August might seem a little late to shop for swimsuits, but it’s also the time of year when many of us may finally be on vacation — and, hopefully, in or near a body of water.
If you’ve waited ’til now to replace your old swimsuit, fear not. There are lots of options still available and many are on sale! Of the various styles to choose from, few can get more mileage than a simple black one-piece, a classic that people should have in their arsenal.
One reason black one-pieces are considered a staple is because you can find them at countless retailers like the Gap. There’s nothing wrong with one-piece swimsuits from these chains; they typically are inexpensive and fit pretty well. But rarely does buying them make you feel anything other than relieved that you don’t have to shop for more.
For those who want something that’s bolder, below are seven options that are better than a basic black one-piece — including a polished halter-top style that might surprise people when they find out it is from the Gap.
The designer Jenia Kim is known for using petal cutouts in pieces for her line J.Kim. The brand’s first collection of swimwear includes a black one-piece that features the signature cutouts. And to those wondering: Yes, the cutouts’ positioning takes unwanted “slips” into account, according to the brand.
Lido is a brand sold at coastal Italian hotels and cult boutiques across the world, including La Garçonne, in TriBeCa, and Voo Store, in Berlin. Its timeless, minimal swimsuits are rendered in sophisticated solids as well as in dreamy gradients and can be worn beyond the beach or the pool. This Trentanove one-piece is designed to mimic the look of a rib-knit tank, meaning it can also be worn as a body suit.
If you love prints, look to brands that have been deftly using them for decades — Pucci and Marimekko are great bets, as is Jean Paul Gaultier, which made this swimsuit for its spring 2023 collection. The one-piece’s abstract imagery refers to textile collages from Gaultier’s spring 2001 show. Another patterned Gaultier option is “The Body Morphing” one-piece, which features a warped striped print first used by the brand in its spring 1996 collection.
Baserange has developed a cult following for its unisex basics. This canary-yellow one-piece cleverly employs contrasting brown seams to add visual intrigue — a technique that fans of the brand might recognize.
Eres, which is owned by Chanel, dominates the luxury swim space. Its swimsuits can cost up to $800 and are made with peau douce, a soft, clingy proprietary fabric that incorporates polyamide and spandex. (The fabric, according to the brand, is a reason for the high prices.) With a bateau neckline and an open back, the elegant, trend-defying Tapis one-piece is a silhouette worth splurging on, especially when it goes on sale, as is often the case this time of year.
Nu Swim has won the attention of minimalism-adoring customers in part because its swimwear is produced at a family-owned factory in Queens that handled J. Crew’s swimwear in the ’90s — a golden era to those in the know.
If you’ve considered the previous options and thought, “Actually, I’d rather just have a Gap one-piece,” try this classic silhouette with a full-coverage bottom, a flattering fit and crisscross straps that look more interesting than the average neckline.