It’s the season when the search begins for the perfect bathing suit. You know the one: It must encapsulate elegance, cause mass hysteria over your goddess-like beauty and, ideally, bring about world peace. Every year, I eagerly take on the quest to find such a life-changing suit. (I’ve got the jam-packed online-shopping basket to prove it.)
I blame this perfection-seeking mindset on the summer I was in Grade 6, when my mom bought me an epic acid-green one-piece Body Glove knock-off. I wore it every day at our apartment’s outdoor pool—a chain-link-fenced-in utopia that had a knee-skinning concrete deck with errant dandelions poking through the cracks and a lifeguard hut filled with dusty, half- deflated floaties.
I loved that swimsuit. It was the pre-teen version of the hip-bone-grazing neon ones all the poolside moms were wearing (but, I noted, never actually swimming in). It was a simple, joyful time that I will forever associate with that chartreuse suit. Life was about screech-filled games of swim tag and scoffing dripping banana Popsicles in the afternoon sun. I was completely unselfconscious about my body, seeing it only as an essential tool that got me across the pool faster than any of my friends. Time felt infinite.
I still believe that one-piece suits live at the top of the swimwear food chain—not least because they stay on when you dive (or cannonball) into the water. They’re sexy, flattering and functional all at the same time and can easily transition with the addition of a wrap skirt or culottes. This issue, we are declaring the one-piece the style to invest in (see Take the Plunge), and I’m ready to hit the shops. However, I’ve decided that, this year, rather than my priority being how I look in my swimsuit, I’m going to focus on creating the happy experiences I want to have while wearing it. Meet you by the pool?
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter