Join the club. Preps share a style that spans decades. Whether your formative years were the 80’s, 90’s or 00’s, pop your collar for a classic kind of summer. Prep has swept into swimwear.
We’re not talking Lands End or Vineyard Vines either. Chic designers and active brands have taken on preppy. These bikinis and one pieces will keep you prepared for poolside and shoreline socializing. Drinking and diving is encouraged but breaking the bank is not. The trick is to look waspy without spending willy nilly.
Ted Baker of London seems to know a thing about water. England is an island after all. The upper crust designer is trustworthy in taste. His flirty designs will charm your pool party guests from tea time through cocktail hour.
You’re already on holiday with the Layatta Hanging Gardens Bikini Top ($75, pictured below). Might as well call in sick for another beach day. Light floral pigments in a baby girl print are stretched over an underwire cut and molded cups. The matching bottoms ($65) are tied at the side for a classic fit. These suits are nearly sold out on the ted baker site but you can shop them on amazon by clicking here>
Or If Wimbledon simplicity is more your style, your best match may be the Illana Mesh Detail Triangle Bikini Top ($75). This must-have basic for the poolside sophisticate is trimmed with subtle mesh, a modern twist to tradition. The bottoms ($75) are an equally simple design and sans string.
Scotch & Soda
Scotch & Soda considers itself Amsterdam Couture. Make room, cool kids, because this brand continues to get popular in the States. The swim wear selection is limited but growing and offers distinct designs.
For the prep petite, there is the Scalloped Bikini Top ($39). The tight white and navy stripes are a recognizable sign of someone ready for the sea. The halter top ties are tipped with jewelry for a relaxed but classic look. The bottoms ($39) are also scalloped and secured with a side tie.
Trust fund babies can go Bohemian for the weekend with the Crochet Bikini ($55). More Coachella than Coach, this earthy design is stitched from a soft nylon and elastene blend. It comes in two vibrant color combos. With either, you’re ready for a day in the sand and a night by the fire. Match it with Scotch & Soda’s signature Bikini Bottoms ($39).
Out of Australia, Zimmermann’s bathing suits put these designing women on the map. Fashionable fishies all over the globe are gobbling up their styles. Many pieces will take up serious space on your charge card, but consider these not-quite bargain beauties.
The Separates Triangle Bra ($95) is another almost-affordable must. The French-style cut is simple enough; it’s the Navy Paisley print that makes this bikini so essential. There are other prints too but this one is for the urbanite who chooses her own adventure. Pair it with solid bottom, such as the Separates Skinny Pant ($65) in French Navy. Ahoy, potential mates.
What? You don’t already have a bikini made of soft chambray? Understandable. But here’s an elegant and simple way to go blue. The Harlequin Tie Side Bikini ($185) is a triangle top with removable pads, to suit your level of confidence. The matching bottom is a tie side and the strings are topped with a silver ball toggle.
Two ocean-minded city girls established Basta in New York. Their flirty and active designs have gone from Manhattan boutique to the cover of Sports Illustrated in just a few short years. Basta serves the athletic girl with an array of designs. Bright colors and Italian fabrics mean you won’t be sacrificing style to stay active.
A retro look from the days when MTV hosted a beach house in the summer, the Popoyo Bungee Hi-Neck Bikini features a beach volleyball cut that will bring focus to the clean lines of your collar bones. It has a racerback and is fully reversible between a spackle print (that reveals numerous bathers if you look closely) and solid blue.
For the more leisure-minded water baby, consider the Bondi Reversible Bikini. Classic styling will enhance all the right curves. The top is unpadded for the confidently endowed but coupled with neck tie and back clasp for security. Feeling whimsical? Wear the kaleidoscope side with a pattern of all things summer. Understated but still serious about the sun? The bold navy of the reverse will keep the boys saluting.
J Crew Swimwear
It would be hard to talk prep without bringing up the queens of classic at J Crew. For up to date takes on timeless basics, look no further.
Southern belles be bold in this Underwire Bikini in Seersucker. The slightly more modest will appreciate the full coverage of the boy cut bottoms. The corset-style top offers light padding and full support. It’s a traditional pattern in a flattering fit that looks sweet as tea.
Import a new tradition with the Rashguard in Pineapple Print. Where black and white urban chic meets island quirk, this suit is an irreverent option for roof top, surf shop, or lake dock.
Across their line, Onia offers a refined aesthetic for sleek silhouettes. But their swimwear is always functional and their new designs are playful in their own minimal way.
It doesn’t get more effortless than the Allegra Reversible Bandeau Bikini. Stay strapless with side stays and a large knot tie back to keep you carefree. This versatile classic is offered in multiple color blocks and can be paired with the Ashley Skinny Bikini Bottom. Cut from fine Italian twill, the top and bottom barely cover your casual cool.
It’s back to basics with Onia’s update of the Kelly One-Piece. For the gal who gets in her laps whenever she’s by the pool, this contouring suit is made of a soft, quick-drying material. Choose from stand out solids or floral pop prints. The new school low scoop back brings a little sexy to your simple.
If bold is what you’re looking for, Trina Turk is your swim instructor. The designer is fearless in her colors, her patterns and her unsubtle sense of fun. This summer, Ms. Turk will be helping preppy girls walk on a wild side of their own style.
The Kasbah Halter Two Piece Bikini is a mirage in a desert of plain bathing. This clean bright look won’t be missed, in exotic locales or your apartment complex pool. Gold hardware brings extra accent to this outspoken piece. Classy charisma translated to any language.
!The Kasbah Bikini is nearly sold out on the Trina Turk website. Shop on Amazon by clicking here>
Bright is right when it comes to Trina’s take on paisley. Nothing is subdued in her Provence Paisley Crossback One Piece… not the deep cut front or the tangerine and ocean tones. Chic but not serious, it’s perfect for champagne on the yacht or cocktails on a raft. Feel free to get carried away.