With temperatures rising worldwide, now is the time when we're all collectively yearning to be by the water. But unless you're lucky enough to live right by the coast, chances are you have to make a road trip to the beach, find a nearby pool, or book a vacation to a far-off island. The logistics that go into planning time by the water can be so exhausting that the last thing you want to do is stress about what to wear. You'll have to wear a swimsuit but after that? All bets are off.
Discerning how to make your beach, pool, or vacation outfits feel as trend-forward as possible requires more guidance. Luckily for you, that's what I'm here for. Keeping up with swimwear trends may seem overwhelming, but I will let you in on a little secret: You don't have to buy a new swimsuit every summer to feel stylish. Instead, get creative with your styling. A few cute accessories (with the occasional ready-to-wear item) can transform the swimwear sitting in the back of your closet in a split second.
Don't believe me? Ahead, I'm sharing the seven biggest trends stylish women are pairing with their swimwear this summer. After doing hours of image research from Instagram and spring/summer 2023 runway collections, I determined these pieces will dominate beaches around the world. Consider this your blueprint for creating the perfect beach-bound look without breaking a sweat.
In case you missed our previous reporting, let us set the record straight: big bracelets are back. We saw a massive tidal wave of S/S 23 collections featuring the formerly "dated" jewelry style, and that surge wasn't limited to the landscape of the runway. A quick scroll through social media can confirm that bracelets are not only back, but they're beach-bound. We've seen the fashion set take to styling every possible version of this jewelry in every type of way—from pairing single sculptural cuffs with minimal one-pieces to stacking colorful layered resin bracelets with printed bikinis to layering metal bangles with beach coverups. In short, it's very much a thing this season, so if you happen to be heading out to the coast, there's no harm in adding some stacks on.
In addition to bangles, we've seen another accessory bubble up to the surface again: belts. While belts are an essential part of any wardrobe, that hasn't stopped them from moving from "foundational basic" to "statement accessory." That switch is due, in part, to recent collections, which we're filled to the brim with "unnecessary belts"—i.e., looks with built-in buckles or outfits with layered belts. It also has to do with the creative ways the fashion set is re-embracing this accessory. If the runways were the first stop on the belt's comeback tour, resort-bound ensembles would be the second. Across the board, the fashion set's summer travel looks include styling every form of a belt (from chain to leather versions) over their swimwear this summer, showing that this "boring" accessory is just what our summer looks were missing.
No matter if you're going to the beach or the pool, chances are that at some point, you'll want some form of coverage when you're not in the water. And while you can always turn to those quintessential resort staples (e.g., coverups or sarongs), one other trend lends itself to being a stylish alternative. Enter relaxed denim into the chat. Found on the S/S 23 runways, more casual denim silhouttes that feature baggier shapes, low-rise waistlines, and wide-leg hems have become a fan-favorite among the fashion set. Not only are these styles super comfortable, but they can be worn with just about anything, swimwear included. Whether you choose to style a pair of loose jeans with a cute top or baggy jorts over a bikini for a casual beach day, there's no shortage of ways you can wear this trend—making it one of the best things you can buy for that upcoming vacation, without a doubt.
While most may equate summertime with oversized hats billowing in the breeze, there's an even more nostalgic accessory slowly taking over: headbands. Remember in middle school when everyone was wearing those stretchy headbands? Well, it looks like they're back in full force. But unlike the cringe-worthy earlier versions of this hair accessory, we've seen a more grown-up approach to styling this item by fashion insiders. For example, while traveling, you typically see these headbands worn with minimal swimsuits in either neutrals or mod patterns. While off the shore, you'll find that they're typically paired with those low-key luxury staples—e.g., an oversized button-down, pleated trousers, and sleek sandals. Whoever said relegated stretchy headbands to the past could never foretell how chic this trend could be (with the right styling, of course).
Nine times out of ten, you'll wear sandals to the beach. But what if I told you there's another option? With sneakers gaining so much traction with the fashion set, there's no better time to switch up your footwear. Of course, you don't want to opt for an old pair of kicks—otherwise, you might look like a typical tourist. Instead, you'll want to invest in a trendy sneaker like the retro-inspired silhouettes dominating social media and style it with other trendy summer items. For example, styling a pair of Adidas with a white bikini under a low-slung skirt and a Y2K-inspired top will set you apart from the crowds.
Without fail, once temperatures rise, specific items always come back in style—crochet clothing is no exception to this rule. While knitted coverups, dresses, and tops have become a mainstay in many summer wardrobes, that doesn't mean there are trend-forward twists on this staple from time to time. In fact, after doing extensive image research, it became evident that colorful crochet items are having a moment. In hindsight, it's not a surprising development, considering there's no easier way to make the swimsuit in the back of your closet feel brand-new than by adding a bold hue into the mix. Nonetheless, seeing how fastidiously the fashion set has adopted this trend by pairing it with swimwear has given this tried-and-true staple a new tint (pun intended) this summer.
Last but certainly not least, it wouldn't be summer without sunglasses! While shades are nonnegotiable for the summer, that doesn't mean you can't use your eyewear to up the heat for your summer ensembles. When in doubt, the fashion set relies upon one fail-proof style to add that sizzle to all their swimwear: black sunglasses. I know that black eyewear is an accessory that's been elevated to anti-trend status. However, that doesn't negate that we've seen the fashion set lean into the idea of the little black shades.
Scroll through Instagram, and it becomes clear that there's a clear trend in play here—i.e., contemporary swimwear with sharp cutouts and neutral palettes is often solely accessorized with a dramatic pair of black shades. It could be the push toward general minimalism or the influence of the quiet-luxury aesthetic. Still, whatever the case, it's clear that accessories, whether black sunglasses or any other trends listed in this story, can make any bikini bolder.