Given that we experience winter nine months out of the year, we Minnesotans love our summers. There's a major block party or outdoor festival every week, as many campgrounds as lakes, and at least one water vehicle per suburban family. Make the best of your summer by getting your beach style on and showing it off at all the right places.

Cut away to the past

What's new for swimwear in 2008? Well, the '80s are back in a big way with cutaway shapes and neon colors. The genius of the cutaway suit is that it acts like a one-piece but reveals just enough skin. But if covering up is your thing, this is your season: One-piece swimsuits inspired by the '40s and '50s are also back, adding a little old-fashioned glamour to the act of lounging poolside.

For the guys

For men, retro is also the overwhelming statement. Case in point: The super-short, '70s-inspired nylon swim trunk at American Apparel was just about sold out at press time. But only the most fashion-forward guys will be able to pull off this style. Instead, try a surfer-inspired board short, which will provide a little more coverage. Whatever style you choose, pick one based on your body type: If you're short and have toned legs, a shorter, boxier cut is more flattering, while if you're tall with skinny legs, a longer, narrow trunk style will best complement your frame. Whatever you do, don't get too long or baggy: The suit should hit about 3 inches above the knee.

Where to buy

Once you know what to look for, you need to know where to find it. Locally owned shop Nani Nalu (3922 W. 50th St., Edina) carries primarily high-end swimwear in a stylish setting. If you want to go trendier and less expensive, American Apparel (1433 W. Lake St., Mpls.) and Urban Outfitters (3006 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.) carry a ton of styles, from retro one-pieces to '80s cutaway styles, and plenty of options for men. And you can always hit up the always-reliable Macy's (700 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.) and Target (900 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.), where options are more basic and prices are reasonable.

Where to wear

If you are looking to see and be seen, you can't get much better than lounging poolside at a private club like the Calhoun Beach Club (2925 Dean Pkwy., Mpls.), site of's Poolside Fashion Show as seen on these pages. At your disposal are drink service, a view of Lake Calhoun and the reassurance that you won't have to mingle with the hoi polloi. If you don't happen to be a member, head over to Lake Minnetonka, where you can dine on the porch at Lord Fletcher's (3746 Sunset Dr., Spring Park). Then swing over to Big Island, which with its scantily-clad beach bums and nonstop party atmosphere is the Cancun of Minnesota.

For those who'd prefer to stay away from the suburbs, Minneapolis' best beaches to show off your swim style are Hidden Beach at Cedar Lake (W. 21st Street & Upton Avenue S.) and Calhoun Thomas at Lake Calhoun (Thomas Avenue S. and West Calhoun Parkway). Hidden Beach (officially known as "East Cedar Beach") has recently been upgraded and draws an eclectic crowd, with hippies and hipsters typically mixing with upper-middle-class families. Calhoun Thomas is the hottest, most popular beach in town, and probably the place to go if you're looking for a booty call.

Wherever you show off your swim style, make it count. After all, what other time of the year do you have the excuse to party in the middle of the afternoon while wearing next to nothing?


  • Poolside Fashion Show: June 19, Calhoun Beach Club, Minneapolis.
  • Styling: Eclecticoiffeur.
  • Additional hair styling: Molly Erickson & Stephanie Domrose.
  • Additional make-up artistry: Dani Regenscheid & Ashley Kilcher.
  • Fashion stylist assistants: Luci Kandler & Sara Tonko.
  • Backstage manager: Hilary Davis.
  • Models provided by: Vision Modeling Management.