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Women are investing in swimsuit bottoms that fit well, and pairing with a variety of cheaper tops.

Suit yourself

Bold colors, metallics, 1-piece silhouettes on rise

Associated Press
One-piece styles and bold colors, such as this Barraca Chic suit, are hot in swimwear.
Metallic details are part of a trend in swimwear this summer. Sporty styles are also hitting beaches.

Expect bold colors, metallic materials and sporty styles on beaches this summer in, surprisingly, more one-piece silhouettes. A quick guide to this season’s swim looks:

The fashion

Patterns, prints, colors: Look for bold, solid colors as opposed to pastels or jewel tones.

“Definitely more vibrant,” says Marissa Rubin, People StyleWatch’s senior market editor. Also: black and white, graphic details and writing or words, global prints and metallics in silvers, bronze, pewter and gold.

“It looks really great on bronze skin, the metallics really pop,” Rubin said.

Sporty styles: Fashion designers are looking to athletic brands for inspiration, Rubin said. Specifically: zippers, mesh inserts or cutouts, neoprene material and rash-guard influences.

Versatile cover-ups: Traditional covers-ups are making way for multi-use garments, such as jersey dresses that can go from “pool to barbecue or pool to picnic or out at night,” Rubin said. Other options: Shirtdresses or oversized men’s button-down shirts, caftans and tunics that hit midthigh or at the knee.

The finances

Return of the one piece: Sales of one-piece swimsuits have gone up. Data from market research group NPD show one-piece sales increasing 15 percent from the April 2012-March 2013 period to the April 2013-March 2014 period. One-piece sales netted $819.6 million during 2013-14 range compared with $783.9 million for two-piece swimsuits, which saw a 9 percent loss.

“The one-piece has the ability to be able to contour one’s figure in a better way,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief retail analyst.

Mix and match: Women are increasingly buying a basic swim bottom that fits well and pairing it with multiple tops in different lengths and patterns. NPD data show sales of $550.5 million for swimwear tops from April 2013 to March 2014 compared with $368.7 million for bottoms.

“Women aren’t concerned as much anymore about having a complete matchy-matchy outfit,” Cohen said. “It’s perfectly OK to buy a $9 top and put it with a $20 bottom.”

Overall sales: The women’s swimwear market totaled $2.9 billion in sales from April 2013 to March 2014, according to NPD. That’s up slightly from $2.8 billion during the 2012-13 period.

Cover-ups saw a 7 percent increase in sales from the April 2012-March 2013 period to the April 2013-March 2014 period.