Is there anything more refreshing than a dip in the water on a hot summer’s day? Whether you plan on hanging poolside at a villa in Tuscany (hey, a girl can dream) or during a backyard barbecue at home, your agenda deserves an epic wardrobe to match. So let’s talk about bathing suits and beyond that make styling cute pool outfits a breeze.
Naturally, swimwear is the best place to start. “For the pool, it’s really about the swimsuit,” Sarah Staudinger, co-founder and creative director of Staud, tells TZR. “A good one can act as a bodysuit base layer for so many outfits, and that takes you from a morning swim to a late-night dip.” This foundation will truly act as a beginning point, seamlessly allowing you to build the rest of your outfit around it.
A few points to keep in mind? “The best pool swimsuit is a suit that offers minimal tan lines. The thinner the straps, the better — most of our collection includes suits with thin to extremely thin straps,” Brittany Kozerski Freeney, owner and designer of JADE Swim, explains. “I also try to design with some adjustability and versatility in mind, so all of our swimsuits can be transitional.”
Still, you want to approach pool dressing holistically — even the most fantastic of bikinis do not count as an outfit alone. “Being on vacation is all about relaxing and reconnecting with family, friends and most importantly, yourself, so your wardrobe should reflect it,” Morgane Sezalory, founder of Sézane, tells us. “I always feel best in simple, yet beautiful pieces such as light and loose cotton dresses. Comfort may be key, but I still love to have fun with my poolside looks, playing with color and prints.”
Whether you are a die-hard minimalist, or fancy something over-the-top, always consider the elements. “Sun and sweat! The two most critical pool outfit factors,” Harling Ross Anton, writer and consultant, tells TZR. “I typically opt for pieces that offer coverage when needed but are still lightweight enough to keep cool.” Karen Walker, designer of namesake brand Karen Walker, also calls out “lightweight, organic cotton, long-sleeved shirts,” as her layering must-have.
Shielding from the elements is as essential as any accessory, when a blistering day in the sun is concerned. “Firstly, I look for sun protection: a paper parasol, a sunhat with a generous brim, a gauzy wrap, good sunblock (my preference is Osmosis) and, of course, great shades,” Walker tells TZR. “For poolside, I always like to go for big and super dark lenses for maximum protection from glare and water reflection.” Ross Anton adds, “A brimmed hat, ideally one that is easy to throw in a tote without taking up too much space,” is also in her pool necessities, proving it’s cool to take care of your skin.
Finally, you’ll want to find the bag to carry it all. “I think that a good bag to toss things in is essential,” Staudinger explains. “My Staud striped raffia Jetson bag carries all the essentials and doesn’t feel like a typical beach bag, plus it goes with every color.” Sezalory adds, “The ultimate accessory that I can never travel without is a spacious, handwoven basket. It fits all my essentials and suits the beach just as well as an apréo under the stars.”
Ahead, keep reading for seven cute pool looks to try, incorporating some of summer’s best trends, for optimum sunbathing chicness.
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Beach Club Chic
“I fell in love with Alaïa’s iconic swimsuits, one of which I wore during my wedding weekend last month in Saint-Tropez,” Staudinger tells us. Take notes from this epic look and choose a statement making swimsuit for a day of poolside sunbathing, that will take you from day to night. “My go-to accessory for my pool looks are the STAUD x Birkenstock Gizeh black crocodile-embossed leather sandals,” Staudinger mentions. “They look so great on everyone’s foot and look equally chic with a sundress or a robe. Plus, a pair of cat-eye sunglasses, of course!” Karen Walker, a designer renown for her cat-eye shapes agrees, “I love a strong, angular cat-eye and The Astral Arrow in Crazy Tort really nails it.”
If there is one thing we can learn from Gilda Ambrosio, co-founder of The Attico it’s that the designer knows how to dress for vacation. Not one to shy away from a poolside photoshoot, Ambrosio’s vacation outfits are #goals. Take cues from her latest look, playing with patterns in various shades of blue, mimicking the crystal waters surrounding Capri. The sleeper hit pareo skirt is a must-have on this summer’s shopping list, and a key item to nailing the vibe. Gladiator sandals and beach-friendly jewelry will leave you *chef’s kiss* poolside perfection.
Crochet & Crafty
“Crochet all day every day,” Morgane Sezalory tells us. “I don’t think anything feels more like summer than a crochet dress with bright accessories and woven espadrilles.” Crochet is definitely on the hot list this season, but as Sezalory mentions, “Summer trends come and go, but thanks to [crochet’s] versatility, you’ll be packing these pieces in your suitcase for years to come.” Style yours with a brightly colored bikini for an added color. Meanwhile, woven accessories like a wide-brimmed hat and straw bag amp up the crafty, handmade vibe.
Downtown-cool meets ‘90s raver-chic mesh fabric makes for an extremely comfortable feel, due to it’s extra-stretchy nature, while providing a barely-there sheerness — ideal for a cool cover up situation. A longer hemline juxtaposes the transparent quality, providing both sex appeal and coverage, all at the same time. Keep your swim choice simple (so it doesn’t compete with the dress) and add bold resin jewelry and a PVC shoe for an element of nostalgia.
“We love the see-through look,” Luisa Orsini and Antonine Peduzzi, Creative Directors and Co-Founders of TL 180, tell TZR, regarding the brand’s signature knitted dresses. “They are easy to wear over a swimsuit and allow you to be protected, but not too covered.” Fine gauge knit dresses offer exactly that: a comfortable and subtly sultry cover up alternative to your typical sundress. “We will be styling ours with a triangle or brassiere swim top and high-legged bottom, barefoot with our raffia bag,” they add. Throw on ‘90s-inspired shades to help complete the Roman It-girls’ vacation vibe perfectly.
The Pajama Game
If you haven’t invested in a cotton button down and matching boxer short set yet, there’s no time like now. “In summer, I like to have my morning coffee by the pool, so I’m often there before I’m out of my PJs, which is quite a nice way to ease into a weekend morning,” Walker says. Luckily, with the uptick in fashionable pajama-inspired daywear, this borrowed-from-the-bedroom look doesn’t need to be reserved for mornings only. Pair with a seersucker bikini, like influencer-approved and sustainable brand Hunza G, luxe woven slides, and classic silver hoops for the finishing touch on a truly modern pool look.
We are seeing terry cloth fabrication everywhere and TZR’s obsession is running high this summer. “The Terry Collection features towel material, paired with the most buttery soft lining on the inside,” Kozerski Freeney speaks of the brand’s new swim category. “It is the perfect quick-drying outer material and cooling lightweight inside lining.” Go full on with the trend, adding retro-inspired cover-up pieces, like rompers and short sets, into the rotation for a day at the pool. Now all you need is an oversized woven bags (to fit everything from sunscreen to your summertime read) and chunky sole sandals (to make sure you don’t slip on any stray puddle).
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