Have you dreaded the mere thought of finding a new bathing suit this summer? Do you hate going to the malls and trying them on, attempting to hide your underwear while seeing how the suit might fit without anything else on? Have you felt there was no suit designed for your curves? Or was it that you couldn’t find anything long enough for your torso?
The good news is that manufacturers have finally heard us, and this year marks the beginning of a whole new era in swimsuit shopping. No matter how alienated you might have become, I urge you to put those past experiences aside and shop for a new bathing suit!
Designer Anne Cole invented the tankini back in the 80s, and since then, they have come to monopolize the marketplace. Despite the (heavily Photoshopped) images of bikini-clad nymps playing volleyball or surfing, the truth is that tankinis provide the freedom to do whatever you wish, whereas traditional bikinis limit what you can do. Cole lived to see the success of her design, passing away recently at age 90.
Whatever shape you’re in, it’s vastly easier to fit a snug bottom and a tank top that come in separate pieces! You can shop in a pair of low-cut panties, skip the bra entirely, and try on tankini tops and bottoms until you find just what you want. Most are sold separately, so you needn’t even stick to just one manufacturer -- if you love the Ralph Lauren top and want to combine it with one of Target’s bottoms, go for it. Make the look your own.
Got your heart set on a one-piece suit? Fear not, there’s plenty of help to find just the right one for your body. My favorite website for this is www.venus.com where the designers have created a fabulous swimwear fit guide. Pick an aspect of your figure and decide if you want to maximize it or minimize it, support it or flaunt it, and the folks at Venus will show you suits that are designed to do just what you want. You can buy tops and bottoms separately or head for a one-piece that flatters everything you’ve got!
Check out the retro-inspired one and two-piece suits. This trend gets stronger every year, and there are mainstream offerings that combine vintage charm with modern comfort. Take a look at ASOS’ field of flowers pieces -- a high-waisted bottom with adjustable gathers for just the leg-look you want, and a fluttery top with enough cup for any bra size.
Speaking of bra size, lots of swimsuit designers are now incorporating underwires so those with fuller figures can enjoy support while looking fabulous. Top Shop’s Wolf Whistle is a wonderful example, featuring a full balconette bra and lots of va-va-va-voom appeal!
You can spend whatever you want on a bathing suit, so if price is no object, head to your favorite designer and buy whatever suits your fancy. But with a long, hot summer just beginning, perhaps you’re seeking more reasonable prices, so you can buy lots of different suits and still stay within your budget?
The best selection I’ve found overall is at www.neimanmarcus.com but that might be because I love every single suit by Karla Colletto. They are beautifully made and are styled to flatter. But there are lots of other brands on this very thorough website, which will even tell you what sort of coverage each suit will provide on your butt. Gotta love that!
Start by visiting H&M, because this brand has great bikinis at bargain prices. Be sure to look at the scallop-edged pieces, which are the hit of the line. Target has every style imagineable, and lots of mix and match possibilities thanks to integrated patterns and colors. Speaking of mix and match, don’t miss the choices at Urban Outfitters mix-and-match Swim collection. Bottoms from barely there to high-waisted retro and everything in between, with all kinds of tops to go with. All at prices that won’t break the bank even if you get several.
www.MyBabyPie.com has the most adorable toddler bathing suits I’ve ever giggled over, so don’t miss visiting their website. The flamingo suit is adorable, but it’s the ruffled seersucker that stole my heart!
Here in Tucson, your local Twice as Nice store has a huge selection of kids bathing suits. These are ever only gently worn before being outgrown, and the ones that fit last year go straight to this resale shop. You’ll find lots of tee shirts for wearing over them, and a great assortment of sandals and hats too.
For everyone else
www.swimoutlet.com carries bathing suits for everybody in the family at discounted prices, and if you sign up for their sales announcements, you can score 10% off your first order. They are the only site I’ve found that really could outfit the entire family, no matter the ages, no matter the sizes. They really do have it all!
Please, please remember to use sunscreen as often as necessary for protection from our desert sun! Hats are helpful, and sunglasses are a must. Stay hydrated! Make sure there are regular breaks to cool down and tank up for everyone. It’s going to be a long, hot summer: let’s enjoy it!
About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at www.stylesmithtransformations.com
More information about Karen’s new book at TucsonHappenings.com/fashion