Nude For YOU – 25 Swimsuits for Women of Color – SS17August 9th, 2017 by Tayo Ade
The latest trend for swimwear this summer has been ‘Nude’. But whose nude is it anyway?
There are so many swimwear brands that have been killing it this summer. This is presumably because of the high profit margins that can be associated with swimwear, and the power of social media. All you need is a tiny piece of Lycra, celebrity endorsement – and boom – your swimwear brand is born! Well not quite, but there’s no denying young female entrepreneurs are alive to the willingness of some consumers to pay upwards of $400USD for a bikini, and they are using the swimwear industry to their advantage.
Enter Summer of 2017. ‘Nude’ swimwear was declared early as the hottest trend for the beach, and we see no signs of this trend abating, even as summer draws to a close. While there are many ‘top 20’ lists on the web for nude swimwear this summer, our list is different. We focus on FleshTone nudes (for women of color) – and budget wise – we recognize that quite a few of us are used to the good old days, where swimwear was affordable and nobody paid for the apparent privilege of celebrity endorsement. Our list therefore features 25 FleshTone nudes that either blend seamlessly with, or beautifully complement your melanin. Prices for our favorites range from $15 to $400 – so there is something for everyone. This is the ONLY nude swimwear guide that you need for 2017 and it’s your last chance to get to the beach before our glorious summer is over!
1. Myra Swim
Gold Coast girl and fellow Australian Bianca Elouise founded Myra Swim in 2014. Since then, it’s been worn by several big name celebrities including Emily Ratajkowski, Kim Kardashian, Blac Chyna, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj – and it’s one of the hottest swimwear labels in Tinseltown.
Myra Swim has several simple and sexy pieces that are ‘nude’ or ‘nude-esque’, and that are very suitable for this summer’s latest FleshTone trends. The colors ‘Mocha’ and ‘Chocolate’ suit medium to darker FleshTones, and there are a range of other colors (particularly khaki) that will suit just about everyone. Our favorite is the ‘Ford‘ top which is a one-shouldered classy piece of art. Prices start at the very ‘upper end of affordable’ – ranging from $60 to $100USD. Shop it here.
2. Brittne Babe Swim
Brittne Jackson is young, super fit, and an Instagram fitness sensation. She’s a natural athlete, certified personal trainer, online health and wellness coach and a full-time college student – and she also makes totally affordable swimwear. Brittne Babe Swim is another success for BJ who has had to face quite a few naysayers in her quest for fitspo domination. Her ‘Ebony’ two piece is super cute and is just $15USD (available in sizes small, medium and large). It has a tube top with removable padding and the bikini bottoms are low-rise with a ‘cheeky’ cut. While this swimsuit may not last forever, it will definitely last the summer! Shop it here (currently out of stock).
3. Smart & Sexy
The ‘Swim Secret’ range from Smart & Sexy is seriously good value for money. Smart & Sexy is a woman-owned brand that has properly fitted under garments and swimwear at front of mind. There are a range of styles in the Swim Secrets range available in the FleshTone friendly colors – Latte, Caramel and Espresso.
Probably the most eye-catching piece is the Smart & Sexy Halter Swim Suit. The halter is lightly lined, well cut and fitted with adjustable straps at the back. The center strap is actually removable and can be styled to suit your personal look. The halter can be paired with Swim Secret Side Ruched Swim Bottom (our favorite for the halter). It has full rear coverage (hooray because not everyone wants a full cheek display at the beach) and is low rise. The best thing about the Swim Secret range (and all Smart & Sexy swim wear) is that the swim tops are actually bra size, with many pieces being available in sizes 32A to 40DD. There are push-up convertible swim tops, bandeaus and a huge range of bottoms to choose from, with many averaging $40USD for a full set. One of our best picks for summer. Shop it here.
4. Kit10 Swim
Kit10 (pronounced ‘Kitten’) Swim is the creation of LA-based model and actress Christin Marie Nichols. Her range is super sexy, Instagram-compatible and very on trend. And best of all, it features great options for women of color to go ‘nude’ at the beach this summer. Our favorite is the Icon swimsuit – incredibly high cut, with hardly anything covering the bottom half – and available in both coffee and bronze. The top half is a stretchy triangle bikini with a rose gold back hook closure and rose gold cord ends. The Icon set retails for $80USD – which is at the very upper end of affordable for us, but could be considered reasonably priced for an emerging luxury black-owned brand. Shop it here.
5. Nude Wear (ZA)
Nude Wear is a South African swimwear label created by Denicke Cronje who describes her business mantra as “using every opportunity to address gender and racial inequalities”. The brand is based in Cape Town South Africa, and the line features a range of skin tone inspired bikini separates. Nude Wear promotes itself as being body positive, and a company committed to ‘exploring the multiplicity of the female form’. We are pleased to see the diversity in models used from the get-go (rather than as an after thought) and we like the fact that the brand is committed to uplifting South African industry and ‘reconstructing hegemonic beauty standards’. Wow.
