Our Favourite Summer Swim Looks, Dreamed Up From Our Favourite Summer Reads

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 years ago | The Edit

Is there anything better about summertime than being able to lie around and read books all day? Scratch that: is there anything better about summertime than being able to actually finish a book before you get distracted by a thousand new work emails, or some pressing appointment that you simply must attend? This is precisely why we’re mining through some of our all-time favourite summer reads, as we gear up to get into book worm mode yet again this year. And what could possibly provide a better setting for devouring said books than the beach, pool, lake, or [insert serene body of water here]? 

With that in mind then, we’re dreaming up some inspiring summer swim looks at the same time. And we’re doing so with reference to those same favourite reads. Because they're the books that are either set in summer, or which conjure up an appropriately summery vibe to really get us in the spirit. I mean, we don’t need that much convincing to want to lie by a beach with a great book, but you get the idea.

So we’re taking the hyper-femininity of Jane Austen’s classic characters, for example, or the flounce of Jazz Age darling Daisy Buchanan and we’re running with them. Running right over to our wardrobes to start packing for the holiday that we will eventually take once this year is finally behind us. Will it ever be behind us? As we ponder the important questions, we’ll also be busy daydreaming about upcycled nylon and ultra poetic prose.

1) Emma

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Once summer rolls around, we simply can’t resist revisiting Jane Austen. Whether that’s our perpetual favourite Pride and Prejudice, or others that we have perhaps thumbed through a little less frequently like Emma. And although this novel’s protagonist doesn’t exactly do anything so risqué as swimming in a bikini, there is a whole lot of hanging around outdoors at picnics and such — just look at the 1996 adaptation starring Gwyneth Paltrow for proof. And all this civility provides plenty of inspiration for us to dream up the very first of our summer swim looks; an appropriately whimsical nod to sweet-as-pie style of this enduringly headstrong character. 

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2) The Beach

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This 1996 novel by Alex Garland is set on a far-flung island in Thailand, where protagonist Richard and his French friends Étienne and Françoise find themselves swept up in a secret society of castaways. This is Southeast Asia we're talking about, so it is hot, hot, hot and it’s also the nineties, which means that it’s all about those triangle bikinis and breezy slip dresses. Both of which tend to make us pretty excited in general, let alone on holidays.

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3) Atonement

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Atonement is a 2001 novel by Ian McEwan that’s set across three different time periods — 1935 England, wartime England and France, plus present-day England. Set in part on a grand country estate, we imagine all of the lakeside moments to be appropriately resplendent with 1940s-esque femininity in the manner of nipped-in waists, block colours and exaggerated elegance. And that’s exactly how we can see ourselves dressing by the pool with a cocktail and novel in hand this summer, too.

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4) The Great Gatsby

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Oh to be courted by a millionaire. One who owns a mansion across the lake with a large swimming pool and a seemingly endless supply of champagne. The love affair between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan allows us to vicariously live this very dream, via F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby. Resplendent with Jazz Age finery, we simply can’t help but picture Daisy lying lakeside in a cool white swimmer and the feminine outfit to match. Just don’t forget your champagne flutes.

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5) The Virgin Suicides

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You are probably familiar with the Sofia Coppola film, The Virgin Suicides, but have you also read the book on which it is based? Written in the 90s by Pulitzer-prize winner author Jeffrey Eugenides, this novel chronicles the lives of the sheltered teenage Lisbon sisters as they navigate their very intense feelings and the general misunderstanding of adolescence. The tone is nostalgic, but the ending ultimately doomed. Which adds a darker twist to the 1970s femininity that we imagine these girls wearing in their swimsuits as well as their everyday wear.

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