Pop culture may have an obsession with getting naked, but the current generation of women have found a new sexy in covering up. In a time when the reality television show Dating Naked exists, and when celebrities nudes routinely “break the internet” from the covers of magazines (Kim Kardashian in Paper), there’s also a counter culture of young women who prefer to cover up even in the heat of summer, plus the resurgence of granny panties in lieu of thongs, as the New York Times has aptly observed. Although I may not agree with the latter, it's refreshing to see a new interpretations to our traditional understanding of sexy. Shifting from dressing for the male gaze to dressing for yourself may not be new and groundbreaking, but millennials have created a greater diversity of styles catering to this mindset.
The effect has trickled down to swimwear, even if subtly so. There's a shift in the industry towards athletic styles that are wearable comfortable, but don't compromise on their edginess. Toronto-based designer Beth Richards is a designer that epitomizes this aesthetic, with her sporty high-necked bikini tops, scuba-inspired one-pieces and ability to make even rash guards look cool. Australian brand Jets Swimwear has also successfully transformed the modest one-piece into a contemporary and sophisticated statement. The brand's use of a high contrast color palette, plus a generous dose of mesh and cutouts, culminate in swimwear fit for a Bond girl - except in this case she's the one calling the shots.
Eliminating the constant worry that your string bikini is about to fall off is a liberating thing. In my plunge swimsuit from Jets Swimwear's Luxe collection, I was able to take the plunge (pun intended) at a secluded and swimming shed on Hong Kong's Western coast, and clamber over precarious-looking rocks to achieve the right shot with my adventurous photographer Eugenia. Despite having more fabric on my swimsuit, the paradox is that I've never felt more comfortable and sexy - probably has something to do with the way this swimsuit conceals the unflattering areas that I'm always neurotic about. I've always preached the mantra of less is more, but perhaps this is an exception.
Photos by Eugenia Chan
Jets Swimwear Luxe Plunged Swimsuit