Thankfully surfwear has come a long way since women’s styles simply meant adding floral motifs or a pink colorway. In an ever-evolving industry, inventive designs for women are becoming more abundant. Here, we’ve highlighted brands that eschew the all-black unitard-like wetsuit and get adventurous with cuts, patterns and material. Not just designed for women, each piece has been designed by women, or at least, with major input—and even better yet, they’re all made in the US.
Womenswear surf brand Seea transcends style, function and form in feminine, visually appealing suits that play around with colorblocking and patterns—and are all made in California, where Seea is based. Wave-riding designer Amanda Chincelli started the brand because she “spent as much time in the water as she did looking for a cute suit.” Choose from long-sleeved surf suits to retro-inspired one-pieces to the more heavy-duty neoprene, or the new “Martinique” one-piece, a slick skin neoprene suit with side cut-outs and an adjustable closure in the back.
Online-only brand Sirensong offers unique, artistically painted wetsuits with stylish (if a little cheeky) cuts. “This is our niche: functional wetsuits as flattering style statements,” says founder and designer Jamie DeFay Collins who hand-paints, silk-screens or stencils the pieces in her Haleiwa, Hawaii-based studio. Some designs are even offered in limestone-based Yamamoto neoprene, a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional neoprene. While all wetsuits have currently sold out online, sign up for their mailing list to be informed when their next collection becomes available.
Birdwell Beach Britches have been making classic boardshorts for over half a century that get better with age, and look good on and off the board. This summer, Birdwell has launched their first design for women, the 402 ($79), which is made in Santa Ana, California. “Kassia Meador, the pro surfer, moved into my neighborhood and while we were walking our dogs together and catching up, I told her I was working with Birdwell. She just lit up,” skateboarding legend Natas Kaupas, now creative director for Birdwell, tells CH. Kaupas worked with Meador on the shorts to make sure the look and fit worked, while remaining true to function. The 402 has two layers of nylon, and features a curved waistband and a pocket.
Sensi Graves Protective Suits
“As a pro-kiteboarder, I design this swimwear to be comfortable enough to wear all day long, and stay on through hard crashes,” says Sensi Graves of her eponymous swim label for active women. Her nylon and spandex Surf Suits ($79) aren’t wetsuits, but a protective swimsuit meant for long sessions in warmer waters. The suits are made in Portland, Oregon and their extra layer of fabric offers extra protection when surfing or swimming over rocks and reefs.
Images courtesy of respective brands