The bikinis themselves come in 6 different hues, with cocoa, toffee and cappuccino being the colors that most resemble actual FleshTones. The bikinis are 80% Nylon 20% Spandex, fully lined with a soft cup (not always great for large busts) with tie side bottoms. Prices for a full set are R580 (approx $45USD) and international shipping is available. Shop it here.
6. Monif C
Another stellar black-owned brand, Monif C, has been making plus sized fashion for over 10 years. CEO Monif Clarke, has a vision of beautiful, bold and well constructed clothing – and it’s a winning combination. Cut for plus size body shapes, the Cape Verde Cafe Au Lait high cut swim suit, elongates the legs and lifts the bust. While it’s not a ‘true nude’ (it’s more of a taupe-ish lighter brown), it’s definitely one that complements and accentuates deeper FleshTones. Prices start at $118USD. Shop it here.
Swedish based online boutique ‘Na-kd’ has some rather nice nude swimwear, suitable for a range of FleshTones. While Na-kd stocks some high-end, exclusive and very expensive brands, it also has its own label, which has some affordable swimwear. Our favorite Na-kd label piece is the Triangle Bikini in the color ‘Tan’ which suits caramel colored FleshTones as well as lighter FleshTones (and darker ladies who want a bit of a color pop). The bikini set retails for around $41USD and is made from 95% Polyamide and 5% Elastane. We can’t leave you without also mentioning that the ‘Dusty Red‘ cross front bikini is a great complementary color for darker FleshTones, and retails for a similar affordable price. Shop it here.
8. Asherah Swimwear
Black-owned brand Asherah Swimwear has some seriously hot pieces. Creative Director and Designer Cheryl “Cejae” Jones was inspired by the leisure lifestyle of summer culture when creating the Asherah brand.
This rather sexy swimwear is made to order in Dallas USA and there are some great FleshTone options among the mainly bright and bold pieces. Our favorite is the Ace Bikini which is a traditional triangle cut with ties at the neck and back. It’s available in the FleshTone option ‘mocha’ as well as a (so-called) ‘Nude’ for lighter complexions. If you search the Asherah website under ‘Bikini separates’ you will see a number of great FleshTone options as well as some beautiful complementary colors, like the Rebel Suspender bikini in ‘Picasso’. Prices for a full bikini set hover just under the $200USD mark – so this is expensive designer swimwear, definitely not to be thrown in the laundry on a fast cycle once you get back home from the beach. Shop it here.
Bfyne is the creation of designer, entrepreneur and Nigerian-American, Buki Ade. You’ve probably seen her designs on Instagram, trending like crazy – or on the pages of Vogue, Glamour and even Sports Illustrated. Described as ‘an unapologetic tribute to women’s curves and confidence’, Bfyne is definitely a unique and bold statement maker at the beach.
There are quite a few FleshTone options available from Bfyne with new designs added all the time. A couple of our favorites – the Hazel (a mesh covered – yet very sexy swimsuit – perfect for medium FleshTones) and the Ava (about as close as you will get to a traditional bikini from Bfyne – perfect for deeper FleshTones), are right at the forefront of swimwear fashion trends. You WILL turn heads in these gorgeous pieces.
Prices for swimwear start at around $90USD – on the slightly more affordable side of couture swimwear. Definitely time to unleash your inner ‘Fynebabe’ this summer. Shop it here.
10. Lajoi Swimwear
Black-owned brand La’joi swimwear is hand-made in the UK and is inspired by ‘iconic, confident women worldwide’. It’s a relatively new brand (just a year old), and we are happy to see the brand using a diverse set of models from the get go. Our favorite from the brand is the Ophilia swimsuit top. It’s off the shoulder and all kinds of cute. The Ophilia top, when paired with the Miriam bottoms (which has a flattering wide band) is approximately 40 pounds for the set. Colors include chocolate, a flattering and complementary taupe, as well as a medium ‘tan’ color. Shop it here.
Matte is the creation of Briana Wilson, and the brand is famous for its swimwear. What’s on offer is definitely seasonal and Wilson’s designs are always being changed and updated – because that’s what designers do. Now – a word about the designs. They are not for you if you are someone who likes to wear an over-sized t-shirt and quick-dry shorts at the beach. Matte brand is all about stylish, very sexy and cutting edge swimwear, designed for showing off your assets. Tall, short, large or thin – Matte is worn by many sizes, confidently. Prices are reasonable (for designer mind you), starting at around $100USD for a set. Shop it here.
