Would you wear your swimsuit as outerwear? That was the question TZR editors debated on in our fashion meeting one day. In our quest to answer this query, we tried on a variety of popular swimwear to find the ones that aligned with our personal styles — and, that worked the best with our existing wardrobe staples. The goal was to prove that one-pieces, and even bikini tops, can work as regular clothes with the right styling. (Spoiler alert: The results are promising.)
To start, not every swimsuit can double as a going-out top (sorry!). Designs with too many side cutouts, for instance, make it difficult to pair with pants, as the look awkwardly cuts off halfway. However, one-shoulder one pieces, unique bikini tops, and even tankinis make for excellent “real clothes” candidates. Pieces with a more classic bodysuit silhouette, like the sleek Toteme design on Rebecca Iloulian, director of newsletter revenue and marketing at BDG, is perhaps the most versatile to style, including with bottoms like jeans or skirts.
Ahead, see how several TZR editors craftily reworked their swimsuit tops into going-out looks. If you feel amazed by the transformation and inspired too, give the outfits a try by shopping the accompanying product picks.
A Date-Night Outfit
“This is the first time I’ve tried on a tankini and I don’t hate it. The Aqua Swim piece is suitable for low-key pool activities (like going to the swim-up bar to get a piña colada) and lazy days on the beach, but doesn’t stay up on me for a day of rough water sports. That said, the swimwear actually works quite well as a summer ‘fashun’ staple because a) it looks like a real tube top and b) pairs well with my everyday items. I styled it with leather shorts, ballet flats, and gold accessories to give the item a going-out vibe. In fact, right after this photo was taken, I walked down the block to grab dinner with my fiancé for a low-key date night.” — Marina Liao, senior fashion news editor, TZR
A Happy Hour Outfit
“I’ve mastered the one-piece swimsuit and everyday clothing outfit formula (if I say so myself), so I decided it was time to push myself outside my sartorial comfort zone and try to wear a bikini top in public. Because I didn’t want to show too much skin, I teamed this sparkly one-shoulder Baobab style with a denim midi skirt from Free People. To give the look some flair, I piled on a few playful necklaces in my collection — a Madewell beaded style and a seashell look by Rellery. Finally, I’ve been eager to test-drive a light purple and fiery red combo after seeing it on one of my favorite influencers, Maria Bernad, and figured this was the perfect opportunity to do so as my RE/DONE x Dr. Scholl’s patent sandals were practically begging to be taken for a stroll.” — Kelsey Stewart, associate fashion editor, TZR
A Summer-Into-Fall Outfit
“This sleek one-piece swimsuit from Toteme is my go-to pool look, but since it feels sophisticated and minimal, it can also easily be disguised as a bodysuit with my everyday clothes. The beautiful olive hue also transitions well from summer into fall, making it extra versatile in my wardrobe. Whenever I'm wearing a bodysuit or something more fitted on top, I like to balance my outfit with a looser counterpart, so I paired the swimsuit with wide-leg black trousers. To follow through on the minimal theme, I finished the look in a muted color palette, accessorizing with a black clutch and flat sandals, oversized gold earrings, and my favorite taupe Celine sunnies. An outfit perfect for day or night!” — Rebecca Iloulian, director, newsletter revenue and marketing
A Sporty Dinner Outfit
“The wavy retro print on this Seafolly one-piece swimsuit makes it easy to wear as a going-out top. I kept my outfit simple by pairing it with my summer staples: oversized Nike shorts, thong heels, and Romwe bag. I then layered on my go-to gold jewelry, including a stack of hoop earrings, a nameplate necklace, and the jingly charm anklet I found on vacation earlier this summer. Since the sartorial story here felt a little muted, I threw on my favorite orange trucker hat to add an extra pop of color. Though, you could easily achieve this affect with a similar, bright printed suit below.” — Samantha Scott, newsletter editor + strategist
A Comfy WFH Outfit
“During the summer and early fall, which are particularly scorching in LA, I live in breezy pant sets that I can lounge in, and be out and about in. Sometimes, for extra ventilation, I’ll leave my blouse open and just wear a nice bikini top underneath, like this ribbed option from Solid & Striped. With dainty jewelry and elevated gladiator sandals, it’s super versatile for any warm-weather activity.” — Angela Melero, executive editor, TZR