Swimsuit as a Top

Swimsuit as a Top

In the first episode of the Netflix series, Love, the female protagonist, Micky, meets up with her ex-boyfriend at a New Age church service, wearing a red swimsuit with Mom jeans and cork heel wedges. She epitomised that cool, laid back California vibe with a nonchalance and ease that made me want to move to Los Angeles and wear swimsuits for every occasion.

It did get me thinking, though. The concept of wearing a swimsuit as a top – its a thing. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s not appropriate for every situation. But it can be done in context-appropriate ways outside of the sunny bubble of Los Angeles. So here’s my take on swimsuit as a top etiquette – where, when and how.

If you consider the one-piece swimsuit to effectively be the equivalent of a top (basically a tight bodysuit), the possibilities for incorporating it into your outfit rotation are as numerous as they are stylish. There are some limitations though. Swimsuits are tight, some are very booby, and if worn the wrong way you might end up with a bit of an off-the-clock-lifeguard vibe. So read on for a few tips to keep in mind before you go to town on a swimsuit styling spree:

  • If you want to avoid looking like you’ve just stepped off the beach, linen shirts are the perfect solution. Artfully knotted or worn loose, they are the antidote to an overly-nautical theme. Perfect for city styling.
  • Pretty much any bottoms will go very nicely with a swimsuit. Jeans, denim cut offs, floaty midi and maxi skirts, linen trousers, tailored trousers and my personal fave, the palazzo pant.
  • For swimsuit as evening wear, a light cashmere scarf thrown over the shoulders is always a good idea. My personal favourite cashmere scarves are from Lois Avery.
  • Accessories (heels, statement jewellery) can elevate your swimsuit from beach outfit to city outfit, or vice versa (shell necklaces and sandals).
  • Just a practical point – going to the bathroom is a little bit more involved when wearing a one-piece. Plan your trips to the ladies’ strategically.
  • Same colour/print swimsuit and trousers can result in a rather glam jumpsuit look.

There are some places I would wear a swimsuit as a top and others where it might be a little inappropriate. Here’s my do’s and don’t’s:

where i would wear a swimsuit as a top

  • Any beachside location, especially Mykonos
  • Los Angeles, natch
  • Pool parties – any location
  • Barbecues, or any similar gathering where lots of Australians will be. We’re a casual bunch
  • Sun drenched afternoons in any local beer garden
  • Most parts of Sydney
  • Beachside suburbs of Melbourne
  • Anywhere in East London, especially London Fields and Victoria Park

where i would not wear a swimsuit as a top

  • Church
  • Weddings, unless the reception was a pool party (it happens)
  • To visit my grandma (she doesn’t have a pool)
  • Funerals (for people or pets)
  • The office
  • Anywhere west of Old Street in London (with the exception of Soho)

Embrace the concept of the swimsuit as a top and you too might just discover its transformative power to get you out of a summertime style rut.

Swimsuit as a top