Some of the best things about Missguided: It always has a selection of FleshTone clothing and swimwear, it’s constantly being updated so fashions are always current, and it’s very affordable. Another great thing is Missguided allows you to search by color – so it’s easy to find your FleshTone (or close to it) in each clothing category. The quality of Missguided gear is…reasonable and generally doesn’t fall apart on first wear like some other cheaper brands. However – because Missguided always use amazing looking models, you could be led to think that you are getting amazing quality. Sometimes you may end up with an Aliexpress-style version of something that looks a million bucks on the Missguided models. Other times you will nab a quality bargain! Overall, a good option for ‘one summer’ swimwear, even better if you buy during a sale. You can often find sets for around the $30USD mark. Shop it here.
Black-owned brand Rue107 is the creation of Haitian born, New York based designer, Marie Jean-Baptiste. We are absolutely in love with ALL of Rue107’s creations (not just swim). These beautiful, bold, clean and expressive designs look fantastic on women of all sizes. Like there are some REALLY gorgeous and functional designs here ladies, it’s a miracle that this brand is not bigger than it already is.
Our favorite in the FleshTone swim category, is the Kirby one piece that comes in both ‘Rich Mocha’ and ‘Soft Mocha’. The Kirby is a really unique design and super pretty – it’s an off the shoulder number with a double layer of structured ruffles. The swimsuit is fully lined and is made from nylon/spandex (with polyester ruffles). This swimsuit has structure and is a lot more durable than some of the other flimsy numbers that you’ll see at the beach this summer. It’s also a great way to obtain more modest cover without looking dowdy. Prices for this swimsuit start at $98USD. Shop it here.
14. Somedays Lovin’
Somedays Lovin is a boutique Sydney-based Australian brand that professes to give ‘an index finger to the dull and the mundane’. One of their earlier collections (which is still available online) includes swimwear in a color called ‘raisin’. It’s quite a dark brown (a little darker than pictured) and perfect for a wide range of FleshTones, especially deep FleshTones. The ‘Sun Beat Down’ bikini is made from 80% polyamide and 20% elastane, and it includes adjustable shoulder and back straps for a perfect fit. The feature circle links on the bikini are the hero of this swimsuit and are super flattering! Prices for the full set start at $100USD. Shop it here.
Target is becoming quite the FleshTone destination these days. In addition to featuring multi-nude lingerie, Target’s Xhilaration™ label offers some very cute swimwear. We like the crochet high neck bikini which features a strappy back and adjustable ties. The bottoms are bohemian-esque with lacy side tie-ups – making this set worth a second look. It’s made from Nylon/Spandex and is fully lined. The full set will cost you $40.80USD – kind of expensive for Target to be honest. But the bikini is good quality and a great option if you’re not keen on spending upwards of $80USD for this summer’s on trend bikini separates. Shop it here.
Holidolls is a successful Italian label, based in one of our all time favorite cities – Florence. The Holidolls brand was founded by women Sam Bains and Alycia Marie Dean-Johns, both graduates of the Polimoda Fashion Institute in Florence.
Holidolls launched their ‘My Nude Collection’ in 2017 – perfectly timed with the Summer 2017 nude swimwear trend. Dubbed as ‘swimgerie’, this label is definitely something you would wear ‘at’ the beach – rather than ‘in’ the beach itself. These are intricate, delicate little numbers. The My Nude Collection features 4 colors – peach, caramel, cinnamon and chocolate which are designed to flatter fair, olive, medium and dark skintones- so everyone really. The beads and embellishments on Holidolls swimgerie is done by hand – which gives some context to the hefty price tags associated with this label. Holidolls swimgerie is priced at 250 to 330 Euro, with custom orders being more expensive. Shop it here.
The Sunsets brand is the creation of Southern Californian native, Julie Franco. Best known for its specialty cup sizes, Sunsets features some bright, beautiful – and practical – swimwear that you can actually wear in the surf. We are interested in the ‘Java’ color from Sunsets – which is a burnt brown hue and a great FleshTone option for deeper skin tones. The Java pieces are made from 82% Nylon and 18% Spandex, and there are options to suit the very modest (including swim skirts and tankinis), as well as those who like to wear very little at the beach (see the Marilyn and Starlette styles). Prices for the Java separates range start at $42USD. Shop it here.
18. Beads Byaree
Here at FleshTone, we’ve always thought beach/swimsuit covers needed a marketing makeover. Too many of them – even the most stylish and haute couture, resemble 70s kaftans, mu-mus or something your mother would say “oooh, that’s nice” if she peeped over your shoulder while you were online shopping.
Enter Beads Byaree. Best known for its hand crafted jewellery, BB swimwear is totally different, totally sexy and totally wearable. Our favorite is the Sri Sri cover up shorts and crop top, made from sheer spandex and (unfortunately only) available in size small. The crop and shorts set is $70USD – not bad for something that is boutique, unique, up-and-coming and black-owned. Shop it here.
