There is a subset of summer style that often gets overlooked. It’s sort of the neglected middle sibling between swimwear and whatever you put on after a day at the pool or the beach — you know, when you’re just kind of hanging out post-swim and you’re not planning to go back in the water so you put on your sunglasses and some cool earrings and maybe a shirt over your bikini bottoms but the day is young and the rosé is flowing and you’re far from ready to vacate the premises?
In other words, a very important fashion opportunity with eons of untapped potential. In an attempt to properly categorize the style to which I am referring, I’ve started calling it “après-pool,” like après-ski but with fewer argyle sweaters and more bikini waxes (should you be into that sort of thing). If a cool teen could kindly add the term to Urban Dictionary, I would be most grateful.
When I resolved to tap the untapped potential of après-pool style with a full-on fashion editorial, I turned to the master of après-anything (ski, pool, et. al) for inspiration: Slim Aarons, the iconic American photographer who made a name for himself shooting celebrities and socialites engaging in post-activity leisure. In his words: “Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.”
A quick Google search delivered a veritable mood board of bygone poolside glamour to my computer screen. I clicked through every photo and flagged specific themes I wanted to recreate for 2017.
The first was swimwear-as-aperitivo-wear: The way you outfit yourself when you’re ready to enjoy both aperitivo hour and stimulating conversation in the comfort of various non-waterproof additions to your swim costume, whether they be straw hats or going-out tops. Perhaps you’ll dangle a limb or two back into the water while you’re at it.
Another Slim Aarons specialty: capturing outfits that let your naval breathe. You know when you want to engage in poolside banter, heavy on the gesticulation, and you don’t want to do it in the nearly-nude but you still want to feel the breeze on your belly and the wind beneath your wings? That’s what these particular ensembles are good for: covering up without being too covered. A crochet dress will do just the trick, as will a pair of mustard velvet trousers.
The necessity of getting dressed for dinner and the desire to hang poolside until the end of time are often at odds with each other, but not in Slim Aarons Land/my late-summer dream. Here’s the outfit to prove it — fancy enough that it will pass any and all dinnertime dress code requirements with flying (jewel-toned) colors, comfortable enough that you can still lounge on a lounge chair until the hot dogs smell ready and capacious enough that a swimsuit might remain undetected if you were to leave it on for a late-night dip.
Ah, and then there’s the semi-impractical but nonetheless delightful coordinated ensemble you can only really only wear once a year but enjoy the bejeezus out of every time. A silk charmeuse shorts and bra top set are the perfect manifestation of that sentiment, if you ask me.
Last but not least, accswimorizing, which is a verb I invented to describe the process of accessorizing your swimwear with pretty much anything that strikes your fancy: sunglasses, dangly earrings, maybe a sunhat — but probably of the bucket variety. Menocore still rules the style kingdom, after all, and it isn’t afraid of a little chlorine. As for Slim Aarons? I can only hope he’d approve.