The Christmas break is but a whisker away and as we’re a nation of water lovers, that probably means time in our swimwear. Shopping for swimsuits can be a minefield, and buying online from unknown brands is a dice roll. Fit, bust support, the right cut across the derriere, sun protection – there’s a lot to consider. 

So, with that in mind, I’ve compiled my pick of where to find this season’s coveted minimalist one-pieces, elegant cover-ups and chic bikinis. Although you won’t find any string bikinis here, I’ve opted for the demurer options that are fashionable and elegant. I’ve also thrown in some neoprene pieces for the budding longboarders or sunrise paddleboarders among you who go in for a bit more adventure.

Emilia Wickstead Jenny jersey swimsuit, $620
Alight here for some of the most elegant, ladylike swimsuits on the market. They’re an investment, yes, but with care, these quality garments will last a long time. One of the things that draws me to Emilia’s swimwear is how modest the suits are. Shop

Abysse Lotte neoprene swimsuit, $257
Abysse is known for its chic form-fitting neoprene and water activewear. The look is minimal and retro – think sexy Bond villain goes spearfishing. Perfect for the fashion-forward adventurer who likes a generous stay in the drink. Shop

Nisa Gathered Bikini top, $119 in violet and sage 
Designed and made locally in Wellington, Nisa offer a range of elegant swimsuits, two pieces and long sleeve rash shirts perfect for sun protection. Their pieces are simple, without logo and a lot of the pieces are reversible - essentially giving you two looks for the price of one. Nisa also use Econyl - fabric made from recycled landfill and ocean waste. Shop

Andie Swim Nantucket one-piece in stone, $158
Andie swimwear is one of my favourite 2021 discoveries – very flattering and well-cut swimsuits in a number of colours and shapes that are simple and affordable. One of the details that drew me to the brand is their fit guidance. Buying swimwear online is a minefield, but the team at Andie have an online quiz, with experts on fitting to help you make the right choice to meet your needs. Most suits also come in a long-torso option, a game-changer for those who run longer in the body. Shop

Marle Alma sarong, $180 from Sisters&Co
The Marle team know what works best in a summer wardrobe. Their famous Nonna hats and linen maxi dresses are a warm-weather mainstay and you'll find most pieces work well layered over swimwear. The same goes for this season’s Alma sarong cut from 100% linen. It’s simple, striking and perfect for pairing with your favourite swimsuit - better still, it is elegant enough to transition from the beach to the bar. Shop

Jules Mila sunglasses, Jacci in green/green $260
The new kid on the block, Jules Mila launched just in time for Christmas. The range has been kept simple, with one unisex style made in a variety of colour combinations in small quantities in a family-owned factory in Italy. The Jules Mila concept is that when this batch of glasses has sold out, the next unisex shape will be launched. These statement glasses would make a perfect pairing with an elegant one-piece suit. Shop

Bondi Born Ellie bikini top, $175, shown with Tatiana bottom, $140
Not only has this supportive bikini top been designed to be worn by up to an E cup, it is also made of soft and lightweight Sculpteur, a matte-finish fabric that is chlorine resistant and will last up to 10 times longer than standard fabrics. So these pieces will remain a staple in your swim wardrobe for many years to come. Shop

Paris Georgia bucket hat, $190
Slip and slap – but make it fashion. Bucket hats are great for packing in a bag as they fold or roll down to nothing. This unisex one is cut in a heavy triacetate/polyester mix bucket with topstitched detailing on the brim, which features the signature Paris Georgia logo on the inside; this gets exposed when the brim is folded up. Keep one in your bag for those unexpected moments when you may be exposed to harmful rays. Shop

Ruby Kai sarong, $99
Sarongs are well and truly back and popping up everywhere. The Ruby Kai sarong is made from a fabric called ramie voile – it’s created from vegetable waste but looks like linen. Also check out Ruby’s signature two-piece cut in Econyl fabric, which is made from recycled nylon waste pulled from the ocean and landfills. Both fabric choices are part of the brand’s “toolbox for change” environmental focus initiative. Shop

Rowley x Roxy 1.5mm spring wetsuit, $230
Swimming in neoprene is a game-changer and really does take the edge off any chill if you are used to or prefer warmer water. Cynthia Rowley has teamed up with Roxy to bring her fun and playful take on wet suiting and swimwear to the masses. The neoprene is only 1.5mm thick so this suit is easy to get into and out of and provides amazing sun protection when you’re in the water for long periods of time. Shop

Follow Sally-Ann @sallyannmullin