Sports Minded: Fashionable 1-Piece Swimsuits

Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer has arrived, and that means there’s a lot more frolicking in water going on. This being the case, I vote we do a two part series on swimsuits (bet no one saw that coming). First up: one-pieces.

Adidas by Stella McCartney Women's Swim Sport Suit
Adidas by Stella McCartney SportSuit

Available at:

Performance swimsuit design is generally all about function, and was focused solely on the one-piece for decades. The result is virtually stagnant design, and very little style. It’s confounding really. You can actually sum up performance suit design in three categories: 1) solid color; 2) excessively bad floral print; or 3) crazy Technicolor something, liberally splattered. It’s so bad that I’ve never bought anything but a solid color lap suit, usually either black or blue.

Tyr Storm 1/2 Zip Swimsuit
Tyr Storm 1/2 Zip Swimsuit

Available at:

I’m not the only one in this predicament. Style has so little meaning in the swimming world that, when shopping for a performance swimsuit, you’ll find a "grab bag" option where they’ll send you whatever they happen to have laying around in your size at a drastically reduced price. Is it possible to find one pieces that perform as solidly in the pool as you do, yet manage to flatter a girl's style impulses too? I surveyed this year’s swimwear collections from the Big 4-- Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Under Armor-- and the 2 major labels in swimming-- Speedo and Tyr-- to see what I could find. Slim pickin’s my friends, slim pickin’s indeed...

Reebok and Under Armor are immediately eliminated because they don’t do swimsuits. Fair enough, it's not their thing. Nike does do swim, but the definition for Nike in the dictionary also reads "bold, bright, solid, primary colors," which we are trying to get away from. So, Nike takes a seat on the curb too.

Tyr Aquashift Aeroback Swimsuit
Tyr Aquashift Aeroback

Available at:

Adidas, however, recognized long ago that style speaks to a woman’s pocket-book and has included several selections by Stella McCartney in their performance swimsuit collection for years. Their best suit is one of hers, but mostly because of the cut since it conforms to the sports schtick by being a solid (top left).

Next up, Tyr. Tyr is a giant in the swim world, but you may not have ever heard of them if you’re not a swimmer yourself. They had the most diverse collection in terms of fashion, but nothing that really made me go, "Ooohhh, where’s my credit card." Baby steps are still steps though, and we have two Tyr suits here: the Aquashift Aeroback (left) and the Storm 1/2 Zip Tank (top right). The Storm is actually from their water polo line, but you won’t sacrifice anything in terms of performance by going with a water polo swimsuit. So, if it looks good, why not?

Speedo 1 Piece Diamond Back Swimsuit
Speedo Diamond Back Swimsuit

Available at:

Finally, the juggernaut of swimming: Speedo. They easily have the largest collection, which boasts two-three times the number of suits of any of the other labels. They also have the suit I’d like to award the 2007 Most Stylish One-Piece trophy. With a flattering cut and sophisticated Asian floral print, Speedo proves it is, in fact, possible to be posh in the pool with this one-piece Diamond Back swimsuit (right). Tres chic.

Click on any photo to link to where you can purchase that fashionable 1-piece performance swimsuit online. Don't miss a single "Sports Minded" feature. Subscribe to Stiletto Jungle and get free updates by e-mail or RSS.

Hannah Foster is the Stiletto Jungle Sports & Fitness Editor. Hannah's current athletic pursuits include snowboarding, motocross, yoga, and avoiding the high school guys in the gym. She's played soccer, volleyball, and football competitively, loves swimming, hates running, and is certain being Captain of a 30 girl cheerleading squad gave her grey hair. Her degree is in biology/genetics.

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