For teenage girls — as well as for most women — buying swimwear is a Momentous Decision. So what will it be in the summer of 2012?

This season, sunscreen products should sell very well because there’ll be lots of Ms., Miss and Mrs.’s skin showing at the beach and around the pool. Bikinis have added a couple of inches of fabric for the more conservative crowd, but the skimpiest of the skimpy is still popular.

The perfect answer for most women is the less-revealing Tankini — a two-piece with a tank top that covers the belly and most of the panty. Many of them have skirt bottoms, flattering to lots of different bodies.

Kelly Kegan of Swim’n Surf in Fairfield sees the comeback of the classic one-piece swimsuit, but cut higher on the leg and quite a bit more sophisticated. These come in various textures, a crocheted look as well as spandex stretch, and there’s something sexy about not exposing the midriff.

Colors are neon bright. Prints, stripes and dots are all available, but solid colors are looking very good.

What’s really big news is what goes over the swimsuit — cover-ups have come into their own.

Sam is wearing Quicksilver Boardshorts — four-way stretch, quick-dry, ultra lightweight — and a Hurley shirt from Swim ‘Surf, Fairfield. — Bryan Haeffele photo

No longer just a floaty sheer fabric, this season’s cover-ups are fashion-savvy and are also worn as dresses away from the beach, often all day long. Rosie Costello of Everything’s Rosey in Darien said most of her customers buy three or four because they’re so comfortable, so summery, so versatile. There are tunics, shifts and breezy shirt shapes in a great choice of colors, fabrics and styles. Lyn Evans Potpourri Designs in Ridgefield and New Canaan agrees that these dress-like cover-ups are a fashion trend here to stay.

Metro Swim in Norwalk has swimwear for the whole family — from six-month old babies to Grandma and Grandpa. They have just about every swimsuit Speedo makes, including the new Olympic line. There are workout suits for swimmers who care more about fitness than looks and fashion swimwear for everyone else in the family. Boys still love those long, board-style swim shorts that are almost pants and their dads are also wearing longer swim trunks, often in surprisingly colorful, tropically flowered patterns. The serious swimmer Speedo suits look pretty sensational on trim, slim people.

Douglas Hutton of Hutton’s in Ridgefield (fine men’s wear since 1875) said he couldn’t sell tight-fitting, body revealing swimwear in his store. His customers want well-made, well-designed swim trunks in solid colors or prints, if they’re subtle and have a country club look. The men’s story, according to Hutton, is not flamboyant. Yes, there are those extroverts who’ll barely cover their vital parts, but they’re not his customers, who want more of a George Clooney look.

Most everyone’s favorite pastime at the beach is people-watching and the fact that we’re all so willing to come out and shed the coats, sweaters, pants and boots we’ve been wearing all winter and bare our bodies, if not our souls, is quite an event. Which makes the purchase of swimwear particularly sensitive.

Fortunately, the local shopkeepers around our towns are friendly, experienced and really want their customers to look good and feel even better on the beach. That makes for a cool summer, no matter what the temperature.

Where to buy

• Swim ‘n Surf, 43 Unquowa Road, Fairfield, 203-292-6351

• Fashion Bug, 411 Barnum Avenue Cutoff, Stratford

• Trumbull Mall, 5065 Main Street, Trumbull

• Danbury Fair Mall, 7 Backus Avenue, Danbury

• MetroSwim, 181 Westport Ave., Norwalk, 203-226-8848, 203-622-1878