While you sit and eat your sad lunch in your unnecessarily cold office, imagine this—it’s a warm, balmy day, you’re hanging out by the beach, sipping your drink of choice, and you’re in the bikini of your dreams. In case you can’t tell, I’m in desperate need of a vacation (insert skull emoji here). So while I was thinking about said beach and a spicy margarita, I found myself on Stephanie Hill of The Style Bungalow’s IG feed, and I promise you, I’ve been living vicariously through her for a good part of the last month.
The West Palm Beach and Miami fashion girl/ballerina has vacation style Nailed with a capital N. I imagine her swimsuit collection induces a ton of audible “wows,” so naturally I had a ton of swimwear and vacation-themed questions for her when we got in touch. Her first nugget of advice? Always look for a good fit when swimsuit shopping. “When I shop for swimwear, I look for exceptional fit and ways to trick the eye: a higher leg cut, ruching around the waist, or a belt to give the appearance of longer legs,” Hill told me. She rounded up her two favorite swimsuit looks for the season along with a breezy linen outfit you’ll probably want to live in from Garnet Hill. See her picks and bookmark her advice here.
What are your favorite swim trends for this season?
Whether it’s a one-piece or a bikini, I personally love designs that embody a classic silhouette with a little volume because it strikes the perfect balance between a statement and everyday wear. That being said, I love a strapless one-piece swimsuit. I also love prints! Being a grandmillennial at heart (yes, it’s a term), I love wearing prints that remind me of vintage wallpaper and watercolor paintings, so I’m happy the trend is making a comeback.
How does swimwear play a role in your personal style?
It’s all about the right fit and feel for your body type. Since I’m petite, choosing the proper one-piece that doesn’t make me look shorter is imperative, which is why I’ll opt for one with a higher leg cut. It also could be a bikini with beautiful ruffles since, for me, it helps create an illusion of curves.
What are more tips on finding the perfect swimsuit?
Like I mentioned, the first thing I look for when swimsuit shopping is finding a fit that will help trick the eye. Higher-cut bikinis give off the impression that I have longer legs and ruffles create a curvier appearance. The other thing I focus on is color. My skin tone varies pretty drastically from fair to sun-kissed, depending on how much time I spend in the sun, so I make sure all my swimsuits complement my skin tone. Lastly, I look for versatility: Can this one-piece be turned into a bodysuit?
What’s your general rule of thumb when it comes to packing for a beach vacation?
Making sure my swimwear is versatile is key, especially on vacation. Meaning it can double as day or evening wear, which is always a plus for conserving space in my suitcase.
If you had to pick one place to travel over and over again, where would it be and why?
This one is tough because I love so many places, but I would have to say Mérida, Mexico. It’s the first city my fiancé and I visited together as a couple. Its colorful streets, old Spanish Colonial–style homes with details like crumbling exteriors and original tiles, and otherworldly charm has become a treasure trove of inspiration for me. People say it reminds them of Cuba, and while my fiancé and I have never been (I’m part-Cuban and my fiancé is half-Cuban), Mérida feels like the next best thing. So to say Mexico is special is an understatement… and we can’t wait to get married there!
What’s the typical Miami-girl uniform in the summer, and how does your outfit from Garnet Hill play into that?
Miami is rich in culture and tropical elements, especially in the summer when the sun and sea play a main role in outfit choices. Think hats, flats, and lots of light fabrics (my personal preference being white linen). That’s why this Garnet Hill linen loungewear set is a classic, comfortable everyday look that works for South Florida or when I’m on vacation. I love wearing monochromatic looks; they're affordable but very expensive-looking for a chic everyday look. I paired it with a sun hat, simple gold earrings, and a basket bag.