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The Search for Swimwear: Our Favorite SF Bikini Boutiques

Zoë Bikini on 18th and Mission.

 

Finding a good swimsuit in this city can be as difficult as predicting a sunny day to actually wear it. But with 4th of July beach, river and lake getaways around the corner, it's time to get serious about the quest. Here are our tried and true SF bikini boutiques that make swimwear searching a little less daunting:  

Zoë Bikini

Zoë Bikini is a ready-to-wear line of modern but flattering swimsuits that are designed and sewn on-site by Santa Barbara native Zoe Magee. Her use of universally flattering colors and cuts matched with delicate details such as braiding and fringe distinguishes this brand as a well-made yet fashion-forward approach to swimwear. Since the Mission retail location doubles as Zoe’s workshop, she’ll even tailor the bikini at the time of purchase for a fit that feels like a second-skin. 3386 18th St. (at Mission), 415-621-4551 

Waterlillies

This Presidio Heights boutique is your go-to for luxury bathing suits. Ideal for the pre-resort vacation shopper, Waterlillies is chock-full of the most celebrated names in designer swimwear such as Shan and Mara Hoffman, in addition to those-lesser known like Milan-based Raffaella D'Angelo. A small selection of cover-ups, sandals, jewelry and sun hats further round out their covetable inventory. 3440 Sacramento St. (at Walnut), 415-383-2782

Aqua Surf Shop

Despite what the name might suggest, Aqua Surf Shop carries more than just sportswear bikinis. Though you can find Volcom and other surf/skate brands, many of their suits are from designers like Vix, L*Space, and Ella Moss, and are chosen based on practicality and wearability. Look for refreshingly minimalist Made by Dawn swimwear the first week in July. 1742 Haight St. (at Cole), 415-876-2782  

Alla Prima

Primarily known as a fine lingerie boutique, Alla Prima in Hayes Valley is also home to a sizeable upscale swimwear selection. Their specialization in intimates translates into a staff with an acute eye for swimwear fit.  Those who require a fuller cover-up top should try out their Empriente swimwear line. But in company with other upscale bathing suit labels like Eres and La Perla, nothing from Alla Prima comes cheap. 539 Hayes St. (at Octavia), 415-864-8180 

Canyon Beachwear

The best part of this California chain is the selection — Canyon Beachwear boasts over 60 trusted designer swimwear labels from Seafolly to Vitamin A. They also carry cover ups, flip flops and beach bags.  1728 Union St. (at Octavia), 415-885-5070