Island Stylin’

Splash Into Summer With Cool New Swimwear Trends

By SANDRA WEYANT | May 30, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

It’s officially swimsuit season! Sunny days call for perfect-fitting swimwear. A swimsuit is a wardrobe staple for beach residents and non-. Whether you’re an LBI local or a weekend vacationer, you’ll want to pay a visit to Bikini Headquarters and Indian Summer for all of your summer essentials.

Marla Wink, owner of Indian Summer, and Karen Ryerson, owner of Bikini Headquarters, have devoted the past 30 years to helping women of all ages find the best swimsuits for their body. For some, swimwear shopping can bring on feelings of dread and frustration, but Wink and Ryerson are committed to making each woman feel confident and beautiful no matter her age, body shape or size.

“You’re practically prancing around in your underwear when you wear a swimsuit, so it can be hard, but I try to make something everyone can feel comfortable in,” Ryerson said.

Veteran designer Ryerson began creating swimwear at the age of 20. “I used to work for someone who designed swimwear in Hawaii. I didn’t have a job, and she taught me how to make them, and then I moved back here and I needed a job, so I opened my store at age 23. I was young and, at first, I only made bikinis. I wanted to be the Bikini Headquarters, so that’s how I came up with the name,” Ryerson said.

Ryerson stocks her store with tried-and-true bikini silhouettes that her customers gravitate toward year after year, but she also takes custom orders based on a client’s size and personal style. As trends have evolved, she has experimented with making tankinis, dresses and underwire styles, and her shop is filled with various swim styles.

“Customers can bring in their own fabrics or ideas to copy. They can bring in old swimsuits and I can re-create them. I can also buy any swatches of fabric online and create whatever they want. I’ve had some failures along the way, but I put it on the rack and it usually sells within a week to somebody else. Everyone’s body is different; what doesn’t fit one person always fits another,” Ryerson said.

At Indian Summer, Wink merchandises her store with the trendiest swimsuits, but her main focus is, and always has been, fit. “Especially bra-sized swimwear. From an A cup to a double J, it’s important to have the right fit and proper support,” she said. “Not one bathing suit is best for one person. We work with each person individually and find what works best with their body type. We have such a vast selection of sizes and brands, and we have the knowledge to be able to do it. We’ve really seen it all. To look and feel good in a swimsuit, it always comes down to the fit.”

Soak up the sun (and the compliments) in the most fashionable swimwear from Indian Summer and Bikini Headquarters. Here’s a breakdown of the styles you’ll be seeing and loving from the pool to the beach to the boardwalk.

Better Together. Two can be better than one! Tankinis are very popular, not only because of the versatile styling options, but also because separates can be purchased in different sizes to ensure the best fit. If you prefer more coverage, tankinis can be just as flattering as a one-piece swimsuit. One of Ryerson’s best-selling styles is the dress-front tankini, a bikini top with an added flowy, apron-front design for more tummy and back coverage.

Wink and Ryerson both encourage their customers to mix and match separates by colors, prints and sizes to design their very own swimsuit masterpiece.

“I started my business in 1984, and no one was mixing and matching or selling separates,” Ryerson said. “You couldn’t separate a set. A lot of people like a solid top and a printed bottom, and I’m hoping to sell more of the matchy-match swimwear, sets with a top and bottom in the same print. Young girls, ones who aren’t wearing children’s sizes anymore, but not adult sizes, either, love the matching prints, and for the past five years, it’s all they have been buying.”

Find the One. Two-piece swimsuits are a typical choice for summer (and to get the best tan), but one-pieces are having a major moment this year. From high-neck looks to swimdresses and everything in between, one-pieces are the most coveted swimsuits of the season.

“I’ll be making more one-pieces because they are a hit. I’m making a princess seam one-piece and a basic tank, and some designs that crisscross in the back,” Ryerson said.

Keep in mind that when it comes to one-pieces, simpler is better. Think back to poster girl Farrah Fawcett’s iconic red swimsuit. It’s plain, yet sexy. No need to go over the top.

Less Is More. You’ve got it. Now, flaunt it! Micro bikinis are the ultimate statement-makers. Barely-there designs are guaranteed to heat up your summer. Ryerson’s specialty is the skimpy triangle bikini, a customer favorite. It features a comfortable, stretchy band that fits under the bust for extra support. If you’ve never worn a bikini before, now is the time.

Down to the Wire. Underwire swimsuits are here to support you! To shape and lift your breasts in the most natural way, opt for underwire. These styles will keep you secure as you swim, work out or partake in any other water activities.

