Related Articles: Sports & Recreation, All

Swimwear Season

Get into Gear for Beach Weather

The temperature is rising. The sun is bursting. It's time to don flip-flops, shorts, and break out the SPF30. But first and foremost, the bathing suit. Only which to wear? Whether your style is sassy, sexy, or prim and proper, finding just the right suit is essential. With the innumerable options out there this season, you're bound to find the perfect one, or the select few that will fit like a glove and make you the sunbathing beauty at the beach.

For no-nonsense swimwear for the purpose of, well, swimming, get to Sports Basement where you'll find great warehouse deals. Here, you'll find water wear for those active lap-swimmers. The full coverage suits are great for hiding flaws and giving a stream-lined, sleek look. One-piece solid colored suits by Speedo and Tyr go in the reasonable range of $35-$45. Tyr also offers fun two-piece suits. One in particular that we liked was the reversible bikini in solid pink and burgundy with white piping for $39. Sports Basement also carries a modest selection of men's board shorts by Tyr ($20-$30) in solids, stripes, and floral. Our favorite was a floral in camouflage tones of green, brown and yellow. For the daring man, look Euro-chic in the checkered or floral print racer briefs. And don't forget the beach accessories. Pick out a pair of flip-flop sandals from the large selection by North Face, Teva, Salomon, and Simple ($14-$35). The must-have Acquis super-absorbent, fast-drying microfiber towel ($25) will complete your sun and surf outfit.

If sunbathing entails the more "chill-out surf-style" look, make a run to Lombardi Sports. Surfer girl and boy outfits are abound here. From Paul Frank's adorable bikini in solid bright blue or cranberry with the signature monkey logo ($64) to Billabong's collegiate argyle ($68), there's a whole span of designer suits that scream out fun. For cute cover-ups check out Quiksilver's 70s style Hawaiian boy shorts ($42), as well as the Kangol fisherman's hat in hemp or terry ($40-$44) to complete the look. Lombardi also owns a huge stock of flip-flops in an array of colors and fabrics, from leather straps to Chinese silk print soles, by Reef, Roxy, and O'Neill ($20-36), designers who own the surf scene. Try Oakley's funky, futuristic sandal that curves to the shape of your foot arch ($55), making every tread in the sand a walk in the air.

Take a trip to Canyon Beachwear if your idea of the beach is lounging in the cabana or cocktailing poolside and money is no object. This all-beach boutique is designer swimwear central, replete with bejeweled suits from the likes of Jean-Paul Gautier, Dolce and Gabbana, and Moschino. The prettiest of the bunch were the two-piece halter bikini with hand-painted flowers ($152) by yet another Italian designer, Emamo, and Jean-Paul Gautier's jungle green screen-printed bandeau two-piece ($195). Other great styles, in the more reasonably-priced range, come from Brazilian Garota de Praia and New Zealand's Moontide. The former is a red teeny, weeny polka dot bikini ($68), and the latter is a reversible bikini in complementing baby blue with interchangeable boy swim trunks or a French cut bottom with halter or cami top (top $60-70, bottom $62). Find some great cover-ups here with styles in every color of the rainbow ($20-30); there's a fabulous D&G black mesh dress for $140. For the Esther Williams bathing beauty look, pick out a petal swim cap in bright pink or white ($24).

If these shops don't offer enough options, check out tried and true Macy's. The swimwear section is just as overwhelming as their shoe department. Macy's covers all the bases in price range and designers that include Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Guess, Nautica, BCBG, Tommy Bahama, and even J-Lo. For the James Bond girl look, try the snakeskin two-piece with faux diamond buckle clip bra top with low slung belted brief by Gottex ($81). The majority of Macy's suits have been discounted 25%. All the more reason to stock up for the next few seasons!

With the collections offered by these swimwear headquarters, you're bound to find just the right style to get you ready for sun-soaking this summer.