Beach or No Beach, Here Are the 10 Bikini Trends to Try This Summer

If you haven't heard of manifestation, let me enlighten you. Manifestation is a self-help movement centred around the activity of focusing one's thoughts upon the desired outcome. Essentially, it means that you can think something into actually happening. 

Perhaps this is why I placed an order for a new bikini in the middle of February. Of course, I have no plans of jetting off to tropical climates this year. Still, perhaps my purchase was an act of subconscious manifestation—that we'll have a warm enough summer to sit in the park, on the beach, on our balconies and in our gardens quite comfortably in a bikini. 

Assuming some of you are shopping with the same logic, I decided to find out which bikini trends the experts are backing for a summer spent on home soil. I reached out to Carly Warson and Stephanie Korn—founders of my all-time favourite swimwear label, Form and Fold, which creates chic swimwear that actually fits and flatters my 32G bust—as well as Lily Russo, a fashion editor turned beachwear guru and founder of the fabulous resort and swim destination Beach Flamingo. Together, they've worked up a comprehensive list of the most stylish bikini trends 2021 has to offer. Scroll below to see and shop them, then start planning your staycation accordingly. 

1. PARED-BACK 

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616755428254-main

(Image credit: @_jessicaskye)

Style Notes: "Clean shapes and lines will dominate the swim category this season," say Warson and Korn. "We're all more conscious now that it's important to invest in timeless pieces that allow us to streamline our wardrobes, so we're expecting simple cuts that are designed and made with care and attention to detail. Throw on an oversized white shirt over classic, supportive, and beautifully made swimwear and, to us, you have the ideal beach outfit. Just don't forget a wide-brimmed hat and '70s-inspired sunglasses." 

Shop the trend:

2. RUFFLES

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616688145016-image

(Image credit: @calliethorpe)

Style Notes: A retro bikini trend that always makes a comeback, ruffled tops and bottoms are guaranteed to make you feel the poolside part, wherever you're soaking up the rays.

Shop the trend:

3. PASTEL

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616668272022-image

(Image credit: @amaka.hamelijnck)

Style Notes: "There's been a shift towards softer colours following on from acid brights and, of course, the pandemic," says Russo. "Whether you can get a tan on an exotic holiday or not isn't so much of an issue when wearing less harsh pastel shades."

Shop the trend:

4. CHECKS

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616668270380-image

(Image credit: @champagnemani)

Style Notes: Synonymous with our warm-weather wardrobes, bright and pretty checks (be they gingham or otherwise) are spreading to our swimwear, too.

Shop the trend:

5. TIE DETAILS

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616668274592-image

(Image credit: @emmanuellek_)

Style Notes: "Detail is key on swimwear this year, be it waist-cinching belts, ruching, or sexy tie fastenings," explains Russo. "There are so many fabulous options available now, so wearing a plain bikini isn't the be-all and end-all anymore."

Shop the trend:

6. UNDERWIRED

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616668275601-image

(Image credit: @lucywilliams02)

Style Notes: "Given we spent most of last year getting acquainted with our most comfortable loungewear while at home, we anticipate comfort to be top of mind this summer," muse Warson and Korn. "No more compromising, particularly for women with a larger bust who might have typically found it difficult to find swimwear that fits properly. We think your bikini or one-piece should fit you as well as your best underwear, if not better." Russo agrees that comfort is proving paramount. "Again, fit is becoming more and more important to ensure we look our best when taking those Insta snaps, so underwiring is a trend that is here to stay," she adds.

Shop the trend:

7. SOFT FABRIC

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616668274065-image

(Image credit: @nicoleocran)

Style Notes: After a year of living in comfortable clothing, it's little wonder that the same sartorial logic is being applied to swimwear. As such, lots of super-soft fabrics in simple, unconstricted silhouettes are beginning to emerge.

Shop the trend:

8. ANIMAL

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616668268866-image

(Image credit: @asos_lotte)

Style Notes: "Time and again, animal prints are reissued in new guises. Coloured leopard and zebra are hugely popular for S/S 21 and are a no-brainer if you're looking to inject some print into your swimwear collection," says Russo. 

Shop the trend:

9. METALLIC

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616668270690-image

(Image credit: @himichelleli)

Style Notes: "One way to instantly glam up your look is to go for a shimmery fabric," advises Russo. "Turkish label Lily & Rose is new to Beachflamingo.com this season and is the chicest way to do metallics. The fabric has a soft sheen to it without feeling OTT."

Shop the trend:

10. NATURAL HUES

bikini-trends-2021-292331-1616756199067-main

(Image credit: @monikh)

Style Notes: "It's no wonder we're attracted to calming tones at the moment," say Warson and Korn. "But natural hues don't have to be dull or even neutral. Think of colours inspired by a rich and diverse planet: soft blues, deep greens, textured earthy tones. We're going back to Mother Nature."

Shop the trend:

Next Up: This "Naked" Microtrend Is Steadily Taking Over, and I'm 100% Here for It

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over twelve years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories, and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, works closely with influencer talent on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media. Previously, Maxine appeared on TV in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. 


Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship, she was offered a position on the Look magazine fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. She went on to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others. Maxine works remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh.