I soooo look forward to warmer weather, but do find that the transition from forgiving winter wear to more revealing Summer styles always a bit awkward at first. And, the most scary switch of all – SWIMWEAR!!!
But never fear, the Style File is here with tips and trends for 2009 to help the annual swimwear search go as smoothly as possible. Let’s dive in…
Do I need to purchase new swimwear? Consider, if you are spending a lot of time at the cottage, beach or pool, it’s best to have a minimum of two bathing suits on the go. Just thinking about putting on a damp suit makes me squirm. So take a look at last year’s swimwear, and if it’s faded, jaded, saggy, baggy, tight or just doesn’t feel right, it’s time to shop.
There are no two ways about it, swimwear shopping takes time and concentration, aka a kid-free occasion. You don’t want to be stuck with a suit that doesn’t ummm… suit. Many stores do not allow swimwear returns or even exchanges. So leave your little ones with your significant other or book a sitter. Also, try to take your mom, sister or a friend with you to act as an honest advisor, and a runner to and from the racks until you find the right fit and style. Some of my favourite stores for swimwear shopping are:
Advantages: good selection of classic one and two pieces; easy to view selection and mix n match tops and bottoms; good value for money and returns policy; coordinating cover-ups.
Disadvantages: limited selection; inconsistant fitting room assistance
Advantages: great cross section of quality brands and sizing; excellent discounts; good returns policy
Disadvantages: untidy displays/racks make pieces hard to find; no fitting room assistance
La Vie en Rose
Advantages: Range of coordinated collections; bra sized-fittings up to DD; helpful staff bring items to fitting room for you
Disadvanatges: Limited collection with very distinct patterns.
Note above, I mention fit not size. Only use your size as a guide and take both the size above and below your usual size into the fitting room. Nothing is more fundamental than fit when it comes to finding the perfect suit that will make you look and feel your best. And, remember the swimwear style you choose, can really help find the most flattering fit.
Here’s a style guide:
Halter Tops are the most universally flattering, and look especially good on medium – larger busts. One disadvantage is that the thick straps can leave tan lines visible when wearing other necklines, so switch it up between a halter and a different shape or use fake tan. This well-balanced beauty is from Sears and the tankini is from American Eagle.
Underwire – Ironically this design suits both ends of the spectrum. There are padded versions to boost small busts and bra-like styles for those in the D zone. This wonderous one-piece is from American Eagle.
String bikinis – in my opinion you have to have be a. very slim b.have an athletic bodytype or c.be under age 20 for the string bikini to look good. Love them, can’t wear them. Cute triangle from American Eagle.
Bandeau – The bandeau is back! And, this classic suits most shapes, apart from small busts which will appear flattened out. Look for versions with built-in shelf bras and “boning” – vertical support at the sides. Here’s a Hollywood look form La Vie en Rose.
Now let’s take a look at bottoms…
Mid rise (i.e. leg not too high or low on the hip) is the most universally flattering and comfortable. This chocolate brown shaper suit is from Sears and the safari-inspired tankini is from La Vie en Rose.
Boy shorts look great on long legs, but can further shorten short limbs and add width across the hips. If you want a little more cover look for a swim skirt instead and stick to dark colours. Yellow (Hello!) boy shorts from La Vie en Rose and swim skirt from the Gap.
So, what else willl you see when you head to the stores this swimwear shopping season? When it comes to colour, florals and brights (which always look fabulous under the Summer sun) are abundant. Also, I’m pleased to see a great selection of coordinating cover-ups at many retailers. These samples are from Old Navy, The Gap and Sears.
So get going ladies, assess your swimwear and be ready to enjoy every minute of the long awaited Summer at the beach/pool/cottage.