. In any case, shoppers should bring patience and a keen understanding that fluorescent bulbs flatter no one.