We can pinpoint the exact moment that we decided swimming costumes were the only beachwear we wanted to be seen in. As so often is the case, it was while scrolling through our Instagram feed. We spotted a friend of a friend (who we followed, naturally) wearing a scoop back cossie in black – so far, so chic – with a cheeky white bow at the top of her bottom. On investigation, the item in question was from ASOS, but after a cursory Google we discovered that actually swimming costumes are everywhere and are very much in fashion right now.
So, why this sudden shift towards something once reserved for school girl swimming lessons? A good person to ask is Georgiana Huddart, the woman responsible for transforming historic swimwear brand Hunza into the go-to for fashion girls. ‘Everything comes full circle,’ she explains. ‘The bikini was so big for such a long time that I think people just want a change. There is something really great about women not having to show all their body in one go. Swimming costumes are actually sexier if done right.’
She’s certainly right about the latter point – as evidenced by the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Kim Kardashian and the litany of beautiful young things frolicking in cossies on Hunza G’s Instagram page. Once deemed frumpy (they always seem to be recommended to ‘women of a certain age’) swimsuits have had a sexy makeover – and we’re not talking slashed to the navel, music video-style, either.
Think girly details like frills (very on trend for S/S 17) and bows; scoop backs, crossover straps or one-shoulder cuts, as well as high leg and Brazilian styles. Long gone are the days of regulation-cut sporty costumes for P.E.
The great thing about one-pieces, of course, is that they do suit everyone. Indeed, that’s what Georgiana thinks is great about them. ‘Styles dictate what body they suit, but I believe there is a costume out there for every woman, no matter what size, shape. If you’re petite, you can opt for a high leg, if you’re curvy, a ‘50s style, or if you’ve very tall a halterneck works well.’
Another great thing about them? The way they lend themselves to be outerwear too – particularly during the upcoming festival season. Simply team with denim shorts, high-waisted jeans or a midi-skirt, and you’ve got the perfect beach-to-beach-bar look. Et voila. You couldn’t do that with a bikini…
Shop our edit of the best swimming costumes available online RN below.