If you’re anything like me, your swimwear drawer could probably use a heavy edit. It’s time to throw out those sagging bottoms from Target and the ancient Victoria’s Secret top with the peeling rubber. Seriously. Get rid of them. Because now, there’s a bevy of hot new brands with — you guessed it — sustainable offerings that will have you looking better than ever. Whether you trend toward one-piece suits (this author may never go back to bikinis) or like to mix and match your tops and bottoms, we have the suit for you. Don’t forget your SPF and hat!
Sometimes, you just need an LBS — little black suit. This classic number has a flattering neckline, a rounded back, and a chic amount of cheek, if you get my drift. The matte black fabric is double-layered for a trim appearance. Lacausa’s clothing line (they make so much more than swimwear, and it’s all gorgeous) is handmade in Los Angeles under fair and ethical working conditions. Lacausa has also partnered with a variety of causes to give back; this summer they’re working with Surfrider LA to bring awareness to the massive problem of plastic pollution in the ocean.
Vitamin A Nicole Top and Luciana Bottom in Cigar Stripe, $125 and $99
This deep-v halter top featuring adjustable back straps and a geometric design is the perfect complement to the simple, full-coverage bottom. The warm brownish-maroon color with tiny vertical white stripes is a universally flattering pattern that won’t go out of style. Amahlia Stevens, the founder of Vitamin A, also created the trademarked EcoLux fabric, made from recycled nylon, that features in all of her swimsuits. Vitamin A also has a series of guidelines for properly washing and caring for all of their swimwear in order to prolong the fabric’s life and prevent microfiber shedding into the waterways.
This retro-inspired number comes from Skatie Noyes, our very own founder’s daughter. Skatie Swimwear uses mostly surplus fabric from other fashion houses that would have otherwise ended up in the trash. Everything else the company uses is fabric that comes from post-consumer recycled polyamide fiber. Luckily, these suits are proof that being eco-friendly doesn’t mean sacrificing fashion. The Rachel features underwire cups for support, high-cut thighs to lengthen the legs, and just enough cheeky coverage at the back to make you feel flirty without also feeling exposed.
There’s a strong chance you’ve seen these colorblock swimsuits pop up in an ad on your Facebook or Instagram, and that’s because they’re wildly popular. The one-shoulder Sidestroke suit features compression, coverage, and zero hardware (this means no clasps or wires to poke you). Aside from the fact that Summersalt proudly designs suits for all bodies, the company also makes a point to use recycled materials to create both their fabric and product packaging. All swimwear is made from 78 percent recycled polyamide — this means recycled plastics, nylon waste, and post-consumer materials. On top of that, each suit has SPF 50+ built in and, at five times stronger than the average swimwear fabric, it’s meant to last.
This impossibly cute bikini will become a summer staple — between the adorable print and the classic shapes, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason not to wear it. Made from a combination of upcycled plastics and spandex, Fair Harbor makes clothing that’s built to last, so it won’t end up in the landfill after just one season. On top of that, they partner with 2ReWear, an organization that helps recycle your old suits and turn them into something new. Just fill out the form online, receive the prepaid shipping label, return your old suits, and receive a 10 percent off discount on your next purchase. That’s a pretty sweet deal all around.
This hyper-dyed stunner features an ultra-rich color, a classic shape, just enough plunge in the front, and a beautiful open back. The fabric is hemp-based and UV resistant, plus it’s anti-microbial — that means it resists the nasty bacteria that builds up on traditional polyester and polyamide swimsuits. Handmade in LA, the suit is low-impact dyed and ECOCERT certified. Plus, 5 percent of each swim purchase is donated to 5Gyres, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to fighting ocean plastic.
Greenlee Swim High Neck Halter and Retro Short in Dream Palm, $89 and $94
This adorable cadet blue suit with white palm fronds is the perfect suit for summer. The high-neck top features a thin tie at the top and a thicker one at the back that won’t cut into your skin. Plus, the halter-style is universally flattering (swears the author owns two suits in this style and is obsessed). The high-cut retro shorts are cheeky at the back but feature nice stomach coverage so you can flaunt all of your best assets. Both pieces are made from recycled polyester (the bottom also features spandex) and all the swimwear is designed and made in Los Angeles from recycled fabrics.
Jessica Suss is a native Chicagoan residing in Washington, D.C. She is currently getting her master’s degree in secondary English education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys petting other people’s dogs and is faithful to Lou Malnati’s alone. Jessica is also a supporter of MAZON and No Kid Hungry.