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Just Add Water

The summer swimsuit season is upon us and the 2014 swimwear trends are muy caliente. The choices are plentiful in a multitude of optical patterns, color blocking, asymmetrical cuts, sporty and chic shapes and fun separates, too. It’s enough to coax even the most timid of swimsuit wearers out of their pale malaise and onto the beach, or in Las Vegas’ case, out to the pool.

Here are trends and tips for picking out the best suit for you.

■ The asymmetrical one-piece swimsuit: For those who champion the one-piece, the asymmetrical suit is both chic and functional. Most women have good shoulders and arms, so highlighting them with this cut is the best of both worlds. If your middle area is a problem spot (think muffin top or lower abdominal pooch), choose a suit that has built-in Lycra control panels cleverly hidden with ruching. The control panels pull you in and lift you up without leaving the wearer feeling constrained.

■ The high-waist bikini: So you’re not sporting the T25 six-pack abs this time around, that doesn’t mean that a bikini is not an option. A high-waist bikini does double duty by covering most of your lower abs region, flattering your legs with a higher leg hole and highlighting the bust line with a balconette-inspired top. Darker hues work best with this style as they mask imperfections without control panels.

■ The balconette: Every season there is a hint of yesteryear and the retro-style balconette is the perfect balance of the past mixed with modernity. This style top offers coverage without sacrificing style or sexiness. Think of a shrunken bustier top with scalloped edging or pretty dot patterns and ruching details, perfect for women who have smaller bust lines and want a lift without padding. The balconette is ideal for mixing and matching with different bikini bottoms, notably the high-waist ones.

■ The high-cut suit: For those who were not born with the stems of a Gisele Bundchen, Naomi Campbell or Charlize Theron, the high-cut suit, also known as the leg lengthener, is the next best thing. The leg holes sit at the apex of the hipbone and uppermost thigh, exposing the entire leg, creating the optical effect of longer legs. Consider bold colors for this look because they create maximum impact with minimal effort and look great against (faux) tanned skin.

■ Sporty spice: The rash guard top — a long-sleeve top that hits the torso 2 to 3 inches above the belly button — made appearances on several designer runways this season. Channeling the female surf crowd, the neoprene/Lycra suit is both form and function, as it can go from the surf to the beach, or just make you look like you could. The style appears in the watery palette of the sea but is pleasantly mixed with hints of tribal or animal prints.

■ Color blocking: Playing with the pairing of bold colors and graphic panels has made color blocking in swimwear one of the hottest trends of the season. Dark, vertical panels elongate the torso by drawing the eye down the length of the body, highlighting the best areas, while the lighter side panels minimize the rest. The same is true of bold-hued geometric panels placed strategically against a lighter-hued background, which optically creates an hourglass shape.

■ The accents: Although there are a plethora of choices, it is the little things that make the greatest impact. Crochet is at the top of the accent list, with its intricate design and detailing giving any swimsuit the ultimate sexy, free-spirited flare.

Two-toned suits are stylish and visually impacting, giving the illusion of a reversible suit without being one and making playing with accessories that much more fun.

Fringe detailing carries over from the ready-to-wear season, adding a flirtatious pop to suits by highlighting either a deep V-neckline of a one-piece or the sensuous movement of the hips on bikini bottoms. Long fringe pieces also act as a cover-up because they hide imperfections of the waist and/or hips effortlessly.

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