The Ultimate Swim Guide for 2019

As we ring in the new year, it becomes abundantly clear that fresh trends are popping up for 2019.

The interesting thing about fashion these days is it can bring reference to all sorts of eras. You can have hints of the boho 60s with a hipster look or salute the 80s with a revamped version of the bubble gum lycra days.

We’ve broken down the hottest swimwear trends by era, because they’re just too cute to miss.

Here are the top swim trends for 2019:

90s VIBE

Sound the alarm: the 90s are back and better than ever. We’re all about its chunky heels, vivid colors and oversized fashion. And it’s not just in daywear garments. When it comes to swim, some striking trends bring reference to that teen spirit era.


THE HIGH-CUT SWIMWEAR LOOK:

Can anyone say Baywatch? The look is back, sans the slow-mo-jog-in-the-sand-during-an-emergency thing (that’s optional). Also, it’s not just the high-cut one piece swimsuit that’s on trend. We’re talking about high-cut swim bottoms that can be mixed & matched with top from different eras. In case you haven’t noticed, the trend seems to be the choice for the Instagram beach pics these days, probably because it enhances your booty in those back side shots.

 

High cut swimsuit Pamela Anderson  High cut bikini Maylana swimwear

PHOTOS: [left] Then - Pamela Anderson in Baywatch; [right] Now - Rio Asymmetric Diamonds, $58

 

What’s great about high cut swimsuits is that they elongate your legs and make you look longer. What’s not so great is, if you don’t have an hourglass figure it might make you look straight at the waist.


THE WHITE SWIMSUIT LOOK:

Ahead of the Marilyn Monroe days, the 90s brought a resurgence of white swimsuits. Albeit a lot of the times white and wet were mixed for see through purposes, a lot of fashion icons used it to create an ethereal look. From Cher Horrowitz’s Clueless to Mariah Carey, the 90s brought white to a new level - a trendy, midriff bearing level. And that level is being raised again in 2019.

 

White swimsuits Mariah Carey  Maylana swim Maky white bikini top

PHOTOS: [left] Then - Mariah Carey, Honey Video; [right] Now - Maky White Top, $55
                        

As long as it’s not see-through, white can be a very classy addition to your wardrobe.

 

THE COLOR BLOCK LOOK:

 Staying on the Clueless train, if there was one thing the 90s brought on was the color blocking of vivid colors. From black to fuchsia, the era brought some offset back. Personally, colorblocking is one of my favorite trends in swim. It’s just so effortless to take a nude and mix it in with a little black to create edgier look. The difference, as colorblock swimsuits make a comeback, is that combos no longer require two vivid colors.

 

Color block trend Clueless Movie   Maylana Ella Color Block One Piece Swimsuit

PHOTOS: [left] Then - Clueless Movie, 1995; [right] Now - Color Block One Piece, $130

Designers are finding it fun to offset nude/pastel colors with vivid ones.


THE REVERSIBLE LOOK:

The reversible swimsuit feature was born in the 90s when the ‘seamless’ feature was introduced. Simply put, people figured out that when you remove the seams you can flip a suit inside out and wear it another way. As an added bonus, the no-seams finish allows an improved fit, with suits fitting the body without cutting into the skin.

 

Maylana Tropical One Piece Reversible to Solid   Swimsuit reversible to solid navy

PHOTOS: [left] Collins Indigo Tropicalia, $129; [right] Reversible to solid Navy

 

Even though coquettishly introduced a few decades ago, the reversible feature has really come alive nowadays, with designers realizing savvy customers prefer to have two for the price of one.


THE CHEEKY BIKINI LOOK:

Cheeks are cute, and not just the ones on your face. It’s a known fact that a well-made bikini bottom that shows off a little bit of cheek is way more flattering than a ‘poopy diaper’ look (we’ll go into flattering full coverage bottoms below). The 90s brought a more revealing, more tailored approach to cheeky bottoms, and those became a staple at beach movie remakes and full body shots, as Cameron Diaz & Demi Moore showed us.

 

Cheeky Bikini Bottom Charlies Angels: Full Throttle   Cheeky Coverage Maylana Steff One Piece Swimsuit

PHOTOS: [left] Then - Charlies Angels: Full Throttle, 2000; [right] Now - Steff Sand One Piece, $127

 

Of course, the current era brings forward a revamped cheeky bottom, a middle of the board option that’s skimpy yet modest. I like the look and think moderate coverage slash “cheeky” bottoms are the go-to option for all body.

That wraps up the 90s, now on the 80s trends.

80s VIBE

For most modern day gals, the 80s was the era where women pushed the envelope in ways we had not seen in mainstream platforms before. Enter Madonna, with her cone-shaped tops and empowering lyrics, or Paula Abdul with her catchy dance moves. Swimwear looks inspired by the 80s are still avant-garde and provocative now. Here are two of my favorites for 2019:


THE BRALETTE BIKINI TOP:

Few tops are sexier than a bralette top. And when it comes to swimwear fashion, you can completely remove the lingerie element of it by wearing bralette bikini top with a fun print or solid color. Aside from the Like A Virgin reference, bralettes are comfortable, fun, and a good way to provide support for your bust. Cone shapes aside.

 

Madonna Like a Virgin Video Bralette Top   Bralette Bikini Top Inez Pink Swimsuit

PHOTOS: [left] Then - Madonna in the video for Like a Virgin; [right] Now -Inez Shell Rose Top, $66


A trend that started in the 80s has morphed into a contemporary, fairly mainstream look with lots of iterations. Just as sexy are the bralette swim tops that lack underwire and opt for a sportier look. You can wear a bralette swim top with a crochet cami or a muscle tee & shorts to go from beach days to summer nights.


THE SCRUNCH BUTT BIKINI:

The trend that epitomized the 80s – the scrunchie hairband – gave way to the popular feature’s implementation in all sorts of garments, including swimsuits. The use of elastic to create the ruched look that popularized the headband worked well in the rear zone to enhance buttocks, go figure! So in comes the scrunch butt bikini bottom.

 

Red Scrunchie   Maylana Daisy Red Scrunch Bikini Bottom

PHOTOS: [left] The Scrunchie, revamped; [right] The Cherry Red Daisy Bottom, $55


Needless to say, the scrunch butt trend became mainstream later on in the early 2000s, but one must give credit where credit’s due, and it is definitely a child of the 80s. We love the trend for its heart-shaped look and the definition it gives derrieres of all sizes. I haven’t seen a back side that doesn’t look good in a scrunch butt, from small to plus size.

As we move back down memory lane, we bring on the 70s.

70s VIBE

The YOLO generation of today identifies well with the groovy vibes of the 70s. With its carefree, seize-the-day way of life, the clothing & trends that were made in the 70s still feel as lighthearted today. Here are some of my favorites:


OFF-THE-SHOULDER BIKINI:

When you think about the change in women’s fashion, from covered-up to liberated, you got to keep in mind it all started with the shoulders. A woman’s neck line can be the sort of sexy thing that shows off without showing too much. Popular as a form of crop top in the 60s, the off the shoulder blouses are brought back as off-the-shoulder bikinis in a very cute way. They’ve been around for a few years and show no signs of giving out. Combining off the shoulder trends with high waisted features can give way to a retro-modern look.

 

Off The Shouder Top Olivia Newton John   Off The Shoulder Bikini Top Verde Limon

PHOTOS: [left] Then - Olivia Newton John, Grease 1978; [right] Now - Red Picnic Santa Cruz Top, $136


WRAP BIKINI TOPS:

The 70s gave way to that sense of freedom and liberation, and with it came the midriff bearing looks that work so well in swim. For one, wrap tops were (and still are) a fabulous way to spruce up a top. Not only do they push the boobs up, put the x shape created at the torso gives a wrap swim top an added highlight. Comfortable and padless, most wrap bikini tops support and enhance without fuss.

 

Wrap Top Diana Ross & Cher   Wrap Bikini Top with Stripes Maylana Swim
PHOTOS: [left] Then - Diana Ross & Cher; [right] Now - Emma Stripes Wrap Top, $35                     

THE BOYSHORT BIKINI:

Boyshorts are basically hip-hugging bottoms that are thicker than most at the hips. They are comfortable and if well-fitted, can be flattering to a wide range of body types. Rumor has it Walt Disney himself asked Annette Funicello not to wear navel bearing swimsuits in the 1963movie Beach Party. But even back then, a twenty year old will do what a twenty year old will do. Her look was daring for her era, and we give mad props to the girl for her bravery. Nowadays, boyshort swim bottoms are a sexy yet modest way to do beachwear.

 

Boyshorts Bikinis Annette Funicello Beach Party movie   Boyshorts swimsuit color block bikini
PHOTOS: [left] Then - Annette Funicello in Beach Party movie, 1963; [right] Now - Bianca ColorBlock bottom, $69

Modern boyshort bottoms are often made with a banded feature at the waist, allowing women to drag down the band when/if they want less coverage.

THE HIPSTER BIKINI:

Popularized in the 60s and 70s and named after the hippie chic movement of the time, the hipster bikini bottom is still relevant today. With its hip hugging, low rise elements, hipster bikinis spell retro. We’ve learned how to enhance the bottoms even further by making them seamless, therefore avoiding the dreaded muffin top that could come about with tight seams.

 

Hipster Bikini Bottom Marilyn Monroe   Full Coverage Bottom Emerald Bikini

PHOTOS: [left] Then -  Marilyn Monroe, photographed by Eve Arnold; [right] Now - Chloe Emerald Bottom, $58


Hipster bottoms work for women who would like more than moderate coverage while still adding a low rise element.

That’s it for the 70s!

60s VIBE

Flowers, peace signs, and free will – the basic tenants of the 60s, are three ways the hipsters show their carefree lifestyles via fashion choices. We absolutely love the boho chic looks that come out of bringing back the 60s trends.

Here are some of our favorites:


FULL COVERAGE SWIM BOTTOMS:

Similar to hipster bottoms, full coverage bottoms are thicker at the hips and provide wider coverage at the rear. Sometimes sans the low rise feature, full coverage swim bottoms can be basic and used to achieve modesty and sophistication. The great thing about full coverage bottoms is that they can also be boyshorts, hipsters, and high waisted bottoms. They are versatile and can morph into several looks that work for girls and women.

 

Full coverage bottom Brigitte Bardot The Girl in the Bikini   Black Full Coverage Bottom Maylana Swim

PHOTOS: [left] Then - Brigitte Bardot in the movie The Girl in the Bikini, 1952; [right] Now -  Chloe Black bottom, $58

 

The full coverage look epitomized in the 50s and 60s by iconic starlets such as Brigitte Bardot are still relevant today, but perhaps nowadays designers are careful to avoid the ‘poopy diaper’ look.  There’s a way to cover up without looking droopy.


THE CROP TOP BIKINI:

The freedom that the 60s provided women and the progressive movement that arose as a result gave way to the midriff baring crop tops. Sans bell bottoms, nowadays crop top bikinis are perfect for women who are active (via sports or children), and provide a way to look fashionable while avoiding any spillage. Crop tops look great in the form of swim camis or high neck swim tops. We love the racerback crop tops and the cuteness of the groovy look.

 

Fashion Crop Tops   Ondademar Crop Top

PHOTOS: [left] Then - 70s Fashion Ad; [right] Now - Tadan High Neck Top, $99

 

RETRO HIGH-WAISTED SWIMSUITS:

Nothing says pinup more than a retro high-waisted swimsuit. Epitomized by the iconic Marilyn Monroe, high waisted swimsuit bottoms have made a comeback in recent years, and are here to stay for 2019. There is something romantic about a high-waisted bottom That starlet look that, mixed with a modern print, has got us seeing hearts.

 

High waisted bikinis Marilyn Monroe   Red High Waisted Bottom Maylana Swim

PHOTOS: [left] Then - Marilyn Monroe, 1953; [right] Now - Lulu Cherry Red Bottom, $55

 

The thing about this trend is that it’s a lifesaver for women that have c section scars, belly stretch marks, and basically women that have recently given birth in general.

That’s it for what’s hot in 2019, we have a feeling the ultimate swim guide trends will give way to a lot of fun.

Mayra Jimenez

In 2007, Mayra Jimenez and her husband founded The Orchid Boutique, which specializes in designer swimwear made in their native Colombia. Mayra is passionate about everything swimwear and entrepreneurship.

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