A small matter of waterproof fabric aside, there’s not much difference between one-piece swimwear and bodysuits. Both options have streamlined, leotard-like fits; neither bunch in strange ways or come untucked when you add another layer on top. Sure, there are some silhouettes that are indisputably beach-exclusive (like, say, this little ditty Kylie Jenner wore last month?), but a sleek silhouette in all black? Or spaghetti-strap cuts in matte fabric? With help from the right separates, most maillots work for much more than vacation.
As for which pieces, exactly, translate your bathing suits to the street, the formula varies. With simple, neutral-hued design as your foundation—think of it as a sleeker alternative to the timeless white tee—most any combination goes, but when color, print, and texture come into play, a polished ensemble requires finesse. Master the process here, where we’ve gathered four of the chicest covered-up styles of the season, and created a go-to look around each.
1. Tropical With A Twist
How to give playful island motifs—think palm tree prints, bright colors, and raffia touches—a sophisticated lift? Any long sleeve maillot with elegant touches, like micro stripes (so Jane Birkin!) and an open back.
Eliza Gran tote, $98; shopbop.com. Soka Sia earrings, $48; thereformation.com. Fleur Du Mal bathing suit, $265; fleurdumal.com. Opening Ceremony x Gentle Monster sunglasses, $320; openingceremony.com. Dolce & Gabbana skirt, $995; net-a-porter.com. Anceient Greek Sandals x Carven sandals, $172 (originally $430); shoescribe.com.
2. Teen Spirit
Slouchy overalls, white lace-ups, halter necklines—some of your high school wardrobe’s greatest hits are definitely worth a revisit this summer. To ensure the look is more a nod to the past than straight up nostalgia, opt for a base layer with of-the-moment details; scalloped edges and wavy lines, for instance, keep things feeling current.
Whistles overalls, $230; whistles.com. Baggu bag, $89 (originally $110); baggu.com. A.P.C. shoes, $355; apc.fr. Madwell sunglasses, $45 (originally $55); madewell.com. Marysia swimsuit, $319; marysiaswim.com.
3. Block Party Cool
To go straight from hanging on the beach to hanging in your 'hood, throw your comfiest cut-offs over a thin-strapped suit in matte material (even the slightest hint of sheen gives the look a lifeguard off-duty vibe). Lace-up espadrilles and a metallic choker offer an elevated—and less expected!—alternative to the old school flip-flop/puka shell mash-up.
4. Pretty Polished
Femininity without frills or flounce boils down to the right mix of shapes. Your new no-fail pairing: a graceful, Black Swan-worthy one-piece, white pleated skirt (asymmetrical details add subtle edge), and laser cut leather sandals.
Dior sunglasses, $525; nordstrom.com. Flagpole swimsuit, $385; flagpoleswim.com. Steven Alan bag, $485; stevenalan.com. Cos earrings, $25; cosstores.com. Alaia sandals, $1,240; net-a-porter.com. Topshop skirt, $100; topshop.com.