Last spring and summer, you may recall a vibrant, aquatic-inspired fad — fondly known as mermaidcore — taking hold of the trend cycle. Designers like Versace and Burberry offered kaleidoscopic, under-the-sea prints, and garments like bejeweled, sea shell-style bustiers answered the question of what Princess Ariel would wear to a party on the ocean floor. For spring and summer 2022, marine-inspired fashion is once again a point of inspiration — although you’ll notice it manifesting quite differently. This season, the focus shifts toward refined beach outfits, consisting of muted sandy shades, fine shell detailing, and sleek swimsuits that seamlessly double as ready-to-wear. Natural and minimalistic, this season’s take on the trend revolves around elevating beachwear to become wearable in any context — even when there isn’t a pool or ocean nearby.
Naturally, this season’s put-together beach aesthetic originated during the Spring/Summer 2022 showings. Fendi styled a white bikini with a crisp white blazer and front-pleat trousers as a laidback interpretation of modern-day suiting, while Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini paired a midriff-flossing triangle top with a billowing, open blouse and crosshatched knit trousers. Soulland, too, gave its swimwear a polished feel through inspired styling, namely by teaming a cerulean one-piece with a sleek navy trench coat. Meanwhile, on Coperni’s runway, models donned net-like cutout tops, effortlessly unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts, and iridescent bralettes and micro miniskirts made of seashells. Consider: If last year’s mermaidcore conjured zippy piña coladas and the lively chaos of an all-day pool party, spring 2022’s beachcore evokes a serene soundscape of breaking waves and a decadent nap under a cabana.
Jasmin Scott of Jasmin Sparrow, a New Zealand-based accessories brand known for its marine-centric pieces, says spring 2022’s take on beach-inspired garb reveals a cultural craving for serenity. “There is a real desire in the collective for freedom and escapism,” she offers. “Faced with broader uncertainties, sensual adornments that hint at sandy shores and summer sun are a way for us to connect with our fantasies of a simpler, freer time,” Scott articulates to TZR over email.
Mindfulness, Scott states, is another key aspect of this season’s beachy trend — being thoughtful and purposeful with styling, of course, but also in connecting with the pieces you wear. “From the very beginning, I have looked to the natural world for inspiration — whilst being conscious not to exploit its resources — working only with recycled and responsibly sourced materials,” the founder says, explaining that honoring and respecting the sea must be fundamental for the elevated beachwear trend.
Ahead, you’ll find outfits emblematic of the spring and summer trend in that they’re beach-inspired, undeniably polished, and will work for any activity.
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Perhaps not suitable for a strictly professional setting, teaming a bikini top with an oversized blazer and baggy trousers is an inspired and relaxed take on traditionally tailored and clean-cut suiting. Add on a pair of luxe slides — like Zou Xou’s multi-strap sandals — to complete the “I have a conference call at 11 a.m. and brunch on the beach at noon” look.
A Statement Shell Piece
Scott shouts out intricate pieces made of seashells — like Jasmin Sparrow’s Mixed Shell Bag — as a refined statement to consider. The designer continues, saying shells are evocative of a sense of serenity that’s integral to 2022’s elevated beach outfits trend. “I look to the beach daily to find a sense of balance and grounding, and, naturally, this translates into design inspiration. Shell pieces found throughout our collections speak of my connection to the ocean, and the particular qualities of shells — such as mother of pearl — that support intuition and impart a sense of protection and soothing,” she explains.
“Crochet pieces, in my mind, were always the thing you found in a cute shop on a holiday,” says Roxanne Namaki, founder of swimwear brand Maiyo, explaining why the handmade knit inherently evokes a beachy vibe. And for 2022’s beachcore trend, Namaki says crochet items done in neutral and organic shades are essential. “For so long, crochet was known for its tie-dye colors and hippy vibes, which I do love, but, to me, there is nothing more beautiful than seeing different, natural textures in earthy tones,” she says.
Shades of Sand
A sand-hued color palette delivers a calming and minimal effect, conjuring visions of a tranquil beach left untouched. Consider styling a breezy button-down with a maxi skirt in a matching taupe shade for a head-to-toe monochromatic ensemble. Lastly, cinch your waist with a nautical rope belt and slip into a pair of neutral sandals.
A Stylized Sarong
Opt for a sarong made of luxurious silk and then, to elevate the piece beyond just being a poolside cover-up, pair it with a more formal-looking, collared blouse. Add a handbag from a cult-favorite brand — like Stand Studio’s quilted mini bag — and a pair of neutral mules to tie the insouciant look together.
A Repurposed One-Piece
Utilizing a one-piece swimsuit as a bodysuit is an age-old style hack long revered by fashion girls, and Namaki says it’s an integral aspect of spring 2022’s beachy trend, too. On her brand’s swimsuit offerings, Namaki shares she designs them with versatility in mind. “We’ve always tried to create suits that can be a statement piece away from the beach/pool,” she says. “Our tag line has always been ‘from the beach to bar!”
As for styling a one-piece, the founder invites you to look for suits that can be adapted depending on the desired look — like Maiyo’s belted Isla number. “A lot of our add-ons are detachable for this reason, so the suits can be worn with or without them or even styled as part of [ready-to-wear] outfits,” explains Namaki.
A Rafia Carry-All
For a day spent running errands and checking off to-dos, consider an oversized carry-all tote made of woven palm leaves. The rafia bag will house all the goods you need on the go, and it’ll exude an understated and carefree vibe.
Not Your Dad’s Hawaiian Shirt
Forget the Hawaiian-print, dadcore button-down, and, instead, try a sultry blouse in a tropical print. It’s a more sensual take on the, at times, kitschy beach staple and offers a more fashion-focused perspective. For the rest of the outfit, stick to a natural color palette via army green cargo pants and platform sandals.
Bikinis Off The Beach
If you’re already a fan of 2022’s lingerie trend, consider swapping your bra top for a flirty bikini. It creates a similar sultry effect, but with a more relaxed spirit. As for styling the bikini-based look, Namaki offers: “Simplicity with a hint of chic is always the best!” For instance, consider teaming the swimsuit top with your favorite pair of worn-in blue jeans, a luxe cardigan, and designer clogs.