Dont add water: how Instagram changed poolside posing

This summer, think velvet swimwear, 70s-inspired accessories and, preferably, a yacht deck at sunset just avoid anything designed to actually swim in

Question: what do the Wicked Witch of the West, cats and Insta models have in common? Answer: an aversion to water. This summer brings a new take on poolside posing one that updates the classic Slim Aarons images of the jetset at the Hotel du Cap or David Baileys images of Marie Helvin in Hawaii in the 70s. Aarons and Bailey have women in gleaming with sunscreen, lying on loungers after a morning dip. The holidays of Instagram, by contrast, use summer as a backdrop, one to frame you just so.

Just add flamingo: one of Kendall Jenners holiday-themed selfies. Photograph: Kendall Jenner/Instagram

Posing is this decades sport and young women such as Bella Hadid, Chanel Iman, Kendall Jenner and Joan Smalls excel at it. Sunshine, swimwear and sunglasses are the perfect storm to show off bodies worthy of insurance policies and a lifestyle thats #alwaysonvacation. Jenner is a classic case study of how to do holiday posing now. In the past two weeks, she has posted five holiday-themed selfies, and remained dry but swimwear-clad in them all. Shes on the deck of a yacht with the inevitable pink flamingo inflatable. Shes on a jet ski at the shore. Shes doing Legally Blonde vibes with sister Kourtney Kardashian in matching metallic bikinis, the kind that likely come with a disclaimer about swimming in them on the label.

Cut-out swimsuit, 110, Hunza G at

This current mood means summer style thats primed to look fun and glamorous in a picture at the expense of any IRL concerns like tanlines or the ability of swimwear to survive 40 lengths. But dismiss such an attitude as mere digital narcissism at your peril. This trend is also going to make its mark on what you wear on those two precious weeks you get as holiday this summer: swimwear is increasingly designed to be worn around the pool rather than in it. Or no pool is required. This month, Kim Kardashian posted an image of her summer style inspo Cher wearing a bikini top and cover-up beach-ready as the tabloids would call it to an awards ceremony in 1974. Expect to see the Kardashian version of it on a red carpet soon.

Swimsuit, 32,

Basically, the takeaway of all of this is that your poolside look needs updating, to show youve got a fun side. If summer is silly season, this is the silliest of trends. But its also irresistible like a pool party, cocktail umbrellas or fancy dress. See cut-out swimsuits by Hunza G with a hole in the midriff, that look to make the oddest of tanlines, or cover-ups worthy of a Towie star in Marbs: all floaty chiffon and little actual cover. Swimwear is now ultra-glam rather than sporty. Elements more usually seen on Strictly dresses – embellishment, sequins, chiffon and velvet – are what you want. Its these styles that are selling out on Asos, where buyers estimate only 70% of swimwear is actually used for swimming presumably because wearing rhinestones, sequins and off the shoulder tops isnt that compatible with doing the front crawl.

Silly season: got your unicorn inflatable yet?

Youll need the props to go with your poolside look. Jenners one beta note is her flamingo the bird is over. Its actually the unicorn inflatable set to decorate the most fashionable of pools this summer. Furniture, meanwhile, should be wicker or wooden, as seen in June Vogue. And do try to find yourself on a yacht deck at sunset wont you? As these Instagram snaps testify, it makes the perfect summer set.

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