Australian brand Duskii is a label in a class of its own. It’s designer wear – but it can actually be worn for more than one summer and is ‘fit for purpose’ (swimming, watersports etc). Many Duskii swimsuits feature Taiwanese ‘sublime soft’ neoprene which lasts the distance. Our favourite FleshTone complementary design is the ‘Ochre’ swimsuit. It features contrasting stitch line details, removable padding and bronzed metallic 1mm neoprene. While Duskii is definitely a luxe label, it’s at the upper end of affordable (for designer wear) with the Ochre set priced at around $135USD. Shop it here.
20. Marlies Dekkers
Marlies Dekkers is a well known Dutch lingerie designer and one of the European pioneers of the ‘innerwear as outerwear’ trend. Marlies Dekkers’ ‘Puritsu’ bathing suit caught our eye as a great option for summer that doesn’t involve the exposure of all of your best lady bits. It’s still a sexy swimsuit to be sure – the soft suede-like fabric is a deep brown and the gathered centre and gold detail really frame your décolleté. This swimsuit was inspired by the Japanese art of folding (‘puritsu’ meaning fold) – presumably because of the feature folds at the bust. But we actually like the cut out at the back of this swimsuit and the gold coloured double clasps. This swimsuit is definitely a designer number, and prices start at an eye watering $269USD. Shop it here.
Zimmermann is one of the most iconic fashion labels in Australia, as well as having a real presence internationally. It’s definitely a high-end brand – so no $20 separates here – but it’s possibly more affordable than some other designer label swim wear. The Tulsi is one of our favourites from Zimmermann, as it’s a shiny bronze metallic colour and a great complementary nude for light to medium (think caramel coloured) FleshTones. It’s a fully lined off the shoulder piece from Zimmermann’s Summer Swim 17 collection, and the one piece Tulsi which is also available, has a statement making cut out back, and a boned structure at the sides of the bodice. This swimsuit won’t match your FleshTone exactly (it has a bit of a burnt amber feel) but will set it off beautifully. Prices for the one piece start at $350AUD. The two piece Tulsi bikini is $295AUD. Shop it here.
22. She Made Me
She Made Me is an Instagram-famous Australian brand that does things a little differently. Their crochet swimwear is made by local artisan women in Bali and each piece can take 1 to 2 days to stitch. Launched in 2012 by Chloe Dunlop, the brand became coveted very quickly and is now a staple among the “Hollywood people who go to the beach” set. The crochet bikini is made in a range of earthy colours – and there are a few options to match or complement your FleshTone (see the cafe color for darker FleshTones which has a slightly taupe hue, and the ‘sand’ color for lighter FleshTones). Made from 100% cotton, the She Made Me crochet bikini (which comes in a range of variations including as a full brief, high waisted version) retails for an expensive $200 to $400USD for a full set. Shop it here.
23. Dolce Vita
Dolce Vita is a popular lifestyle brand founded in 2001 and is famous for its fashion and footwear. Its swimwear is one of the brand’s best sellers, and there are few FleshTone options that have piqued our interest for summer. The Cacao solid one piece (which also comes in a complementary ‘Saddle‘ color for lighter FleshTones) is very trendy and part of the new wave of sexy one pieces that are everywhere at the moment. It features plenty of side-bosom – but not a whole lot of said bosom support – so it’s more for lounging and swimming at the beach and less for jogging. It features a metal center back ring, and prices start at $120USD. Shop it here.
Haight is a Brazilian brand with a Tumblr that’s to die for. Aesthetically pleasing in every way, their swimsuits are gorgeous…but not for those on a budget. The ‘CafePreto’ (deep beautiful brown) and ‘Bronze’ colours available from Haight are great FleshTone options. Haight’s new season bikini (pictured) features a v-neck, really unusual back crisscross straps (that have a black underside) and a flattering high waisted style bottom. If you can afford this, you probably won’t want to get sand on it – it’s over 200Euro. Shop it here.
25. Chica Rica Bikini Company
For the very latest in trending ‘Insta’ styles – Chica Rica Bikini Company is your go to brand. Born out of trendy South Beach, Miami, Chica Rica styles lean heavily on the latest Colombian and Brazilian fashions, and the brand is quite affordable and very ‘current’. The designs are clearly targeted at curvaceous women (with small waists) – and those who aspire to this body type. However if you ignore this narrow focus, there are designs that will suit everyone. The quality is quite reasonable – though this is swimwear for a season, not for life. The Mocha Faux Suede Ruffle Cut Scrunched ‘Butt Bikini’ is one of their cute offerings and would suit lighter to medium FleshTones as a ‘nude’. This bikini would also pop on darker FleshTones, particularly because of the chocolate colored edging. It’s faux suede with a teeny-tiny bikini and ruched butt for added ‘lift’. Definitely an attention grabber and not for a wall flower. Prices start at $45USD. Shop it here.