The designer behind the Mission's Zoe Bikini grew up in Santa Barbara, but she now resides in Marin with a sun deck and a bounty of bikinis. Zoe recently relaunched her website boasting her customizable swim styles as the Bay Area enters Indian Summer—the best time of year to wear a bikini locally (fingers crossed for beach days soon!). Here, the seasoned beach goer offers up her favorite sandy spots to show them off at.
One of Zoe's favorite beaches is Shell Beach, near Inverness in west Marin. It's tricky to get there and requires a 3/4 miles walk, but it's worth the wandering. "When you arrive it's a lovely double cove beach and the water is part of Tomales Bay so it's warm and there are no scary waves or rip currents. This is a great place to take a picnic and make a day of it."
(Top: Pauline, Bottom: Monique)
Another favorite is Oakland's Lake Temescal: "This is a great little lake good for swimming or just relaxing. It has a nice view and you can sit either on grass or sand. It's a $3 fee but there are clean bathrooms with showers, a snack truck, and it's usually warm because it's tucked away from the SF fog."
Block off a full day to visit sleepy Bolinas. Zoe says it's worth going past Stinson to beat the crowds on a hot day. "Bolinas is a tranquil beach setting. At low tide, there are tide pools to check out and the locals are super mellow."
Covering all four corners, Zoe suggests "Crack Beach" on the Peninsula. About 12 miles south of Half Moon Bay and three miles north of Pescadero State Beach, you may want to ask a local exactly how to get there. When you find it, you hike down a crevice carved out by water falling into the ocean, hence the nickname. Do wear your hiking shoes. You know you'll have found it when you see. "It's one of the most breathtaking, blond sandy beaches with huge cliffs and miles of beach in either direction."
(Top: Summer, Bottom: Violet)
Now that you know where you're going, what to wear? In case you aren't familiar, Zoe Bikini is designed and manufactured in SF. The staff at the Mission-based store are eager to help you find your perfect fit. You can mix and match styles and everything from hooks to ties to padding can be adjusted. You can even change hardware from silver to gold.
A fun way to get into Indian Summer mode is with a bikini party at the Zoe store. The curtains close and Zoe is ready to help you and your party shop. Bring in food, drinks and the soundtrack, and the Zoe staff will do the rest. You get bikini credits for every bikini bought and your friends all get 15% off suits. Bikini party on.
The 2012 collection offers a range of bold styles—from fuller coverage to barely there—in electric colors and sizzling prints. Zoe's signature hardware shimmers throughout while unique straps and playful silhouettes stand out. One of Zoe's main inspirations are her customers. "The way things fit. What sells the most. And what they tell me they like or don't like." The perfect bikini, as simple as that.
Zoe Bikini, 3386 18th Street, (415) 621.4551
Sam Durbin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a California lifestyle writer who honed her blogging skills as Editor of FabSugar.com. Sam graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, and also writes for 7x7 Magazine, Zagat and PureWow.