Conjuring ‘Bridgerton’ at the Beach

These days “cottagecore,” the term for a popular aesthetic in recent years, may bring to mind several things. The early pandemic, say, when cottagecore started to spread rapidly on social media. Or the flouncy dresses, floral motifs, delicate décor and countryside settings that largely defined the aesthetic.

Less often has the fairy-tale look been associated with beaches or pools. Selkie, a brand that became emblematic of cottagecore fashion after the release of its Puff Dress in 2019, is hoping to change that by expanding into swimwear this year.

Selkie’s founder, Kimberley Gordon, said that with the Puff Dress — a poufy frock typically made of organza that has a fitted bodice and a voluminous skirt — she wanted to deliver “an explosion of femininity.” The style has been offered in many colors and patterns, as well as in sizes from XXS through 6X.

Selkie’s swim line, which includes bikinis and one-pieces and is priced between about $90 and $225, was also conceived with a focus on femininity and size inclusivity, Ms. Gordon, 41, said.

The swimwear comes in sizes from XXS to 6X and in various enchanting patterns.Credit…via Selkie

She was inspired by pieces from past decades — particularly, the 1930s through the 1950s, a time before revealing, overtly sexy styles started to replace more modest suits that flattered women’s bodies without showing as much skin.

“I don’t want to have to go shave or get a bikini wax every time I go swimming,” Ms. Gordon said.

The bathing suits are available in patterns like toile, gingham and banana plaid. They’re sold in the same sizes as the brand’s dresses and are meant to channel those garments’ “ethereal feel,” Justine Babb, Selkie’s head designer, said. But instead of organza, the swim line was made with materials like cotton and spandex.

“We basically wanted to make something that was like putting on a Puff Dress, or a Selkie dress, to go to the pool,” Ms. Babb, 38, said.

Most pieces have fanciful elements like ruching, ribbon ties, ruffle trims and cap sleeves. There are also swim skirts and coverups for those who, as Ms. Gordon put it, “don’t want to show their whole body when they go out.”

Some Selkie fans were unsure if bathing suits informed by the look of its “Bridgerton”-meets-Disney-princess dresses would resonate.

Camryn Garrett, 24, a freelance writer in Brooklyn, was drawn to Selkie because she “wanted to find a plus size dress that didn’t look boring,” she said. But she was somewhat skeptical about whether the brand’s approach to dresses would translate to swimwear.

“I’m wondering how they’re going to do that,” Ms. Garrett said.

Sophie Desmond, 31, another follower of the brand, said its swimwear seemed “a little out of context.”

Even so, Ms. Desmond, a freelance editor who lives outside Washington, D.C., thinks the swimwear will find an audience. Especially with, as she put it, “grown-ups or millennials in their 30s trying to reclaim that bit of girlhood.”

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