Swimwear We Swear By: Olympian Lewis Clareburt, Dancer Shona … – New Zealand Herald

The best swimwear? A sundry of people found frequently in the water make a case for their favourite board shorts, ‘budgie smugglers’, bikinis and more.
If you’re preparing for your first swim of the season, you might be in need of some inspiration when it comes to updating your togs
Like most good things that require a little time and research, it pays to get some advice or personal recommendations, so we asked the following people about their swimwear of choice and why they love wearing them when they’re in the ocean or doing laps around the pool.
From photographer and stylist Karen Inderbitzen-Waller’s love of a minimalist, sporty one-piece from some of her favourite French brands, to Checks Downtown founder Jordan Gibson’s convincing throwback of a board short, there’s much to be inspired by when finding togs that work for your body and personality.
Double Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympic swimmer
I was once called the official bed tester of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. Now I’ve been tasked to give my official opinion as a swimmer as to what the best set of togs, speedos, briefs, dickies, suit, bathers, cossies, trunks or whatever you want to call them. So call me the tog tester! I go through an unhuman amount of togs each year and that means I can pick a good pair when I see them. After many years of rigorous testing, I have found the key features that create the perfect piece of swimwear.
1. Tight. Nobody likes a loose suit, so make sure it’s not going to fall off when you attempt to catch a wave this summer.
2. Resistant. Believe it or not, it’s a thing. Wear it once and it’s lost colour and shape (nobody wants that.). Don’t go for the ultra-stretchy fabrics, you want something that’s going to hold its shape so you can go all summer long.
3. Budgie smugglers. Yeah, we all love our board shorts here, but seriously, it’s nearly 2024. Get into a pair of budgie smugglers or, as our neighbours in Australia, call them Dickies.
So that’s the checklist for your summer. Find yourself a pair that’ll really show off what you’ve been working on over summer.
Viva shops: For swimming togs that will last the distance doing laps in the pool, try the Speedo Endurance brief, $55.
General manager of New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria
I actually always struggle to find swimwear I love and that suits me since getting older. Coverage is key! So when I came across a piece by Aqua Blu I was immediately sold on the brand. They have a good selection of one-piece suits that give good coverage and the colours are bold. My current one-piece swimsuit has a high neckline, low scoop back with gorgeous detailing, a removable waist belt that gives good definition and the fabric feels like it will stand up to the harsh New Zealand sun and lots of swimming.
Viva shops: For a one-piece in a saturated hue, try this lapis option from Aqua Blue, approx $305.
Contemporary ballet dancer, stylist and store manager at Kate Sylvester Ponsonby
As a redhead with a strong dislike of cold water, I am often found in a wetsuit (even in summer). My kids laugh, but it allows me to stay in the water longer and boogie board to my heart’s content without getting burnt. When my children were younger they wanted me to take them to a Stolen Girlfriends Club sale (because I have the wallet). I walked in and saw a really stylish wetsuit. They implored me not to try it on as the thought of a mother making a scene in a communal dressing room was the height of embarrassment for a 15-year-old. Of course, I did it anyway and now they want to borrow my wetsuit.
Viva shops: Looking for a stylish and supportive wetsuit? Try the Wallien wetsuit, approx $300.
Ultra-marathon swimmer
Most of the time, if you find me out in the ocean it’ll be for a very specific reason — I’ll be swimming. I’m there to move. My most-used piece of swimwear kit is my pair of Speedo Jammers, which I find to be both a great fit and extremely durable. No matter what you’re wearing this summer, make sure to get out there and respectfully enjoy the amazing moana we have in our backyard.
Viva shops: For a trusty pair of Jammers, these Speedo men’s Jammers are our top pick, $80.
Photographer, fashion stylist and costume designer
Swimsuits for me are like sunglasses and sandals in summer; I like to have a few and wear them depending on my mood. Spending all my holidays by the pool in France and New Zealand means I can warrant having a collection.
I like both one- and two-pieces and have consistently worn Calvin Klein for their simple yet sexy androgynous cuts and fits. When the airline lost our bags and we were headed to the South of France in a heatwave summer where there’s a huge pool, my first panic was getting new swimsuits.
At Printemps in Paris, I came across Maison Lejaby which, like another iconic French swim brand Eres (another favourite of mine), also does lingerie, so the cuts are a laser-fine second skin with a slightly cheeky bum. I bought two one-pieces in black and orange and found that my Allbirds sugar slides in my carry-on were a perfect colour match.
Being a lover of all things French and a huge fan of Lacoste, I also own and love their swimsuits too.
Viva shops: For a boat-neck one-piece swimsuit in a saturated bright, try Maison Lejaby’s Nouvelle Vague option, $165.
Fashion designer
In all honesty, I’ve always taken a very nonchalant and carefree approach to swimwear. I have a pair of very old Canterbury New Zealand rugby shorts that have been my go-to for years and seen many a summer. In saying this, I’ve recently been thinking, “Hey, maybe I could be a Speedo kinda guy?” and purchased a pair of Hercules New York briefs by fellow Project Runway winner Sean Kelly. I’ll let you know this time next year whether or not I am, in fact, a Speedo kinda guy.