“I make a great underwire bikini top I call the Andrea underwire top,” Ryerson said. “I name most of my tops after problem customers, or the hardest fits. They all know about it and wear them like a badge of honor.” She has designing swimwear down to a fine art, and it takes her approximately one hour to sew a swimsuit, 2½ hours for an underwire style with a built-in bra.

For Wink, underwire swimsuits are her best sellers. “It’s all about the support, especially for bigger-busted women. A lot of my bathing suits are bra-fitted with an underwire bra built directly into the suit.”

Knot It. Get all tied up in creative swimwear designs. Add some flair to your swimsuit with macramé necklines or crochet cutouts. If you’re looking to accentuate a particular part of your body, these special details will do the trick.

Work It Out. The “athleisure” trend is here to stay. Sport-bra style bikini tops and tank one-piece swimsuits with thick straps are comfortable and classic. No, you don’t have to be an athlete to wear them!

“Bikinis are a lot of fun to make. I made a new bikini top for the young crowd. It’s only $15, and it crisscrosses in the back and looks athletic. It’s inexpensive; they love it and usually buy multiples,” Ryerson said.

Stripe Right. Line up for the print of the season. Similar to clothing trends, stripes are popping up in swimwear designs, too. Vertical stripes work to elongate and flatter the figure, especially in one-piece swimsuits.

Fresh Delivery. Give yourself flowers – in the form of a beautiful print. Nothing says summer quite like colorful floral patterns. Suit up in Hawaiian-inspired exotic flowers or traditional elegant blooms.

Black Out. Just like the LBD, every woman needs to own a little black swimsuit. As fashions change, black is always in style and looks stunning on all figures.

“People love flattering colors, especially black. It’s slimming and timeless,” Ryerson said.

Vintage Vibes. What goes around comes back around. High-waisted swim bottoms are a blast from the past. “Everyone is drawn to that retro 1940s look,” Wink said.

It’s the same at Bikini Headquarters. “High-waisted bottoms sell the best, and then a medium-sized brief, like a basic underwear bottom that everyone wears. I have one with a band that goes up a little higher on the hips and acts as a control top to smooth the stomach,” Ryerson said.

Swimwear with ruching or shirring details is also appealing because it accentuates your assets and camouflages any areas of concern. Off-the-shoulder one-pieces are bringing us back in time with their classic, pin-up-inspired shapes and feminine ruffles.

Summer Layers. Get covered in styles designed for the beach and beyond. Once you find your dream bathing suit, a cover-up serves as the perfect finishing touch. Along with her vast assortment of swimsuits, Wink has a plethora of cover-ups to complete your beach ensemble. From Tommy Bahama to J. Valdi, you can expect to find all of the high-quality brands you adore.

Dress for the Occasion. “The trend this year is short, shift dresses or similar relaxed shapes you can wear from the beach to happy hour,” Wink said. “Tunics are also very popular, year after year. They’re effortless, and that is really what everyone is looking for.”

Borrowed From the Boys. Aside from feminine dresses and tunics, cover-ups are transforming into plainer, masculine styles, otherwise known as boyfriend shirts. Think of button-down business attire, but made for the beach. Time to raid your boyfriend’s closet (or dad’s, brother’s, etc.).

“They are a little longer and relaxed, and you wear them over your bathing suit. They can match the suit, or they can be a more sheer shirt that showcases the suit underneath,” Wink said.

Sun Safe. Fashion meets function. Along with sunscreen, SPF 50 clothing is the best way to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

“It’s a special fabric you can wear on the beach. It’s cool enough and water resistant, and my customers love it,” Wink said.

Coolibar is a top brand at Indian Summer because it is stylish and also dermatologist recommended. These sporty-chic tops and bottoms are ideal for all of your fun in the sun. “It’s really great clothing for a day out on the boat, for sun and sport … you name it,” Wink said.

Pajama Time. Rest assured: Your beach wardrobe options just doubled. Pajama sets are all the rage, and new designs are actually meant to be worn outside of the bedroom.

“My customers especially love PJ Salvage,” Wink said. “The sets are adorable for relaxing with family, having company over, running errands out and about or even wearing over a bathing suit as a cover up.” Don’t snooze on this trend!

Summer will be here before you know it. Get into the swim of things and be sure to check out Indian Summer and Bikini Headquarters in Beach Haven for all of the latest swimwear trends. See you at the beach!

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