My first experience with the sarong skirt was during my limited too days, when I was not only thrilled to buy a bikini, but also the complete set that came with it – so that I could print from head to toe my choice could be wrapped. Oh! Was there a matching headband? This is great, add it to the bundle. I can only see my mother, never so much the fashion enthusiast who stands next to me and rolls her eyes. "I said you could get one, Sarah." But that was one thing! This three or four piece set was a whole look.
The development of the sarong (also known as pareo) has its roots in traditional Indonesian culture. In its original form, the garment was styled in a tubular shell, but when it was reinvented for Hollywood films in the 1940s, Dorothy Lamour wore one in 1936 The jungle princess – It became increasingly popular as a swimsuit cover-up. This come-and-go trend was seen at Princess Diana in St. Tropez in the late 1990s and more recently at Bella Hadid when she was wearing a vintage Dior set with her white Nikes while sailing in Monaco. These are just two examples that I remember.
"Would I have given these blue stripes a second look if they only lived on a standard two-piece cord? Frankly, probably not."
2020 brought a new method of dressing for the summer months, especially during protection. The indoor-outdoor outfit now consists of a swimsuit – which is visible when you are safely sunbathing – and shorts, training pants, an airy bowling shirt or, yes, a sarong that you can put on again for your lunch break or your zoom call.
The fashion world has advocated coordination sets in recent years, so it is not surprising that these wrap-around skirts have been expanded to include the swimming category. Some of my favorite brands have released versions of the sarong: mood-enhancing color and saturated with the same batik and cherry patterns that are sprayed on our suits. The whole aesthetic is very "Instagram me". So much so that when I roll past a celebrity or an influencer who not only has the bikini but the whole damn set, I can't help thinking: "Oh, she collected all the parts. She also has the skirt ! "
The fact is, yes, I feel like my blue striped I.AM.GIA bikini is sweeter just because it comes with a pareo. Would I have given these blue stripes a second look if they had only lived on a standard two-piece cord? Frankly, probably not. It has to do with combining a simple outfit with your swim skirt that is so appealing and comfortable – especially at a time when I am inspired to venture out of sweat and coat my outfit with a little more personality. Even if my mother wasn't thrilled with all the additional bikini add-ons all those years ago (cha-ching! Goes to the cash register), I was influenced. And you know what? I'm still.