Viva shops: If a swimming brief is your thing, we recommend the Torpedo swim briefs, $40.
Founder of Checks Downtown
Swimwear is something I’ve had some thoughts on recently, more in the sense that I feel a need for change from what I currently have. I’m generally wearing longer shorts at the moment, where my swim short rotation is a hangover from when shorter options were the rage. I’m feeling a return to more of a Kelly Slater kind of look, a longboard short. Brands like The Always Do What You Should Do and Stussy come to mind. Picture wearing them with a ribbed tank and some thin framed shades, wet beach hair to set it off. Given we just have one layer to work with, length is the main detail to play with when it comes to shape. Right now I’d say the more fabric the better. From there, play around with accessories. A cool woven meshy tote bag, perhaps a bucket hat. Beach style should look a bit dishevelled and thrown on in a hurry.
Viva shops: Tap into a Blue Crush moment with a generous board short like the Quiksilver board shorts, $95, from Amazon Surf.
Co-founder of Superette International
My favourite summer swimwear brand at that moment would have to be Hunza G. I’m particularly loving the Pamela Swimsuit, it’s the ultimate summer staple. The Pamela is a classic one-piece cut from their original stretch crinkle fabric and is super comfortable to wear. Hunza G styles are designed to be a one-size-fits-all swimsuit — it’s very much something they’re known for. This is made possible by the fabric they use across their range, with added stretch to flatter all shapes. I also love that this style can be worn as both a swimsuit or a bodysuit — paired with denim shorts for a daytime look. It’s a versatile number to pack on your summer holiday. We’re lucky to be stocking Hunza G online at Superette.co.nz and in-store at our two Superette International stores located in Ponsonby and Newmarket.
Viva shops: For a classic one-piece swimsuit, try the Matteau Wrap Plunge one-piece swimsuit $415.
Founder Sonna Studios and Rimor Bay
Over this past year, I have been exclusively wearing the Rimor Bay — Everyday Nylon Shorts in black. They have been my daily, gym and swimwear shorts of choice, and they have undeniably been my go-to. They are so versatile I found myself tossing in three to four pairs on every trip I’ve been taking this year, and they’re so lightweight they barely make a dent in my luggage weight. The minimal and timeless design makes them the chameleons of my wardrobe, easily pairing with anything from a laid-back T-shirt to a more polished camp collar shirt. It has been a no-brainer every time I open up the wardrobe, which removes the overwhelming sensation at times of what to wear. Plus, the lightweight nylon they’re made of is a game-changer for a spontaneous swim. The fabric has almost got this quick-drying feature, allowing them to effortlessly air-dry post-swim. Believe me, this has proven to be a lifesaver on spontaneous beach days when changing just wasn’t on the cards.
Viva shops: For a tidy pair of swim shorts for both land and sea, try the Beach Brains board shorts, $199.
Photographer and fashion show producer
It’s fair to say I am obsessed with swimwear. This may be due to the fact I was born a water baby and as a self-proclaimed mermaid, I’ve been in love with the ocean since I could crawl. I’ve played a lot of water sports and have sailed since I was little so I have had my fair share of swimsuits.
Cruising 277 as a teen and saving my money to spend on a cossy at Hotbody, it’s still a favourite swimwear haunt today. For serious swimming, Arena is my absolute favourite for comfort, style and endurance. They also have a body-lift collection and work with recycled fabrics.
I love to mix and match a two-piece and am always excited when I see brands offer them as separates to purchase, especially for us gals that don’t have the same size top and bottom. You can go for a bigger top or vice versa and choose what suits your shape.
I have an extensive collection of leopard print, it truly is nature’s camouflage. I love mixing different prints. The great thing about swimwear is that it’s so timeless, you can’t go wrong, anything goes. Bright fluoros, crazy patterns, classic black or white — it all looks good! Everybody should be free to feel good at the beach, and if you’re shy, throw on a mu’umu’u or a wrap, but less is more. Vitamin D, guys!
There are so many great swimsuit brands out there now that it’s hard to choose. My advice would be to always try it on and avoid getting it shipped. Shop local boutiques.
Viva shops: If it’s a leopard print two-piece that works for anybody, try this Monte & Lou set, $113, from Hot Body.
In need of some fresh threads for the season? From fresh denim to strapless dresses, we’ve got you covered.
A Nod To The 90s: 10 Strapless Dresses That Posh Spice Would Approve Of. For a garment that could have been solely relegated to the domain of bridesmaids, its sleek 90s cousin has made a convincing case for a strapless renaissance.
Want A Summer Wardrobe Update? Try These 25 Sleek Sleeveless Tops. This list is proof that the world of sleeveless shirts is thriving right now. We’ve rounded up some of the best.
18 Quintessential Summer Accessories To See You Through The Season. Wide-brim hat? Check. Sarong? Double check. Plus much more to stay cool.
There Are So Many Good Denim Styles To Wear This Summer. Here Are 15 Of Them. Shorts, shirts, skirts! These pieces prove that every season is a denim season.
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