The Life Aquatic

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Our top summer swimsuit picks for going under in style.

Despite the best of intentions, swimsuit shopping tends to glide between extremes: Either it's rife with pressure and product research or it's as blase as buying skivvies. But this season, with so many refreshing styles to choose from, your search is more likely to be a akin to a day in the sun. The coolest options put your old standby to shame, offering punchy prints and patterns and retro-inspired cuts all finished with a decidedly streetwise spirit.

A few of our favorites like Laura Urbinati's crisp striped bikini and Timoteo's cropped blue trunks have an old Hollywood feel while A.P.C.'s floral board shorts and Malia Mills' Vixen one-piece are plainly chic enough to go directly from beach to barbecue (with a touch of improvising, of course). Even if Mociun's ruffled bikini seems slightly ballsy for the Jersey shore, it's perfect for locking in a few welcome stares. Finally, summer has begun.


WOMEN

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1. Anna and Boy Royal Stripe one-piece, $262, available at American Rag, 126 1/2 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles; 323-932-5686.

2. Araks Raquel Top and Tilly Bottom, both $165, available at Mick Margo, 19 Commerce Street, New York City; 212-463-0515.

3. Anna and Boy lemon-print bikini, $199, available at Elizabeth Charles, 639 1/2 Hudson Street, New York City; 212-243-3201.

4. Alexandre Herchcovitch razor blade print one-piece, $95 (was $135), available at Opening Ceremony, 35 Howard Street, New York City; 212-219-2688.


MEN

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1. Alexandre Herchcovitch Skull board shorts, $109 (were $155), available at Opening Ceremony, 35 Howard Street, New York City; 212-219-2688.

2. Timoteo striped blue trunks, $65, available at All Purpose, 144 S. Flores Street, Los Angeles; 323-866-1828.

3. A.P.C. floral board shorts, $129, available at A.P.C. in New York City, 131 Mercer Street (between Prince and Spring streets); 212-966-9685, and in Los Angeles, 619 Croft Avenue (between Clinton Street and Melrose Avenue); 323-297-0414.


WOMEN

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1. Laura Urbinati cream/sage striped bikini with ties, $249, available at Milk, 8209 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles; 323-951-0330.

2. Vixen one-piece, $285, at Malia Mills, 199 Mulberry Street (between Spring and Kenmare streets), New York City; 212-625-2311.

3. Mociun Sea Green Shell Stripe bikini, $144 (pieces sold separately for $72 each), available at Jumelle, 148 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-388-9525.


MEN

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1. Maxime Perelmuter Bermuda Surf Thai Estampas board shorts, $88 (were $125), available at Opening Ceremony, 35 Howard Street, New York City; 212-219-2688.

2. Trovata canvas board shorts, $117, available at Milk, 8209 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles; 323-951-0330.

—Christene Barberich & Piera Gelardi

Our top summer swimsuit picks for going under in style.