The world of swimwear trends is an anomaly. Unlike fashion overall, the trends rarely change on a massive scale. Apart from the big switch from high-waisted bottoms to stringier styles in the last few years, most of the major bikini-trend shifts have been fairly small from year to year—small but certainly still mighty.
From last summer to this summer, we saw subtle upgrades in the bikini space, and they all made a big impact. Sports-bra styles became tankinis, dainty floral patterns transitioned into louder '80s-style prints, and embellishments like sequins and pearls were added to 2021's neutral string bikinis. And those are just the highlights. Ahead, see how seven bikini trends have changed since the last time we spent three months in them 24/7 (at least, that's the goal) and shop them all.
Turning Into Tankinis
Personally, I haven't worn a tankini since my best friend's family and I went to Florida together in the third grade and we bought matching Hawaiian-print styles at T.J. Maxx. (It was a moment.) But nearly two decades later, I'm finding myself once again feeling drawn to longline bikinis, and I'm not alone. Brands like Frankies Bikinis, Solid&Striped, Zara, and more are, too, delving into the tank-like bikini silhouette for 2022. You're next.
Hands down, we have Mirror Palais designer Marcelo Gaia to thank for the recent surge in '80s-inspired printed bikinis, which feature XL floral patterns in highlighter shades of green, blue, pink, and orange. But he's not the only one going bold and retro in the swimwear department. Frankies Bikinis, Bananhot, and more brands are falling in line behind him.
Becoming Boy Shorts
Like tankinis, boy-short bikini bottoms are another swimsuit style I never expected to wear again after years and years of ignoring their former hold on me. Yet recent iterations of the silhouette have me stocking up on the style. For one, you don't ever have to worry about losing your bottoms after a big wave when you're wearing boy shorts. They also provide just the right amount of coverage—less than high-waisted bottoms and more than super-stringy ones.
From sequins and sparkles to hardware and pearls, pretty much every cool bikini on the market in 2022 features some sort of eye-catching embellishment. No boring swimwear allowed.
It seems our lockdown love for crochet and weaving isn't ending anytime soon. Actually, it's seeping into our swimwear collections, with woven bikinis of all types—from Bottega Veneta–esque crisscrossing styles at Isa Boulder to more traditional crochet takes at Cult Gaia—taking over for summer.
If you ever scroll through Instagram, then you've seen this bikini trend up close and personal. Upside-down bikinis—which are essentially triangle bikini tops tied upside down with the back straps wrapped around your neck and the neck straps wrapped around your back—are a favorite among influencers and celebs alike. Count the Elsa Hosk and Sydney Sweeney sightings as proof.
Add a Skirt
This summer, just wearing a standard bikini isn't enough. You have to also add on a little something extra—specifically, a matching micro miniskirt (which can, of course, also be worn outside of the designated pool area).