This year's swimsuits have been cut back to the bare essentials, and the season promises to be one of no-frills, with spare-cut maillots--and an occasional bikini--that rise high on the thigh and cut straight across the top. Skinny straps are meant to be removed for sun bathing.

Black, the fashion color of the year, shows up not only on the street but in the pool as well. Black-and-white and black with a shot of color, particularly dotted with red, are equal favorites. CAPTION: Picture 1, Black and white strapless maillot with diagonal slash of color ($62) by Gottex at Woodward and Lothrop.; Picture 2, Red and black bikini with detachable strap ($48) by Gottex.; Picture 3, A suit with a profile, by Michaele Vollbracht for Sofer,e ($50). Both at Garfinckel's.; Picture 4, A sleek suit trims the torso: Norma Kamali's black and white strapless maillot ($58) at Bloomingdale's.; Picture 5, Cotton-Lycra tank suit ($50) by David Haag at Saks Fifth Avenue; tote ($15) from The Bag Lady, sunglasses by Colors in Optics ($32), both at Woodies. Photographs by John Bowden; Model: Charissa Craig. Photographed at the Saga Club