Full disclosure: The thought of scuba diving makes me sick to my stomach. I love snorkeling, and taking a deep-sea dive to explore sunken ships or barrier reefs would be amazing in theory, but all the equalizing and breathing only through your mouth makes me super nervous. That said, scuba divers have cool gear, and all the panels that make up a wetsuit are strangely quite flattering. Many designers, particularly American ones, seem to agree, as scuba-inspired styles were all over the spring runways. Here are my favorites.
This Derek Lam scuba dress is slim-fitting but makes the most of its lines to create an incredibly flattering fit. See how there are no side seams? By shifting the contrasting seams inward, it creates the illusion of narrowing the body, and the darker side panels reinforce this effect. Bonus points: it's a knit, so it's super-comfortable too.
Jason Wu is one of the hottest American designers at the moment, and with his scuba dress, you can see why. It's incredibly ladylike, with its wallpaper-inspired floral print and fit-and-flare shape, but the contrasting sleeves and waistband add an interesting contrast, striking a perfect balance between feminine and sporty.
Rag & Bone is one of my favorite lines at the moment, and every season, they just keep coming up with new things that I must have. In fact, their spring collection was the inspiration for this entire post, particularly this aqua leather surf dress with contrasting black mesh panels. It's shaped perfectly, and did I mention it's leather?
If aqua leather is not quite your thing, here's a similar style from Rag & Bone, this time in a more summer-friendly cotton blend. This style is a bit more relaxed, but the color is just as groovy and relaxing, and the contrasting side panels give it some shape.
And one more from Rag & Bone, this skirt is kind of a natural evolution of the bandage skirt, this time in a patchwork-like pieced design that still evokes scuba gear. I love the colors—totally evocative of the ocean. (There's also a matching sweater.)
This scuba top from Nanette Lepore takes scuba-inspired styling and combines it with another hot spring trend, neon. I think this would make a great layering piece, like under a blazer for work.
A favorite of the young and trim, Charlotte Russe has all manner of body-conscious dresses and skirts, but I like this scuba dress for its combination of colors. Be wary, however, of the snug fit, which will require either Spanx and/or a superfit body.
Topshop's scuba skirt takes a classic pencil skirt and gives it contrasting side panels for a trend-conscious update that ends up being quite flattering. Bonus: check out the contrasting zipper along the back—sporty becomes sexy!
The print in this Chaus dress reminds me of another influential scuba-inspired collection from a few years back: Proenza Schouler's. The styling isn't necessarily as obvious as some of the other styles, but the print is totally aquatic and the shape looks nice and easy—perfect for summer.