Style Check: A world of one-piece wonders
Now that we are fully in the throes of summer and junk season, many of us are welcoming a familiar friend: swimsuit neurosis.
Sometimes it's as if all those beachy billboard ads only serve to remind us how far we've got to go before Sports Illustrated comes knocking. Kate Upton we're not.
But for once fashion is forgiving. Swimwear design is more diverse than ever.
And it's not only high fashion houses such as Hermès that are putting elegance first. The increase in retro-inspired designs, sleek and modernist one-pieces and interesting new shapes means you can opt for something flattering without forgoing style. Boy shorts, high-cut, graphic print, strapless, high-waisted and even ruching, the list is almost endless and I'm happy about that. The days of the ubiquitous triangle string bikini are gone.
I've been doing the plank on my couch while watching Game of Thrones as my contribution to a "new beach body". If you are gym shy like me, then the revival of the one-piece has been a revelation. Not only are online sites net-a-porter, shopbop and Asos and high street stores like Zara, Topshop and H&M all offering great fashion-forward selections, they are affordable and flattering to boot.
A hot trend is the digital or photographic print, especially colour-saturated sunsets, nature and landscapes. H&M's purple tropical one-piece (HK$199) with detachable ties and a silicon trim on top is a prime example.
The one-piece, once the sports option or the go-to item for your mum, is now a fashionable beach staple. A plunging neckline, cut out panels on either side of the waist or a high cut on the thigh are great ways to glam it up.
Cool tribal, geometric or floral prints from e-commerce, Asos and net-a-porter are fine options. A structured, underwired 1950s cut Bottega Veneta that I bought at a sample sale last summer makes for a flattering trend and really stands out from the crowd.
Another big hit this season is the high-waisted bikini - an obvious reference to vintage shapes, but sometimes given a modern effect. Though I'm not usually a fan of ruffles, I adore the high-waisted and strapless lilac Wildfox gingham frill bikini (HK$901) from Asos. The Hailey & Sasha collection from zooq.com has some great ruffled numbers for modern girly girls.
A brand I've recently discovered is the Australian label Zimmermann (available on net-a-porter) that uses gorgeous prints and great cuts. The Wanderlust printed strapless suit (HK$2,455) and the Celestial floral print underwired swimsuit (pictured, HK$2,750) are so pretty, you can throw on a long, floaty skirt post beach and call it evening wear.
It's really time to throw out that grotty old string bikini and embrace a whole new world of swimwear.