A major fashion trend this year, crop tops are appearing on beaches and pool decks as well as on city streets, their midriff-baring stylings ideal for fun in the sun (and the deep). Shy about donning one? Don’t fret: Long-sleeved options such as this pinwheel-print number from MARC by Marc Jacobs cover more than they expose, yet still have the edge of skimpier models. MARC by Marc Jacobs scuba top, $102, bottom, $72 through www.neimanmarcus.com. Aldo sandals, $90 through www.aldoshoes.ca. Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer pendant, $140 through www.jaclynmayer.com.
Making the cut
Tommy Hilfiger’s spring 2014 show kicked the scuba trend into high gear with an assortment of neoprene pants, tops and jackets that all but conjured the California coast. His collection hinged on a standout selection of swimwear featuring colour-blocked accents and daring cutouts (the latter of which could result in some rather tricky tan lines). An elevated way to work the scuba look, such suits look best on the deck of a yacht. Tommy Hilfiger swimsuit, $149 (U.S.) at the Tommy Hilfiger store on Fifth Avenue in New York or through 212-223-1824. Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer bracelets, $125 each through www.jaclynmayer.com.
If you really want to dive into this summer’s scuba trend, a bandeau fashioned out of neoprene and mesh is among the sexier options. Made by the Australian brand Triangl – who better to create sporty swimwear than designers from Down Under? – this suit won’t wrinkle like traditional jersey styles. Its bikini top also features flexible boning and a clasp closure in the back, meaning it won’t unfasten at an inopportune time. Triangl bikini, $189 through www.triangl.com. Michael Kors jacket, $225 through www.michaelkors.com. G-Shock watch, $119.99 at Hudson’s Bay (www.thebay.com).
A finalist at the TFI New Labels competition this spring, Toronto-based swimwear designer Ashley Boutcher, whose brand is called Nomad of the Sun, is proof that Canadians are taking the category seriously. “People are having more fun with their clothes than they have in a while and I think we are also looking for pieces that tell a story,” she says of why scuba-style suits have struck a chord. “This apparel,” she continues, “isn’t just reminiscent of an amazing trip you may have taken, but the firmer fabrics and use of panelling draw the eye in for a form-flattering fit.” And then there’s the versatility. This one-piece, for example, features a removable back panel – in case you’re game for a little more exposure. Nomad of the Sun swimsuit, $280 through www.nomadofthesun.com. K-Way jacket, $54.99 at Hudson’s Bay (www.thebay.com). Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer bracelet, $170 through www.jaclynmayer.com.
Surf and protect
Although a rashguard’s main function is to keep rough waves from chafing skin, this swim top can also double as an effective sun screen. J.Crew’s sailor-stripe version features a UPF 50 grading and is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as a UV protectant. That means less worrying about the last time you applied lotion and more time catching waves. J.Crew rashguard, $92, bottom, $54 through www.jcrew.com. G-Shock watch, $119.99 at Hudson’s Bay (www.thebay.com). Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer necklace, $240 through www.jaclynmayer.com.
More James Bondian than Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso, Karla Colletto’s bold red one-piece with nautical piping features an elongated zipper that allows you to control how much skin you flaunt. Of course, a suit this stunning demands more than mere flip-flops as partners – instead, opt for a velcroed flatform (an update of the lowly sports sandal) to get you from A to Beach. Karla Colletto swimsuit, $365 through www.saksfifthavenue.com. Aldo sandals, $90 through www.aldoshoes.ca. Victorinox watch, $795 through www.swissarmy.com.