NEW YORK — For some women, it’s just this way and probably always will be: The size of their swimwear tops and bottoms don’t match. So, why not have some fun with it?
There’s no better place than the beach or the pool to show off the whimsical and creative sides of a woman’s personality, says Josh Saterman, Macy’s fashion director. The customer can let down her hair when she’s there and break a few rules.
Stripes with polka dots or a hot-pink string top and orange boy shorts: Why not?
“We are definitely seeing our customer steer away from matchy-matchy,” says Nancy Taylor, Athleta’s director of design.
Swim separates, including bikini and tankini tops, and brief, bikini and short-style bottoms, were introduced into wide distribution several years ago. They were intended to solve a practical problem when consumers needed a bigger top or bigger bottom, but women have since started using them to make a style statement.
Mixing pieces, sometimes in different silhouettes or from different brands, builds a swim wardrobe that suits different occasions — a strapless bandeau for a party and an athletic racer-back for a day with the kids, perhaps? — while a woman can remain comfortable and confident in the bottom she feels best fits her figure. (Loyalty runs deeper for bottoms, experts say.)
Celebrities were photographed in mismatched tops and bottoms, and young women soon followed, says designer Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, who launched her brand with swimwear. It was only a matter of time until more fans of two-piece bathing suits caught on to it, she says. Fans of the one-piece can accomplish a similar look by adding a pair of swim shorts or a skirt.
“Mix-and-match is definitely a trend this season,” agrees Jennifer Foyle, design director for Aerie.